In 2009, I gave birth to a handsome, healthy baby boy. I remember how badly I wanted to have a baby. After all, I had spent a few years working at Isis Parenting and I was surrounded by so many experts who passed on endless information, not to mention constantly being around tons of cute babies! I was totally ready! Or, so I thought… I knew how popular our Great Beginnings classes were, but I didn’t really know why. I would soon find out.
Bringing a baby home from the hospital was not at all what I expected. I had held, rocked and soothed dozens of babies during my time working at Isis, so I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard for me to soothe my own baby. After a few long winter weeks at home, I was excited to get out of the house and to my first Great Beginnings class. Until I got in the car! That had to have been the most stressful 20 minute ride of my life. I think it may have been the first time I was driving my newborn alone.
Walking into Isis was a soothing relief for me of familiar faces and warm welcomes. I was lucky to have already had a connection. What I didn’t realize was that I was about to make 9 new connections and gain 9 lifelong friends that day.
The first class was an emotional one, and it didn’t take long to realize how 10 strangers could have so much in common. We were all experiencing the joys, frustrations, and confusions that come with being a first time parent all at the same time. It was completely different that your mom telling you it will all be worth it, or a friend with 3 kids trying to prepare you for the challenges ahead.
Over the next several weeks, the class became a safe place to unload all of the pent up emotions and questions I had. Our instructor guided us through our concerns and fears in an extremely compassionate and empathetic way. We discussed topics like feelings toward our changing body, feeling lonely, making a decision to return to work, childcare, breastfeeding, and soothing a crying baby. I quickly learned that most of the things I was worried about were the same worries the other moms in my class had. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. After so many people always asking me how the baby was doing, it was so nice to have someone ask how I was doing.
I now recommend all new moms take a Great Beginnings class. There are a lot of new moms groups out there, whether it is through your town, a meet up group or friends. I encourage those as well, as they are a great way to meet other families and schedule outings and activities for you and your child. But they are different from Great Beginnings. Great Beginnings is led by an instructor who has extensive experience with new mothers and the emotional impacts like Post Partum Depression or difficulty breastfeeding that so many new moms may face. The class is filled with practical and proven tips to help guide you through the different stages. And there is opportunity to open up on a very deep and personal level that you may not feel comfortable doing in a larger group. It’s an opportunity to take a little time to focus on you and not feel guilty about it. The class sizes are limited to maintain intimacy in this very safe and comfortable space.
My Great Beginnings group still gets together regularly 4 years later. We do everything from joint birthday parties, holiday parties, play dates and Moms’ Nights Out. It’s an effortless friendship. There is no expectation. We all understand we have busy, hectic lives and might not make every outing or call to check in. When we do get together, it is fun and easy. Kind of like that best friend from high school that you only see a few times a year, but when you do, you pick up right where you left off.
Stay tuned to see what the other moms from my Great Beginnings Group have to say about their experience in our next post of this two-part series.