Northwest NEWS

May 25, 1998

Features

Newsletter provides support for moms

  by Deborah Stone



   Evergreen Hospital's weekly Parent-Baby Time support groups are popular with mothers and their infants. Parenting experts provide advice and support on everything from breastfeeding and nutrition to sleeping issues. Moms also get the opportunity to share lots of their own experiences and discoveries about parenthood.
  
   Two years ago, several mothers came up with the idea of a newsletter in order to share their learning with other parents who weren't able to attend the weekly sessions. The Baby Monitor began as a simple photocopied sheet, and today it is a professionally designed publication produced quarterly and distributed to the weekly Parent-Baby Time sessions, as well as to eastside libraries and family practice and OB/GYN offices.
  
   Unlike other published sources for parents, The Baby Monitor is not a textbook or theory-based publication about parenting. It is written by mothers for mothers with stories that come from the heart based on experiences and questions about parenting. Articles have addressed issues such as co-sleeping, returning to work, on-demand nursing and finding family-friendly businesses. There's poetry written by moms, recipes, book reviews and notices about various support group meetings. An occasional article written from a father's perspective can also be found.
  
   Woodinville resident Pam Rivard is a mother of three who, in the past, submitted articles to The Baby Monitor. She enjoyed being a part of Evergreen's Parent-Baby groups with her youngest child, Teddy, now three. "I didn't have a big support system, so being a part of these classes gave me a feeling of community," says Rivard. "I always enjoyed reading the newsletters because it brought home the realization that we were all in the same boat together, experiencing so many of the same things."
  
   Rivard contributed several stories about her ideas and experiences regarding baby nutrition and the advice that parents receive. She acknowledges the difficulty that moms have in sifting through the mountains of advice that is dispensed about parenting. She says, "Listen to your heart and you won't go wrong. This is the best advice."
  
   Martha Mahoney, of Bothell, is mother to fifteen month old Zoe whom she delivered at Evergreen. She, too, has received much support from Evergreen's classes and sees The Baby Monitor as an extension of that support. "It's important to know that you're not alone in what you experience and the problems you might be having," explains Mahoney. "It helps to hear from other moms and learn how they are dealing with certain situations or issues."
  
   Mahoney contributed an article about her personal experiences with breastfeeding which she felt would be helpful to many first-time moms. She, like Rivard, encourages women to trust their instincts and not worry about what the books say. "Do what comes natural to you," says Mahoney, "because it will be what's right for your baby."