Almost every new mom has a moment when she feels overwhelmed. Perhaps she feels it when the visitors quit coming to meet the new baby or her partner goes back to work. It is all too easy to feel isolated as one settles into the role of a new mom and that's when it's important to find support. Athens offers several options for getting moms out of the house and back into the world.
One local moms group that lends support is MOPS, or Mothers Of PreSchoolers, a Christian international organization whose motto is "Better Moms Make a Better World."
MOPS is a place to make new friends, experience authentic community, and share the challenges and joys of motherhood. Darian Kardos, the co-coordinator of the Athens area MOPS group, feels that the spiritual aspect of the group is what sets it apart.
"The focus of each meeting is to challenge women to be more than just a mom, but to be the best woman God created her to be," she said. "Some meetings are geared to just having fun, others take a look at the relationships we have in our lives, and then there are those meetings that challenge the spirit."
So, if your soul is thirsty for fellowship, the ladies at MOPS are waiting with open arms to welcome you.
Another resource for moms is The Athens Mother Center, a non-profit organization that is part of the National Association of Mothers' Centers. They offer discussion and activity groups, parenting education, social events, and information about community resources.
One mom, Lisa Myers has been a member for four years and has wonderful things to say about her experience.
"The Athens Mother Center has shown me I am not alone. It has offered me a forum for expressing my true feelings and learning the tricks of the trade," she said. "They also offer a setting where I can be myself, the good the bad and the sleep-deprived insane."
The support that Lisa found within the group helped her through many hardships along the way. She says she "could not imagine going through this journey as a mother without the Mother's Center and the wonderful women associated with it."
They offer a new moms group where you will find babies sprawled out on blankets and mommies immersed in conversation. Childcare is available for toddlers, so you can leave your baby in safe hands while you join in an activity. It's the perfect place to find fellow moms.
Full Bloom-Pregnancy and Early Parenting Center is another excellent place for helping moms to feel nurtured. Founded by local registered nurse and postpartum doula, Pat Nielson, it offers a safe, nurturing environment in which parents can learn, grow and be supported on their parenting journey. They offer a new mamas group where they insist that "unwashed hair and fussy babies are welcome."
Ruby Basham, a local mom who visited Full Bloom frequently after her second son was born, credits Pat with creating a supportive atmosphere. "Her passion and gift for fortifying the spirits of sleep-challenged, uncertain moms is obvious and infectious," she said. "Sometimes the positive energy she creates is just through a simple, 'Good morning, wonderful mama!'"
If you are looking for a nonjudgmental and supportive place to find other mamas, then Full Bloom is the place for you.
Support groups like the ones that Athens has to offer help mothers cope with the changes that come about after having a baby. Ruby feels lucky to have spent time both at the Athens Mother Center and Full Bloom and knows first hand how important these resources are.
"Sharing stories with other locals going through the same challenges builds moms up so that they can get through the hard parts of parenting and more thoroughly enjoy the wonderful parts, too." she said.
Here is all the information that you need to get motivated, change out of those spit-up covered pajamas, and find some like-minded friends.
MOPS is located at Grace Fellowship in Bogart and meets the first and third Wednesdays from 9:30 to 11:30 am beginning August 17, 2011 For more information contact Martha Cahoon, Grace Fellowship Women's Ministry Coordinator, 706-769-4001.
The Athens Mother Center is located at at 3195 Barnett Shoals Rd. They meet Tuesdays & Fridays from 9:30-11:30. Feel free to stop by during these hours and request a tour. For more information visit the website.
is located at 220 North Milledge Avenue. The new mamas group meets Thursdays at 10:00 am. Please visit their website for more information.