Should I join a New Mothers' Support Group?
A letter to you from Amanda Laverick, president of the New Mothers’ Support Group (NMSG).
Firstly, congratulations on being a new parent, a new parent-to-be, or new to Singapore, all of which are a combination of exciting and daunting, in equal measure!
Looking for a support network or finding your tribe is a tough ask when the world of parenting is daunting on every level, but I know my parenting journey has been made all the more easier because I found my tribe - people with whom to share the highs and the lows and to give advice when you need some focus, or when you just need to have a good old moan, plus a shoulder to cry on when times get hard (and they will, believe me!).
I arrived in Singapore almost six years ago, with a 10 month old son, no furniture and no friends. The furniture I could handle with a trip to IKEA, but the latter took me a little longer to resolve. I started out with Facebook and joined one of the many groups. In desperation, I asked for recommendations on where to take my 10 month old for some fun (and to get me out of the house!). As often happens when you reach out, a couple of mums told me they were headed to an indoor play gym and that I was most welcome to join them in a few days time, so putting my nerves to one side, I bravely said yes (this whole trying to meet new friends is rather like dating, I think!).
There are many opportunities for anyone new to this whole game to find your people and they will brighten your world and make your days much more manageable. Being a new parent can be a difficult time and organisations like NMSG help people make friends, build support systems and share experiences in raising young children in Singapore.
New Mothers’ Support Group (NMSG)
The NMSG is a not-for-profit organisation, founded over 20 years ago by a group of new mums. Originally organised to present talks from industry experts on different parenting topics, it has now developed into a community supporting parents-to-be, new parents and parents new to Singapore.
The NMSG, currently run by over 20 volunteer mums, all of whom are in various stages of their parenting journey, aims to bring interesting and relevant meet ups, socials and information to the community they represent. The NMSG covers all aspects of the early parenting journey from Baby and Bump sessions (aimed at pregnant/new mums) to indoor play gym get togethers (suitable for toddlers and older kids to let off some steam), and other opportunities to meet with other parents.
As it can be difficult to make the first steps as a new parent to get out and about with your little ones, all NMSG events are hosted so there will always be a warm welcome from one of the committee members (usually in a bright turquoise t-shirt). Membership is affordable ($35 for the first year, $25 for renewals) and it’s a great way to find your ‘tribe’.
The NMSG is on Meet-up highlighting upcoming events and where to sign up, has an active Facebook page, classifieds page, and website which has a members-only access area listing partners offering great benefits for members.
BumpWise was created in 2014 to support mothers who requested holistic support and natural alternatives during pregnancy and after birth. The active WhatsApp communities for pregnancy, babies, and toddlers have around 500 mums supporting each other on the journey, without criticising the choices made! They run regular coffee mornings (due to COVID, these are currently via Zoom and completely free of charge), where they introduce exciting, relevant topics and connect with various practitioners and specialists in their fields. They also hold workshops on topics such as introducing solids, supporting your kids with natural remedies, strengthening the immune system and much more. Founder and owner, Johanna Wagner, is a clinical herbalist and naturopath as well as a childbirth doula and mother of three children aged 27, 16 and 13. Her trusted partner, Anahita Bhatia, is a very experienced postpartum doula and holistic sleep coach.
Contact Johanna on 9795 7949, email@example.com.
Love Based Birth Hive
Love Based Birth Hive (LBBH) is an online community created to bring together expectant mothers, new mothers, planning-to-conceive-again mothers, their partners, and passionate birth workers and wellness professionals interested in holistic wellness, sustainability, green living, yoga, meditation, gentle birthing and parenting. The tribe prefers natural remedies over prescription drugs.
The members come together to create community, to learn and grow together, to keep choosing love over fear because they know this is essential today to experience deeper connection, joy, love and magic while becoming mothers and parents. They accept that giving birth creates a newborn baby AND a newborn mother and that, when mothers thrive, the whole family thrives.
Request to join at tribe.lovebasedbirth.com/feed.
Postnatal depression has been nicknamed the ‘smiling depression’ because, as so many women feel under pressure by society to be happy and grateful when a baby comes into their life, they pretend to the outside world (and often to themselves) that all is well. Mindful Mums is a free, open group for anyone to attend with or without baby. A new mum doesn’t have to be in the midst of depression to attend, but simply having a sense of struggling with the feelings and thoughts brought on by motherhood.
Mindful Mums will use some mindfulness techniques but the group is mainly about supportive listening and sharing - not advice-giving or parenting training. New mums can go along and join, can RSVP through meet up, can contact More Mindful or just drop in on the day - all are welcome!
Stork’s Nest Singapore
A Facebook community founded by Jani Combrink in 2012, Stork’s Nest Singapore (SNS) has a network of 14 groups, with around 24,000 members across those groups. All of these groups are very active, supportive and helpful. Jani is a South African qualified nurse and IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). She started SNS in 2012 among her friends, as a way to spread valuable sources of information, but also to find her own village as she was feeling desperately alone with three babies under the age of three. The community has never failed to support and show kindness, whatever the question. The group is representative of all walks of life in Singapore: they have local members, expats, even people who have left Singapore but still value the information and kindness of the group. It is an invaluable peer-support group, where all members can still learn new things.
