Mom consolidates online help during COVID-19 pandemic

Hundreds of virtual mom support groups were formed across Georgia during the pandemic.

ATLANTA – Thousands of moms across Georgia have found a way to connect and support each other during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was very nerve-racking,” said Chelsea Hinkle, who was pregnant and gave birth during the lockdown. “It sure wasn’t what you imagined when you were a little girl, thinking you’re going to have everyone there, meet your baby.”

Hinkle, like so many others, didn’t expect the pandemic to have such a profound impact on her first pregnancy.

“We thought it would be over by the time we were pregnant or giving birth,” she said.

But, of course, things don’t always turn out the way we hoped.

“I always wanted to be a mom, so I was super, super excited for that,” Hinkle said. “But … I lost my father, 15 days after giving birth. I had a two week old baby and we are right in the middle of COVID. I couldn’t even go to the hospital with my mother It was really, really hard.

Hinkle, in a world of loneliness, set off in search of a connection.

She found him in a virtual support group of other moms and trained facilitators like Teresa Smith.

“The pandemic has caused us all to be very creative ways to connect,” Smith said. “Studies have shown that women do much better when they are in a support network. There are mothers who need to hear that what they are going through is normal and that’s okay.

Hundreds of virtual mom support groups were formed across Georgia during the pandemic.

“People need each other as humans, we have to be connected,” Smith said. “Losing that and trying to recreate it virtually has been both difficult and rewarding because we’ve seen that we can do it and it’s happening.”

For Hinkle, this was a turning point.

“When you hold on to these emotions, they start to leak out of you,” she said. “It’s something that we think we should bury, and we shouldn’t.”

Hinkle learns to navigate his “new normal” without his father, whose name, William, is now his son’s.

Leave it to moms to turn a disconnected world into one that isn’t so lonely, after all.

“If I can give anyone one piece of advice, it’s definitely to ask for help,” Hinkle said. “Be an advocate for yourself, your child, your feelings. You have people on hand.

The support group that Hinkle participates in is the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia.

You can read more about their peer support groups here.

Additional support groups open to moms include:

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