Interview with Jamie Easton, Mother and Founder of The Mom Walk Collective
Motherhood allows for new social relationships and connections with other families in the same phase of life. However, finding opportunities to connect with other mothers can be challenging and sometimes leave new parents, especially those at home, feeling lonely. Even if you are fortunate enough to have close friends or family who also have children, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will relate to your experiences. It can be life-changing to find companionship with other mothers who can understand what you’ve been through, have relatable successes or failures, or help ease the transition into this new phase of life.
When I delivered my first baby in Copenhagen, Denmark, I was assigned a “mom group” in my neighborhood with women who delivered their babies within the same month. We supported one another and looked forward to our much-needed weekly hangouts. More importantly, we used each other as a sounding board for things our kids were experiencing or to raise concerns we had. Nine years later and spread all over the world, our group still has frequent WhatsApp conversations, FaceTimes, and mom vacations. Denmark set a high bar for my postnatal expectations and I was disappointed to find my deliveries back home in America were not met with free organized mother groups or other helpful resources. It was much lonelier and I often wished I had mothers in my area to connect with. I wasn’t surprised to learn someone else felt this way and am thrilled one mom decided to do something about it!
For this week’s Meems Monday, we spoke with Jamie Easton, mother and founder of The Mom Walk Collective. Twice a month, local walks are organized to bring mothers together, help them find their village, and offer a bi-weekly free outing! Read on to realize what the hype is all about and how The Mom Walk Collective has grown to 168 cities in under one year! As Jamie notes, it's “time to serve the moms” and that is exactly what The Mom Walk Collective has set out to do.
Finding a village
After paying to attend a newborn class, Jamie quickly realized it wasn’t the right environment to connect with new moms and was searching for a more laid back meet-up where you weren’t paying to be there. Unable to find any that fit her needs, she turned to social media. Jamie posted that she would be going for a walk with her baby and invited other moms in the area to join, though she honestly didn’t think anyone would come. To her surprise, two mothers showed up. A few weeks later, she repeated the post and 15 strangers joined. Jamie explains, “They didn’t come with friends or partners; everyone who came wanted to find community.” She realized lots of mothers were looking for the same thing and knew she needed to serve them. Soon after, she formed The Mom Walk Collective, which has been growing quickly ever since. There are so many motivating factors for new moms to take the leap and look for opportunities to make friends. In 2021, a research study funded by The Finnish Cultural Foundation found social integration with mothers in the same neighborhood positively affected their sense of shared identity and transition to motherhood. The study confirmed that meeting local moms reduced postpartum blues and depression by promoting greater and more meaningful social integration. Similar to my experiences in Denmark, Finland sees the value in making sure families have a strong sense of shared community and support, it is no reason both these places continue to be ranked the happiest countries in the world!
Benefits of Making Connections
One goal of The Mom Walk Collective is to provide a safe space that allows women to connect and ask questions. At the beginning of the walk, the host (a mom who starts the walk in her community) will attempt to draw on shared experiences between participants by asking them to raise their hands for questions. For example, if they’re a mom of multiple children, if they had a child in the NICU, if they’re struggling with mental health, etc. This allows participants to forge connections based on their shared lived experiences. “We have testimonies from moms who could connect on things, say IVF, and that their support has changed each other’s lives. It is nice to meet other moms going through the same thing,” notes Jamie. She also goes on to say that your new best friend might not be on this walk or the next, but maybe by that third walk, you have found them. “We want to encourage moms to keep coming and connecting. This collective aims to show moms that they no longer need to feel isolated and alone” says Jamie. By going to free biweekly meetups mothers can feel more a part of their community.
Jamie talks about testimonies from new moms who were the first to become parents in their social circle and were looking to find new relationships with neighbors that also started a family. Being able to form new relationships with families at the same stage can greatly increase your happiness after starting a family. The Mom Walk Collective is a great way to offer moms a free social resource. According to an article published by Reuters entitled A Mother's Friendships May be Good for Baby's Brains, a child’s development can benefit from a mother’s social and support networks. Jamie says she has never been invited to more birthday parties than she attended in the past year, the majority of which were invitations from new friends made through The Mom Walk Collective. Since the walks are local, families all live close by, and have been able to lean on each other outside of the walks for big celebrations like birthdays, but also for playdates, recommendations, or emergency babysitters!
Find your walk
If you want to join a walk, head over to The Mom Walk Collective and find one in your neighborhood. If you don’t see one offered in your area you can become an ambassador and The Mom Walk Collective will help with the onboarding process! Jamie has started to plan for the next phase of The Mom Walk Collective and is facilitating new age ranges. Especially as the first group of children get older and are less interested in being in the stroller, they have included breaks at playgrounds so children can get out to play. “We are evolving and adapting to the needs of our community,” says Jamie. Follow The Mom Walk Collective on social media and watch as they grow across the world, offering much-needed support for families along the way.
Thank you to Jamie for speaking with us and for starting a valuable resource for new mothers!