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Becoming a new mom is such a great privilege and joy, but it is also challenging, demanding and frequently isolating. Often, in this modern, urban world, family is far away or busy, so the opportunity to be with other women who are going through the very same adjustments and changes is so helpful in breaking out of that isolation and increasing the joy in and understanding of your growing relationship with your baby. Because we are all so vulnerable and open as new moms, there is a real chance to make deep and lasting connections with other families at the same stage in life.
Weekly facilitated group meetings are conversation based and held in a comfortable, mom and baby friendly atmosphere. In the midst of feeding, changing and calming your little ones, there is time for exploring more! We will discuss practical issues like sleep, diapering, digestive discomfort, nursing, etc. as well as deeper issues like sharing parenting responsibilities, intimacy, and maintaining personal and couple identity. Of course we will share our birth or adoption stories. Information regarding local resources that can enhance your experience, such as classes with babies, childcare options, and postpartum exercise opportunities will be provided. There is an online aspect for each group for easier communication between sessions for planning outings, and for sharing photos and resources.
In addition, moms and babies get together once a week for another unfacilitated outing or activity. These outings help you to gain confidence in getting out and about with your little one, as well as getting to know the other moms better in an informal social context. This combination of experiences fosters a greater connection so that groups will be better bonded and continue to meet after the initial six week sessions. Many of these groups stay together for years, and planning for future meetings is a part of the structure of the groups. Even if you are not normally a group kind of person, walking into a room with other women who feel like you do - is amazing! I will never forget the relief I felt in being with a group of women where I could safely discuss both the pros and cons of being a new mom without judgement! Being in a group was the best thing I did for myself as a new mom and I hope to provide that opportunity for you too!
First Time Moms Support Groups are divided geographically so that you are meeting families that live near your own. There are Oakland and Berkeley area groups. You attend these groups with your babies.
Second Time Moms Groups are for all East Bay moms. You attend these groups with your new little one. This group has a particular focus on sibling and family adjustment as well as general parenting concerns.
Working Moms Groups are for all East Bay moms. These groups meet six times over a three month period. We meet on alternate Sunday mornings so as to preserve as much precious weekend family time as possible. You attend this group with your little one if they are still content to hang out with mom, or if your baby has become more active, you may attend without them so you can fully participate.
Groups are facilitated by Jennifer Subasic-Marks. I have been working with expectant and new families for over twenty five years. I am a certified childbirth and lactation educator, and doula. I teach prenatal classes at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley and I facilitate support groups at Alta Bates and through Support Groups For Mothers. I am also a mom with three amazing and challenging children!!
Groups meet in the offices of East Bay Lactation Associates and Loving Arms Childbirth Services, in the Atrium Plaza Building (828 San Pablo Ave, Suite #110 Albany, CA 94706). Parking is easy in the neighborhood or in the lot next door (where Beverages & More is located - please park on the side of the lot that is furthest from BevMo). This is very near the Albany freeway exit from Hwy 80. Groups are timed so that traffic should not be an impediment coming to or from group.
Support Group For Mothers was founded more than thirty years ago by Sherry Reinhardt in response to her own experiences as a new mom. She started this incredible resource for moms, offering parenting advice and resources, community building and opportunities for ongoing connection and support. I am very proud to continue in this work following her very untimely death. The group I did with her was the best thing that I did for myself as a new mom; it made it clear to me that this was something I wanted to offer to women as well!
Please feel free to be in touch with any questions or concerns about the Support Groups or anything else I may be able to help with.
Hope to see you or hear from you soon!
- Jennifer Subasic-Marks, CBE, CLE, Doula, Mom & Director/Owner of Support Group For Mothers