Every once in a while, I remember how lonely and marginalized I felt after having my first baby. Yeah, poor me.
That said, there seem to be more resources out there now for new parents than ever before. For instance, check out the new 4th Trimester Family Center in downtown Asheville. This nonprofit resource and support center offers a variety of structured and unstructured opportunities for parents to get some help or relief from the stresses of life with kids.
Childbirth educator and midwife/doula Sarah Gralnick started the Center just a few months ago, though she’s been running support groups, such as Mama Time, in the area for a few years.
Mama Time, Mothers of Asheville Meeting All Together, is one of the structured groups run by Gralnick at the Center. New Mama Time workshops begin every two months and offer a way for postpartum moms to get together and share parenting highs, lows, and advice. A Spanish-speaking group is available too. The groups meet for 12 weeks, though Gralnick notes they often continue to meet on their own after than time. Mama Time costs between $80 and $120 based on a sliding scale.
“What an incredible experience Mama Time was for me,” says Asheville mom Rachel Acker. “It was such a relief to know that I could share my highs and lows of new motherhood with other compassionate and sensitive women each week. I continue to treasure the friendships that were established.”
It’s kind of like a playgroup that someone else organizes for you, and that is facilitated by people who know a lot about babies.
“Parenting is both wonderful and challenging,” Gralnick says. “We work to create a non-judgmental space where parents can communicate about their lives.”
Other activities that the Center offers are Dads Brunch most Saturdays, a family-style lunch four days a week, and open workshops in areas ranging from Pilates to music to compassionate communication.
The center also has drop-in hours most days (times vary, though 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is typical). During these hours, parents can just show up for the lunches or to use the office area or even to take a nap with their baby in the meditation/nap room.
Gralnick emphasizes that the center is not a daycare center, but if parents who are there want to help each other with child care, they can work that out themselves.
There’s also a counseling room, used by a therapist who specializes in post-partum adjustment and depression, a crafting room and an exercise room.
Drop-in costs $6 to $10 per day and includes lunch.
The center is located at 65 Hill Street, behind the Asheville Chamber of Commerce.
“We wanted to be as close to downtown as possible,” Gralnick says. “And to be where there’s public transportation. We’d love it if people who were visiting Asheville with children would drop in as well.”
While the name of the Center is 4th Trimester, Gralnick says she and her staff want to support parents with kids of all ages. To that end, she also offers a mother/daughter project, love and logic classes, and a single parent support club. She’s also built up a pretty remarkable network of people who can help parents in need, whether it’s with kid health issues, post-partum depression, or Autism spectrum support.
Who knew there’s so much love and support for parents here in Asheville? I hope those of you who currently are popping out babies conceived during last year’s bitter, snowy winter will take advantage of 4th Trimester. Happy to say I’m not with you on that one.