This week, our babysitter had her first baby. My sons were over the moon about it, having witnessed Chelsy’s belly grow as she watched them while I went to parent-teacher conferences and, well, more parent-teacher conferences. I have a video of my youngest crying because he wanted a baby, He was/is sad that I won’t be having another one, ever.
Since I can almost taste the freedom of having two kids in full- day school, I am especially closed off to the mere thought of having another baby. That was until I registered my youngest son for Kindergarten the same day I met little Eleanor, who was born in the same room as my oldest son. She was delicate, quiet, alert and practically perfect in every way AND I knew what to do. I wasn’t nervous, scared or self-conscious about holding her or talking to her while she cried. It was then I realized a few things: 1. I want to hold a little baby all day. 2. Having a baby is so scary 3. You should never register your last baby for kindergarten on the same day as holding an adorable baby. Back around to 4. I do NOT want another baby.
When I had my first son over eight years ago, I expected it to be like it was in the movies — both the good and the bad. What I didn’t expect was the nagging self-doubt, that whole nursing thing, and just how alone and scared I could feel even when surrounded by family from out of town. Every time someone important to me has a baby, I seem to re-live a little bit of it. When my friend Megan had her daughter, Zia, I wrote about all of my hopes for new moms and it was very sort of healing, it’s a strong word, but the only one that seems to fit. Now this time, I thought I would pay all of my family and friend help forward and share what helped me and all of the options new moms have in Edmonds to get support.
My cocktail of help came in many forms beyond family and changed with our needs. I had conversations with people in my life, all out of state, who had babies before I had my oldest. I relied on an online mommy message board for a now-defunct magazine and after 8.5 years we are still in touch. Eventually, I hit the park circuit pretty hard and started asking moms for numbers, which led to a co-op preschool, which made way for camp, a PEPS group, library story time, drop-off preschool, kindergarten and then it all was kind of like an avalanche that made the whole “it takes a village” thing come true. These methods, especially those online, are not without their pitfalls, but it all seems to be part of the process.
Your options here are amazing, the first of which I found on what should be the first destination on any new mom’s journey and that is to join the Edmonds Moms group on Facebook. There is a drop-in support group called “Adjusting to Parenthood: A Postpartum Emotional Support Group” supported by PEPS and Postpartum Support International of Washington, held at Edmonds Family Medicine, 7315 212th St. S.W. in the downstairs conference room. I spoke with the group’s creator Terri Buysse and she explained, “this group is unique in it’s focus on the emotional lives of new mothers and speaking the truth about motherhood.” This group is free to those in PEPS groups or on a PEPS waiting list and Buysse says there is a suggested donation, but she stressed that no one is turned away. Starting next month, the group will change its current meeting schedule of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Wednesday’s from 1-2:30 p.m. to Tuesdays. For more information you can find their Facebook page HERE.
At Swedish Medical Center- Edmonds, 21601 76th Ave W, there is a New Moms and Babies support group. Per their post on meetup.com, the group is led by a Labor and Delivery RN at Swedish Edmonds and is designed so that new Moms can “meet other moms and their babies, share ideas with other new parents in friendly environment, find out about the many resources in the community that are available to you and your family, [and] receive information on a wide variety of topics that are important to you and your baby,” The group meets every Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Swedish/Edmonds in Auditorium B. The support group, whose Facebook page you can find HERE, is free and registration is not required.
The Edmonds Library, 650 Main Street, offers a range of “Ready Reader” story times that are great if you just need to get out of the house. These events are perfect if you are on a tight budget with a mobile kid because there is no pressure to stay if you run into meltdowns, naptime, or discontent of any kind. The Baby Play Storytime is Wednesday at 11 a.m. and is for babies up to 12 months old. The Tickly Toddle Storytime is Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and is for kids 13 to 23 months old. Toddler Storytime is Fridays at both 10 and 11 a.m. and is for kids 18 months to 3 years old. Preschool Storytime is Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. and is for kids ages 3 to 5. You can find the library’s schedule with these story times and other fun events HERE.
Co-op preschool was one of the first places I really started making Mom friends, it was nice to watch other people parent and have a chance to share my concerns and well really, complaints. There are multiple co-op options in Edmonds. West Edmonds Co-op, held at the former Woodway Elementary, is about to start “a NEW 10-week preschool class for 3 & 4 yr olds.” Co-op involves parent participation and it’s a great way to tip toe into drop off preschool if that is what you or your child need, it is also a less expensive way to do preschool. For more information including tuition and class times visit westedmondscoop.org.
Edmonds has a ton of great parks, you can find the list HERE. There is likely a Mom there wanting a little adult interaction while their kids hopefully get tired enough for a nap.
I also tried a Stroller Strides workout class, unfortunately, it didn’t mesh with my work schedule, but the the time that I did it, it was a great way to get out of the house and I didn’t find it to be a high-pressure environment. There are options outside at Centennial Plaza Edmonds Historical Museum, 118 5th Ave. N., starting in May. Check the website HERE for class times and updates.
PEPS, Program For Early Parent Support, can be a really safe place to land for anyone from a brand new mom, dad, grandparent to parents of toddlers or new siblings. You can find the right a PEPS group for you on PEPS.org.
If you are a new mom, I hope this helps you find a place where you feel heard and welcome and that you know that you are not alone, ever.
– By Jen Marx
Jen Marx, an Edmonds Mom of two young boys, is a traffic reporter by dawn and writer and PBJ maker by day. She is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can contact Jen with your local event at [email protected] or find her trying to make sense of begging kids to ” just eat the mac n cheese” at SnackMomSyndrome.com. If you have a kid-friendly event you’d like to share, email her at [email protected].