Pregnant During a Pandemic

Pregnant During a Pandemic

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child in February, I knew I was beginning a new crazy adventure, but little did I know how “crazy” it actually would be. The day after my first prenatal appointment on March 12, my work, my social life, my world became the yellow house on the corner, just me, my husband, and my baby-to-be. While I have been incredibly fortunate to have a pregnancy with minimal symptoms and to have the ability to work from home (which means I can wear comfy clothes every day and work with my feet up), I know this pregnancy experience is only one that I have in common with a small group of people. 

For the first half of my pregnancy, my appointments were either virtual or I had to go alone, my husband facetiming from the parking lot. We revealed the sex of our baby on Zoom with our family, and only a select few has seen my growing belly. Instead of a shower, we have decided to have a one-year birthday party for baby-to-be next year. I have spent countless hours trying to think about how my mother-in-law will be able to come from California to meet our baby without exposing herself and the baby to the virus, and worried my sister, an 8th grade teacher, won’t be able to hold her nephew. 

All of this, as I write it, feels trivial in comparison to the seriousness of this virus, the growing death toll, the millions of people out of work and being evicted, the dilemma of how to safely school and socialize our children, etc. But my pregnancy-in-isolation is still a reality that I and a specific group of people in this world are experiencing. 

I have been the family support program manager at Illuminate Colorado for close to two years, managing our Circle of Parents program. I have always believed in the importance of social connection and resource sharing, but as a non-parent, I never knew first hand how valuable connecting with other people in similar life experiences can be. Now that I am a parent-to-be, I have found so much support from a Facebook group specifically for pregnant women in Denver during a pandemic, messaging with a couple other friends who are pregnant, attending webinars about labor and parenting and my husband has signed up for a virtual “dad’s boot camp”. We ask each other everything from whether it’s safe to get that prenatal massage I desperately need, which hospitals are allowing doulas, to what it is like to be tested for COVID-19 when arriving at the hospital in labor. No one else except for those who are also pregnant during a pandemic can truly know what this is like for us. 

My baby is due in ten weeks and I have no idea what the world will look like then. Will my husband be allowed in the room? Do I have to deliver with a mask on? Will I allow friends and family to meet my son? There’s already so much uncertainty for a new parent, adding the uncertainty of a global pandemic brings a lot of anxiety, but this is the only pregnancy experience I know. And luckily, I’m not alone. I am fortunate to have the connection with my pregnant-during-a-pandemic comrades and in a couple months, new-parents-with-a-newborn-during-a-pandemic buddies. 

I always knew that social connections and having people who “get it” is important for parents, but now I know because I am seeking those out for myself. 

Find Your Circle

To help parents find support in their lives, Illuminate Colorado is focused on growing Circle of Parents® in Colorado. A wide variety of groups are starting all over Colorado, including groups for parents in recovery, fathers, parents of children with special needs, and Spanish-speaking parents.

Parents and caregivers anywhere in Colorado can also join together online every Wednesday at 5:30 pm.

Visit www.circleofparentsco.org to get more information groups meeting every week. Find your circle.

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Celebrating Fathers of Freedom

Celebrating Fathers of Freedom

Thanks to Combs and Nunez leadership, military fathers have a new place to connect with a brand-new Circle of Parents group in Colorado Springs open to any veteran father starting this month. The community known as Fathers of Freedom will meet online every Tuesday via Zoom beginning November 17th from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm.

A new group for fathers to connect and talk about parenting starts next week!

A new group for fathers to connect and talk about parenting starts next week!

Men, sometimes you just need to talk, especially now. We’re excited to share a brand-new Circle of Parents group for fathers and male caregivers all around Colorado meeting every Thursday at 5:30 pm starting April 23. We know that fathers are often left out of the conversation when it comes to parenting advice so we wanted to create a space for fathers to share with each other all the ups and downs of parenting. The floor is open to talk about anything, but some topics might include:

  • Activities to do at home with children of all ages
  • How to maintain self-care and self-kindness
  • Resources and tips to stay healthy and safe
  • How to talk about what’s going on with your children

… whatever you want to talk about!

