When I was pregnant, one of the most fond memories I have is the community of other pregnant women, many of them first timers like I was, that connected and gathered weekly for our prenatal yoga class at Golden Bridge Yoga in Hollywood. We formed a community and it supported our transition into the creation of a family. Even if our newest member was still in our womb space!
I was lucky to also be on faculty at Golden Bridge, so I had Gurmukh and the entire beautiful staff constantly uplifting me. My soon to be business partner and BFF for Life, Anna Getty, was part of the faculty tribe there as well. It was so uplifting to teach and lead a pregnancy yoga class while preggo! Even teaching a regular yoga class, I would walk in, and actually waddle towards the end – I gained close to 60 lbs! And I would feel the room smile and behold the majesty of the life growing in my belly.
At the class that I took, we formed a serious community of women/mom’s. We started what we called a monthly progressive lunch postpartum. And for 2 years continued to meet one Saturday a month and hang, share stories, swap parenting advise, and our critiques about gear, organic food, etc. This was BEFORE blogging and Facebook or Twitter. We didn’t follow the internet community of mom bloggers yet. Instead we created our own resource group, had distribution email lists and shared info, and did the person to person, family to family gatherings – hugging each other, holding each others babies, toddlers. It was so awesome.
As a result, I became quite gregarious as the new mom. Well, maybe not as a result. But I do believe that the positive experience of talking and sharing with other mom’s encouraged me to continue to seek out other mom’s. And to create community wherever I was. So we lived in Burbank from the ages of our daughter being 6 months to 3 1/2 years old. There were 2 community parks within walking distance of our house. And those of us at those parks created the same type of community, only we saw each other daily. Every afternoon from 4pm until dinner time, we would hang together, provide adult socialization, and on Fridays order pizza delivery to the park! It was so wonderful, we created a neighborhood, in LA County!
Her 1st birthday we had a big backyard party and brought both groups together, my prenatal yoga mom’s and the neighborhood park families. It was a hoot. Felt like a block party!
Some of the mom’s from the park became besties. One created a business, you may know of it, Tin Parade. Some fell in love and got married. Several had more kids. Some became yoga teachers. Some got divorced. Many of us moved, but a handful of them stayed. I am still connected to several on Facebook and enjoy seeing their posts of their kids, wow they are getting so big.
Connection and community not only supports a family, it makes the world feel a little bit smaller, and a whole lot more friendly. If you are pregnant, reach out beyond your extended family, and see how you can create community in those around you. Walk up to another pregnant woman or a dad hanging out with his toddlers and see how life can bring you together. Support comes in many shapes and sizes. The internet is AMAZING, I have met so many additional parenting support peeps via the internet thru PAM – but don’t overlook those that may be in the grocery store line next to you, or helping their baby boy down the slide you are waiting to use.
Alisa B. Donner, MSW, LCSW, Co-Founder of PAM, and mom to an amazing wonder!
Images by my incredibly talented husband, who is a commercial director and a photographer, Ron Hamad.