Let’s talk about the importance of creating community postpartum.
Creating a community when you don’t have one readily available is an empowering and transformative journey. You are not alone in your desire for support and connection during the postpartum period.
Studies show that being part of a supportive community contributes to increased well-being and self-confidence in postpartum mothers.
We also know that not all support is created equal. The type of support that enhances your quality of life validates your experiences, provides emotional support, and shares resources.
If you don’t have that type of support readily available to you, it’s essential to get creative in surrounding yourself with that type of community.
In this episode, I am sharing:
- How you can get started connecting with like-minded people and building a community around shared interests.
- Ways you can coordinate with other moms to share responsibilities and connect emotionally at the same time.
- The importance of asking for support and the impact community has on breaking cycles of generational trauma.I hope more than anything that this episode empowers you to reach out, connect with other mamas, share your experiences, and seek the support that is essential for your well-being.Share this with your mama friends so they know they aren’t alone.
Read the transcript of this episode:
Depression, anxiety and autoimmune symptoms after birth is not how it’s supposed to be. There is a much better way, and I’m here to show you how to do just that. Hey, my friend, I’m Maranda Bower, a mother to four kids and a biology student obsessed with changing the world through postpartum care.
Join us as we talk to mothers and the providers who serve them in getting evidence-based information that actually supports the mind, body, and soul in the years after birth.
Hey everyone. Welcome to the Postpartum University podcast, Maranda Bower here. And I will tell you, I just recently got back from this beautiful mastermind retreat in Austin, Texas. It was like a hundred degrees. It was sweltering hot, especially for this Alaskan, and I was in absolute heaven soaking up every bit of sun that I could possibly soak up.
And enjoying so much of the women and the relationships and the people that were present. The energy was just on fire. And I tell you that because I wanna tell you about how that specific experience and that beautiful coming together of like-minded individuals was really the inspiration for this episode.
Motherhood is this beautiful yet challenging chapter in life and it brings on so many different emotions and adjustments and uncertainties. And it was so interesting to hear all of these moms in this business mastermind. We’re all moms and we’re all experiencing some very similar things and how
absolutely divine it was to hear our stories and other people, and that’s what we need so often in our own communities, in our own spaces, in our own hometowns, is this connection to community. So that’s what we’re gonna dive into today. The importance of creating community, especially when you don’t readily have one.
So this episode is actually twofold. It’s for postpartum mamas out there who might be feeling isolated or overwhelmed or simply yearning for that connection, but also for providers. I really want you to understand that pivotal role that you play and helping create and nurture community and recognize that you too also need community space, just as I did when I flew out to Austin with these incredible human beings.
So I wanna be really clear here. Community is a necessity. If you try to do it alone, please stop. I know sometimes it feels like the only option. I remember in my own journey and motherhood, after my son was born, I became a single mom and I needed help. I remember asking my mom for help watching my son so that I could go to a job interview because I didn’t have a job.
I didn’t have a vehicle. I had nothing to my name, and my mom told me that I needed to do it myself. I needed to figure it out. And I remember in that moment thinking, oh gosh, I just have to figure it out. And that was pretty much my entire motherhood journey of deep depression and anxiety, doing it all my own, afraid to tell a single soul and really trying to prove that I could.
And this was my own trauma cycle, and I was trying to prove to myself my own self worth. I was trying to prove to the world that I could do it, that I was worthy enough, that I was good enough, that I had the ability to, and my mom was also operating from her trauma cycle too. And we see this so often from moms.
It’s ingrained in our society even. And this is what we’re doing. We are breaking generational trauma. Getting back to community is breaking this generational trauma. Doing motherhood alone doesn’t work. It never does. So let’s not try to be the only person who is successful and makes it out alive. It is not worth it.
So let’s look at the facts. Why do we want community support? Well we know that it reduces the risk of postpartum depression it improves maternal mental health. Obviously, community support can contribute to this feeling of validation. It reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness. It offers this platform for sharing experiences and getting advice.
And being a part of a supportive community allows mothers to express their emotions and be heard, be understood, be seen, and find that understanding and also get feedback. The right feedback, the feedback that’s going to us to not only just validate us, but let us know that, hey, here’s your next step.
Here’s something that you could try to get better sleep, or eat a better meal, or feel better, or get rid of that fatigue, right? So many different aspects of that. We also know that community support improves breastfeeding rates and success. This is huge because we don’t, as a country in the United States and multiple other countries as well, we don’t come close to reaching our breastfeeding goals.
