February 23, 2018
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Support groups for families available throughout Maine

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Natalie Feulner
By Natalie Feulner, BDN Staff

Family life is sometimes tough. Grandparents may struggle raising their children’s children, mothers may be at it alone and even with both parents present, children are a lot of work. It’s nice to have a place to go for support and a chance to vent.

I know in the days immediately following the birth of our daughter, my husband and I were awash with emotions, questions and concerns. I can remember calling our doula because the baby was eating every 15 minutes, and I was at my wits end. Just having another person to talk to did wonders, and I walked away from the conversation knowing two things — she was most likely going through a common spurt that occurs when babies are around a week old; support is not just nice, it’s vital.

Here’s a look at programs and groups that offer support to Maine families:

Maine Families — This program is a statewide network of teams that strive to meet the needs of pregnant women and parents of newborns. Staff members come to your home to talk about child development, milestones and to answer any questions you might have. For information, visit mainefamilies.org or call 322-2319.

Maine Kids-Kin — This is a program of Families and Children Together that provides support to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and others who are raising relatives’ children. Support groups in Bangor meet on the first and third Tuesday of each month and in Augusta on the third Wednesday of each month. For information, call 941-2347 or 866-298-0896.

Breastfeeding Support — Eastern Maine Medical Center holds a breastfeeding support group the second Tuesday of every month at 10 a.m. Lactation consultants lead discussions and offer support. For information, call 973-8673. Central Street Farmhouse in Bangor offers a breastfeeding and natural parenting support group at 10:30 a.m. Mondays and 5 p.m. Tuesdays.

Dad’s Group — Central Street Farmhouse also has a monthly get-together for expectant dads and dads with new or young children. The group meets 5-7 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month at the store, 30 Central St., in Bangor. Please note that this month, the group will meet May 19 because of the Memorial Day holiday.

Empty Arms — Empty Arms is a support group for parents in eastern Maine grieving the loss of an infant or pregnancy. Participants are parents who have lost babies and feel that sharing experiences is the first step toward healing. The group meets 6:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month. For information, call Pam Houston at 973-8742.

Grieving children and parents — Pathfinders offers 10-week “closed group” sessions for grieving children, teens and their caregivers. Participants are grouped by either age or according to the loss. Groups meet to talk about processing grief. For information, visit easternmainehomecare.org.

Do you have a story idea or know of a family that would make an interesting feature? Let me know and make sure to check out my BDN blog at rootedinme.bangordailynews.com. Email me at nfeulner@bangordailynews.com or call 990-8066.


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