Strength in Numbers
New parents provide support to one another during a challenging life phase.
“I was always in control of what I was doing and fairly confident in my abilities,” says Liz Stone of her former life as a lawyer and a wife. When “mom” was added to her list of titles, everything changed. “Between the two of us, neither my husband nor I knew how to change a diaper,” she says.
|The Baby Hui’s executive director, Liz Sone (center), remains close with other mom-and-baby pairs she’s met over the years. “It’s such an amazing bonding experience,” she says. photo: Sergio Goes|
“As a new parent, you feel very isolated, like you’re the only one going through [challenges],” she says. After eight months of motherhood, Stone sought out The Baby Hui (TBH), a support group for new parents. Through weekly hui meetings, Stone met parents dealing with issues ranging from nutrition to family stability. Six years later, Stone has led her own hui, left her law practice and become executive director of the nonprofit.
During the transition into parenthood, interaction with other parents is key, Stone says. “Studies show that the earlier there is intervention and interaction with other parents, the less child abuse there is,” Stone says. Though she adds, “Any parent can benefit from being together with other parents regardless.”
|To volunteer or sign up to join a hui, log onto www.thebabyhui.org, call 735-2484 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.|
As TBH gains popularity, the organization continues to reach new audiences, including pregnant and parenting teens at local high schools. “It’s a good match for us,” says Karen Kimura, a GRADS (Graduation, Reality and Dual Life Skills) teacher at Castle High School. “TBH focuses on baby and toddler care,” says Kimura, noting the wealth of information and resources the organization provides through in-school support and information classes. The program currently serves schools on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i, and plans to extend its reach to the Big Island and Maui in the coming year.
TBH also plans to expand to specific communities through groups for Japanese speakers, adoptive parents and working parents. “All parents go through the same questions and confusions and issues—just on different scales,” Stone says. “There’s the same desire to be as good of a parent as you can be and to learn as much as you can learn.”
For more information on charities in Hawai‘i, contact the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, a statewide grant-making organization supported by generous individuals, families and businesses to benefit Hawai‘i’s people. Visit the site at www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org.