And then there’s this overall enhancement of feeling wellbeing and self-confidence. It’s enhanced. Ability to see ourselves as worthy enough, right? To have that wellbeing, that self-confidence. And there’s actual studies that show this. So when we are surrounded by individuals who validate our experiences and provide that emotional support, we feel empowered, we feel capable in our parenting journey, and we make better choices because of that.
Okay, so non-negotiable, right? But how do we find community, especially when we don’t have it? I hear this so often. All support is not created equal, right? You may have family members available, but maybe they trigger you a lot and aren’t very supportive of your decisions and choices. Or maybe you are a part of a church that will bring you meals, but they are full of the foods you can’t eat or that won’t help you feel good, right?
They go against what I preach in terms of postpartum nutrition. Or maybe you just moved and there is literally no one but you and your partner and no, your partner is not just enough. They need support just as much as you do. And so oftentimes when we are looking for support, we have to get creative. So the first step that I always recommend is start by connecting in with online groups, finding online mom groups on Facebook or meetup.com.
I believe Baby Center also has community spaces too. Join those and feel them out. You don’t have to engage right away. Just take note. Do they feel aligned for you? Do they feel like a safe place? And here’s a little side note here. Online can be an amazing community space when you find the right one for you, but it’s never enough.
Humans are social beings. We thrive in the energy and space of others. Even as an introvert, which is, hi me, that’s me. You still need to connect with other human beings. So yes, use these online spaces. But also use these spaces to find local in-person community. Ask these groups if they have or know of any local community park dates or walks around the lake, where do they gather?
What do they do? Find those spaces. Here’s another place. Reach out to doulas and childbirth educators and lactation specialists or even counselors in the area and see what resources they have for local groups and gatherings. These people are a wealth of information and they likely can connect you to a safe community space that is likely not even mentioned in those online support groups or Facebook groups or whatever.
And on top of it, they can connect you with lactation specific groups or counselor led groups, which are all really important connective places. You can also look for groups that spark specific interest, like fit for Mom, stroller strides. We interviewed Lisa Druxman, the creator in episode 79, so definitely check that out.
But here in Alaska we have so many mom groups that focus on specific creative endeavors like hiking, photography, crafts, foraging. Find something based on a hobby that you love, and if you are like many moms who are in the throes of postpartum and you don’t even know what you love anymore, that’s okay.
Find something that maybe speaks to you that gets your interests going and go try it out. Go show up. See who you meet. See how it feels. If it doesn’t feel aligned, try something else. If it sparks your interest and you wanna play with it for a little bit, then do that. It doesn’t even have to be something that you pick up long term.
It could just be a short little thing that sparks a bit of joy. Do that and it doesn’t even have to be mom focused at all. Maybe it’s just for you, and that’s just as important. I’m a part of a local quilting group, and it’s not for kids. Actually. I’m one of the youngest people there. I’m nearing 40.
And I absolutely love that group. It’s tons of grandmas and great grandmas and they love to drink their wine and they love to eat food, and they love to tell jokes. And we just sit there and we quilt and I just listen into them and it’s such a breath of fresh air, so you don’t have to necessarily even
bring your children with you during that time. Those connective spaces are just as beautiful as connective spaces with kids
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But there’s more. Okay. What about support with cleaning your home or making meals? Once you start making connections and really building relationships with other moms, you can start getting creative in how you connect and get together. I love my connections when I can just text somebody out of the blue and she’ll text back and it’ll be completely like just a silly little thing about what my kid did or.
Oh, did you hear about this thing that’s happening in the local community? And we’ll have these texts back and forth, but sometimes like we don’t even respond to each other for days and it’s totally acceptable and I feel so much relief knowing that I have those kind of connections that I can get to, right?
So those, but also going deeper with some of those connections. I know it was really important for me to have really great meals. This is something that I preach all the time. So what about creating a food swap? Now this is super, super amazing. Find three to four or five maybe people in your community space
that could get together and make a meal. Maybe you’re making all the meals together. One thing that I have done in the past was everyone makes one meal for all the families, right? So maybe you make a giant batch of soup that you split with three to five families. And everybody brings their meals on Tuesday to house in the freezer.
Hopefully it’s a freezer meal and you do a swap. So you cook once. You cook a giant big thing of food for yourself and for other family members, and then you go to this local meet, you drop off. Their food and then you pick up yours, so you end up walking away. If there’s, three family members you walk away with three full meals, freezer meals that you can use during that week.
