Anna Getty on the Importance of Friends

August 31, 2009 12:00 AM by

Anna Getty on the Importance of Friends
Bookmark and SharePhotographed by John Russo
Hair and makeup by Laly Zambrana
Styling by Sarah Stanley
Shot on location at Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, A Four Seasons Hotel

The founder of Pregnancy Awareness Month shares how pregnancy and parenting friendships—especially with fellow cover model Shandra vom Dorp—mean the world to her.

Green-living expert Anna Getty knows a lot about what pregnant women and new moms need. As the founder of Pregnancy Awareness Month (PAM), she’s made it her mission to empower women to make healthy choices for ­themselves and their babies. This past May, PAM’s weekly e-newsletter carried messages of education and wellness to thousands of expectant moms. And the PAM event in Los Angeles brought hundreds of women together for workshops, spa services, a fashion show, and panel discussions. Celeb guests included Kelly Rutherford, Jessica Capshaw, and Josie Maran.

Recently we sat down with our cover model (and very own Eco Editor) to find out how friendships have impacted her life since she became a mother.

Why did you start Pregnancy Awareness Month?
In my prenatal yoga class women were always coming in and were just terrified. I thought, there’s got to be a way to support them, help them feel empowered, and [help them] make educated choices.

How do friendships come into play in your work with pregnant women?
I tell this to my prenatal yoga classes, “This is your community. Connect now,” because it’s crucial. I think the support you need ­cannot be underestimated. I find that relationships that develop during pregnancies kind of unfold very cautiously, in terms of really opening up. You get so excited because you’re both ­pregnant, and your lives really end up ­developing based around your children.

People Who Need People
“Social support is essential for a thorough recovery from postpartum depression,” says Shoshana Bennett, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author of Postpartum Depression For Dummies. “Moms who are isolated and have poor social support are at high risk, which is why I always ask, ‘Who do you have to talk to and lean on?’ and ‘Do you have good friends you can be real with?’”

At the end of the day, we come together because we need to. There’s this thing in the yogic tradition that says a woman has to move her mouth at least 3,000 times a day. So we come together and we talk about ­everything from diaper creams to nursing to yeast ­infections to UTIs to…

You and Shandra had your first babies, India and Niko, one month apart five years ago. When did you become friends?
We met during prenatal yoga. There was a group of us who gravitated to each other and as we moved into giving birth, then we got even closer. That’s really where it started, I think. Our friendship develops as our children grow and they help bring us together.

How is your friendship with Shandra different from the others?
When you develop friendships through pregnancy and parenting, there’s no ­pressure, like sometimes with friendships with a lot of history or friendships that you have with people who don’t have children.

Shandra and I totally understand—we’ll make a plan, and someone’s baby has a fever, and it’s not like, “Wow, he’s sick again?” Instead it’s like, “OK, we’ll talk tomorrow.” Or we’ll hang out four days in a row and then we won’t see each other for three weeks. It feels really good to have that ease and no pressure.

Another great thing is, Shandra will call and say, “We’re going to be here, if you want to drop India off.” It’s great to have play dates, even when I can’t be there. I don’t have that with all friends.

You and Shandra are due one day apart and have the same midwife. Are you worried?
Our midwife said, “If you were a week apart, I would be worried. But the fact that you’re a day apart, there’s no way.”

What’s the best part of having a birth buddy?
I’m looking forward to the postpartum too, sitting on beds and nursing—and talking about our births.

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