This group is facilitated by Adam Combs, a father of a daughter living in Colorado Springs and Adrian Nuñez , a father of two living in Colorado Springs. They will also soon be starting a Fathers of Freedom group for fathers who are veterans.

Click HERE for Zoom Video Conferencing and telephone information for Circle of Fathers!

llluminate offers several other virtual Circle of Parents groups. They’re listed below with updated meeting times.

Circle of Parents for any and all Colorado parents and caregivers (English)

This is a space for parents to come together to talk about whatever is on their mind and support each other. This group is now meeting every week on Tuesday at 10:00 am and Thursday at 3:00 pm.

Click HERE for Zoom Video Conferencing and telephone information. 

This group is facilitated by Sara Mirshamsi, a mother of three daughters in Pueblo, CO and a parent mentor for Circle of Parents.

Circle of Parents in Recovery (English)

This online group for parents and caregivers in recovery from a substance use disorder meets every week on Wednesday at 9:30 am and Friday at 7:00 pm. Connect with others parents maintaining their recovery during these stressful times.

Click HERE for Zoom Video Conferencing and telephone information.

This group is facilitated by Toni Miner, a mother of three daughters and legal guardian to two of her three grandchildren living in Arvada, CO. She recently celebrated 18 years in recovery and is a Family Support Partner for the Jefferson County Human Services Department, a trainer and mentor for the Colorado Circle of Parents Chapter, and has been facilitating a weekly Circle of Parents in Recovery group in Lakewood for the last four years.

Parents and Caregivers of Children with PAE/FASD

Join other parents and caregivers of children with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders on the first and third Friday of each month at 12:30 pm.

Click HERE for Zoom Video Conferencing and telephone information.

Many other existing Circle of Parents groups are learning to connect online while Colorado is physically distancing from one another to prevent the community spread of COVID-19 in many communities in Colorado. Visit each group page or contact the parent facilitator to find out if a specific parent group is meeting online during this crisis.

 We know communities are stronger together, so please encourage others to join you. 

Circulo de Padres – Para Todos Los Padres y Tutores

Padres, ustedes solo son humanos y los humanos son criaturas sociales, y somos más felices y saludables cuando regularmente pasamos tiempo con otros. Conectarse con otras personas puede reducir el estrés y ayudarlo a recordar que otros se preocupan por usted. En este momento, tenemos que hacer eso en línea. 

Este grupo es facilitado por Maria Soto, una madre de dos hijas y una nieta en Denver, CO. Maria es una profesional de apoyo familiar con Families First en Shiloh House y ha estado facilitando un Círculo de Padres semanal durante siete años.

Haga clic AQUÍ para más información.
Cuando: Miércoles a 6:30 pm

Related Posts

Celebrating Fathers of Freedom

Celebrating Fathers of Freedom

Thanks to Combs and Nunez leadership, military fathers have a new place to connect with a brand-new Circle of Parents group in Colorado Springs open to any veteran father starting this month. The community known as Fathers of Freedom will meet online every Tuesday via Zoom beginning November 17th from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm.

Parents, we need to connect with each other.

Parents, we need to connect with each other.

Parents, we’re only human. Under normal circumstances, we are under all kinds of stress trying to raise small humans to reach their full potential as adults. It is a lot of pressure and the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis has caused everything to change. School, work, child care, the list goes on and on. It is all uncharted territory and every parent has a lot to worry about right now. While everyone is encouraged to physically distance ourselves from each other, that doesn’t mean we need to socially isolate from one another.

In fact, now more than ever, it is important to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our kids and connect with one another to share support, tips, advice or just talk.

TO HELP KEEP COLORADO FAMILIES STRONG THROUGH THIS COVID-19 CRISIS, ILLUMINATE COLORADO HAS LAUNCHED A NEW FACEBOOK GROUP FOR PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS THIS WEEKEND AND SEVERAL ONLINE CIRCLE OF PARENTS GROUPS IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH WILL BEGIN NEXT WEEK TO CREATE A SPACE FOR PEOPLE RAISING KIDS TO VENT, CRY, AND LAUGH, AND JOKE, AND FIND OUT HOW OTHER PARENTS ARE NAVIGATING THIS NEW WORLD.