It’s absolutely amazing and it doesn’t really cost you extra. It doesn’t, o oftentimes when we were doing it locally it actually costs significantly less. You can have rules and things like that. Maybe it’s a local organic, food swap or it’s an allergy friendly food swap. So get creative in how you do it.
You can lay down some foundations, you can lay down some rules like we only use organic meat, or whatever the case may be. Or such and such person has these food allergies. So our meals need to be following these strict guidelines. You can do that. It’s amazing and I highly recommend.
So often I see this being a huge challenge for moms. We don’t necessarily wanna be in the kitchen all day, but if you can go in on Sunday, you and your partner, and spend a couple hours making a giant batch of soup or a really amazing freezer meal and batch it, And call it good for the rest of the week, and you get tons more and you get to try other foods that you wouldn’t eat normally.
It’s just, it’s an amazing experience. So highly recommend getting creative with food swaps. Another idea, and I don’t think we do this enough, is cleaning swaps. Just go to your friend’s house and clean I’m serious. And then later on in the week, go you, we go to your house and do the same thing.
I had a wonderful friend of mine who recently introduced me to this and she was sharing with me how her craft room was just absolutely like to the brim stuffed. She was overwhelmed with all the things. And she didn’t know where to start and she had been sitting on it for months not cleaning out this room, and one of her friends was with her and was like, oh my gosh, I have a room in my house that is exactly the same.
And so she’s okay, why don’t we help each other? Genius light bulb moment here where we do a swap. Maybe on a weekend I’ll come over to your house. And I’ll help you clean out your room. We’ll organize it. We’ll order pizza or takeout or, have a healthy meal and we’ll listen to music and we’ll just have a really good time together.
Doing this room space. Maybe you bring your kids, you plop down kids and, in a playroom or in a play space, and you just have fun together. Doing something that benefits this person, and then the following week you do it again. But for your house and you do what you need to do. And this is just like a genius thing, right?
And we can do the same thing with grocery shopping, right? Call up your friend, schedule a date, go to Starbucks, and then meet at your local grocery store. Get your shopping done together. You have a buddy, you have somebody to help watch your kids. You’re looking out for each other.
It’s good time. Okay, so you get that, you get your cup filled, and you also get your needs met beyond just your emotional needs, right? Beyond filling your cup, you get something done, you feel accomplished, you got something clean, you got a meal cooked, you got your grocery shopping done, right?
Like all of those components come together and it’s a beautiful space. And really this is how we used to do it way back when. When we were in the community spaces, when we were not in this industrialized world where we live as individual families and these little homes. Instead, we are working together.
And that’s what we did, hundreds of years ago. We cleaned it together, we cooked together, we foraged together. And that is where our relationships were. We didn’t have to make separate relationship appointments. We didn’t have to make coffee dates, we didn’t have to have, accountability buddies when we’re working out.
We didn’t need any of that because we got it in our every day live. So try to fill that in and just relish in it for one and two, where can you create that in your own life? And I’m gonna tell you, if you’re in a position to hire help, if you’re in a position to hire someone to help clean your house, or to take care of your pets or to create your meals, please do it.
No one ever regrets getting help in the postpartum years, but people always regret not asking for enough help. So here’s a quick recap for you. One, community support is a necessity and a non-negotiable. Two, asking for support is an act that breaks generational trauma. Three, not all support is created equal.
So find a place that feels safe and supportive. Four, start online with the goal of in-person and five, get creative to get your needs met. Now, let’s remember that creating community when you don’t have one readily available is an empowering and a transformative journey. You are not alone in your desire for support and connection during this postpartum years, right?
You don’t even have to be one week or two weeks postpartum, or six weeks, or whatever the case may be. You can be 3, 4, 5. 10 years postpartum and still need that connection with other moms. Reach out. Connect with other like-minded people. Share your experiences and get the support that is essential for your wellbeing.
And remember, you are stronger when you are supported. And together we can navigate this beautiful journey of motherhood with flexibility. With gentleness, with flow and connection.
I am so grateful you turned into the Postpartum University podcast. We’ve hoped you enjoyed this episode enough to leave us a quick review. And more importantly, I hope more than ever that you take what you’ve learned here, applied it to your own life, and consider joining us in a postpartum university membership.
It’s a private space where mothers and providers learn the real truth and the real tools needed to heal in the years postpartum. You can learn more at www dot postpartum u. That’s the letter u.com. We’ll see you next week.
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