Finding Your Mama Tribe: Supporting A New Mother’s Sense Of Self


Published:

For many new mothers, a sense of spiritual wandering is common as they search for a new source of grounding in adapting to their babies and the shifts in their partnerships and personal relationships. Many women feel a loss of who they were before having their babies and don’t know how to feel confident in their skin as they take on the role of mother. Especially for women who stay home with their babies, feeling isolated caring for a newborn around the clock is normal. Although new mothers learn about the creation of their new selfhood by paying attention to their babies — they are a mother’s first teacher on this new path — getting out of the house to relate with other women who are in a similar role in life makes coming into one’s new sense of self much easier.

The human need for relationships gets established as soon as a mother provides skin-on-skin contact, nutrients (mother’s milk or formula), and shelter to her baby. This immediate satisfaction of survival requires established neurological programming for social connection to meet basic human needs. In his book Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, Matthew D. Lieberman writes:

“Food, water, and shelter are not the most basic needs for an infant. Instead, being socially connected and cared for is paramount. Without social support, infants will never survive to become adults who can provide for themselves. Being socially connected is a need with a capital N . . . Love and belonging might seem like a convenience we can live without, but our biology is built to thirst for connection because it is linked to our most basic survival needs.1

Satisfying our basic needs creates a foundational understanding of ourselves as people worthy of care. The baby enters the world. Baby smells and feels mother. Mother places baby on her skin and nurses baby or holds him/her. Baby instantly feels “I am cared for. I am loved. I am.” This is self-actualization. A mother can find a similar path and form relationships with other mothers who are similarly navigating this terrain and bear witness to each other’s struggles and celebrations. Meaningful relationships matter in helping people understand who they are.

As you enter this new season of life as a mother, the relationships you sustain and those you develop strengthen your identity and sense of self. Shallow relationships with the grocery clerk or the coffee barista seen every other day may not do much to affirm your identity as a mother unless you happen to share stories about your mutual experiences. If you enter this new stage of life as a mother and have no relationships to connect through about your baby and motherhood, then how can you find your sense of self as a woman and a mother? Relationships come first; a personal sense of identity follows.

As strong as we believe we are, we cannot come into our personal power and integrity on our own. We need a community of people who understand us and our needs on some level. A group of new mothers provides the perfect network to find wellness support. Mommy/baby get-togethers could take the form of group yoga classes, La Leche League meetings, or mommy stroller walk groups. They can become an important component for a mother’s physiological, emotional, and even spiritual healing. A positive support system is the most critical part of a woman’s recovery.

Mothers can find emotional support in their partners, best friends, and family. If you don’t feel close to family members, remember, we cannot choose the family we’re born into, but we can choose who becomes our family. Best friends can certainly fulfill that role and will be ready to receive you when you need support.

You can also find resources online that offer help with questions regarding self-care or care for your baby. However, take online advice with caution and check the background of those who provide it. If you have medical concerns of any kind, please refer to your doctor/midwife or pediatrician for expert advice. Internet sources aren’t all valid for medical advice, nor are moms’ groups on Facebook. Local friends, neighbors, and members of your place of worship can offer tangible support, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

You can build a community network to expand your tangible and emotional support systems. If you take the time to search and follow up, you’ll find many opportunities for mothers to meet and connect. It’s better to seek actual in-person social time and connection rather than social media groups. In fact, many times, mothers increase their anxiety via social media because of the inherent “mommy shaming” that occurs over one mother’s choice for sleep training, bottle feeding vs breastfeeding, and a dozen other different choices mothers make as mothers.

The point of being in a group is to make you feel better, not worse. If you feel anxious, sad, frustrated, or competitive in your social media group, leave it and seek out an in-person group. If there are no other options for interacting with mothers because you live in a remote area, post a handwritten sign in the local supermarket community bulletin board or local library. State that you are seeking to meet other new mothers in a shared public space for an hour of conversation. Start here and see where it grows.

