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New Parents' Support Groups

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Therapists, Counseling , & Support Groups > New Parents' Support Groups


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2010 - 2013 Recommendations


I'm looking for a new mom's support group.

May 2013

I'm looking for a new mom's support group in Berkeley or close by. Has anyone attended a new mom's support group at Birthways in Berkeley? What was your experience? Did you foster lasting relationships with the other Moms in the group? Do you have any other suggestions for groups? Thanks


I've attended new moms groups at Bananas, Support Group for Mothers, and Kaiser Oakland. I really liked the Bananas group and we continued to meet afterwards, but things sort of fizzled out when everyone went back to work. The Kaiser Oakland group was pretty good, and people kept in touch afterwards, but it's large and sometimes a little chaotic (but it's free). I wouldn't recommend Support Group for Mothers -- it was really expensive, the facilitator was flaky, and we didn't keep in touch afterwards (the facilitator had said she would help with this and then we never heard from her again). I suggest checking out the free groups before you pay for one. anonymous
I did Support Group for Mothers: http://www.supportgroupformothers.com/index.php It's been almost two years and we are still in regular contact with each other (we started a Google group and that helped). I'm sure that some of it is luck, but my group is full of wonderful, smart women. We are always asking advice, sharing tips, and keeping updated on all the kiddos. Good luck!

2nd Time Moms Group

May 2013

I'm hoping people can share their experiences with Gina Hassan's Mindful Mothering Group and Support Group for Mothers, specifically the groups for second time moms. Would you recommend them for a second time mom, if so, which one and why? If not, please share your thoughts and opinions.

I'm considering joining one but I'm not sure if I'll have the time, energy or the interest once the baby is here, though it seems like a nice idea now (I also have a toddler who will be at preschool part time).

Lastly, if anyone has any recommendations or advice for second time moms with toddlers, please share! Thanks!


Cant recommend Gina Hassan's 2nd Time Moms/mindful mothering enough. Well facilitated and a good combination of sharing, skill-building/mindfulness experiential stuff, and support. I actually did Support Group for Mothers with my first child and didn't like the facilitator-- nice lady and all but I didn't find it all that insightful. Mindfulness practice, by the way, is very accessible --I wasn't sure if it was my kind of thing before I experienced it. Whatever you choose, I do think a group for 2nd time moms is great b/c it's quite a different thing than the first time around... Best wishes! Another Mama
Hi: I looked into both of these. Unfortunately neither group had enough people for ''quorum'' to actually start the group so I dont have feedback on the groups themselves. That said, based on previous experience with her individually and the communication I did get, I would recommend Gina's group other the Support Group for Mothers for exactly the reason you mention in your post.

In terms of whether to do it at all, Id say if the opportunity is there, you should do it. The baby basics are not so bad this time, whats really hard is managing the two child dynamic when the older sibling is still young. I wish I had more people to talk to about this. It will be a nice time to connect with other mamas while your older is in school. Hope this helps! New Challenges the Second Time Around


Seeking group for moms/parents of newborns

March 2013

I'm home with baby #2 for her first year and at barely one month in I'm already desperate for some adult interaction! I noticed some posts about new mom/parents' groups when I was still expecting back in January but can't seem to find quite the right fit now. This is baby #2 for me, born in early February, and I have an older son in preschool. I'd love to get together with other parents during the weekdays, maybe once or twice a week, who are also home with newborns. I live in Oakland but am willing to travel throughout the immediate east bay for walks, coffee dates, shopping, etc. If interested or if you know of a group that might fit my needs, feel free to email me. I'd prefer a free group, obviously, but would consider a group with a small fee as well. Thanks in advance! Becky


Hi Becky, I wanted to recommend BRIDGES Moms Group http://www.bridgesmomsgroup.com/ This group is facilitated by Emily Shenson who is a Bay Area doula (actually my doula for both of my children's births). I was in a similar boat as you last year after the birth of my son and was seeking a group to join. BRIDGES was a great fit and I met other Moms some first time, some 2nd time and we became very close (I'm still in contact with most today). This group may be more structured than you were looking for, but I believe it opens the doors for additional outings and activities, not to mention an immediate group of babies within the same age-range as your baby. I truly valued my time in this group and I would sign-up again if I ever have another baby. And I wish you good luck in your search. Sincerely, Marie

