Not long after Jessica Hull’s first baby was born on March 7, 2012, her pediatrician suggested she should attend the New Moms Support Group at St. Luke’s Meridian. The eight-week program offers advice, support and education, but for Hull it was also a window into a whole new network that continues to this day.
Hull befriended some of the other new moms she met at that group, and the women formed a lasting bond that has helped see them through various phases of life and motherhood. All of the women – six in total – had babies at St. Luke’s between March and May in 2012. Because most lived in the Meridian area, all decided to attend the St. Luke’s Meridian New Moms Group (there is also a New Moms Group at St. Luke’s Boise).
During those first few weeks, they exchanged words of encouragement and advice when they faced challenges involving crying babies, sleepless nights or other hurdles. They created their own Facebook page in order to exchange ideas, post questions and share updates.
“If I wasn’t getting sleep, if my baby was crying all night, I knew there were other moms who went through the same thing,” Hull said.
The support network continued when they returned to work, as their babies learned to walk and potty train, and reach other milestones. Along the way, they have supported one another through other life events such as second pregnancies (most have two children now) and moves to other communities.
“This group saved my sanity,” Julie Rau said. “Once mine wouldn’t take the bottle from anyone. They all came over to help me.”
While the friendships are powerful, the group that brought them together was something the women valued as new mothers. Different experts are on hand each week to make presentations. Babies are weighed weekly to allow moms to track their babies’ growth. A nurse facilitates the group and is available to answer any questions.
“Talk about easing the mind of a new mom,” said Jillian Fra.
Hull knows it can be hard to join a new group, but she encourages all new mothers to attend the New Moms Support Group in order to get through those initial weeks with a network of experts and to meet some other women who are going through the same experience.
Another benefit: Hull believes the support group helped her manage the strong emotions that are often part of infant care. Each week attendees took turns discussing their feelings. Listening to others share their frustrations, fears, victories, and more, helped her learn how to manage her own emotions as a new mother.
“As a new mom, you could really feel like you are alone, and the New Moms Group helped us avoid those feelings,” Hull said.
Chereen Langrill is a former communications coordinator for St. Luke’s Health System