Sanity found in Mommy groups

In a few years time I have gone from a sassy singleton, to a feisty fun adventurous married couple, to a mommy…aka a no-shower having…hair-in-a-bun, yoga-pants-&-nursing-tank, spit-up-&- breast-milk wearing…Yo-Gabba-Gabba singing…not-so-fabulous feeling mommy!  To top it off, its wintertime in the Northeast.  It’s cloudy, cold, grey…Ick!  You might think I’d fall deep into the dumps from such a big shift in lifestyle combined with the depressing weather combined with the isolation it brings.  Additionally, I am somewhat new to the area having only a few friends most of which do not have a new baby…I didn’t grow up here, my lifelong friends are scattered across the country…so my isolation has felt a little more intense.

When Isabella was about 6 weeks old, I got an invite to check out a Mommy’s group at Waddle n Swaddle, a local community based store that offers products, resources and classes that support expectant mothers and new moms.  I was skeptical.  I thought to myself, “Really??  A mommy group? Will it be a group of suburbanite women that I have nothing in common with?  Will I fit in?” Despite my trepidation, I knew I should go and give it a try.  At least I was getting out of the house and meeting new people.

To my surprise, I had a wonderful time!  I met moms that were having the same struggles as me – breast feeding issues, “not good enough” issues, sanity issues! Each week we are bouncing things off of each other…discussing vaccinations, breast feeding/bottle feeding, sleep habits, sex…you name it, we go there!  I am not sure that all of us would have enjoyed going to bars together in our 20s and being each other’s wing girls, but now we all have a common bond – we are Moms!

Being a fitness minded gal, I have decided to take these mommy meetings to the next level and offer local exercise classes and stroller classes. Studies show exercise to be an effective way to help clear the baby blues and even help to eliminate postpartum depression.  “Exercise helps treat depression by releasing the body’s mood-elevating compounds, reducing the depression hormone, cortisol, in the blood, providing perspective on life, providing a feeling of accomplishment, enhancing self-esteem, and increasing levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter found to be key in the development of depression).”  Additionally, “Australian researchers found that among new moms who’d been diagnosed with depression, those who completed a  stroller-walking class showed fewer symptoms than those in a mom-baby play group that didn’t involve exercise.  The scientists concluded that gaining fitness through the sociability of stroller walking may be a more effective treatment for depression than joining a sedentary new mother support group.”

So, if you’re feeling a little melancholy , lonely, scared, or frustrated as a new mom, look for a mommy group in your area AND take it to the next level and add a little exercise to the mix!  I promise you’ll find some sanity and perhaps your body fitting into those pre-pregnancy jeans;)

Resources:

http://www.depressioncenter.org/understanding/postpartum.asp

http://www.activemomsclub.com/links/Postpartum%20Depression%20&%20Fitness.pdf

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