2nd time mom's group

Nov 2012

Hi- I joined a fantastic mom's group when I had my frist son. I had my second two weeks ago, and I'd love to join a second time mom's group, but I'm having a hard time finding one. Does anyone have any suggestions? I have to go back to work in Febuary, so it would need to start relatively soon. Thanks! stephanie


I recently did a second-time moms group with Support Group for Mothers, and it was a big disappointment. I felt the facilitator was ineffective and unreliable (not to mention that she changed the start date for the group and didn't let us know until the day it was supposed to start, and she was pretty bad about responding to emails in a timely manner, if she even responded at all). That was the only second-time moms group I could find. I hope you have better luck than I did. Anon
I can't remember the original posting but Gina Hassan does ''mindful mothering'' groups and she does a 2nd time moms group. I haven't been a 2nd time mom yet but had a great experience in her mindful mothering group. http://www.ginahassan.com/Mothers-Groups.html anon

New Moms / Parents Group

Nov 2012

Wondering if there are Mommy and Me or New Parents groups in Emeryville or Berkeley? I have a lovely new baby not quite six months old. My husband and I have decided that I will stay at home for a couple of years to devote time to raising our baby and possibly return to work when it is time for preschool. I am interested in learning about community gatherings and resources for new parents and their babies. Thank you! Happy New Mom in Emeryville


I used to go to the mother's group in Alta Bates hospital. They have 2 mom and baby sessions- one for babies under 6 months and one for babies over 6 month. Its not very expensive ($10 per session). It was a great way to make friends and get to know more about the community. Here is the link http://www.absmcparented.org/class_detail.php Momat30

Mom's group for a first time Mom

July 2012

I'm looking for a recommendation for a Mom's group for a first time Mom. Hi! I'm looking for a moms group to join:) My baby is 9wks old and we would love to meet other moms & babies. We are located in the Lake Merritt area. If there is an existing group or some people are interested in forming a group, please contact me:)Thanks for your Suggestions