I believe it is possible for a woman to enter motherhood on solid ground while navigating the hormonal and emotional highs and lows with support and confidence in knowing who she is because she surrounds herself with other women. These women become her “Mama Tribe.” It’s never too early to build your tribe. If you are pregnant, connect with other women in prenatal yoga, prenatal exercise classes, or other community gatherings. Keep in touch with each other often and check in. Genuinely care about them and they will express the same care for you.  As you cross the threshold into motherhood, they come with you, and you all can grow stronger in this new season of life together.

 Melissa Hurt is a certified yoga teacher (RYT 500), a Lessac Certified Trainer of Kinesensic voice, speech, and movement, and the owner of Integrative Studio, LLC in Delmar, New York. She is the author of Arthur Lessac’s Embodied Actor Training (Routledge 2014) and several other works. You can learn about Melissa, follow her blog, and discover her online course offerings at www.melissahurt.com.

See also:
When A Mom Feels Depressed, Her Baby’s Cells Might Feel It Too
11 Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Both Mom And Baby

Sources
1 Lieberman, Matthew D. Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect. (Crown Publishers, 2013), p. 43.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

November 12, 2019

The excitement of the Full “Beaver” Moon in Taurus dominates the busy morning. These early hours are highly energized and with multiple planets in supportive roles, chock full with important happenings. There are opportunities to renegotiate and renew…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

November 2019

No matter how broken or damaged you may feel, there is a deep well of stillness inside of you that is always there! Connected. Whole. Unchanging and Ever present. Yoga Nidra or Conscious Sleep...

Cost: $20 each session

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

A beautiful collection of messages from Jeshua Ben Joseph (Jesus) that will transform your life, as it did his. Coming together to study these teachings, to ponder, to savor, to deepen our...

Cost: $25 per class

Where:
Heart and Soul Holistic Healing Center
130 Massapoag Avenue
Sharon, MA  02067
View map »


Sponsor: Heart and Soul Holistic
Telephone: 781-258-9942
Contact Name: Barbara Ann Strassman
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In gratitude for your service, please join us at Dragonfly Wellness Center at 176 Jackson Road, Devens for refreshments and complimentary 15 minute sessions of: Chair massage Shamanic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Dragonfly Wellness Center
Dragonfly Wellness Center
176 Jackson Rd
Devens, MA  01432
View map »


Sponsor: Yoga Anita
Telephone: 978-227-8297
Contact Name: Anita Perry
Website »

More information

2nd and 4th Monday of every month This psychic message circle is for anyone wishing to raise their connection using their psychic centers known as the “clairs.” Learn how to use...

Cost: $20

Where:
Messages From Heaven Healing and Learning Center
646 Central Street
Suite 3
Leominster, MA
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us at our free Boot Camp created specifically for post-divorce issues! About this event: Make new connections while learning essential strategies for building your post-divorce life with...

Cost: Free

Where:
RMS Residential Mortgage Services
465 South Washington Street
2nd Floor
North Attleboro, MA  02760
View map »


Sponsor: Vesta: Redefining Divorce
Telephone: 508-744-6014
Contact Name: Deanna Coyle
Website »

More information

Come join us for a guided drumming circle to celebrate the November “Beaver” Moon. Arlene Dorischild will lead fellow drummers in a celebration to honor this special lunar event....

Cost: Donation

Where:
Peaceful Creations LLC
382 Boston Turnpike
Suite 102
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
View map »


Sponsor: Peaceful Creations LLC
Telephone: 617-208-3333
Contact Name: Rebecca Resnik
Website »

More information

Free Evidence-Based Holistic Health Education Program at Wilbraham Senior Center The H.E.A.R.T. Program® (Health Empowerment and Real Transformation), created and instructed by Michelle...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Michelle Caron
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Wellness Roundtable Holistic Practitioners Network creates an environment for wellness practitioners to inspire, educate and support one another, while building community and encouraging...

Cost: $20 (Drop-ins are welcome)

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman St
#108B
Westborough, MA
View map »


Sponsor: 01581
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

How would it feel to have direct education on changing your feelings so you do start to ask for what you truly want? Each month, come and practice hands-on skills to get into the habit of...

