VerMamas meets once a month for nine months in the lobby space at Evolution. It is a consistent group, in our case nine women, facilitated by a therapist, Jessica Ticktin, who has a very warm, grounded and approachable presence. VerMamas fills this void of support that I think women often find postpartum (like, once you have the baby you’re on your own!) when all of the prenatal support of doctors/midwives, concerned and helpful family and friends, prenatal yoga classes and the like have faded into the background. I know in my case as a fairly recent transplant to Vermont (feeling even more recent after the huge transition into motherhood), I was really craving community and a sense of familiarity that I left behind in Philadelphia and am still seeking in my new home here. VerMamas has been a doorway into that community.
Each month our gatherings focus on a particular theme, anything from body image postpartum, to sex and relationship challenges, parenting values and norms, family tensions, etc. We start with check-ins, which I actually find are sometimes the most helpful and illuminating part of our meetings, as they shine a light onto all of the common ground between us. There is time to ask questions and receive feedback from Jessica and other group members. Then we segue into the theme for that session, sometimes within the context of an article that Jessica sent out to the group, and sometimes just moving into the subject matter from our own personal experiences and anecdotes. There are always snacks. And sometimes beer.
I am always struck by how much we end up laughing. Someone will mention a feeling or an experience they had, and thought they were the only one, only to have literally everyone in the group confirm that this has happened to them as well. This is so vital to the process of settling into new motherhood—the feeling that you are doing okay and that you are part of a bigger circle of mothers around you also doing their best and figuring it out along the way. While every single woman in the group is not necessarily someone I would connect with socially, in the container of the group, we come together and see the many ways in which we are really all so similar. I leave after every session kind of amazed at how motherhood unifies people across very different backgrounds and beliefs. It reminds me that none of us are doing this alone.
By, Julia Alter
© Birth Love Family