How to find your people.
by Kindra Fehr When I found myself pregnant the first time around, I remember feeling somewhat alone in my journey. My friends had already raised their kids or had yet to start their families. I deeply wanted to bond with other women who were going through the same experience. I somehow sensed that just because you had done it before didn’t necessarily mean that it was the same as being "in" it.
As I embark on this journey again, I realize that my inclination was right. Nature plays a funny memory loss trick on you after having a child. It causes you to forget much of what pregnancy was like, probably so that you’d actually want to do it again. My solution to finding other women at that time was to attend a prenatal yoga class; at the end of every class, I begged all the students to join me for lunch across the street. It worked, and I was able to share my experience and gain from theirs throughout the gestation. In some cases, we have remained friends beyond pregnancy and into parenthood.
On this second go-round, I actually have friends who are also in the same condition. For some of us, it’s the second and for others, the first. I can’t begin to express how important it is to have this community of women come together to commiserate, compare, share in the joy of the first ultrasound picture, and find relief in realizing, "Oh good, that’s normal."
Oddly enough, many things have changed in the four short years since I had my first, and coming together as a group gives all of us a chance to brainstorm everything from birthing philosophies, doulas (birthing assistants), circumcision, and cord blood banking. The first-timers are able to gain some insight from us second-timers and we’re all able to laugh in relief when one of us says, "My husband thinks I’ve gone crazy." For those of us who are now experiencing the truth of "every pregnancy is different," we, too, are on this road for the first time. It’s funny how all the things you decided for the first birth have to be re-decided because it’s now a different time, a different baby, and there is different information available.
We meet weekly, savor delicious food, then sit around rubbing our expanding bellies and constantly shifting about trying to find the most comfortable position. We share books and poetry. We watch YouTube videos of births and discuss solutions and classes we’ve discovered for everything from nausea to how to keep your pants up. We are able to share the nitty-gritty details of pregnancy that the unpregnant don’t really want to hear about. Ultimately, we are not alone and that is empowering and comforting.
The moral of my story is this: Find your community. Wherever you are in your life, someone else is there, too. Be it pregnancy, parenting, creative, or philosophical. Whether it be big or small. Why not share the journey? Camaraderie can be enlightening while lightening the load.
To find pregnancy and parenting communities
• Join prenatal or mommy/child classes and beg for friends! Strike up conversations with other mommies at all those OB/GYN appointments you have to go to.
• www.momease.info -a local mom’s group which is "dedicated to making community change towards a healthier lifestyle, as well as a kinder environment. Through education, healing arts, sustainable living and funding, we hope to insure that future generations will have a better quality of life than we currently could ever imagine."
• Online communities are growing and offer friendship any time of day or night. A couple suggestions are:
• www.cafemom.com: "CafeMom is an online community where thousands of moms come together every day to chat, share photos, and make friends."
• www.babycenter.com & www.parentcenter.babycenter.com: sends weekly updates on your pregnancy or child’s age level. Provides chat rooms and boundless information on all aspects of parenting.
Kindra Fehr is an artist and mom to three-year-old Aria Hancock. She co-instructs the Salt Lake Art Center’s KidsmART program.