News Local/State

Sistering CU Provides Support For New Parents

newborn baby

erikbenson/flickr/(CC BY-SA 2.0)

The organization Sistering CU trains volunteers from the community to offer a helping hand to new parents, with an emphasis on "mothering the mother."

The group's cofounder Dorie Giessler says when she was pregnant with her first child, she felt very prepared for the birth itself. But she soon found out that the challenges of raising a baby were greater than she expected.

“I had this misconception that I was going to add this little new life to my life and continue on much like it had been,” Geissler said. “And it wasn’t like that.”

That experience is what led her to form the group, Sistering CU, together with Erin Murphy.

Sistering CU trains volunteers from the community to spend two hours a week for 12 weeks with new moms. During the visits, volunteers can help with light household chores, take care of older siblings, help run errands, or simply offer a listening ear.

“We train our volunteers in nonjudgmental care, in acknowledging the transition into parenthood, both physical and mental,” Geissler said. Volunteers serve as “a place for mom to express less than glowing terms or feelings about motherhood, because there’s not necessarily a space for that.”

In addition, Sistering CU volunteers help get new parents connected with resources in the community, including breastfeeding support groups and treatment for postpartum depression.

Giessler said they’ve trained more than 20 volunteers so far and served 14 families in their first year.

Sistering CU hosts volunteer training events on a regular basis at the Champaign Public Library. This month, training will be offered on March 5 and March 12. You can find more information - and a link to a resource guide for new parents - at the group’s website.

Hear the full interview with Geissler on SoundCloud:

Follow Christine on Twitter: @CTHerman