Huntsville Memorial Hospital welcomed the first New Mothers Support Group session Tuesday evening, helping new mothers foster a supportive community through which they can navigate the unexpected obstacles of motherhood together.
The New Mothers Support Group will cover postpartum and baby-centric topics that may exceed a new mother’s post-birth expectations.
“Especially with your first one, you feel as prepared as you can be going into it, but afterwards there’s always more,” Huntsville Memorial Hospital director of perinatal services Katy Harig said.
The group expands off of the now discontinued morning Breastfeeding Support Group in an effort to serve more new mothers in the community with its evening hours.
“I just didn’t feel like we were getting enough moms coming to the lactation support group so I figured we’d open it to all mothers,” New Mothers Support Group organizer Kimberly Pincus said. “(New Mothers Support Group) gives moms a place to come, relax and share their experience with other moms.”
Pincus is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and registered nurse with Huntsville Memorial Hospital and oversees the weekly meetings to weigh babies each visit and answer any questions that may arise.
Proper formula feeding, breast feeding, bleeding, sleep, postpartum depression, common postpartum problems and red flags that warrant seeking help are topics that are up for discussion within the group.
“You don’t know until you ask, and unfortunately I feel like in society now, people don’t ask,” Harig said. “They might go to Google and ask Dr. Google and that might not be the answer for you, so you need to go to your physicians, hospital, local support and get the answers that you need.”
The support group provides a safe space for women to inquire about experiences that they might not realize are normal or are not normal for a new mother.
Each meeting’s topics will depend upon the needs of the group that particular day, however Harig and Pincus encourages new mothers in the community who may be shy or on a busy schedule to join the Facebook group for help.
“Hopefully it will feed into the Facebook group so they can continue these conversations between Tuesdays so they can have the support through the week and not just on Tuesday evenings,” Harig said, adding that the page provides direct access to the nurses from Huntsville Memorial Hospital who monitor the group and respond to each individual’s online query.
The group also serves as a way to build community between new mothers who are going through the same learning curve. The women are encouraged to lean on each other and provide support in both challenging and triumphant times.
“Everyone I know either has a toddler or a ten year-old, so ten years ago was way different than how you do babies now,” new mother Natali Maness said.
New mothers Kristenna Shipman, Chantel Finley and Maness note the sense of camaraderie and comfort they feel upon their first meeting, providing someone to vent to, garner support from and seek out advice.
“There’s not anything like this in the community right now … the community in general is lacking in services, so it’s just something we thought our community might be interested in and it’s something they would benefit from … It’s all about growing healthy babies,” Harig said.
The New Mothers Support Group is free for any new mothers, their babies and older children to attend even if they were not born in Walker County. Meetings will be held every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in conference rooms A and B.