Building Community for New Moms in Memphis
Photography by Marci Lambert
When my daughter was born, we moved to the suburbs where I knew no one, and my husband, a military pilot, left on a four-month training mission. The days seemed loosely strung together by endless diaper changing and nighttime feedings. I felt fat, adorned with spit-up. I longed for adult conversation beyond the grocery clerk and doctor. Though social media was helpful, I wanted connections that were stronger than the mom groups I joined on Facebook.
I scheduled one lunch a week with a friend, usually another new mom, which gave me something to look forward to. I would be guaranteed a shower, make-up, and an outfit other than the usual nursing tank and yoga pants. We dined out (sort of) with our babies, thankful to be with another who understood.
April Proveaux, Midtown mom of 9-month-old Lukas, found community in a different way. Neither she nor her husband have family in town, so when her son turned 12 weeks, she turned to fitness with a friend from her childbirth class. As Lukas grew, she found different opportunities to work out, while bonding with her son and meeting other new moms. “It was great for us. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so it’s been good to get out of the house,” says Proveaux. She and Lukas began with Mommy and Me yoga, did the Kroc class until her son started crawling, and then moved on to Stroller Strides.
Parenting is hard. That’s why it takes a village. Here are a few places new mothers can go to build community in Memphis.
NOTE: All groups are nursing-friendly, offer accommodations for progressing postnatal stages, and understand that babies get fussy. No one will judge, and a new friend might just offer to help. • Special thanks to Celinda Smith with Fit4Mom Memphis and her Stroller Strides class for our photos!
Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women, 5th Floor • baptistonline.org
Thursdays, 12:30 p.m. • Free
Best for ages: Newborn to mobility
Nurse Cathy Cooper leads this two-hour, informal support group. While no speakers or activities are offered, nursing staff and lactation specialists are on-hand to give new moms guidance. “Mostly, it’s a resource to share stories with other moms with babies the same age or a little older,” says Cooper. Most hear of the group through prenatal birthing classes at the hospital, but all are welcome. Afterward, moms go out for playdates.
Fit Mom and Me
Kroc Center • krocmemphis.org
Monday & Wednesday, 11 a.m.
Free with membership, $5/guest pass with a member
Best for ages: 6 weeks to mobility
Worn in wraps or carriers, babies are the weights for these exercises. Nathalie Mooney who leads the workout/bonding sessions says, “It’s a great transition class to progress and add weight while baby grows. We work on muscles that have been ‘asleep’ during pregnancy.” The first 25 minutes involve strength training focused on legs and core, then Pilates-inspired exercises allow mom to bond with baby.
Mommy and Me Yoga
Delta Groove Yoga • deltagrooveyoga.com
$10/first class. $15. Discounts available, including unlimited monthly packages.
Best for ages: 6 weeks to 3 years
Ten-month-old Kaura leads this one-hour class with her mom, yoga instructor Meredith Melvin. Using no carriers, this class is dictated by mobile babies. “If the kids aren’t into it, we move on,” says Melvin. Mothers do stretches, poses, and some baby massage techniques. “The class is about building strength for baby and flexibility for mom. We close with a walk around the room, being very conscious of breath. As we sync our breathing, the babies begin to follow. It’s really sweet.”
Overton Square Tower Courtyard, Beale Street Landing, Shelby Farms,
St. John’s Episcopal Church • memphis.fit4mom.com
Days & times vary by location
First week free. $45/month, 2 weekly classes. $55/month, unlimited classes.
Best for ages: 6 weeks to 3 years
This is not a bunch of mamas walking with strollers. “It’s like boot camp, but we also play peek-a-boo and sing songs. We’re constantly moving to keep babies happy,” says founder Celinda Smith, who started the FIT4MOM Memphis franchise 18 months ago. Kids stay strapped in strollers for the hour, which includes a warm up, icebreaker, cardio and core stations, and stretching. Playdates after class and a monthly Mom’s Night Out keep everyone happy.