It took me 2 years of procrastinating before I applied to train and run my AP peer support group – it was the seed that started the journey of Attachment Parenting UK. Attending a group can feel nerve wracking after the cocoon-like babymoon time at home. But it’s worth going, and then going again, because like-minded friends will prove to be invaluable and you’ll always have more in common with others than you first imagine.
1. It gets you out the house
This might sound trite or over-simple but the unexpected loneliness of parenthood is not to be underestimated. Loneliness goes hand in hand with depression and so having an activity which requires you to leave the house helps you stay engaged with real people. This can be especially important on days when getting dressed and facing people feels like too much effort but it actually what you really need. Making it to a group is an accomplishment in itself.
2. Gives you access to resources
The recommendations of fellow parents are often those you trust the most and the collective knowledge of any group will be amazing. An APUK group also gives you access to practical resources such as books, slings, cloth nappies, demo kits or a clothing swap shop. This all opens up your experience and knowledge of items which you possibly wouldn’t be able to find locally but which really support your parenting.
3. Offers a sense of commonality
It is very normal for several people in a group to be going through a similar challenge. The feeling of commonality can be massively reassuring. Sometimes we might share our achievements or highlights and delight in knowing that others understand their significance. Often we need a space to vent our frustrations and be received by other parents who don’t have a particular agenda to change our experience. Sometimes just knowing we aren’t the only one whose child doesn’t sleep through the night is a welcome relief and by talking we feel less isolated and more able to find solutions and new perspectives together.
Hearing from other parents in the group has inspired and prepared me for when my baby is older and how to support, cherish and set boundaries whilst still being an attentive gentle parent. I’ve also realised there is a lot more support for breastfeeding than I was ever offered. So I know where to turn to if I have another child and struggle with it like I did this time. Lauren
4. Reframes our compassion for others and our children
When we hear other parents’ struggles and feel their vulnerability our hearts go out to them. When we connect with compassion for others it also helps us feel more compassion towards ourselves so we feel less self-critical. This also extends to how we perceive other children and our own.
5. You can build friendships
Even if you’re not overtly social, it can make a difference simply to recognise familiar faces and have chance to develop new friendships, especially if parenthood has altered the contact levels with your pre-parenthood friendship group. The group atmosphere can also be a gentle way of allowing for social interaction because you’re all there for similar reasons.
6. Helps you learn new skills
Many groups offer peer support with breastfeeding or using slings. Attending a group is a great way to learn new skills that might not have been passed down from your own parents or grandparents. It also allows you to develop expertise with the support of others who share your specific interest and enthusiasm.
I am thrilled how much of a difference attending an APUK group has made to my confidence and my attitude about being a parent. Maria
7. Provides valuable outside feedback
Spending a considerable amount of time alone with your child can often mean you don’t see what’s improving or possibly worsening. Having others see you on a regular basis can provide feedback and reminders that things are always changing and when to seek other support if appropriate.
8. Is both low cost and child/adult-friendly
An APUK group is a low cost activity where you and your children will be welcome. It will be a space specifically designed to be safe and engaging for little ones and comfortable and relaxing for adults (tea, coffee and cake provided!)
To find your local group search here