The first few months of being home with your baby are amazing. Every day is filled with awe over this little person that’s become your whole world. As incredible as it is, this time can also feel isolating and even a little lonely. That’s why many new moms join a New Moms group. Arielle Buxbaum of Manalapan did.
Arielle had her son Asher at CentraState Medical Center on September 16 and joined our new moms group soon after. That was before COVID-19 when they met at CentraState every Friday with their babies in tow. Now, every Friday, she’s meeting with the group virtually on Zoom.
We spoke with Arielle about what it’s like being a new mom during COVID-19 and how the New Moms group has helped her to handle the challenges it presents.
CentraState: What’s it been like being a new mom during this difficult time?
Arielle: With social distancing in place, there’s that added challenge of what to do to fill the time and to make us new moms feel connected. The sense of isolation is even more pronounced. I can’t go visit my mom or my in-laws, or take my son to see his cousins.
Prior to this, I got into a nice routine with my son. Every Monday we’d go to the grocery store, every Wednesday the library, and every Friday to the new mom group. It helped separate one day from the other. I felt like we were moving along and we were growing as a team. Now it’s a lot of walks, Facetime and indoor play and the days do feel like they bleed together.
CentraState: How has the virtual New Moms group helped with the feeling of isolation?
Arielle: I love that every Friday for an hour, I have time with people again to listen and share and to feel welcomed and be part of something. Connecting online with this group every Friday also helps to separate the days so they don’t feel like they’re blending together.
It lets me know we made it to another week. It’s a reset for me. I feel like we’ve jumped another hurdle by getting to the next new mom group. I can take a deep breath and exhale and know everything is okay and that I’ll see everybody the next week if I have any questions or issues and they’re going to help me navigate through it.
CentraState: Are your babies there during the virtual meet ups?
Arielle: Of course! The babies are all there on our laps. And everyone’s so supportive and encouraging of each other’s babies and their progress. We talk about who started eating what new food, who started rolling, what new skill our babies acquired. My son just learned sitting up, and the whole group was so excited about it. The babies are as much a part of the group as the moms are. It is organized chaos, but it’s great.
CentraState: What do you love most about the New Moms group?
Arielle: I’m a first-time mom and a lot of questions pop up. But you sometimes feel silly calling the pediatrician for every little thing. Or you don’t want to call your friends and family and sound like you’re complaining. You really do love this baby more than anything in the world, but there are definitely questions and challenges, and you’re not sure how to navigate them, at least that’s what I have found.
So having the New Moms group has just been a lifesaver in the sense that I know I have this community of people that I can ask things to and they’ll listen in the most non-judgmental way possible, and share their experiences or what they’ve done that’s worked for them—their roadblocks, their successes. We just have a place where we can go and kind of put everything out in the open and listen to each other and offer support.
I think I suffered from some baby blues in the beginning, so having that hour of community where I could ask questions, laugh, and feel like I wasn’t alone in this has been really, really wonderful for me personally.
CentraState: Anything else you want to tell us about the New Moms group?
Arielle: The facilitator, Lysanne, is incredible. I can’t speak highly enough about how she creates an environment that is so comfortable. It allows us to be really open because we know that we won’t be criticized or judged.
She gives advice but in a very subtle way. It doesn’t feel like she’s pushing anything on you. It’s more like she’s just offering up a suggestion. Lysanne has just become a light in my life since I met her and have been going to this group.
She’s a person I know I can turn to when I have a question, and she’s someone that’s going to accept me as a mother no matter how I decide to parent.