This month, we’re thrilled to share with you the stories of how two TAPS families built their village and what they’re saying about their TAPS group experience! These two families want you to get starting building your village and here’s why -
The Ness Family
Before joining their TAPS group, Nikki and her husband Adam were overwhelmed and lonely. Their immediate family support isn’t local, and as much as they were true partners in caring for their newborn, they say, “we needed support.” Nikki remembers those early weeks, saying, “It's easy to feel like you are the only ones struggling with being a new parent and dealing with unexpected challenges.”
During their ten week group experience, Nikki says, “I felt very supported and accepted when working through the struggles I experienced with feeding and adjusting to going back to work.” Nikki and her group used a great deal of their topic discussion time to help each other problem solve when they needed it. Nikki shared, “At first it was a little scary to be vulnerable, but I quickly discovered that I wasn't alone and I was met with kindness and understanding. My husband and I also received great tips for sleep training and traveling with a baby.”
Nikki’s group finished earlier this year and since then, she says, “I feel more confident as a mom. I don't feel alone. I can now say that I have found my tribe.”
Being in a group together helped the Ness family find connection to other families that they can both lean on for support. Nikki says, “The couples in our group are some of the best people I have met. They are great parents and I'm excited to see our friendships blossoming.”
The groups still gathers at least twice per month. They decided on a structured approach that blends the classic alumni group with more social outings. NIkki describes their meetings saying, “We still get together twice a month, once at a family's home to share our highs and lows and give each other tips and another time out in the community to socialize. I look forward to each get-together! I love seeing all of the babies grow and develop new milestones together.”
Nikki says, “I highly recommended the group to other new parents I've met because I know what it's like, especially in the first few months, and I want others to know that they don't have to go through it alone.”
The Chamberlain Family
Angela and Brian, also members of a recent couples group, want parents to know that they don’t have to feel like they are the only ones doing through sleepless nights and experiencing a tough transition to parenthood. Angela says, “My TAPS group started when our son was 3 months old. I had one more month left of maternity leave before I went back to work. My husband was fortunate enough to have a long paternity leave but around this time I started experiencing long days caring for my son all alone. It really started to take a toll on me and I felt completely overwhelmed, tired, and lonely especially since we do not have any local family or support.”
Angela says, “My TAPS group was a beacon of hope and it helped me feel like everything my husband and I were going through was normal. The group allowed us to connect with others who honestly knew exactly what we were going through - it was so comforting to know we weren't alone.”
During their group experience, much like the Ness Family, the Chamberlains received a lot of support and suggestions from other group members. “My husband and I really struggled with sleep,” Angela shared, “Like most parents - for several weeks it took us 3-4 hours to put our son down for bed every single night." It seemed like it would never end or get better.” Their group talked about this common experience and Angela says that it helped to learn what worked for others and get suggestions for how they could improve their night time routine. “One parent suggested we start bed time an hour earlier and to stay consistent with the routine and in a few weeks, sure enough, our son started to get the hang of it. At around 5 months he started to consistently sleep 10-12 hours through the night and dropped his night feedings!”
The group sharing time was immensely valuable to Brian and Angela. “We also shared all sorts of ideas, Angela says, “about how to travel with the baby, how to cope with going back to work, day care and child care concerns and challenges, and we learned how to soothe our babies with songs.” The conversations carried home and helped the Chamberlains bond as they figured out what would work for their family. “My husband and I found ourselves recalling our conversations from TAPS when we were stumped or needed to try a new approach with our son,” Angela says, “And that support in those early days with our baby was invaluable.”
Angela says that she still makes getting together with her group a priority. “We still meet with our TAPS group regularly and we really enjoy the company of all the families. I attend a weekly music class for babies with one of the other moms from our group. And my husband has met socially with one of the other dads from the group. Another mom and I also see each other at day care because our sons are in the same classroom.”
Angela loved her experience and wants others to be able to experience this supportive village as well. “TAPS has been a wonderful way to make friends, connect with other families, and build some local support. Our group is pretty amazing too and we really enjoy the company of the other families and hanging out with them,” Angela shared.
How will you #BuildYourVillage?
TAPS groups get started about every 3 months. Volunteers lead group meetings and help families make connections that include sharing emotions and experiences, sharing information and suggestions, setting up social gatherings, and sharing a snack or a meal together during group meetings. These villages are built for you to both give and receive support. Together, you will grow as parents, learning to understand and value each others’ experiences and choices. And our hope for each of our groups is that each family would find at least one other family to stay connected with for the long journey of parenting.
The new parent experience is a unique life transition that happens in every family with every new child. It’s almost always a challenge and almost always comes with a mix of emotions including joy, grief, stress, and hope. It’s an experience that is so ubiquitous, we feel that EVERY PARENT, no matter the age, life experiences, or early parenting choices, needs a supportive community with whom they can grow during this experience.
Let us help you #BuildYourVillage!
Sign up for a TAPS group this summer and make it an incredible summer of parenting.
Check our Calendar of groups so see when the next one near you is getting started!
Learn about the group experience, what to expect, and why TAPS might be a great fit for your family.