I joined Bridges new moms' group led by Emily Shenson (also my doula!) and cannot imagine becoming a new mom without this amazing group. We meet weekly at Emily's home and she facilitates the group. She knows how to create a safe and fun place for incredible women to gather, share and grow. Having a laid- back and experienced facilitator allows us to open up more and bond in a way that is truly unique. Emily's also an invaluable source of support and resources for new parents. Here's a link to more information: http://www.bridgesmomsgroup.com/ Kate
Tulip Grove offers a wonderful mom's group for new moms. Kim
You might want to look into MOMS Club of Oakland. Most of our activities are on weekdays so it is great for stay-at-home moms (or those who work part-time). Email momsclubofoakland@yahoo.com for more information. Sarah
If your baby is younger than about 5 months, I'd recommend Support Group for Mothers: http://www.supportgroupformothers.com/index.php One baby in our group was 10 days old at the first meeting, and mine was almost 5 months; 2 months old was about average. It's a fantastic support group for new moms. There is a fee, but for me it was totally worth it to really connect with other moms, and the facilitation helped with that. Our group is still in frequent contact and we often plan group outings. Congratulations!
I whole-heartedly recommend Bridges Moms Group, www.bridgesmomsgroup.com. This is a fantastic group facilitated by Emily Shenson a doula who works in the Bay Area (who I also highly recommend). This is a great group because it provides a safe, nonjudgmental environment for moms to discuss concerns, fears, strengths as well as learn and grow with other women. It is a place where you establish long-lasting, valuable friendships, that will continue to grow as your babies do. If you have questions you can visit the website posted above, or call Emily at (510) 224-7255. Marie
If you are looking to join an amazing moms group, you should check out BRIDGES. The website is http://www.bridgesmomsgroup.com/ The group is run by Emily Shenson. Emily has been a birth and postpartum doula for 13 years and she knows her stuff! She is mentioned by other people in reference to her doula work on other parts of this site. We originally hired Emily to be our postpartum doula but it turned out we didn't need help at night because we got lucky with a super easy newborn. When we met Emily, I told her I was looking for a good moms group where I wasn't going to feel like everyone was just comparing their babies and just being sort of competetive in general (something I've heard from other moms about these sorts of groups). Emily mentioned that she ran her own group and that it was the opposite of what I described. I am SOOOOO glad I listened. BRIDGES has been the best thing I have done since becoming a mom (10 weeks ago). It might just be one of the best things I have ever been a part of. This group is uplifting and empowering. Emily always says, I hoped it would be the best part of your week, but I never realized it would be the best part of my week too''. She is so right. I think everyone in our group right now would agree that we all look so forward to our meetings every week. The group lasts for 8 sessions and every single one is just as special and moving as the last. It is blatantly obvious that Emily has put a tremendous amount of thought and work into creating a safe, warm, inviting,and uplifting environment for new moms in this group. The group is very small, she limits it to 8 people and she holds it in her home in Lafayette (also another one in the city), so it is intimate and you can really get to know the other women deeply. I am currently in two other moms groups and there is absolutely no comparison when it comes to BRIDGES. They feel just shallow and somewhat sloppy, and the facilitators haven't promoted any sort of relationship building beyond introductions. And it's not just that Emily has put a lot of thought/work into making each meeting special, it's also just her spirit. She is able to make women appreciate each other and promote friendships in people who maybe would have never thought they would have had a connection. If you are looking for a moms group where you will likely build lifelong bonds and feel like you are a part of something really special in this precious new chapter of your life, check out the BRIDGES website and give Emily a call. It's been one of the best experiences of my life! EB
I've loved the Bridges Moms Group I've been a part of for the past several weeks. Emily Shenson, a birth and postpartum doula, facilitates the group and, although I know I could have have joined an unfacilitated group, I've valued the time Emily puts into organizing each session. She really stresses building a safe space to share and it has been great to have a place to talk freely about everything from the transition to motherhood to sleep techniques to intimacy with my partner post-baby I feel like I'm walking away from the group with a better sense of who I want to be as a mom ... and with some great fellow moms with whom to share in the journey. Bridges' website is www.bridgesmomsgroup.com; you can also reach Emily Shenson at (510) 224-7255. Congratulations on your new baby, Katie! KM

2007 - 2009 Recommendations


Grandparents' Support Group

Jan 2009

A close friend of mine and her husband have just become parents for their grandchildren. The grandchildren have had to relocate to Berkeley, start new schools, develop friendships, etc. Does anyone know of a support group for my friend and her husband? I know there are many grandparents who are raising their grandchildren and are the primary caretakers. Thanks.


Habitot Children's Museum has a number of active parent support groups for non-traditional parents who don't feel comfortable in standard parent groups (eg multiracial families, LGBTQ parents, etc.) and is planning to start a group for grandparents as caregivers. This group would be aimed at grandparents of preschool aged children, however. Contact Susana at parented@habitot.org if you are interested. Gina

New born parents group in El Sobrante?

April 2008

We will have a baby girl in May. And would like to join a new born parents group in El Sobrante, Albany area. Any recommendations? new born parents


Congratulations on the anticipated arrival of your baby girl! My daughter was born in May of 2005 and when she was five weeks old, I joined a new mom's group through ''Support Group for Mothers''--an East Bay tradition of facilitated groups for local moms. Three years later...we are still meeting (this is not uncommon, as the SGFM groups have a strong tradition of longevity, which I love). To be completely transparent, I now facilitate these first-time groups for moms and their newborns in Oakland for Support Group for Mothers, and can share with you, that joining a support group is a wonderful thing to do...for your whole family. You can learn more about how the groups work here: http://www.supportgroupformothers.com/.

