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The Power of Connection: Why Moms Need Social Support
the benefits of social support for moms

It’s hard to imagine an experience that’s more rewarding — or more stressful — than motherhood. While bringing human life into this world is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind experience, it requires extensive ‘on-the-job’ training. Therefore, the benefits of social support for moms are immeasurable. 

Today’s article reveals exactly how social support positively impacts a mother’s mental and physical health. Keep reading to discover what those are, as well as how to find the right motherhood community for you. 

What Is A Community?

Mom Group

Merriam-Webster defines community as “a unified body of individuals, such as: a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.” Therefore, a community of moms could be described as a group of mother figures — or caretakers — working together within a larger society. All the people, agencies, and organizations with which a mother has contact (either directly or indirectly) form her social support system

Benefits of joining a mom and baby community or support group 

Nurturing a child comes with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. And no one understands that journey better than another mom. In addition to gaining a sense of understanding and belonging, there are ample benefits to joining a community of moms: 

  • Foster a better relationship with children. For mothers who feel as though they aren’t in control of their lives, support networks play an important role in reducing stress and mental health problems. As a result, they’re able to act more positively towards their children.  
  • Gain support and guidance. Raising children can be tricky. However, joining a community of moms is an excellent way for a new mom to gain vital parenting support and guidance. From breastfeeding tips to healthy snack ideas, fellow moms have much wisdom to impart. 
  • Learn self care tips. When you spend so much time caring for someone else, it’s easy to forgo your own needs. However, seasoned mothers can help new moms carve out some time for themselves as they transition into their new role. 

How Social Support Can Improve Your Mental Health As a Mom

the benefits of social support for moms

Developing a strong social network is a tremendous form of self care for moms. That’s because it positively impacts a mother’s mental health in a multitude of ways: 

During Pregnancy 

It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to feel uncertainty and anxiety surrounding their changing parental status. From physical changes to that raging rollercoaster of hormones, pregnancy presents a multitude of unique challenges, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. 

For that reason, having a supportive social network is essential to maintain a soon-to-be-mom’s wellbeing. It reduces stress and minimizes anxiety while simultaneously offering a sense of connection, belonging, and instrumental support. 

On the other hand, moms who feel lonely, isolated, or have a hard time throughout their pregnancy are at higher risk of developing anxiety or depression. They are also at higher risk of becoming moderately to severely stressed and having difficulty managing their income. 

During Postpartum

After giving birth to their baby, about one in seven women experience postpartum depression. However, having a supportive, social community is associated with a decreased likelihood of postpartum depression. 

Friends and extended family help mothers of young children emotionally adapt to their new role and environment, and they can also help in practical ways (like baby sitting and diaper changing). Oftentimes, that family support helps moms cope with their newfound stressors in healthy ways. 

And Beyond 

Regardless of the children’s age, parenting isn’t the easiest feat. However, studies show that parents who feel like they’re in control of their lives and parenthood are better at setting boundaries. It’s been shown that parents with a supportive social network — like a tight knit motherhood friendship — maintain a warmer relationship with their children. 

How Social Support Impacts Physical Health

the benefits of social support for moms

In addition to providing emotional support, a mother’s social life also impacts her physical health. One study reveals that social support promotes healthful behaviors that prevent excess weight gain. And the same study demonstrated that women with ample postpartum social support walked more, ate more fiber, and had a lower intake of trans fat (which are all very healthy habits). Additionally, it linked postpartum social support to healthful levels of light to moderate physical activity.

As humans, our social groups influence many of our attitudes and behaviors. And when we choose to surround ourselves with other, health-minded women, we’re more likely to maintain those healthy behaviors and habits ourselves. In fact, studies have demonstrated that the right amount of social support can help people start — and maintain — an exercise routine. Other studies have found that functional social support actually lowers blood pressure while undergoing stressful tasks and boosts the immune system

On the flip side, mothers without motherhood friendship or a meaningful connection to others are at higher risk of developing loneliness and/or depression. Both of which are associated with: 

How Can I Find Social Support As A New Mom?

Mom support groups

As you can see, the benefits of social support for moms are plenty. Therefore, soon-to-be-moms and their partners should focus on cultivating a multi-layered and strong social support network. If you’re unsure how to do so, follow these three simple steps: 

Evaluate Your Social Network

How much social support a mom needs depends entirely on her individual preferences and circumstances. Generally, moms find communal support in friends, family members, and neighbors, and if you’re feeling isolated, we encourage you to start there. 

If you find that your social needs aren’t being met by your immediate circle, try expanding your network. Joining a local motherhood support group is one of the best self care tools for moms, as it surrounds you with nearby people who authentically understand your experience. As you’re doing so, remember that building a strong social support network takes time, and it’s important to be gracious with yourself throughout the process. 

Let Your Support System Know How They Can Support You

As cool as it would be, humans are not mind readers. And while your community wants to be there for you, that doesn’t necessarily mean they know how. Therefore, in order to be properly supported, you need to explicitly communicate your needs to your friends and family. Let your social circles know the different ways they can support you during this time, and if you’re feeling disconnected or unsupported, tell them why. 

Nurture That Social Network

As you probably already know, every relationship is a two-way street. And just as your close friends, family, and partner are there for you throughout your motherhood journey, you also need to be there for them. Oftentimes, we show love in the way we wish to receive it, so pay attention to their actions. Throughout your motherhood journey, be grateful and gracious of your community, engage in mutual support activities, and be careful not to let your needs constantly overpower those of others. 

Virtual Support for Moms

The benefits of social support for moms aren’t limited to the people you see face to face. In fact, studies show that virtual social support is just as effective as face-to-face support regarding stress buffering – as long as that support is provided by another human being (and not an AI robot or avatar). 

So, if you’re looking for even more support along your motherhood journey, the experts at mooh are here for you. As a virtual community of health-focused women, we’re passionate about helping mothers become the very best versions of themselves. Visit our site for more motherhood self care tips, how-to guides, and wellness information. 

Disclaimer: All content within this site is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be considered a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any health or nutritional information obtained is accurate.