Mommy Networks

Local moms look to connect virtually and in the real world

The transition to motherhood is marked by many gains. But there are losses, too: the loss of personal space and time, the loss of sleep, the loss of friends.The latter is subtle and at times sad. While some friends who are not parents may be turned off by your new life and jump ship, it is more likely that you become estranged by circumstance, as your time and focus is diverted to the needs of your baby.


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When my daughter was a few weeks old, I had dinner with two close friends. We had a lot of laughs as they talked about their misadventures: blind dates gone awry, office drama, and gossip from the weekend. While I was amused, I felt out of place. I had nothing to contribute, and though they asked me how I was doing, there wasn’t much I could say. When they left, I felt like a bad date had just ended — at once relieved and disappointed.


Despite insisting to my friends throughout my pregnancy that I wasn’t going to change, it became clear I had little choice in the matter. Motherhood is like a secret society. It is an experience that can be both unifying and isolating. For women choosing to stay at home it marks the end of (or a hiatus from) a career. Others must prepare themselves to juggle the intense demands of both work and baby. Either way, it is an exhausting, trying, all-consuming enterprise that must be lived to be fully understood.


Face to face or virtual


That’s what makes connecting with other moms who are in the same boat so important. It offers camaraderie, a much needed chance to interact with other adults, and depending on the forum, an opportunity to learn. In the early weeks and months, any excuse to get out of the house is welcome, and as a first-time mom you may not know anyone else with a baby. In that case, a hospital or community group is a good place to start.


At the Neugarten Birth Center in Rhinebeck, the on-site lactation consultant facilitates a weekly mom-to-mom breastfeeding support group, which offers new moms an opportunity to ask questions of an expert or just chat with other moms who have chosen to breastfeed. Other birthing centers offer a variety of family-oriented classes that may have support groups affiliated with them.

More so than “brick and mortar” mommy groups, the internet allows you to gravitate to people who share the choices you’ve made for your family — whether you breast or formula feed, use cloth or disposable diapers, work or stay at home, co-sleep or use a crib, etc, chances are you’ll find a group online that shares your approach.


Liz Cort of Red Hook started her own group after the birth of her son Jesse in August 2009. When she returned to work full-time, scheduling became an issue with the hospital groups. More important, she had difficulty finding a group that suited her personality.

“I just decided to draw from my own background and branch out and see if other moms had similar interests,” says Cort, a former collegiate basketball player and fitness competitor. She founded Mommy-Baby Fitness in early 2010 using, a sign-up database that allows you to search for or create groups based on shared interests. “I wasn’t sure if there were other moms out there as fanatical about their fitness as me, but there are. Our common bond is that we want to get back in shape, meet other moms, and let our kids play, too.” The group now has 75 members from across the Hudson Valley, and hosts several classes a week, from yoga to hiking to boot camp.


Shannon Gallagher lives in Rhinebeck with her partner and their daughter Coraline.


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