Program for new parents repeats history for two lifelong friends

March 12, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Moms

Thirty years ago, when two new mothers placed their young daughters on a blanket together at a local mother and baby group, they couldn’t have guessed the lifelong relationship they had ignited.

Oswego resident Allie Pape and Aurora resident Jenna Phinney met when they were just one year old, grew up as neighbors, and became fast friends. Over the years, they attended grade and middle school together and maintained their friendship while attending different high schools and colleges.  

“Our families moved to the area when we were a year old and our moms got together with other moms in a playgroup,” says Phinney. “We have been best friends ever since.”

As the women have kept their friendship over the years, life has truly come full circle as both attend Edward Hospital’s Cradle Talk program with their own children. Cradle Talk is a weekly support group for new parents and their babies.

After sharing so many of life’s stages and experiences, the women always hoped they’d have children at the same time, but didn’t discuss it or plan for it.

“I found out I was pregnant and came over to tell Jenna about it,” says Pape.

Phinney quickly adds, “And we were trying and soon had good news to share.”

After Pape had daughter Josie in April 2019, her pediatrician told her about Cradle Talk. She shared the news with Phinney, whose son Aidan was born a few months later in July. Both describe Cradle Talk as a valuable and supportive resource for new moms.

“Everyone is just trying to get out of the house and take their baby somewhere,” says Phinney. “Cradle Talk is a safe haven where you get to be with all these other moms who are struggling with the same things as you.”

“It definitely offered me a nice break, especially in those first three months,” Pape adds. “You’re in survival mode with a brand-new baby and this was a safe place where I could be as vulnerable as I wanted.”

Cradle Talk brings in speakers to discuss topics that range from infant CPR, baby nutrition and development, as well as information on other local opportunities and services. Possibly most valuable, it offers a forum for moms or dads to talk with others experiencing the joys and challenges of new parenthood.

“I was struggling with Aidan sleeping and went there, spoke up and asked a question,” says Phinney. “Ten other moms had the same issue and shared what they did to get through it.”

“It is really great just to go and bounce ideas off the group, get feedback and not feel alone in this crazy hard journey,” says Pape. “It’s such a great support.”

When Phinney and Pape shared the story of how they met while at Cradle Talk, attendees were shocked.

“It’s kind of beautiful,” says Phinney. “We didn’t realize how special it was. We just have always been friends and never thought much about it.”

Now the women realize how special their story and 30-year friendship really are.

Soon Josie and Aidan will be toddling around and outgrow the Cradle Talk program, but their moms have no plans for their together time to end.

“We were just discussing a plan for the summertime today,” says Pape. “We’ll meet up once a week to do a playdate with Josie and Aidan.”

Cradle Talk meets at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, 815 S. Washington St., Naperville (located across from the Edward Hospital ER), each Wednesday from 10 – 11:30 a.m. Cradle Talk is a weekly support group for new parents and their babies, ages 0-6 months. An Edward Hospital Mother/Baby nurse leads the discussion and guest speakers address a variety of parenting topics each week.

Explore more classes and support groups for new moms and dads.

Learn about pregnancy and baby services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Learn more from Healthy Driven Chicago:

Tips to stay healthy during pregnancy

What to expect after giving birth

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