I’m Sarah Hess, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and PMH-C with a passion for helping new parents, expectant parents, grieving parents, and those desiring to start a family with their journey.
Becoming a mother is a transformative and life-changing experience. Welcoming a new baby into your family can be a time filled with joy but can simultaneously bring feelings of a loss of autonomy and identity and additional challenges. A common challenge that new mothers face is building and maintaining friendships.
The Importance of Friendship
You know the saying “it takes a village”? How do you manage when you don’t have a village? Establishing friendships when having a new baby might seem like the bottom of the priority list, but creating friendships with other new moms can have many benefits, such as:
Emotional Support: Mommy friends are in the thick of the same phase of life that you are in, and, therefore can relate to the unique and new struggles that you are facing. They can offer new perspectives and a shoulder to lean on.
Social Interaction: Motherhood can have lonely moments, whether you are on maternity leave, a stay-at-home mom, or just adjusting to the demands of new parenthood. Friends can offer adult conversation and socialization opportunities, which can help with feelings of being overwhelmed or monotony.
Self-Care: Spending time interacting in ways that validate your individuality and identity is helpful with maintaining self-care and mental wellness.
Acquiring New Mom Friends
Making new friends can be difficult, especially when you have so much on your plate. How can you make new friends when you’re sleep-deprived and overwhelmed?
Join Mom Groups: Local mom groups are often offered in person and online and can allow you to connect with other like-minded parents. These groups typically host various mommy and me events, support groups, and even educational groups surrounding after-baby care.
Attend Mommy-and-Me Classes: Have you heard of baby yoga or music classes for babies? Many offerings can help you socialize with other new moms and bond with your baby.
Take the Initiative: If you meet another mom you connect with, extend an invitation or exchange contact information. Everyone is trying to navigate this new journey the best that they can!
Balancing Friendships and Motherhood
How can you balance new motherhood with maintaining a social life? It’s not always easy, but here are some tips:
Prioritize Self-Care: You can’t pour from an empty cup. Remember that you can’t nurture others effectively without attending to your needs. Schedule something to prioritize yourself, even for a small amount of time.
Set Realistic Expectations: Your social ability might change with a new baby, but you can still enjoy time with friends. Setting realistic expectations and acknowledging the changes in your new lifestyle can help validate your experiences.
Communicate Openly: Be open about limitations to your schedule or ability to engage in certain activities. Invite your friends to support you during this time.
Lean on Your Support System: Asking for help and accepting help is ok and can help you manage the stressors of new motherhood. If someone offers help, consider taking them up on it!
Balancing friendships as a new mom is often challenging. Still, it can be an extremely helpful aspect of maintaining your mental and emotional well-being during this time of what often feels like endless change. Remember that you are not alone in this journey of motherhood, and embracing new friendships and opportunities can help enrich your experiences as a new mom.