3 Ways to Find Your “Expectant Mom Group”

 
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A lot of women find it’s relatively easy to make friends in school.

I remember back in high school, between collaborative class projects and daily volleyball practices, I saw the same girls every day, and friendships just formed naturally. Those days when we’d all sing Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” on the team bus to away games? That really locked it up for me.

College offered the same ease. How can you not bond with your roommate who sleeps in the twin bed 10 feet away from you and also wants to eat Ben & Jerry’s and watch Law and Order SVU at 10pm? (Well, I’m sure not everyone has great roommate experiences, but mine turned out to be great. Hi, Lauryn!)

But something happens in your 20s and 30s, and it just gets harder to see people consistently and make those connections.

When I was expecting my first child, I only had two friends who had gone through pregnancy before, and both lived thousands of miles away. Not exactly available to meet for coffee and talk shop (and by shop I mean “what did you use to relieve morning sickness?” and “did you find a safe facial serum that actually worked?”).

So, I did the next best thing. I started meeting a bunch of pregnant strangers until I found some that became friends! And you can too! Here are some suggestions to get started:

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1.   Meetup.com

Once you get over the idea of hanging out with people you’ve never met, Meetup is amazing. This is how I met most women in my “mom group” here in Chicago. Play around with search terms and look for groups related to new and expecting moms, stay-at-home moms, working moms, etc., until you find a group that resonates. Request to join, check out their next meetup, and just go. These are strangers who actually want to meet other people too, so it’s less intimidating than just chatting up a pregnant woman randomly, which brings me to...

2.   Prenatal Yoga

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Look for specialized prenatal yoga studios in your area, or review the class schedule at your local gym. The next part is hard. When you arrive at class, you have to look for the girl who’s making eye contact and smiling. That’s the one you need to talk to! Tell her you’re trying to start a mom group to set up future playdates (even if that’s a lie and you really just want to grab coffee with a grown-up sometime), ask if she’s interested in joining, and get her email address so you can follow-up. (Yes, this is like dating, and it’s only awkward if you make it awkward, as Lauryn would say).

3.   Hospital and Doctors’ Classes

See if your local hospital, OBGYN or (future) pediatrician offers new parent classes. Aside from being extremely educational and helpful (my husband and I attended a Baby Bootcamp, CPR, and Breastfeeding class), the classroom will be jam-packed with other expectant parents. You just have to be very outgoing to break the ice and see if any of your classmates might be up for exchanging emails and keeping in touch.

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After trying out these tactics during my pregnancy, I started a list of all the women I met and made a point to email them to follow-up. Just remember, as with any relationship, new friendships take work. Try to say “yes” to invitations as much as possible, and plan friend dates yourself. It doesn’t feel great when someone turns down your offer to hang out or cancels at the last moment, but you have to put yourself out there if you are serious about making connections. I try to give a new friend 3 “no’s” before I decide she’s just not that into me! Not all of the 20+ women I reached out to turned into friends, but I did find a great group that’s been amazing for venting & support, organizing play dates, and my personal favorite: kid-free dinner dates with wine.

 
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