We recognize that the added stress of the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Colorado, the closure of schools and child care services and social distancing places children and families at greater risk for toxic stress and child maltreatment. We also know that social connections are critical in the prevention of child maltreatment.

To help keep Colorado families strong through this COVID-19 crisis, Illuminate Colorado has launched a new Facebook group for parents and caregivers this weekend and several online Circle of Parents Groups in English and Spanish will begin next week to create a space for people raising kids to vent, cry, and laugh, and joke, and find out how other parents are navigating this new world.

Illuminating Colorado Parenthood Facebook Group

Parenting is stressful on a normal day and these days are anything, but normal. Illuminate Colorado Facebook page continues to promote resources that may support parents in raising children of all ages. We also know it is important to keep your spirits high by sharing inspiring or funny memes to build your parental resilience. We want more of a two-way street. Join the Illuminating Colorado Parenthood Facebook Group to share your lived experience with other parents. Get answers to important questions like, just how many cups can one kid use in a day? While parents and caregivers might need to vent, this group is a positive space. We hope you will join together to encourage each other to enjoy time with your child during these stressful times and celebrate what you like about being a parent, in the midst of all of this. Or, may be you are having one of those days and you need a reminder yourself.

Circle of Parents – NEW Online Groups

Sometimes you just need to talk. llluminate has created several NEW virtual Circle of Parents groups for parents and caregivers that will begin to connect for a private video and telephone conference 1-hour chats this week. Join other parents and caregivers all around Colorado online to share support, tips and advice or just talk. Vent, cry, and laugh, and joke, and find out how other parents are navigating this new world. Talk about:

      • Activities to do at home with children of all ages
      • How to maintain self-care and self-kindness
      • Resources and tips to stay healthy and safe
      • How to talk about what’s going on with your children

… whatever you want to talk about!

A Circle of Parents online group for any Colorado parent of caregiver is meeting every week on Tuesday at 10:00 am and Thursday at 7:00 pm. Click HERE for Zoom Video Conferencing and telephone information.

Someone has to keep the conversation going, and that’s what a parent facilitator does. Sara Mirshamsi, is a mother of three daughters in Pueblo, CO and is a parent mentor for Illuminate Colorado, the Colorado Chapter lead for Circle of Parents.

An online group for parents and caregivers in recovery from a substance use disorder will meet every week on Wednesday at 9:30 am and Friday at 7:00 pm. Connect with others parents maintaining their recovery during these stressful times. Click HERE for Zoom Video Conferencing and telephone information.

This group is facilitated by Toni Miner, a mother of three daughters and legal guardian to two of her three grandchildren living in Arvada, CO. She recently celebrated 18 years in recovery and is a Family Support Partner for the Jefferson County Human Services Department facilitating a weekly Circle of Parents in Recovery group in Lakewood for the last four years.

Join other parents and caregivers of children with symptoms of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders meets the first Friday of each month at 12:30 pm. This is a private group. Email amichaelsboffy@illuminatecolorado.org for the online and teleconference information.

Many other existing Circle of Parents groups are learning to connect online while Colorado is physically distancing from one another to prevent the community spread of COVID-19 in many communities in Colorado. Visit each group page or contact the parent facilitator to find out if a specific parent group is meeting online during this crisis.

 We know communities are stronger together, so please encourage others to join you.

CIRCULO DE PADRES – Para Todos Los Padres y Cuidadores

Padres, ustedes solo son humanos y los humanos son criaturas sociales, y somos más felices y saludables cuando regularmente pasamos tiempo con otros. Conectarse con otras personas puede reducir el estrés y ayudarlo a recordar que otros se preocupan por usted. En este momento, tenemos que hacer eso en línea.

Únase a otros padres y cuidadores en todo Colorado en línea para compartir apoyo, consejos y sugerencias o simplemente hablar. Vente, llora, ríe y bromea, y descubre cómo otros padres están navegando en este nuevo mundo. Hablar sobre: ·

      • Actividades para hacer en casa con niños.
      • Cómo mantener el autocuidado y la bondad
      • Recursos y consejos para mantenerse sano y seguro.
      • Cómo hablar sobre lo que está pasando con tus hijos

… de lo que quieras hablar!

