Creating a circle of support is one of the best ways you can prepare yourself for motherhood.
One of the biggest challenges new mothers experience is isolation and feeling lonely and this happens because the people they were once friends with simply drop off the radar when a new baby is born.
I ran a survey and asked mothers who did not receive support during postpartum to respond to my survey.
Many mothers reported that friends and family they thought would come and visit just didn’t show up.
Or people they thought would be supportive – just weren’t.
Here is a list of people they were expecting support from – but didn’t receive the support they needed:
- Mother- in law
You can find out more about my postpartum story here
The one thing I know is that you will have a much more peaceful time in your postpartum with some sort of circle of support.
Understanding your current support circle
Have a think about who you think will be your biggest support during the first few months of life with a newborn baby.
- Are the relationships with those people reliable? Positive? Healthy?
- Do they live locally and are they available to support you physically or more emotionally?
Think about how those people will support you and what they are good at.
For example: Danielle’s mum lives locally and is a really good cook and loves cooking. But she can be a little overly critical of Danielle and likes to point out when she thinks Danielle is doing things “wrong”.
Danielle can identify that her mum would be a great practical support making meals for her during those few weeks and months of motherhood – but not so great when it comes to emotional, non judgmental support.
Set realistic expectations of people
Have conversations with those in your support circle and let them know your expectations – ask them to tell you how they see themselves supporting you.
Be realistic – Don’t expect your mum to be around every day if she is working a full-time job and lives an hour away.
Maybe seeing her a couple times a week would be more realistic. But you won’t know until you have these conversations.
I believe it’s important to have these conversations before your baby arrives so that you can work out what support you can expect and where you need to fill the gaps.
If you are really dreading having that conversation with someone who you think is in your support circle, have a think if they are really right to be in your postpartum space and bringing their energy in.
Listen to your intuition and see if it’s just a fear of your own.
Or if its coming up because the person isn’t the most supportive and deep down you know you can’t expect much from them.
If you go through this process and don’t really have any supportive people in your circle.
Don’t worry! You can easily start making baby steps to create your very own circle of support.
Starting with baby steps
You can start with small little baby steps and just work on new friendship at a time.
It’s quite time consuming trying to get to know someone and learning to trust them and fit in time with a small little one, or when you are pregnant and all you want to do is sleep!
Sometimes new friendships naturally just blossom from the start and you just can’t help but see each other and talk frequently – just go with what feels right and what is working for you.
If you find that it’s a little slower to start – remember slow and steady wins the race.
There is no right or wrong way to build relationships, but I do know they develop over time.
One of my most valued friendships now took a while to take off and once we started really connecting it just happened all so naturally and now five years later I have a very good friend who I trust and feel safe around.
We ended up having two pregnancies together and our daughters (yes we both had daughters) are just weeks and months a part and are the best of friends!
Where can you find people for your circle?
I’ve found over the years I have made friends from all sorts of places. Parties, BBQ’s, online, business meetings, though studying and work.
When I became a mother I didn’t want to venture out and increase my circle of friends in fear of judgement and not wanting to put myself into vulnerable situations while I was already feeling very vulnerable as a new mother.
But to avoid feeling lonely and isolated it’s best to dip your toe in a little bit to start making some treasured friendships.
Here are some places to start:
- In online Facebook Groups like mine here – The Motherhood Community Circle
- Birthing classes like Hypnobirthing or pre-natal yoga
- Mothers Circles (there are some run around Australia and are usually a safe space to connect)
- Local playgroups
- Local library events like story time for babies
- Meet your neighbors and get to know them
- In my online mothers circle & program Journey into Motherhood
Creating your circle of support may take months, weeks or even years. But every circle starts with just one person supporting you – even if that if your partner.
Having this insight and awareness will help you to create the postpartum that you desire with as much support that you can create.
If you are wanting to dive deeper into this topic and really learn more about understanding, navigating and creating your own circle of support – I invite you to book in for a free discovery call and find out how I can support you in your motherhood Journey.