Growing up, my mom would sometimes bring me to play dates with kids from “Play Group,” which was a group of moms she’d befriended in a postpartum step aerobics class (yes, I am a product of the early 90s) with their kids. The group met regularly with their babies, swapped advice, commiserated about the challenges of being a new mom, and lived life together as their families grew. I still keep in touch occasionally with some of the kids from that group.
I knew that when I became a mom, I wanted to have that kind of community, but when I got pregnant, I wasn’t sure where to find it. Postpartum exercise classes are few and far between in this era of COVID and many of my running friends, which comprised a large majority of my social group, either had older kids, or were single and didn’t have kids and weren’t planning on having them.
One day early on in my pregnancy, I was running with my friend who had another friend who’d recently had a baby. That new mom friend was raving about this online group she’d joined that included local moms who were due with their first babies within a few months of hers. During their pregnancies, the moms met regularly via Zoom, supporting one another through the ups and downs of the process. Then when, one by one, they all started having their babies
and they continued to meet and share their experiences together. My friend suggested I see if there was a group like that which I could join. You may have guessed that the group was Mamistad!
I was so excited to have found this community before my baby was even born. I got connected with a group when I was about 16 weeks pregnant and looked forward to our weekly Zoom chats. Although I live in Woodbridge and most of the moms in my group lived in Arlington or Alexandria, it was so helpful to have a group of other women who were going through very similar experiences as me and for us to be able to relate to one another.
Shortly before my son was born, Cynthia told me there was another Mamistad group comprised of moms in the Woodbridge and Manassas area. This was great! I immediately connected with them via Zoom and we soon started having in-person outdoor meetups as well. By the time we met up in person, several of the moms already had their babies and I got to pepper them with questions about their experiences.
We continue to meet each Friday morning for coffee, and sometimes a stroller walk, and we alternate locations, every other week so it is convenient for all members of our group. The age range of our group is a little bigger than most; we have one baby who just turned one month old, and a few who are six months, then a few in between.
It is so much fun to meet each week and watch each other’s babies grow and master new skills (the smiles are the best!) We swap stories, commiserate (postpartum hair loss is the worst – but my mom friends with six-month-olds tell me its temporary).
We have a group text chat going all week to help us stay connected in between our meetings. We share photos and funny videos of our kids. We share resources we come across online, consignment sales we learn about, and the best books and toys that are currently entertaining our babies. I even learned about a free mommy and me swim class through my Mamistad moms! We share the amazing joys that come with being a mom, but also the difficulties and less Instagram-worthy moments. When one of us is up at midnight…and 2am and 4am, usually at least one of us is also awake and can offer guidance and support with the gassy baby who refuses to be laid down in his crib.
The community and camaraderie I’ve found in my Mamistad group is unparalleled. It’s so helpful to regularly connect with these moms who are going through many of the same challenges and joys I’m experiencing during this season of life. I look forward to continuing to build friendships with these women, watch their children grow alongside mine, and hopefully help our kids all become friends, too.
Friendship amongst mothers is a special kind of bond. I feel so blessed to have found that in Mamistad!