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  • Writer's pictureJacinta

Finding new parent friends in postpartum

Why is it so difficult to find, cultivate and maintain new parent friendships?





Many of us crave social interactions in postpartum - we want to expand our "village" by finding new parent friends to connect with, discuss baby and postpartum stuff with, and hopefully for our kids to have a little buddy they can grow up alongside.


I cannot tell you how many times I’ve spoken to friends or clients who have said they don’t have much of a social network anymore, let alone any parent friends in their area who they can connect with in postpartum.


So, if there are so many other new parents out there looking for connections, why does it sometimes still feel so difficult to find, cultivate and maintain new parent friendships?


  • Healing and learning the ropes: For some, it’s really important for them to get out of the house very soon after birth and regain a sense of self by meeting new people or staying in contact with friends and family. For others, they want to take some time away from others to heal, to bond with their baby, to get a grasp on feeding and just feel comfortable in their new role as a parent before mustering up the energy to socialize. 


  • Sheer exhaustion: Speaking of energy, babies are exhausting and we are all just SO bloody tired! We want friendships, but we are just too exhausted to commit to an outing.


  • Routines and preferences: Not everyone is comfortable breast/chest feeding in public and may prefer to do it at home. Not all babies enjoy napping and feeding on the go in environments that can be overstimulating. These factors can affect our ability to get out of the house.


  • Illnesses: Not only does it knock you and your family around, but you don’t want it to spread to someone else’s family or little one, either. 


  • Perinatal Mood Disorders (such as postpartum anxiety or depression): Don’t underestimate the hold PPA/PPD can have on people and their ability to maintain social interactions. I know that people with mood disorders benefit from seeing and speaking to people, but sometimes, it’s a battle to get to that point. When a parent who has a mood disorder does manage to get out and socialize, it truly is a real massive achievement to take pride in. 

 

  • Established friendships: Depending on your situation, other people already have “their people” and don’t feel like they are looking for more friends.  


  • Parental leave (or lack thereof): Some parents do not take long parental leave, or do not have it as an option, so they do not always have time to build or maintain connections once returning back to work.


  • Finding like-minded folks: It can be tough to find people who vibe with your parenting style and ideas. Maybe you have different views on different parenting ideals or lifestyles and it’s okay to not want to continue communication with someone because of it. On the other hand, for other people, it isn’t a deal breaker. 

  • Lack of awareness: Maybe you aren’t aware of all the different local or online events for parents, or not sure where to find out more information.



So if you aren't aware of where to find these parenting pals, here are a few suggestions:



  • Through a postpartum doula: With client consent, doulas can hook you up with other parents who might just click with you. Plus, keep an eye out for doula-hosted meetups - nothing beats bonding over babies, relationships, and postpartum pop culture!


  • Facebook groups: Look for parent/mum/dad groups in your area. Even if they don't organize meetups, it's a treasure trove of community and advice.


  • EarlyON/ON y va centres: If you're in Ontario, these centres are great for meeting other parents and watching your kids grow alongside theirs. Plus, they're free and run by early childhood educators - win-win!


  • City-run or private classes: Check out swim classes or Parent and Baby yoga/Pilates - you might just find your parent tribe there.


  • Apps like Peanut: Think of it as Tinder, but for finding parent pals.



This list isn't exhaustive, but it's a solid starting point if you are finding yourself feeling lonely or lacking in social or emotional support during your postpartum journey.


If you're struggling to find those parent connections, what's holding you back?


Maybe there is something I can help you with  - whether you want a parent friend to ask some baby, feeding or postpartum care advice, or need someone to talk to or find out about more resources in your area, I’m just a phone call or a text message away. Have you checked out my Confidence Calls or Parent Text Support services?


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