Cost: $15

Where:
Awaken Holistic Counseling Services
2 Liberty St., Unit 2L
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Awaken Holistic Counseling Services, LLC
Telephone: 978-255-7893
Contact Name: Kerri Morrison
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This is a class that will teach you how to make your own wire-wrapped gemstone pendant! Don’t be discouraged—it is simpler than you think, and you’ll have great fun in...

Cost: Reg includes supplies $40 per person or $35 more than one

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd
Unit A
Salem , NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Retire the Curse, Enhance the Blessing with Sally Sugatt, LICSW, C-IAYT Do you feel locked into your family’s karma (reactions, cycles or patterns)? Come explore how you have been...

Cost: $45

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

Award winning artist, musician and channeler, David Young shares his amazing revelations. Orchestrated synchronicities over the course of four years uncover the truth of what happened 2,000...

Cost: $35

Where:
Peaceful Creations LLC
382 Boston Turnpike
Suite 102
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
View map »


Sponsor: Peaceful Creations
Telephone: 617-208-3333
Contact Name: Rebecca Resnik
Website »

More information

Facilitator: Peyton Pugmire Fridays, 9/20, 10/18, 11/15, 12/20, 9:30am–10:30am Everyone leaves with a powerful message to inspire their weekend!  Join Peyton Pugmire,...

Cost: Pay What You Wish

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Telephone: 781-797-0389
Contact Name: Creative Spirit
Website »

More information

Four week series for girls ages 11 and up with Leigh Sloss This series of classes will focus on some of the most effective yoga and mindfulness skills for reducing stress and anxiety.  In a...

Cost: Series: $75; Drop in rate $20

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Learn the facts about Lyme Disease and how to protect yourself and your family! The Central Mass Lyme Foundation will host its 4th Lyme Disease Conference....

Cost: In advance: $30, at the door: $40

Where:
Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center
366 Main St.
Exit 9 off Mass Pike
Sturbridge, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Central Mass Lyme Foundation
Contact Name: Michele Miller
Website »

More information

With Ross J. Miller, psychic healer, medium, regression therapist. In this unique, experiential workshop you’ll learn how to identify your guardian angels and spirit guides by name and...

Where:
Newton, MA


Telephone: (617) 527-3583
Contact Name: Ross J. Miller
Website »

More information

Instructor: Peyton Pugmire Ages 16+/Adult Like meditating with a paintbrush!  Come re-connect with yourself, your heart and soul, and your divine intuition—one brushstroke...

Cost: $120 (includes all supplies)

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Telephone: 781-797-0389
Contact Name: Creative Spirit
Website »

More information

Practice what you have learned in Yoga for Plantar Fasciitis Part 1 (Nov. 2). Relieve pain on the bottom of the foot. It's not the usual stretching. It's a gentle way to...

Cost: $35 preregister; $40 at the door

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Medittaion Studio
30 Lyman Street
Suite 108b (next to hair salon)
Westborough, MA, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: Pat Lebau Yoga
Telephone: 508-393-5581
Contact Name: Pat Lebau
Website »

More information

Journey back into the experience of peace, harmony and inner power through this unique meditation practice. Explore the power of your thoughts and how they can bring you inner harmony and help you...

Cost: Free of charge as a community service, contributions welcome.

Where:
Inner Space Meditation Center and Gallery
1110 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Brahma Kumaris
Telephone: 617–547–1110
Website »

More information

Reiki Master Teacher Libby Barnett, M.S.W., integrates her healing skills with past experience as a medical social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital. 38 years experience. Reiki...

Where:
Weston, MA


Telephone: 603-654-2787
Website »

More information

Psychics, mediums, angel readers, spirit art. Reiki, chair massage, IET, Gaiadon Heart, crystal healings, etc. Sign yourself up for a few appointments and bring your friends! Appointments...

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA
View map »


Telephone: 508-230-3680
Website »

More information

Learn to overcome spinal tensions through therapeutic postures, designed to decompress your spine and relieve pain. Taught by a certified yoga therapist, classes bring you through poses...

Cost: 5/$50

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
View map »


Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice O'Brien
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags