Finding support with other new mums

  • Being a new mum can be challenging and, at times, isolating. Being part of a mother’s group with other new mums can allow you to [1-3] :
  • talk with other new mums
  • share your experience of being a new mum
  • learn about normal behaviours of babies
  • gain emotional support and reassurance
  • reduce social isolation by creating friendships
  • build your confidence as a mother
  • allow you to gain and share tips about looking after a new baby

 

Women with a strong support system are less likely to experience depression after birth [4]. A support system could include family, friends and/or partners [4]. Regardless of the level of support received, women may find it helpful to meet and share expereinces with other new mothers.

Mothers’ groups are not for everyone. Some women prefer to seek support from their family, friends or partner. You might like try out a mothers’ group to see whether it suits you. If you find you don’t ‘click’ or ‘connect’ with the first group you try, you can always try a different one.
Some women feel worried about joining a mother’s group because they fear being judged [5]. You may need to ‘shop around’ to find a mother’s group that suits you.
Some women feel that joining a mother’s group is a sign that you’re not coping. If you feel like you’re not coping, seeking support from other new mums can be a great way to adjust to having a new baby. There are many other reasons why women join mother’s groups, for example:

  • making new friends
  • having adult conversations
  • an opportunity to get out of the house
  • providing structure to the week [3]

 

Some women find it helpful to be part of a group of mothers with babies of a similar age. This is because the women in the group are likely to be having similar experiences with their baby. They can therefore gain support and share tips relevant to their baby’s development.
It can also be helpful to join a group soon after your baby’s birth. This is because adjusting to being new mother can be particularly challenging in the first 6 weeks [6-7]. Therefore having support and normalising your experiences early in your baby’s life may help the process of adjustment.

How can I find a mothers’ group near me?

  • Call your local community child health service to ask whether they know or run mothers’ groups near you. To find your local community child health clinic near you, see the below tip box
  • Ask your local community group, day care, church, playgroup or kindergarten if they run or know of mothers’ groups
  • Try entering ‘mums group’ or ‘mothers group’ into Google along with your suburb/town name
  • Ask your friends whether they attend or know of mothers’ groups near you
  • Use Playgroup (www.playgroupaustralia.com.au) to locate your nearest playgroup. This site also provides tips for setting up your own mothers’ group
  • See if your local council run or know of mothers’ groups
  • Search forums such as:
  •      www.meetup.com
  •      http://forum.motherandbaby.ninemsn.com.au/yaf_forum59_Get-to-know-parents-near-you.aspx
  •      http://mothers-group.meetup.com/cities/au/
  •      www.babycenter.com.au
  •      Maternity Coalition (www.maternitycoalition.org.au)
  •      Australian Breastfeeding Association (www.breastfeeding.asn.au)
  • Use Facebook to find groups near you You could also set up your own mothers’ group through websites, such as those listed above, or advertise at local community centres and/or online forums. Alternatively, you could organise to meet regularly with friends who have babies.

 

QLD – You can find your local community child health clinic at www.healthier.qld.gov.au/health-services/health-centres and entering your postcode in the search box on the left hand side or by selecting your location e.g. Brisbane Metro North, Cape York, Townsville, etc. Look out for ‘community health’ or ‘community and child health’ or ‘community and allied health’ centres or services near you. Click on the link and call the number provided. If your search does not include community or child health, try searching other towns near you.

VIC – visit www.education.vic.gov.au/findaservice/Home.aspx and tick only ‘Maternal and Child Health Centres,’ enter your postcode or suburb/town and click ‘search.’ If your search returns zero results, try searching other suburbs/towns near you.

ACT – call Community Health Intake on (02) 6207 9977 between 8am and 5pm weekdays. You can also visit http://health.act.gov.au/health-services/community-based-health-services/community-health-services-directory/women-youth-children-health-services-in-the-community/maternal-and-child-health-nursing-service for information about the new parent groups run by the Maternal and Child Health Nursing Service in the ACT.

WA – visit www.health.wa.gov.au/services/category.cfm?Topic_ID=18 for a list of child health clinics in WA.

NT – call (08) 9855 6106 (in Darwin) or (08) 8922 7712 (outside Darwin) between 8 am-4.30 pm weekdays.

SA – visit www.cyh.com/Locations/LocationSearch.aspx?p=103 enter your postcode or suburb and click ‘search.’ If your search returns zero results, try searching other suburbs/towns near you.

NSW – visit http://www.families.nsw.gov.au/support/child-health-services.htm and click on the link ‘Find an Early Childhood Centre near you’ to find Community Health centres in your area. You could also look in your local telephone directory under Early Childhood Health Centres or Community Health centres.

 

Where does this information come from?

1. Larisa, B., & Megan, P. (2009). Mothers’ perceived health and wellbeing benefits of belonging to pre/postnatal support groups. In: 2009 General Practice and Primary Health Care Research Conference: Program & Abstracts. Primary Health Care Research and Information Service, Australia.
2. Barlow, C. A., & Cairns, K. V. (1997). Mothering as a Psychological Experience:
A Grounded Theory Exploration. Canadian Journal of Counselling, 31(3), 232-247.
3. Guest, E. M., & Keatinge, D. R. (2009). The Value of New Parent Groups in Child and Family Health Nursing, Journal of Perinatal Education, 18(3), 12-22.
4. Webster, J., Nicholas, C., Velacott, C., Cridland, N., & Fawcett, L. (2011). Quality of life and depression following childbirth: impact of social support. Midwifery, 27(5), 745-749.
5. Westall, C., & Liamputtong, P. (2011). Motherhood and Postnatal Depression: Narratives of Women and Their Partners. Springer: New York.
6. Pairman, S., Tracy, S., Thorogood, C., & Pincombe, J. (2010). Midwifery: Preparation for Practice (2nd ed.). Chatswood: Elsevier Australia.
7. Copeland, D., & Harbaugh, B. L. (2005). Differences in Parenting Stress between Married and Single First Time Mothers at Six to Eight Weeks After Birth. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 28(3), 139-152.

 

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