Alguien tiene que mantener la conversación, y eso es lo que hace un facilitador de padres.

Este grupo es facilitado por Maria Soto, una madre de dos hijas y una nieta en Denver, CO. Maria es una profesional de apoyo familiar con Families First en Shiloh House y ha estado facilitando un Círculo de Padres semanal durante siete años.

En línea: Zoom Videoconferencia en línea AQUÍ
Teléfono: +1 346-248-7799; Access code: 926 760 054#
Cuando: Lunes a 9:30 am y Miércoles a 6:30 pm

Related Posts

Celebrating Fathers of Freedom

Celebrating Fathers of Freedom

Thanks to Combs and Nunez leadership, military fathers have a new place to connect with a brand-new Circle of Parents group in Colorado Springs open to any veteran father starting this month. The community known as Fathers of Freedom will meet online every Tuesday via Zoom beginning November 17th from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm.

Parent groups popping up all over Colorado!

Parent groups popping up all over Colorado!

As parents, having a network of people who make you feel respected, appreciated and supported is critical, but finding friends like that as an adult doesn’t always happen naturally.

That is why Illuminate is encouraging organizations and parents to start and join parent-lead support groups all over Colorado. Since announcing the initiative to grow Circle of Parents, a national, evidence informed model in Colorado in July, the response from community-based organizations in a variety of industries has been incredible. In just five months, 11 new groups in Denver, Pueblo, Trinidad, Rifle, Conifer, Commerce City, and Montrose have popped up. See below for a listing of new groups or click HERE to find all public groups throughout Colorado.

Community organizations such as libraries, family resource centers, churches and neighborhood associations play a critical role in building social connections among parents. Adding social activity for families, providing families with the opportunity to make connections, deepen their support networks, and counter social isolation can change the culture in a community.

Thank you to all the organizations that are creating safe and supportive spaces to share parenting tips, seek advice, and build protective factors.

Even more groups will be ready to start before the end of the year! Subscribe to Illuminate Colorado news to get updates as Colorado’s Circle of Parents grows!

If you are a parent, organization, business, or community member interested in better supporting parents, visit www.circleofparentsco.org to learn more about starting a group today!

Welcome to the following new Circle of Parents groups!

STATEWIDE-Online

Theme: This is a video conferencing support group for parents and caregivers of children with symptoms of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
Day/Time: 1st Fridays of the month 12:30 PM-2:00 PM.
Location: Zoom Video Conferencing

CONIFER:

Theme: Parents of Children 0-8
Location: Mountain Resource Center, 11030 Kitty Dr, Conifer, CO 80433
Day/Time: Tuesdays 9:30-11:30am

Contact: Chris Johnson at chris@mrcco.org

Childcare Available

COMMERCE CITY:

Theme: Recovery
Location: The Family Center: 6770 Monaco St. Commerce City, Co 80022 (Located inside Our Saviour Lutheran Education Building)
Day/Time: Wednesdays; 9-10:30 am
Child care available upon request.
Contact: Melissa Santizo at melissa@ecpac.org or call/text: 720-701-0044

DENVER:

Theme: Recovery
Location: Advocates for Recovery Colorado, 6981 Federal Blvd. Denver, CO 80221
Day/Time: Mondays; Dinner at 5:30 pm, Group 6:15-7:45 pm
Contact: Jessica Grace at jessicagrace@advocatesforrecovery.org

Theme: Recovery
Location: Empowerment Program, 1600 York St # 101, Denver, CO 80206
Day/Time: Thursdays 9:00 am- 10:30 am
Contact: Toni Miner at tminer@co.jefferson.co.us

MONTROSE:

Theme: Recovery
Location: Hilltop Community Resources, 540 S 1st St, Montrose, CO 81401
Day/Time: Tuesdays 5:15-6:15pm
Contact: Erin Carroll at erinc@htop.org

