Support group helps new mothers in Heidelberg cope with stress while far away from family, friends
November 25, 2008
HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Many military moms find themselves far from friends and family when they have their first baby.
Mom2Mom, a Heidelberg support group for first-time mothers, seeks to help alleviate some of the stress of not having a personal assistance task force nearby.
Mom2Mom offers the advice, moral support and guidance new moms crave - and they get it straight from other moms who have had the same experiences. The group currently has about 20 members and meets twice monthly.
"It's so good to have moms for moms to talk to," said Amy Christianson, a member of the group. "Just about breastfeeding, sleeping or anything first-time moms need other moms to talk about."
While it's primarily for first-time moms, pregnant women also are welcome. Once a month, a guest speaker is brought in to highlight other resources in the community such as the Red Cross or the Community Health Nurse.
"The Mom2Mom program is beneficial to new moms since they might not have support from their family members or other experienced moms, such as friends, that they might turn to if they were in the States," said Capt. Julie Thompson, a Heidelberg Health Center nurse. If you want to attend and are running late, no worries - the group is low pressure and doesn't mind if you show up on time or 30 minutes late.
The members are 100 percent volunteer, and everyone is available to answer each other's questions. Also, moms are welcome to bring their children along to alleviate the problem of finding child care.
"It's a network of moms that's a good resource for our ladies here since they have the potential to feel more isolated," Thompson said. "Especially if they face deployment or if they're pretty new to Germany."
"Over here, your friends are your family," said Hope Karlsen, one of the group's founders. "You don't have the support you would normally have."
Mom2Mom hosts outings once a month for moms with older kids. They might go to the park, the zoo or host a Halloween party.
"Most of us had our children here or right before we came here so we don't have our families here," said Jane Gargett, one of the group's leaders. "This is an opportunity to talk to people in the same boat."
For more information on the group, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.