Starting in 2001, several of us moms attending early start programs were participating in the provided parent groups. Once a week we would drive back to school in the evening, we would sit in a circle, with a facilitator who was a therapist but did not have any kids, let alone kids with special needs. She would give us our designated topic for the week to speak about, and we would go around the circle. It worked OK, depending on how the week was going. Several of us were pregnant again, we had recently diagnosed children, we were still learning our way through this scary world of parenting a child with special needs. A few of us had our babies-and that is when things fell apart. We were told after a few weeks, that we could not bring our babies any more. They provided child care for the kids who attended the school, but would not help take care of babies and had no suggestion. Nor would they explain why the babies could not come with us in the meeting-they may be a little distracting, but none of us moms minded.
Well, that was the beginning of the end. We did not feel supported, we felt that they were doing the group because they were supposed to-not because they really cared how we felt. Now, they were super nice, they just still did not understand. We felt so betrayed that they did not want our babies there, especially as it meant we could no longer attend.
Several of us moms continued to stay in touch and try to do dinners together, or play dates. What we found was that the support we offered each other was superior in every way. And by about 2007, I had realized that we needed to be a little more organized and reach out to more moms. We started to meet at restaurants, and in 2009 we started mochaa, a yahoo group where we could connect and I could announce a monthly dinner. We are proud to report that mochaa has not missed a monthly dinner since that time. And we continue to brainstorm with each other to come up with more ways to support each other, and to try to find the moms and parents who need us.