PUEBLO:

Theme: Recovery
Location: Friendly Harbor, 2713 N Grand Ave, Pueblo, CO 81003
Day/Time: Tuesdays at 10am
Contact: Heather McQueen at heather.k.mcqueen@gmail.com
Childcare Available

Theme: Recovery
Location: Lamb Public Library, 2525 S Pueblo Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81005
Day/Time: Mondays 9-10:30am
Contact: Scott Brasselero at sbrasselero@crossroadstp.org or 719-582-7004

Theme: Recovery
Location: Temple Baptist Church, 3030 Thatcher Ave, Pueblo, CO 81005
Day/Time: Thursdays at 5:30pm
Contact: Ryan Ramos at urinfinite7420@gmail.com

RIFLE:
Theme: Recovery
Location: Rifle Branch Library; 207 East Ave. Rifle, CO 81650
Day/Time: Thursdays 6-8pm
Contact: Shay Koran at shay@bergnerlawoffice.com

TRINIDAD:

Theme: Recovery
Location: Trinidad Alano Club, 120 W Kansas Ave, Trinidad, CO 81082
Day/Time: Tuesdays 5:30-6:30pm
Contact: Jean Howard at jhhoward@crossroadstp.org or 719-582-0900

llluminate is focused on growing Circle of Parents® in Colorado

llluminate is focused on growing Circle of Parents® in Colorado

Community creates brighter childhoods. Parents with a social network of emotionally supportive friends, family, and neighbors often find that it is easier to care for their children and themselves. All parents need people they can call on once in a while when they need a sympathetic listener, advice or support. To help parents find that support in their lives, Illuminate Colorado is focused on growing Circle of Parents® in Colorado. 

 

This national, evidence informed model provides a friendly, supportive environment led by parents and other caregivers.  It’s a place where anyone in a parenting role can openly discuss the successes and challenges of raising children.  It’s a place where they can find and share support.

“We are excited and honored to be the new chapter lead for Circle of Parents® in Colorado. These groups are for parents, by parents with a facilitator who is there to create a safe space for parents to connect,” said Jade Woodard, executive director of Illuminate. “They can exist anywhere in the community that is accessible and open to parents; and over the next year we have plans to expand the network, add new groups all over the state and strengthen existing programs.”

Circle of Parents® groups typically meet once a week, at no cost to any participant. Weekly and consistent attendance is encouraged to assist in developing a support network and increase comfort within the group. There is no annual fee to host a group and Illuminate Colorado provides support to facilitators and parent leads by answering questions, offering peer support and educational resources and highlighting best practices.

Community-based organizations such as libraries, family resource centers, neighborhood associations, child care centers and schools play a critical role in building social connections among parents. Offering a Circle of Parents® group is an easy way to strengthen families in your community. Businesses interested in becoming a more family-friendly employer or better-serving parents in the community can also offer Circle of Parents® groups and have a big impact on the community.

Facilitators and parent leads are required to complete a 2-day training to gain the skills necessary to facilitate a group, fees may apply.

If you are a parent, organization, business, or community member interested in better supporting parents, visit www.circleofparentsco.org to learn more about starting a group today!

Related Posts

Celebrating Fathers of Freedom

Celebrating Fathers of Freedom

Thanks to Combs and Nunez leadership, military fathers have a new place to connect with a brand-new Circle of Parents group in Colorado Springs open to any veteran father starting this month. The community known as Fathers of Freedom will meet online every Tuesday via Zoom beginning November 17th from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm.

Spotlight Interview with a Parent Leader

Spotlight Interview with a Parent Leader

February is Parent Leadership Month, a time focused on honoring parents for their leadership roles both at home and in their communities. In our mission to build stronger families, Illuminate Colorado has embraced parent leadership as a key aspect of our Circle of Parents Program by supporting a dedicated Parent Leader as well as a certified facilitator in every group.

In honor of Parent Leadership Month, we sat down with our Circle of Parents “2018 Parent Leader of the Year”, Jon. The Parent Leader of the Year is recognized for their outstanding leadership skills and dedication in their role of supporting group activities and guiding group discussion.

