One of the things that has helped make both my pregnancy and my time as a new mom so special, has been my network of other new moms. When I first found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t wait to tell Lisa, one of my closest Virginia friends. She was pregnant too, and I was so excited for us to go through this new experience together.
Of course, I ended up moving to Seattle when I was 18 weeks pregnant, but we have continued to watch each other’s lives change through the magic of Skype and g-chat.
One of the biggest fears I had with moving all the way to the west coast was that I didn’t know anyone out here. I was sad that I would be going through a major life change, and wouldn’t have friends to lean on. Of course I have my friends back home, and with all the technology available now we can stay pretty connected. But that doesn’t replace being able to text a friend to meet for coffee or a walk, or just sit on someone’s couch and cry for an hour if you need it.
I am very lucky that so many wonderful people in Seattle reached out to me upon arrival. Living my life so publicly online can be both a blessing and a curse at times. In this case, it was my saving grace. As we settled into our new city, I received a number of emails from like-minded readers who reached out to welcome me and who offered to get together. Many of the emails I received were from women who were also pregnant themselves, looking to share baby talk and go for walks to stay active.
It’s hard to believe, but as of this month I have lived in Seattle for as long as I lived in Virginia. In the nine months since our arrival, I have made some wonderful friends who have really helped shape our experience out west. Not having family or other support here has been tough, but I have found great support in these other moms (and moms-to-be!) that has helped make this feel like home.
At the end of this past summer when I was giganticly pregnant, I did my best to stay active by meeting other pregnant friends for walks in the afternoons. It is funny how much two pregnant strangers can relate to one another, and how quickly you become comfortable sharing all the gory pregnancy details.
These days, most of my pregnant friends have had their babies – just like me! And the bellies walking around the lake together have become strollers. During one of our many Greenlake walks, my friend Nicki and I had discussed the idea of getting all our new mom friends together, and we finally put it into action last week.
We started a very casual and informal new moms group, and we all get together once a week with our babies. There are six of us total (and only ONE baby girl!), and we take turns hosting at our houses while the weather is still too cool to meet in parks or outside.
Last week was our first time meeting together, and unfortunately it was during a day when Cullen was not at his finest. He woke up in a great mood today, so I was hopeful that this week’s group would be a bit more successful.
When you consider that Seattle is a major city, I am amazed at how small it feels sometimes. Of the six moms in our group, there are only two houses I need to drive to – the others are all walkable. Hard to believe considering we met through email, but my friend Paige actually lives just one block over from me! This morning, with my happy boy all bundled up for a cold day, I met Paige at the corner and we walked and talked the whole way there.
There is something so refreshing and energizing to me about being around other new moms. Even though I know I can share my feelings and thoughts with others too, there’s just something really comforting in knowing that we are all in the trenches together. We all do things differently and make different choices, and yet I never feel like there is judgment. Everyone is tired, no one cares (or honestly even notices) if your baby cries, and we are all usually in need of a good laugh. And having five other moms to ask questions to is far more reassuring than any Google search or parenting article.
For a group who came together very randomly, we all really seem to mesh well together. Our six little peanuts were all born within 8 weeks of each other – Sept 29, Oct 14, Oct 21 (TWO babies!), Oct 30, and November 25th! It is so fun to see how alike and different they all are at their various stages.
We’ll have to keep taking group pictures of them to watch as they grow! It’s good for Cullen to be around new faces and surroundings, and I try to get him out as much as possible when I can. He had so much fun today just watching everyone and listening to all the voices. He crashed hard as soon as we got home.
To any other new moms or pregnant ladies, I would highly recommend checking out the mom groups in your area. I have found the parenting community in general to be overwhelmingly supportive and helpful, both online and in person.
There is so much that I love about Seattle – the gorgeous mountain views, the amazing restaurants, and the countless parks and trails. But I don’t think I would enjoy any of those things nearly as much if I didn’t feel like I had a network here to share it with. Making friends and meeting other moms has helped make what has felt like our “new” city for so long, finally feel like a place I might belong.