For 13 years, Edith Davidson and Diana Cooper have met with women to talk about all aspects of their roles as new mothers.
For the last several years, the gatherings, known as “Stork Bites,” have been held at the Sharon Community Presbyterian church in Moon Township. Davidson and Cooper divide the Stork Bites meetings into six-week classes, with many of the mothers attending multiple sessions.
Meeta, one of the new mothers who did not want to share her last name as she looks for a new job, said she’s brought her baby girl Shalom to Stork Bites for three weeks.
“I just thought it would be good to come and be around other people that were maybe a little more informed than me or more experienced and just get some help and some support,” she said. “Meet other moms, meet other babies.”
Jenny Pitman and her 3-month-old son Loughlin have participated in three sets of classes. She said she first came when her son was just three weeks old.
“It gave me like a goal for the day, because when you are postpartum, those first few weeks you’re locked at home for quite a while so it helps to get out of the house,” Pitman said. “Meeting the other mothers, it was really nice to share the stories and the positives and the negatives of new motherhood.”
Many of the mothers at Stork Bites are nursing and often share stories and offer encouragement to other mothers having a hard time with it.
Many of the mothers said they find themselves building friendships outside of the class.
“We get together and go for walks in the park,” said Amanda Reid as her daughter Zoe sits on a blanket at her feet. “We’re hoping to have picnics over the summer, we all talk over Facebook.”
Those social gatherings outside of the Stork Bites meetings might become a bit more important next year. Cooper and Davidson are retiring from running Stork Bites at the end of 2016.
They will hold sessions starting July 5, Sept. 6 and Nov. 1 before moving on to their next efforts. They said they hope to find new volunteers to lead the program.