Jon has been part of a Circle of Parents group for almost two years, and said that he wasn’t expecting to be in a leadership role—but he’s glad that’s where he ended up.

“I can’t say that I wanted to take on the role,” said Jon, laughing. “I think [the facilitator] just saw it in me. The fact that she saw it in me and picked me made me not want to let her down. Since then, I relish the role and feel like she was right in choosing me.”

Parent Leadership Month emphasizes being a role model for other parents, participating in community events or groups, and providing a parent “voice” or parent perspective in their community.

Regardless of the form that parent leadership takes, empowering parents through peer support is an effective way to strengthen families. When parents are empowered, they are building resilience, deeply engaging in their roles as parents, and setting a powerful example for kids.

“I think [parent leadership] is important first and foremost for our youth to see strong parent leaders. My daughter’s a little older, and she didn’t get to see that when I was younger due to my addiction, but now that she sees it I hope it translates into lessons for her,” said Jon.

Though unexpected, Jon notes that his leadership role has been especially rewarding in that he gets to help others who are also parenting in recovery, which comes with unique challenges.

“I think it helps the other group members to know that I was the same person sitting in the same chair they’re in, and my experience is the same as theirs,” he explained. “It’s not like I’m a trained professional, this isn’t what I do for a living, and they can take comfort in that. It allows them to open up a little more, to be more willing to share and willing to take advice.”

Another benefit of the group, for Jon, has been the relationships he’s built. “We’ve developed some very good friendships amongst us in the group, and I knew going into the group that when you hang out with people frequently friendships are going to develop, but quite a few of the people in the group I consider top-notch friends. I expected to make acquaintances. I never really expected to make the kinds of bonds that I have.”

In addition to his participation with Circle of Parents, Jon has found an opportunity to take his parent leadership one step further by participating in training with the Family Leadership Training Institute (FLTI) of Colorado. The Family Leadership Training Institute is a program that equips families with knowledge and skills to support their engagement with systems at the individual, community, and policy level. Participants complete a 20-week training that integrates personal and child development, leadership skill development, civic literacy, and civic engagement.

When asked what he would say to other parents interested in growing their leadership skills, he noted the importance of surrounding yourself with others who share similar goals.

“If you want to be a strong parent leader, surround yourself with strong parent leaders or people who are seeking to be strong parent leaders, and together you’re going to grow as parent leaders and as leaders in your communities. If you don’t surround yourself with those kinds of people, you are going to limit yourself.”

Though Jon has found participating in parent leadership and education programs to be rewarding, he notes the difficulty of engaging in these programs as a father. “It’s so weird, because as a man, you know, we don’t talk about our stuff—it’s just not what we do,” he explained. “But my experience has been, through this whole process, that it helps.”

On the lack of male participation in Circle of Parents and FLTI, Jon noted, “I’m the only full-time guy in our group. There’s a couple guys who come continuously and consistently, but sporadically nonetheless. And I’m always there. And I find the same thing in FLTI. I’m the only guy who’s there every week, and it’s sad because it helps so much. I wish other guys would be more willing to open up to it.“

To address this gap in parent support for fathers in recovery, Jon hopes to start a Circle of Parents group specifically for fathers. “It’s kind of an ambitious goal I think, because I know how guys are, and I know the talks are going to be a lot of sports and a lot of cars and a lot of girls and a lot of other stuff, but I think just having that camaraderie might help it turn into what it should be. That’s what I’m hoping.“

When asked about advice he would offer to other fathers, Jon said, “My advice to other fathers would be: just give it a shot. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to. It might be for you, it might not, but if you don’t at least try you won’t know. I’m really glad I did, because I’ve made some great friends, I’ve taken some solid advice from people, and I’m here today.”

Related Posts

Celebrating Fathers of Freedom

Celebrating Fathers of Freedom

Thanks to Combs and Nunez leadership, military fathers have a new place to connect with a brand-new Circle of Parents group in Colorado Springs open to any veteran father starting this month. The community known as Fathers of Freedom will meet online every Tuesday via Zoom beginning November 17th from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm.

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