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Introducing: TAPS

You’re having a new baby, YAY! You’re thinking, planning, and trying to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row. You picked an OB or a midwife, a hospital or birthing center or maybe you’re having a home birth. You registered for all the cute things and necessary things you think your baby will need. Your friends and family celebrated you and your baby with a beautiful shower, gifts, and lovely notes of encouragement and advice. And now baby is here.

If you’re anything like me when I had my first baby, you can’t believe that they’re letting you take this sweet tiny fragile child home. Birth may or may not have met your expectations and you’re running on a couple of hours of sleep and a whole lot of adrenaline. Whether you chose breastfeeding, pumping, formula, or donor milk, you are probably still having trouble, anxiety, or at least questions about feeding baby.

The first couple of weeks pass by and you start to get the hang of this parenting thing. You’re problem solving. You’re a rock star. But….

When the freezer meals are gone. When your partner returns to work. When help stops coming by regularly… You may find yourself alone. With a crying baby. Wondering. What am I supposed to do?

I was that mom seven years ago. I lived thousands of miles away from my parents and long term friends. We literally knew four families in the whole city when I gave birth to my daughter. Rather than prepare for isolation and pulling up our bootstraps we chose to join a Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS) group on the suggestion of one of our few friends. This group became a source of community, consolation, encouragement, and help in times when we needed it.

When we moved back to the Triangle a couple of years ago, we saw a need in the community for the PEPS program. Parents, especially parents who are new to the area or lived far away from their extended family, were telling us that they felt isolated, had difficulty coping with the stress of a newborn, and that they didn’t have the kind of help with their baby that they had hoped for. So, we brought PEPS to the Triangle.

PEPS has been around for over 30 years and is the largest organization providing parenting support in Seattle. Last year they served over 2,500 babies and over 3,000 parents. Triangle Area Parenting Support (TAPS) is one of PEPS’s Network Partners and we use their program model and curriculum when we train our volunteer group leaders and put parent groups together.

Last year, TAPs served over 100 families in the Triangle through 18 groups and 18 newly trained volunteer group leaders. We’re just getting started and are so excited about serving even more families in the Triangle next year. We have new community partners joining the team every month and we want to help you find that village of support and friendship that every new parent needs.

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What can I expect if I join a TAPS group?

I had registered for my PEPS group months before I actually gave birth. Just after my daughter's birth, I got an email about when my group would start and about three weeks later I drove up to a stranger's house in a neighborhood about 20 minutes away. It was the first time I had driven myself anywhere since she was born. I sat down and my baby started crying. I had been encouraged through my friend's experience to just carry on doing as I would at home and that if I needed to feed my baby or if she was fussy not to worry about it. So, I did. And low and behold so did everyone else.

Just like my experience with my PEPS group, parents who join TAPS groups are joining a village of non-judgmental peer support. You are making so many decisions about how to care for your baby and there are so many right ways to parents – no one in your TAPS group is going to judge you or “mom shame” you for your choices.

That first day is so filled with emotions. I was nervous – and I expect many TAPS group members are too. During my first meeting, I listened to the other women share their child's arrival story - and for some of them, their previous struggles with fertility, miscarriage, or premature births - with the realization that I had found a safe place to figure out this parenting gig. We were all so different and yet still entwined together in the intimate knowledge that we were facing the same struggles day in and day out.

As we continued to meet, we bonded over similar highs and lows: baby poop and spit up; sleeping through the night and sleep deprivation; and relationship struggles and difficult emotions. In almost every other way these other moms and I were drastically different. But it didn't matter. We were doing this parenthood thing together.

Are you pregnant or have a new baby? TAPS has groups starting all over the Triangle in January for parents with babies 12 months old and younger. Register here: website or email Monica at to get more information.

If you want to find out more about how the PEPS program works, check out their website. TAPS and PEPS both have their roots in strengths based parenting. If you want to know more about the Strengthening Families Framework, approach, and research that our model of support is based on, visit their website.

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