Community for New Moms at Carmel Blue


baby classes san franciscoI’m writing to all the new moms out there who are looking for their support system. Two words: Carmel Blue. When I become a mother, Carmel Blue was a place where I felt I belonged and where I received the support I needed.

My first taste of the community I’ve come to thrive in came before my baby was born, in prenatal yoga. Each week we’d sit on yoga balls and update each other – someone found out she was having a girl, another felt the first kick. We’d stretch, and when I’d lay down for shavasana, my baby would get the hiccups and my whole belly would move with them.

Along with yoga, there were meetups where I met other women beginning the same life transition. There were classes where I immersed myself with new and strange facts – glimpses of what it might be like to have a natural labor and to breastfeed a baby. I wrote down all the information in a small notebook and typed it up at home. I felt empowered creating a birth plan that I understood. I learned I had the right to design my own birth experience, and that even with the surprises that came along, I didn’t have to be a passive observer to the process. When it came to my labor, there were, in fact, unexpected twists, and because of the classes at Carmel Blue, I understood what the doctor explained to me. I negotiated, and I decided which changes would occur and which would not.

When I brought my baby home, she couldn’t latch well, and I emailed Carmel Blue’s owner, Sharone, asking for help. She wrote back immediately, connecting me with a lactation consultant and offering a few other suggestions of her own. I felt so comforted having someone to reach out to in this strange new time!

For a few weeks, I was too unsure of myself to bring my baby to the Mommy Baby meet ups, but as a stay-at-home mom, I wanted to connect with my new community; eventually, I made it. I remember walking to the shop and wondering if the moms would nurse in front of each other (which is such a hilarious thought to me now!). I felt immediately welcomed by the other moms, who sat in a circle discussing their concerns about spit up and middle of the night feedings. Sharone addressed all of our concerns and reassured us. She never turned women down when the class was technically “full,” and whenever a mom broke down in tears (pretty common actually), she’d go up to them individually at the end and show them how to improve their situation or connect them to the resources they needed.

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During these months, Carmel Blue became my home base. Each morning after naptime, I’d duck into the shop to nurse my little one on the sofa, while I chatted with Sharone. Then I’d change her at the changing table in the back, and weigh her on the scale.

One day I found myself in a difficult situation. My baby had hit a sleep regression and went from 1 to 3 night wake ups. I didn’t have any help, and I hit a point where I couldn’t do it anymore. The problem was, I wasn’t willing to leave her to cry. It seemed impossible, so I asked Sharone during the Mommy Circle. She explained to me how I could reduce the wakings without leaving my baby to cry, and it worked. She completely saved my life, or at least my sanity.

Those of us who connected in the Mommy Baby meetups continued getting together after we graduated from the class. We watched each other’s babies sit up for the first time, traded information on starting solids, and compared nap schedules. Our little ones went from either sleeping, nursing, or staring at the patterns on the rug, to cooing at each other, grabbing toys from each other, and finally saying each others names for the first time.

Carmel Blue has truly given me everything I could have wanted as a new mom. I have been informed and empowered. In physically and emotionally taxing times, in the most frightening and isolating moments, I’ve found answers and I’ve found comfort. Most of all Carmel Blue has provided community. Community, I would say, is the number one most valuable aspect of motherhood. It’s the difference between connection and isolation, between happiness and loneliness. I could not be more grateful for this special place.

Carmel Blue’s main location is currently under construction, but their classes are still happening a few blocks away, as well at Tantara Studio on Powell & Pacific and North Beach Kids Preschool by Washington Square Park. 

Here are my top picks for new moms:

1) Mom’s circle (2 months – crawling) to learn about your baby’s developmental needs and make mom friends.

2) Mom & Baby Musical Sensory Play (newborn – crawling). Age appropriate musical play to engage with baby and encourage development!

These and the rest of Carmel Blue’s amazing classes, as well as details on new class locations, can be found here.

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  1. Elise, I really hope your article goes far and wide. You’re so gifted with the pen (or should I say keyboard lol) – Sharone is the best. I too am a huge supporter and forever indebted to Sharone for being there for me and my little one pre and post partum. I feel blessed to have found CB and like you am trying to let all the other new Moms in SF know too!! Best to you and your family, Stefanie

  2. Thank you Stefanie for your kind words!! I just want other moms to have the same special experience as we did! #findyourvillage


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