I'll just give you some quick info. There are groups forming in May, June and July very close to you in Albany - right by San Pablo & Solano Avenues. Groups are put together based on baby's birthdate and where you live, which makes for amazing connection. The women who facilitate the groups near you (Jennifer, Molly and Miracle) are incredible - all mothers with lots of professional and personal newborn care experience--you can read about them here: http://www.supportgroupformothers.com/group_facilitators.htm

I just ended a group yesterday, and all of the moms shared how much they have valued our group, sharing ideas and experiences, and getting out in the world together with their babies. I have no doubt they will continue to help each other out and have fun parenting with new support. If you have questions or want to talk with Jennifer or B about the groups, call 868-2617 or send an email via the website. Good luck to you during this last month of pregnancy - such a time of anticipation and growth as you await meeting your daughter. Best wishes for a wonderful birth, Elisa (mom and group facilitator)


2004 - 2006 Recommendations


Mindful Parenting Group

March 2004

I have seen a listing for a mindful mothering or parenting support group through this network before, but haven't seen it posted recently. Has anyone participated in it, and if so, what was your experience and how can I reach the person facilitating it?


We took a mindful childbirth class with a woman named Nancy Bardacke (which was great) - and I wouldn't be surprised if she also did mindful parenting classes... anon
I have attended Yvonne Mansell's group ''Mindfulness and Mothering'' for the last six months. She does a wonderful job of providing warmth and wisdom in reflecting on mindfulness and parenting. I've also enjoyed reading the Kabat-Zinn's book ''Everyday Blessings'' as part of the group. The group meets monthly and Yvonne asks for a 3 month commitment. The next block starts in about a month, so it's a good time to contact her.

You can reach Yvonne by e-mail: ymansell AT earthlink.net or phone (510) 528-9551.


I have been a part of the mindful parenting (moms) group since last fall and it is based on readings from Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn's book Everyday Blessings. We meet once a month on a Saturday from 10 -12. The woman who facilitates the group is Yvonne Mansell, she can be reached at her email ymansell@earthlink.net. I have really enjoyed the connection with the other women in the group (there are generally 5 of us there-including Yvonne). We discuss issues that come up for us in our parenting and how mindfulness can and does play a part in our learning about and understanding our children and ourselves. Participating in the group and reading the book have been very positive experiences for me. Yvonne will be able to give you more information when you contact her directly. marion
A great resource regarding parenting issues is Helen Lockwood. She is a marriage and family therapist doing individual and family counseling, is also a therapist at a school for special needs children, where she works with kids and parents; and also has a parent coaching practice. I have found her behavior- oriented approach concise and compassionate. I recommend her highly! Zoe
I participated in the Mindful Parenting group last summer and fall and found it very helpful. Yvonne Mansell (who leads the group) is very compasionate and supportive while keeping a sense of humor about it all. I enjoyed the group and felt very comfortable sharing my concerns and experiences with the other mothers. I highly recommend the group for anyone who is looking for support in parenting in a more conscious way. You can find information about the group at http://home.earthlink.net/~ymansell/resume.html or email Yvonne at ymansell AT earthlink.net Stephanie
I participated in the mindful parenting group for several sessions and I highly recommend it. Small groups meet for 2 hours at a time and use the book Everyday Blessings by Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn as a guide. The meetings start and end with a brief meditation. The leader provides a relaxing and peaceful place to contemplate mindfulness practices in daily family life. Contact Yvonne Mansell at 528-9551 for more information. Lee

2003 & Earlier


Group that includes both moms and dads

April 2002

My partner and I are looking for a parenting group that involves parents in general rather than just moms. Does anybody know of an existing one or have an interest in starting one? thanks Karen and Tim


Couples groups have always been so hard to organize

Martha Harris is the first person in a long time to offer a group for new couples: 925-284-4426 I think she may be holding it at The Nurture Center in Contra Costa County.

Bruce Linton used to do some Couples Groups and he does see couples with new babies for 3 sessions to look at the impact of a baby on relationships. His website is a wonderful resource for fathers: http://www.fathersforum.com

If you need other resources for life with a new baby, please visit: http://www.supportgroupformothers.com Sherry Reinhardt


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