Request to join at www.facebook.com/StorksNestSG.
New Mums Singapore
New Mums Singapore is a Facebook community founded in September 2014 by Jodie Jones and Jayne Pryce. Jodie and Jayne, both working and pregnant at the time, had a vision to create a community for expat mums and mums-to-be to connect, make friends and attend activities both with, and without their children - such as meet-ups, coffee groups, baby classes, lunches, wine nights. Catering for all mums from working professionals to stay at home mums and everything in between, New Mums Singapore is a platform for women to find their people and be supported as they navigate this thing we call parenthood. With nearly 1,800 members, in addition to founders Jodie and Jayne, New Mums Singapore has two wonderful admins, Lucie Powell and Katie Hedley.
Request to join at www.facebook.com/groups/593672134076118.
Mother and Child
Having a baby is the start of a wonderful, life changing journey. Mother and Child provides the most comprehensive support for expectant couples and new parents in Singapore, including their free social group meet-up on Mondays. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet other mothers with young babies, make friendships and be supported. Their popular New Mothers course, for mums with babies from four weeks to six months, has provided many mums with wonderful social support, new friendships and having questions answered in a nurturing, fun and safe environment. A midwife or maternal and child health nurse and invited pediatricians, counsellors and physiotherapists share information on growth milestones, sleep, travel with baby, and returning to work. Please note: COVID restrictions may impact in-person events.
Contact the Centre on 6836 0063, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.motherandchild.com.sg, 163 Tanglin Road, #03-11 Tanglin Mall, Singapore 247933.
The favourite of expats and global locals, Beloved Bumps offers pre and postnatal services from a team of certified midwives and health professionals.
The company was founded by a UK-certified midwife, Natasha Cullen, who wanted to build a company that was truly unbiased, distinctly interactive and very sociable. Backed by the latest research, the Beloved Bumps team stresses no judgement on your decisions before OR after you give birth. Their unique difference from other prenatal services is the community that they have created and the support groups that mums can continue to attend once their babies have arrived. It is here that you will meet your tribe, connect with like-minded mums and become part of their popular community.
Since 2017, thousands of couples have built meaningful friendships through their classes and events such as prenatal courses with multiple social events, WhatsApp groups, coffee mornings, postnatal courses, baby-well groups, pre and postnatal exercise classes, and mum/dad-specific get-togethers.
With more than 130 five-star Google reviews, it’s no wonder the Beloved Bumps community continues to grow throughout Singapore!
Contact Natasha on 8809 8623, www.belovedbumps.sg, 46 Kim Yam Road, #03-05 Singapore 239351.
nůmama is a non-profit community choir for mums and mums-to-be, best summed up by its strap line: sing:support:escape. It’s a forum for women to unite, share and escape reality through song. Since 2009, nůmama choir has grown into a musical support group for women from all walks of life and abilities, such as opera singers, circus stage managers and women whose boldest performances have been behind a shower curtain. The music they sing is eclectic and has included gypsy wedding songs, Broadway numbers, African chants, classical choral and pop. Their mission is to be an inexpensive mother and baby group focusing on the needs of the mother, with a safe and nurturing environment for the child; to be a support group for new mums adjusting to their new world; and to be a non-audition, community choir where women challenge themselves in a way that is different from the wonderful, but sometimes tiring, existence of raising children.
Contact the committee on email@example.com.
Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group (Singapore)
Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group (BMSG) has a vision of a vibrant community of breastfeeding mothers who find emotional support, encouragement, companionship and information within the organisation. BMSG also envisions a community where breastfeeding is seen as normal, and is part of society’s fabric. To make this vision a reality, they facilitate support for breastfeeding mothers, education for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and families, public awareness and advocacy in the community. They offer breastfeeding counselling, workshops, and support group meetings for mothers.
Contact their helpline on 6339 3558, WhatsApp 6339 3558, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.breastfeeding.org.sg.
Chapter Zero started back in 2015 by two mums who were yearning for children to have a childhood with more freedom, play, and respect so they set up the organisation hoping to make a change, with one family at a time. They founded the Facebook group Respectful/Mindful Parenting Singapore which now has 15,000 followers and has been instrumental in creating a large supportive community of parents and caregivers. The natural next step was to meet the growing demand of parents wanting more depth in their learning by creating and facilitating the in-house workshops ‘Respectful Parenting Workshops Series’ and ‘The Mindful Nanny’; offering expert-facilitated playgroups; training parents in the internationally known ‘Parent Effectiveness Training’; hosting talks and events with Nonviolent Communication trainers; and organising their popular Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds which give children the opportunity for some child-led play and family bonding.
Contact Li Ling, Aletheia and Steph on email@example.com, www.chapterzero.org.