Mommy Group Celebrates 20 Years
November 9, 2018
Twenty years ago, a program that would change the lives of many Haywood County mothers and babies was started by caring Lactation Consultants who were determined to give mothers the support they needed to meet their parenting goals.
The Mother’s Connection at Haywood Regional Medical Center, more lovingly known as Mommy Group, was started in the fall of 1998 by Betsy Wall and Marion Lane, the IBCLCs on staff at Haywood Regional Medical Center. At the time, it was the only support group for new mothers in all of Western NC.
Betsy Wall explained, “We already had a good childbirth class in place. What we found is that we did a wonderful job of preparing mothers for this one day in their life, but they were so not prepared for how the rest of their life would change with the birth of their baby.” The hospital was very supportive of the concept of a mothering class. Betsy and Marion began the class with 9 mothers and their babies twenty years ago.
The mission of the class was to prevent Post-Partum depression and to provide maternal infant bonding.
They succeeded beyond their hopes. Mothers and their new babies would come for a series of classes for 4 weeks. They discussed the typical issues that concern new families in the early days and provided education, support and a social outlet. Betsy stated it had a huge impact. “To see a mother walking this path, struggling and then finding success; it was a big confidence builder. A mother could open her heart and find support, both among her peers and from the Lactation Consultants.”
Over the years, the program expanded, extending Mommy Group meetings through the first year of life and offering it to any mother in the area. Mothers have attended the annual Halloween party and Mother’s Day celebrations and made friendships that continued past their time at Mommy Group. They have stated it is the best class they have taken and that it made an incredible difference in their lives. Jennifer Passwaters, who attended Mommy Group with both her daughters stated that “Mommy Group saved my life. It gave me my ‘village’ that I so desperately needed. I would encourage moms to attend this group as it is so much more than a class.”
The Mother’s Connection meets every Tuesday at the Fitness Center from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. It is free to all moms and babies from birth to 12 months. Questions may be directed to 828-452-8440.