Hi, everybody. This is the Mastering Motherhood Podcast, and I'm your host, Nicoll. This show is made by a mom, me, for moms. Covering pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood topics as we go through this motherhood journey together. Today, I want to talk about mom groups. The good, the bad and the weird that is inevitably in every group. When I found out I was pregnant and shortly after I gave birth to my son, Magnus, in May, I started joining different mom groups. The first group was on Facebook. I don't even know how the admin put it together, but it was over 100 pregnant mamas who were due around the same time. At the time I joined the group, it was really early in my pregnancy, probably four or five weeks in. For this group, I'm gonna start out talking about the bad. At the beginning, probably until I was 14 or 15 weeks in, this group caused me more anxiety than anything. I actually thought about leaving the group because I could not take it anymore. There were quite a few girls who had early miscarriages, and a couple that had late miscarriages. Just devastating. And we all hear the statistics about how common miscarriages are, but having a face and a name and knowing a little bit about their stories just made it very real. Pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, is really scary. There's a lot that can go wrong. And in the first trimester, you often don't have the support of others because you haven't told them yet. So we as a group, were these women's support. In a lot of cases, we were the only ones that knew that they were pregnant, besides maybe a spouse or a significant other. It was really scary to get the play by play as they'd experience bleeding or not hear a heartbeat at the doctor's office. And I couldn't help but wonder, is that gonna happen to me? A couple of the girls discovered at like 12 or 14 weeks that there was no longer a heartbeat, and it's just horrible but also has the unintended effect of really scaring and stressing out moms with healthy pregnancies. Here's the good, and I have a lot of good things to say about this Facebook group. They've really become my tribe. These women are such a great support group when I've been stressed or frustrated as a pregnant person. And now as a mother, I'll sometimes turn to them, knowing that I'll get really great advice or words of encouragement. During my pregnancy, I had questions that I felt like I could comfortably ask them, but I definitely wouldn't feel comfortable asking people that I actually knew in real life. Can you say, "hemorrhoids?!" Or other moms would ask the things that I was too afraid to, but I was definitely thinking about. So that was a nice advantage of having the Facebook group. They also served as a really good source of education. For example, I learned a lot about ways to manage labor pains, like with essential oils. So I brought a central oils with me to the delivery room. And let me tell you, it really saved me, especially when it came to like nausea or getting a little bit of energy before it was time to push. But mostly this group just really got me excited about being pregnant and being a mom, and they made labor so much less scary than what I had envisioned in my mind. They'd post photos after delivering their babies and I just always remember thinking how great they looked or how happy or how beautiful their babies were. And it made something that was so scary to me suddenly seem very manageable. Our babies are now five and six months old and we still post on there daily. And as weird as it is to say about a bunch of people I've never met, I really feel like they're my friends. And, of course, in every group, you've got the weird mom, my Facebook group being no exception. In this group, everyone is mostly normal, but you've still got a few. They're just kind of like pregnancy elitists is what I call them. They know it all and have a terrible way of telling you about it. Don't get me wrong, I really appreciated the moms who had gone through it before and could share their wisdom, but it felt like they were coming from a good place versus the elitist moms who felt more like they wanted to share how they were doing it right and you're doing it wrong. And then, of course, there are the moms with some seriously crazy drama. Not the relatable kind of drama, but like some Jerry Springer stuff. Would I recommend joining a Facebook moms group similar to mine? Yes, absolutely. After your first trimester. Just get through the scary first part of your pregnancy and then join. The second group that I joined, and this was shortly after I gave birth, was the hospital new moms group. Dude, let me start by talking about the lactation group, and then I'll talk about the actual new moms group. So, a lot of hospitals offer lactation support through, like a once a week meet up. It's free, and it's actually a really great place to go, especially if you're new to breastfeeding or you're having any issues. So when my baby was first born and I was trying to learn how to nurse him, I decided to go to the lactation group at the hospital, mostly as an excuse to leave the house and go somewhere newborn friendly. But also just to make sure that I was doing things right. Dude. Weirdest experience ever. I'm sorry if you're a lactation consultant. I don't know what I was expecting, but this was not it. So the idea makes sense. You go in, weigh your baby, feed your baby, and then weigh them again to see how much milk they took in. You can also like, check their latch and all that good stuff, which is really helpful. Like I said, in theory, it sounds great. In practice, weird. You literally just walk into this room, and it's a bunch of tired new moms just sitting in a circle lactating around each other. It's so awkward. I am also a prude, especially when I first started nursing. I didn't