Diana Parry talks to The Record about latest research on social networking for new moms

Friday, May 10, 2013

UW study finds moms are healthier and happier after connecting online with other moms

Barbara Aggerholm, Record staff
 

WATERLOO — After her first child was born, Diana Parry had to resort to what she now calls “stroller-stalking.”

Parry was pregnant when she and her husband, Troy Glover, moved to Waterloo in 2003. Both had joined the faculty of the University of Waterloo’s department of recreation and leisure studies.

Once their baby was born, Parry was anxious to meet other mothers to swap stories and tips — or just to chat.

She was receiving postpartum support from the midwifery clinic that had delivered her daughter.

“But that social piece was missing,” she says.

It was difficult to find other women who were at home with babies the same age as her daughter, she says. Furthermore, she and her husband were often on the road, driving to and from Burlington where her mother-in-law was dying of cancer.

“I just didn’t have a good chance to build a social network.”

Parry’s solution was to bundle up her daughter, Claire, and take her out for walks in the stroller. She watched for other mothers with children about the same age.

“I literally engaged in stroller-stalking,” she says.

When she found someone with a new baby, she would introduce herself and suggest they get together.

“Stroller-stalking is when you’re out with a baby looking for connections, anything to connect with other moms,” Parry says.

It can result in “bad mommy dates,” she says. “You don’t know if you have something in common. It’s not enough to have parenthood in common. That gets you in the same circle, but it’s not necessarily lasting.”

The experience made Parry, 39, an associate professor, wonder how other new mothers made connections.

Claire is now nine and the couple’s younger daughter, Charlotte, is five.

Parry discovered that instead of “stroller-stalking,” many mothers are logging on to a Canadian social networking site called Momstown.ca to find friends and a supportive community...

Read full story "Talking about their babies" in The Record.

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