When I became a mother for the first time, my extended family lived far away. Their love and support was just a phone call away, but not around the corner. To make things worse, my husband and I had recently moved to a new community and didn’t know a single person. He started a new job and I was home alone all day with my baby girl. The days started getting long and lonely. There was no one to vent to about my sleepless nights or to share a cup of tea.
I signed up for “Books for Babies” at my local library and soon everything changed. In the first class, I started chatting with a new mom who actually lived on my street and also had a baby girl. It was an immense relief to talk to someone who had a baby similar in age to mine. My eyes lit up when my new friend talked about her baby cluster breastfeeding in the evening and waking up frequently in the night. We were both zombie moms! Finally, I wasn’t alone!
Our conversations continued at our library program and before long we were arranging “playdates”, which were really an excuse for us to get together to talk to someone with more than a two word vocabulary! My new friend introduced me to other moms in our neighbourhood and soon my little family had a network of support. Trust me—you need this on your parenting journey.
We continued to attend parenting programs together as our babies grew. We talked to other parents and professionals, got their ideas and swapped stories. I don’t know about you, but my kids didn’t come with manuals and I had a lot to learn.
It was 19 years ago that a simple hello at a library program turned into a beautiful friendship and circle of support. I can’t imagine getting through those early years without that support. We laughed, we cried, we walked, we played, we swapped childcare and shared recipes. Our kids were best friends and we made a lot of family memories. Although our paths now have us living in different cities, I am forever grateful for that library program.
Nowadays, there are so many options for parents to connect. An amazing number of options exist in our Halton community. Start your search for programs on Halton iParent or HaltonParents. Check out your local Ontario Early Years Centre, library or YMCA. There are also many community organizations like the OakPark Neighbourhood Centre that offer programs and support for parents. There are also many specialized support groups like Adjustment to Parenthood available throughout Halton. Whatever you choose, I urge you to attend parent programs with or without your child. The rewards are many and the benefits will last a lifetime.
Did you find friendship and support at a parenting program? Share your story with us. We’d love to hear from you!
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.