Even as smitten new parents are falling in love with their perfect baby, they can also feel alone and confused with the sudden, drastic shift in lifestyle. This is where PEPS steps in—bringing together people in the same stage of life. PEPS groups become a place where bleary-eyed moms and dads can find solace and feel understood.
Having found a supportive community, many parents who’ve taken part in a PEPS group encourage other expectant families to do the same. Participation in PEPS often spreads by word-of-mouth: from friend to friend, neighbor to neighbor, and in the case of Kimberly, Kelley, and Sarah, from sister to sister.
Seventeen years ago, Kimberly McDonald joined a PEPS group in West Seattle with her newborn daughter, Celia. As the eldest of three sisters, Kimberly was the first in the close-knit family to have a baby. Her sisters were eager to help out with their new niece. Three years later when her second daughter Cypress was born, Kimberly continued to benefit from the support of her sisters and PEPS friends. Wanting to help others find connection, Kimberly went on to lead two other groups.
Many years later, when Sarah got married and had her son, Theo (now 4), Kimberly urged her to join a PEPS group. Sarah and her husband found an Evening Newborn group near their Ravenna home and were thrilled to meet other couples in the midst of new-parenting chaos.
Inspired by this positive experience, Sarah also participated in a Second Time Around group with her second son, Wesley (now 2). The connections built in this experience continued after the group officially ended. Sarah joined a co-op preschool with three other families from this PEPS group. As the kids have grown from babies to toddlers, they are beginning to play together and develop friendships of their own.
When Kelley and her husband adopted their son Oscar (now 2), the decision to participate in a PEPS group was a no-brainer. She attended a Daytime Newborn group in Greenwood and, like her sisters, found camaraderie among other new parents. She also appreciated the resources the group offered – such as the best baby-friendly spots in Seattle.
After years of support from her sisters, Kimberly is happy to give back by helping with her nephews, while Celia and Cypress, now teenagers, enjoy babysitting their cousins.
Support and connection make all the difference in the overwhelming life of a new parent. Some people find these through family, some through PEPS, and for some very fortunate people, through both.
About the Author
Jessica Towns is a full-time mom and two-time PEPS graduate. She lives in Shoreline with her husband Will and daughter Ravenna, and spends her limited free time writing and drinking a lot of coffee. Jessica holds a civil engineering degree from Seattle University.