Finding friendship and support in a parenting program

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!

Mother and Baby

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!

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.

About Karen Hay, RN

Parenting and supporting families to be as healthy as possible is my passion. I love opportunities to connect with Halton families on social media and look forward to chatting with you online. Halton Region is where my family lives and plays.
This entry was posted in Babies, Mental Health, Parenting, Pregnancy, Preschool, Toddlers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Finding friendship and support in a parenting program

  1. Lisa Denham says:

    I met my best friend at Calling New Parents…i was there with my month old twins boys, she walked in with her month old twin boys. We already knew each other a bit because our elder daughters were born around the same time. Now we are neighbours. We were extremely fortunate to have found each other early on – helped us tremendously knowing someone else was living the exact same life!

  2. Karen Hay says:

    Thank you Lisa for sharing your story of finding friendship at a parenting program. How amazing to meet a mom of twins at the same age so early! I’m sure you two busy moms have lots to talk about as you raise your families! There is nothing like having a friend who is at your same age and stage. Thanks again for commenting!

  3. Kelly says:

    This could have been written about me… In a new town, where all of my friends were co-workers, I found that my first baby brought with her weeks of unexpected loneliness until I met my first mommy friend at Calling New Parents. Together we joined momstown.ca in Burlington and a 6-mom registered weekly playgroup that we were part of became my new ‘village.’ 9 years (and MANY siblings) later, our playgroup still gets together weekly, and these are the moms I list as my children’s emergency contacts at school, call upon for pickups when I have to work late, or a coffee when it’s just been one of those days… Mommy friends are so important, but even more so when you don’t have family nearby!

  4. Karen Hay says:

    What a wonderful story Kelly! I’m so glad the blog resonated with you. I so get how not having family nearby is an extra challenge, but good mommy friends make all the difference. I’m so happy you found that at Calling New Parents and Momstown! Thanks for taking the time to share your story about how you found friendship at a parenting group!

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  6. Nicole says:

    I met a group of ladies 3 years ago at Calling New Parents and it was amazing for me. I relate to your story Karen as my family isn’t close (England) and I had just moved to Georgetown when we got pregnant. The nine of us have now had our second children and still get together. I’m forever thankful for the Ontario Early Years Centre for bringing us together.

    • Karen Hay says:

      Thanks Nicole for sharing your story. That is just wonderful. Calling New Parents and OEYC’s brought new moms together all across Halton! I’m so happy you still get together years later. There is just no substitute for a network of mom friends.

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