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Pregnancy and Baby raising away from support system.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello All,


My husband and I recently moved to a new city in the Midwest after growing up and spending our young adulthood in the Northeast.  I got pregnant immediately after our move, and while we are incredibly thrilled to be starting our family, I am dearly missing the support system we had.  When we lived in Boston, we were a maximum of 4 hours from all of our close friends and family.  We could easily drive to our parent's houses for weekend trips and spent much of our free time visiting with our loved ones.  Now that we live in Madison, WI, we are very alone.  We have a few friends, but nobody that we know very well.  We do not yet know anyone else with kids in our area.  It is a 2 day drive or expensive plane ride to see our families.  Phone calls and Facebook are just not the same as face-to-face contact.


So, for those of you in similer situations, how did you handle it?  Through pregnancy?  After the baby is born?


It is an adventure to be starting out fresh in a new city...but with our baby on the way, I am struggling to adjust to our "new normal". 

post #2 of 6
We moved from the Midwest (MN!) to Seattle three years ago so that my husband could attend medical school here. We packed up our three kids (ages 1, 5, and 7 at the time) and left all that we knew and everyone that was near and dear to us - all of our family and our closest friends. Like you, all of our family was always a short drive away. Now, it is a two day drive or an airplane trip.

When we first moved, I felt homesick and it was difficult to be living somewhere in which I had no friends and family (and really didnt know anyone either!). Making close friends took time and it was hard going through that "getting to know you" phase of friendship making because I so desperately just wanted to be around those who already knew me well. Though it was a difficult adjustment, there was beauty in the process as well. Like you said, it is an adventure to be somewhere new - and there is something special about being in a new place, far from home, where you journey with your partner in a way you haven't before.

Here in WA, I have made some of the closest friends I have ever had in my life. Since we are so far from our family and dear friends from home, our community of friends here have truly become family to us. They have helped us with our kids, supported us during challenges, and have just been there in a way that I am so thankful for. When we came here, I knew I needed to find "sister mamas" and connect with families to create a community of support and love. In time, that did happen.

I love to sew and craft and eventually stumbled upon a group of crafty mamas who got together about once a month to craft, chat, and laugh. Several of those mamas (and their families!) have become dear friends of ours. I also met other friends through my kids - they attend a wilderness school once a week and we met many wonderful families through that!

I would encourage you to explore your interests and see if there is perhaps a group or class related to something you are interested in that might lead you to get to know others. It would be great if you could find a way to meet other expecting mamas... maybe somwthing like prenatal yoga or childbirth classes...where perhaps you will find someone that becomes a dear friend down the road! We also met some wonderful families through getting to know my husband's colleagues. The hardest part is it just felt like it took so long to "find our people", but when we did, I was really able to settle into our life here. Actually, we don't know if we'll ever move back to MN now smile.gif...and that thought would have never crossed my mind when we moved here!!

When I read your post, my heart went out to you. Sending love and wishing you the best as you find your way on this new adventure before you!
post #3 of 6

I moved the opposite direction (from Seattle, WA to Minneapolis, MN!) 7 years ago leaving all my family and friends behind.  I swore I'd move back as soon as school was done...but work was solid here, I made friends quickly and created a support system stronger than I ever had before, bought a house, and now moving back would make me sad!  We're lucky in the Midwest to have so many warm and friendly people - I found it was very easy to connect with others here ("Minnesota nice" is real!!), but I'm in a more social setting here than I was in Seattle.  I think I would have made more close friends in Seattle if my job wasn't so isolating, apartment neighbors weren't so weird.  I agree with mama sarah - search out a group with your common interest and you'll build support fast. I haven't had a chance to visit Madison yet, but I've heard it's a lot like Portland, OR and I adored Portland deeply for it's arts, food, and music.  What great mediums to meet fun and interesting people!!


Since becoming pregnant, I find I get waves of sadness when I think about how my baby might not get to know my family in WA, I won't be able to have my mom babysit on a whim, my dad won't take his grandbaby on tractor rides like I had.  I'm planning on making a book on blurb.com to show baby "who loves me" with pics of our family and where they are.  I also have built up my "urban family" - other  friends who don't have family nearby - and get together for holidays/birthdays instead of flying home.  Some of us have kids and we'll take turns doing daycare for one another (anything to help with the costs!!!).  


It took me about 3 years to really learn how to cope being away from my family and to build my support net - I always cry when I drive away from their home, watch Mt. Rainier pass the plane window, or see the mountains dwindle to flat land.  But I always feel complete once see my husband and my dog - for all the times we've moved, for all the places we've traveled, "home is wherever I'm with you".  

post #4 of 6
I've moved 3 times within the first year of my sons life, once from Ohio to Maryland, and more than likely we'll be moving back to Ohio before the baby is born. Even though my in-laws live in Ohio, they were 2 hours away, so their visits were once a month at most. My mother and brother are in Pennsylvania and Maryland, but my mother is 2 hours away and I have a difficult relationship with her, and my brother is an hour away, but is very involved in his own life.

I suffered from PPD after I gave birth to my son, and a major part of the depression was my sense of isolation. Luckily, I discovered some online groups and also joined a few Meetup parenting groups of like-minded moms.
This time around, I'm planning on attending La Leche League meetings and joining a local attachment parent group before the baby is born, so I will create a support network to reach out to. I'm also looking into what PPD support groups are around in case I develop PPD symptoms again.

There are so many other moms needing each other because they are far away from their families...all you have to do is know where to look!
post #5 of 6
DH and I live abroad in the Middle East so even the culture and language here is totally unfamiliar to us, so I feel your pain. All our family and friends are thousands of miles away and when we want to talk it usually involves setting a specific date and time for Skype (esp bc of the time difference). I can still text with some of my friends and family though thanks to iPhones. Despite all that, though, after living here for a little over a year we've found a great support community that truly feels like family. I think it helps that everyone (all the other expats, that is) is in the same boat. We've actually found it far, far easier to make friends here than we ever did when we moved to Boston (where we lived before this), which was a real challenge for us. We felt people there were really clannish and it was hard to break in if you didn't go to school there or have roots in New England. Loved the area, though.

I would second what some others have said and try a moms group. I also joined the Junior League when we moved to Boston and that helped me a lot. Call me crazy but for me it would be difficult to make new friends while prego bc you're not exactly up for long nights out on the town and gabbing over wine and cocktails is unfortunately out of the question! Since Madison is a college town maybe you could consider taking a class or something like that before baby arrives? Not sure if you're working during the day or not but there's gotta be a lot of opportunities for continuing ed there. Or maybe just something like an art class for fun? Maybe a walking group? That would be a good way to keep in shape, too.

Good luck!
post #6 of 6

I knew no one with my first pregnancy. Not even a neighbor. Just my husband. After the birth, I began reaching out online, found a local group of mothers, became involved with them. Found they didn't mesh with my style of parenting very much, so eventually created a sort of natural parenting community on facebook. That community grew to include... maybe seven local counties? a few stragglers around the country. Mothers helping others by donating milk, making meals, visiting in the hospital, and of course sharing information, having dinners together, playdates, etc.

My point is, I didn't have a 'village'; I didn't have anyone. I made my village. If you can't find yours, make one. :) This is a rural, very conservative, very Southern area of the country, so to have a village of not tens, but hundreds of mothers nearby (when I can't even spot a babywearer at the grocery store in the five years I've been here) is a big deal. They came out of the woodwork. We all needed each other. 

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