Becoming a new mom, in addition to being one of the happiest moments of a woman’s life, can also be one of the most isolating.
Going from an all-adult world to an all-baby world can be quite a shock for many moms.
That was not the side of motherhood Amanda Majstorovic cared to experience.
On Sept. 4, Majstorovic launched Chilliwack Active Moms.
The group already has more than 200 members.
“There’s nothing [in Chilliwack] that caters to new moms,” said Majstorovic, mother of three-month-old Hunter.
Chilliwack Active Moms is a meet-up group for moms with young children to get outside, be social and active.
So far, the group has explored Vedder Trail, Great Heron Nature Reserve, and Sardis Park. It has plans for both beginner and more advanced walks and hikes.
On its first day, the group attracted 17 moms, one with a baby just two weeks old, and another who was still seven-and-a-half months pregnant. That day, an older gentleman on the trail asked if they were part of a mom convention.
“We’re already getting noticed,” smiled Majstorovic.
Majstorovic started the group as a way of meeting other moms in the area. A recent Chilliwack transplant, she had a limited social network and no one with babies around her. When she discovered West Coast Active Moms, a Langley-based group that had more than 400 members, she connected with the organizer to start a branch of her own.
On a cloudy Tuesday afternoon, while walking through the fallen leaves at the Great Heron Nature Reserve, a group of seven moms, with their babies in carriers and strollers, shared their stories of childbirth, breastfeeding, sleep schedules, comforts of maternity pants, and personal successes.
“These are pre-pregnancy pants!” boasted Angela Manweiler, as she pulled at the legs of her pants.
Had Majstorovic not started the group, Manweiler might very well have. The mother of five-month-old Edwin, a biologist in her professional life, admits she was going a bit stir crazy.
“I was searching online for a mom group since I was pregnant… I even put an ad on Craigslist,” she said. “I think this a good way to meet other people, and I want [Edwin] to have friends.”
Wendy Bickis, mom of three-month-old Finnegan, found the transition from career woman to new mom difficult.
“It can be quite isolating being at home with just your baby,” she said.
Daena Van Agteren agreed.
Eight weeks ago Van Agteren, who was training for the RCMP when she got pregnant, gave birth to her daughter Nya, a child she was not expected to ever have.
“I’m not sure how to be a stay-at-home mom,” she admitted to the group. “But I’m learning.”
Laura Starblanket hopes the group will help her get back into shape. Starblanket was quite active before and during pregnancy, even climbing Promontory stairs at nine-months pregnant. But because she had a caesarean section six months ago when she had her daughter Siena, she was forbidden to exercise for at least six weeks after.
“Waiting [to exercise] was brutal,” said Starblanket. “All I’ve wanted was to get back to being active.”
For these moms, the hour walk was pure salvation, giving them one hour of real, adult conversation.
“Your social life changes dramatically when you have a child, and it can be hard to find people to hang around with,” said Majstorovic. “This is giving moms an opportunity to get out and socialize with new people going through similar things … so they’re not just having to talk to their little baby all day.”
Chilliwack Active Moms meets twice a week, various days and times. All information for upcoming events is on the website www.meetup.com/Chilliwack-Active-Moms/