For the journey of motherhood, Loma Linda University Health's Birth and Beyond Support Group offers a supportive community, surrounding new mothers with a team of caring, experienced mentors who focus on women and their families.
The free support group is led by an experienced team of professionals, including lactation consultants and mental health specialists, and offers a wide range of assistance. From answering prenatal questions to supporting moms throughout their breastfeeding journey, the team provides personalized advice and guidance tailored to each individual's needs.
One of the primary benefits of the Birth and Beyond Support Group is the sense of belonging it offers to new moms.
“We have moms who come in who are just exhausted and feel isolated and they get to be surrounded by others who encourage them and say, ‘hey, that stage is only a couple of weeks, this too shall pass,’” said Mandy Lindberg, a perinatal health specialist who leads the support group.
The power of the group lies in the mutual support and exchange of knowledge among its members. Moms who have overcome certain challenges inspire and guide those who are a few weeks behind, while gaining insights from those who are a few weeks ahead.
“They’ll share tips and tricks, like, ‘have you tried this new baby carrier or this swaddle blanket, or have you tried holding the baby in this position,’” said Lindberg.
Moms are welcome at any stage, from pregnancy to multiple births, understanding that parenthood is an ongoing journey filled with evolving needs and questions.
In-person sessions take place on Mondays at the Birth and Beyond Education Center, while virtual sessions are held on Wednesdays and Fridays. The virtual option was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic and has allowed the support group to extend its reach beyond the local area, accommodating moms who may have had to travel long distances or have work commitments.
Jasmine Creighton, who was pregnant with her second child during the lockdown, found solace in the Birth and Beyond Support Group. "I found the group and started coming religiously," she recalls. "At that time, to be pregnant with everything shut down and not knowing if you can visit family outside of who's in your home was a really emotional time. Having a group of moms to lean on who were going through what I was going through was huge. We were like virtual sisters."
Creighton's experience was so transformative that she joined the staff as a perinatal health specialist. Now, she brings her firsthand knowledge and understanding to support other moms. "It's exciting and very rewarding," she said. "I go in with this heart full of joy and happiness because I was literally there. I know what you're going through, and I can tell you that it's going to be okay. We're going to help you get through this."
The group sessions are from 9:30 am to 11:30 am and are designed to be flexible, allowing moms to come and go as needed. There is no strict start or end time, recognizing the demands and unpredictability of motherhood.
To join or learn more about their resources, visit Birth and Beyond Support Group.