When Vincent was about a month old, I signed up for a New Mama Class and Amma Parenting Center where we had taken some prenatal classes. Brian and I thought it would be a great thing for me to do and a good reason for Vincent and I to get out of the house at least one day a week. Because, let’s be honest, it is very easy, and comfortable, to not get dressed or leave the house with a newborn. It can be scary and overwhelming. But, mamas, it is so necessary for our sanity and our wellbeing.
I signed up for the New Mama class, a class specifically for new and first-time moms. It is a baby-friendly environment where we talk about all topic’s new moms: feeding, sleep, soothing, vaccinations, pediatric visits, postpartum adjustments, emotions, returning to work, and so much more! It is honestly the most welcoming place a new mom could be in.
I walked into our first class a little nervous and overwhelmed. Vincent was about 6 weeks old and it was really my first major outing just the two of us by ourselves. Plus, he was nursing ALL the time and both him and I were still finding our rhythm in our breastfeeding journey. So, my major concern was what would happen if I needed to feed him? It was also one of the first times I would be breastfeeding in public.
I was met with the most caring, warmhearted, kind teacher and 7 kind, funny, and down-to-earth new mamas, who were all experiencing the same things. AND all my fears about breastfeeding melted away as all our little babes would scream and one by one our boobs would come out and we would just feed. Nobody cared. Breastfeeding is hard enough without the added pressure of trying to cover up, conceal, or stress about what others think.
A sense of relief rushed over me. We met once a week in class for two hours and once a week outside of class. As the weeks went on our mama confidence grew leaps and bounds and by the end of the 6 weeks we were all so different than when we started. I continue to text with these mamas on a daily basis; we share our triumphs and failures and we celebrate each other’s successes. We confide in one another. We complain to one another and there is NO JUDGEMENT. We were in the trenches of new motherhood together and we have stuck it out together. We try to see each other as often as possible. Now that all my mamas have started work again it is usually once a month.
Vincent and I continued onto the Beyond Newborn class – each class begins with circle time filled with songs and developmental play. We are shown play ideas and toys to help foster our baby’s development. It is so fun to see how the babies grow and change over the course of this 8-week class. Vincent was just 4 months when we started the class and wasn’t really rolling around yet. We graduate our class on Tuesday and in our last class Vincent was rolling and pulling himself all over the room and playing with the other babies in the class.
I cannot say enough about Amma Parenting Center. It really helped me find my confidence as a mama. It helped me feel like I wasn’t alone in my journey, answer questions that came up on a daily basis, and helped me realize that everything I was feeling and going through was NORMAL.
The one recommendation I have for all the mamas out there – find yourself a village. Surround yourself with family and friends. Sign up for a new mama class. Talk to people. It is so easy to get stuck being at home. It is so easy to not shower and stay in your pajamas because you’re scared to take your baby out of the house. I know, I was there. But each time you do it, each time you go out, every time you share your truth with friends or family, you grow your mama and things get a little easier.
It takes a village to raise a child! Find a village. Encourage one another. Open your village to others!