Over the coming weeks, CharlotteFive writer Liz Eagle will be sharing her thoughts on being pregnant in Charlotte, from where to eat, places to go out and finding a group of mom friends. Have questions or column ideas? Email Liz at email@example.com.
If there’s one thing I know how to do it’s get pregnant. I’m now going through it for the third time and, while I’d like to say it gets easier each time, it doesn’t.
And even though pregnancy is becoming my sadistic hobby, I still have a ton of questions, like: Where should I eat today? What doctor should I go to that won’t give me a physical examination and ask a ton of embarrassing questions with no resolution? How much do babies cost, again? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
One question a lot of us moms and moms-to-be have is where to find a solid group of mom friends — a “mom tribe,” if you will. Through my nine years of parenting, I have cycled in and out of various groups of moms, depending primarily on my kids’ ages, schools and interests.
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Lisa Grace Brown, author of “Replenish,” suggests moms seek and find the right, authentic connection, not settle on a so-so fit simply for the sake of no longer being alone. (Sounds a lot like mom’s dating advice, huh?) Finding a group of mom friends will be a lot of trial and error and will take more than just setting up camp at your local Chick-fil-A, but it will be totally worth it.
With Charlotte’s continued growth comes tons of new moms and, if our Facebook feeds are correct, basically all of our friends are getting pregnant now, so finding a mom group shouldn’t be too hard. Here is how to get the ball rolling in the QC:
Sure, we should probably cut back on the amount of time we spend on social media, but there are some perks. Groups like Charlotte Moms can really help in connecting with other moms on a wide range of topics. Then there are more specific groups that cater to specific aspects of pregnancy and motherhood, like Greater Charlotte Natural Birth and Parenting, Crunchy Moms of Charlotte or Empowered Parenting. Folks in these groups coordinate play dates and facilitate tons of helpful forums to answer any questions or just lend some much needed support.
If you haven’t been to this website or, like me, you’ve kind of forgotten about it, log back in and search “Parents and Family.” The great thing about this site is the calendar, which makes it incredibly easy to see where moms with similar interests will be getting together. There are groups like South Charlotte Playgroup, and Young or Expecting Moms. There are also stay-at-home-moms groups and single parents groups.
Out in the world
Though online forums are incredibly helpful and a great place to start — especially when that 3rd trimester insomnia hits — there is no substitute for the real world. A great place to start is your local YMCA. There are tons of moms who drop off their babes and are likely looking for a place to connect and get an hour or so of kid-free time. After having my second child, I made lots of mom friends in the sauna of the Johnston YMCA in NoDa and we are still connected to this day.
(2) Your home
This one takes more courage. If you’ve heard your friend’s sister or your neighbor up the street is newly pregnant, invite them over. Grab a box of tea and some cookies and invite people over for a “mom mixer.” Sure, it sounds cheesy and like something your mom may have done in the 70s or 80s, but the tried-and-true method of being hospitable can be so beneficial. Start a book club. (I suggest Anne Lamott’s “Operating Instructions” for an honest and insightful look at that first year of parenthood.) You can set up your own play dates or dinner clubs and see which new friends stick around.
(3) Childbirth classes
Doctors’ offices, birthing centers and yoga studios offer tons of classes for parents-to-be. Lots of times, this is a great place to connect with other moms and their partners who are in just about the same stage you’re in. Natural Beginnings Birthing Center in Statesville, and Baby + Co and The Milky Way in Charlotte offer a great opportunity to learn and connect with other moms.
When seeking out your tribe, don’t be shy and don’t be discouraged when every friendship doesn’t stick. There are tons of moms like you in Charlotte, seeking to find people to connect with and to share the joys and hilarity of pregnancy. It’ll take time, but they’re out there somewhere.