want anyone other than a certified lactation consultant looking at me and my nipples. So the idea of just whipping out my boob in front of all these other women was just too much for me. I didn't care that they were also nursing new babies, I just felt very uncomfortable. And then on my first class, this girl comes in with her mother. I mean, my mom came to the hospital with me, but she hung out at the coffee shop and she didn't come into the room to watch me and all the other girls lactate. I also thought that this group was supposed to be closed to everyone except new mothers, so it was just very uncomfortable. And then, to make matters worse, she was a lovely and a social mother. So she started talking to me and commenting on how much hair my son had while he was nursing, so she was basically staring directly at my nipple. But anyway, that's not the point. What I really wanted to talk to you about was the hospital new moms group. So in addition to the lactation group, the hospital offered a weekly meetup for new moms. It was pretty cool. We would go around in a circle and talk about one thing that went good that week and one thing that went bad, and then they'd usually have a guest speaker come in. So either a pediatrician or a nutritionist or someone from a local fitness group for moms or whatever. Very educational. OK, here's the good. It was great to get out of the house and be somewhere with people who were in the same boat as me and somewhere where I could change my baby's diaper without having to find a weird stall in the bathroom. Or I could nurse him if I needed to or he could cry and people wouldn't give me dirty looks. It also provided me with some adult interaction when I was otherwise alone in the house for 12 weeks, save for when my mom came over to help me or my husband came home from work. I also learned a lot and appreciated the opportunity to either ask the other moms or the guest speakers questions. The bad. I didn't feel like I got to go often enough to create any real connections with the other moms. I connected with a couple of the girls on social media. But since the meeting was during the day on a weekday and I only had 12 weeks off of work and I couldn't go every week, I just didn't have the opportunity to click. Alright. Like I said before, every moms group has a weird mom. The weird mom in this group, the hospital group weird mom was like the Regina George of moms groups. She was this stay-at-home mom, so had been going for a really long time. Like several months longer than any of the working moms would be able to go, and she formed this like mean clique of other moms who were her friends, except that the other moms weren't mean. So, for example, one time I heard her in her little corner of the room talking to her small group of mom friends and asking them if they wanted to go to the pool or something, I can't remember. And then she makes a comment about how she doesn't want to invite the other moms. And I'm like, "Hello! Us other moms are right here. Literally in the same room as you." Now, would I recommend the hospital new moms group? I would, even though I didn't get any really great friends out of it. It did force me to shower once a week and get me and my kid out of the house. And it made a huge difference in how I felt about myself. The third group that I joined was my work new moms group. So my work new moms group is just what it sounds like. It's a group of new moms at my office who get together and talk about working mom things. The good. The good part about this group is that it's people who can actually form a connection because you're in the same office and you know you'll see them again, even outside of group. And you can relate to them about more than just being a new mom. It's also nice to be able to connect with fellow working moms about things like balancing being a good employee and a good mom or pumping at work or a lot of the other things that working moms have to learn. My company's new moms group has some pretty cool meet ups, too. Like, I think the next one is specifically about managing work stress or work-life balance or something like that. I can't say anything bad yet because I'm so new to the group and I haven't actually attended an official meetup. I have been able to connect with some of the moms outside of the group, though. And the weird mom. The weird mom in the work moms group, is the mom who had her kid like 10 years ago. The name of the group is literally, "New Moms Group." Like, at what point are you no longer considered a new mom? Sorry, but if your kid was born in 2005. I feel like it's safe for you to leave the group. I'm horrible for saying that. I know it should be inclusive of all moms, but, like, what do you even talk about when you go to group? Your kid was born in 2005. Okay, I'll stop. Would I recommend the work new moms group? Without having actually attended one of their sessions, right now, I'm going to say yes. I just think that any opportunity that moms have to connect with eachother is just so important. I mean, there are so many things that I really find that I need support with and a lot of issues I've had come up, like mom guilt and stuff like that. Just things that I couldn't relate to before becoming a mom. And it's really nice to be able to connect with people who know how I'm feeling. So those are my three experiences with moms groups. If you have any experiences with moms groups that you'd like to share or if you wouldn't recommend any moms groups, let me know, shoot me an email or visit my blog. Thanks for listening today. For more on pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood, visit MasteringMotherhoodPodcast.com and subscribe to this show wherever you get your podcasts. If you have a topic that you'd like to hear, shoot me an email at MasteringMotherhoodPodcast@gmail.com. Thanks.