“The women’s circle is a weave that can hold you even when you are not together.”

by | Jun 1, 2023 | Blog

Why are mother groups so important?

Author: by Ryszka Nóra

How do mother groups look like and why is it important for everyone to have a supportive environment? We spoke to Annamária Szórád.

Annamária is a social pedagogue, coach, trained story therapist and board member of MotherNature – Mother Nature Association, one of the facilitators of its Mother Circles. Together with Noémi Puskás, they run the MoNa  mother circles, where every two weeks on Tuesday mornings mums who want to connect are welcome online.

[This article is from MotherNature – Mother Nature  Association Ukrainian Fund article series for a series of articles. The series continues on Fridays.]

Anyone who has been going to a mother circle for a long time knows what a meeting is like. But for those who are just getting used to the idea, what would you say to them about how to imagine these mother circles?

A mother’s circle is like a living room where you are free to do what you want and need. Mothers often come to us with their babies and young children. And when life happens, it is only natural that there is room for comforting, breastfeeding and feeding. Or even to lay the baby.

We are present for each other without judgement, with open ears and hearts. We only give advice when someone explicitly asks for it – when we share our own experiences: what has helped us in a particular situation.

MotherNature Mother’s Circle is a place where…

… we mothers are at the centre. Our life – our journey, in which we sometimes soar, sometimes rest and sometimes get stuck.

… we can share our feelings: both our joys and our challenges.

… where we speak from the heart and listen from the heart.

… where, with the wisdom of nature, we invite the constant change of our life stages and roles into our inner power.

… where we cry together and laugh together.

It’s a free, open space where you can come in and relax.

   – Mother Nature-Nature Association Mother Groups –

A képen személy, szemüveg, visel, zöld látható

Automatikusan generált leírás

Annamária Szórád, one of the leaders of the MoNa mother groups

Is there a formal framework for mother circles?

There is always time for arrival: after the welcome, we “breathe in” to the circle with Noémi’s short exercise, then in the opening circle we draw a card from the MotherNature card deck and reflect on the card, sharing what we are doing and what thoughts the card’s message evokes in us.

In the sharing circle, we talk about our current topics, choosing them according to the change of the year and the current quality of time. In September, the focus was on harvest, the work we have done since spring.

In October, we talked about the values we want to take with us into the winter.

After the closing circle, we say goodbye and everyone has the opportunity to share what they took away from the circle, what was the thought or feeling that touched them or made them feel particularly special. This is good feedback for us too; and it is a great joy for us when we feel that our peers feel safe – kept.

Do you always hold these meetings online?

Yes, so you can connect from anywhere in the country. In fact, women and mothers living across borders can join us. People from England, Switzerland, the Highlands and Transylvania have joined the circle.

Can I join the circle at any time or only at certain intervals?

The Mother Circles are open, you can join at any time. Participants will be provided with 1-1 Compass per season; a workbook in which the themes of the sessions are explored, complemented by stories, exercises and self-reflection questions related to the seasons. So, if for some reason someone is unable to attend, they can follow our progress through the workbook.

A képen szöveg, fedett pályás látható

Automatikusan generált leírás

Are there adult or children’s stories in the workbook?

The selected stories are for adults. We want the circle time to be truly for mothers and women. To strengthen them – and through them the whole family – with the supportive, loving and accepting atmosphere we provide.

How old are mothers of children expected to join the circle?

Most of the people who come round have young children – from babies to pre-school age – but you can bring children of any age.  Even if the mother is still carrying her baby. If anyone feels the call, we welcome you. It can help a lot in the times after a baby’s arrival if there is a pulse of motherhood in the flesh, which is not all smiles, rocking and joy; but there are difficult and stressful times when not everything – or even nothing is not – rosy.

“learning from each other, sharing experiences and lessons learned can not only provide a model but also relief”

Why is it good to live these situations in community?

Lay help, leading by example as a woman – a mother – parent, can be a very good complement to the support in parents’ lives. Learning from each other, sharing experiences and lived experiences can not only provide a model, but also relief that the individual is not alone in the problem. In this community of fate, we can cling together and find our own way in parenthood more easily. This is especially true if someone wants to follow a completely different pattern from the way they were brought up. If we can see more possibilities, it is also easier to find the path that we can follow as parents. We are all different families with different needs and values. Each of us can give something to the other to carry them forward and vice versa.

Is there anything that cannot be solved in a round?

It is important to know where the point is where lay help is no longer enough. We need to recognise when someone is in shock, traumatised, even psychotic or depressed. In such a case, the competence of the specialist is both diagnosis and therapy.

But a supportive environment can help the person concerned to dare to seek professional help. Be it a mental health counsellor, psychologist, psychiatrist.

The circle is also helpful because it is like an information network. There are many methods and professionals available, and here we can share our experiences in the therapeutic process.

“we need a community around mothers and families that keeps them together”

Is it impossible to go through this stage of life alone?

Many mothers and families face the crisis of parenthood alone. We did the same, far from our families and close friends. Of course, it was also an experience, we supported each other as best we could; we developed coping strategies that had to be rethought over time. Everyone deserves help and a supportive community.

We need a community around mothers and families that keeps them together. Because what they go through – whether it’s pregnancy, the birth of a baby, starting kindergarten, starting school, adolescence, or when their children leave the family  nest – are all normative crises.

These crises are natural processes, they happen to everyone. But they are also difficult.

When we tell each other about what we’re going through – whether it’s easy or difficult – we find that others are struggling with similar difficulties. Or even the same one. The realisation that “I am not alone”, that I know that the situation is challenging for others, can be very helpful.

In the circle it is also easier to see that a situation is difficult not because I am not doing something right, I have not been paying attention, I have made a mistake, I have missed something, I am defective, but because that is the nature of things.

So, it is possible to go through crises alone – and some tasks, such as internal work, can’t be done by anyone else – but it is easier to get through these difficult times in a supportive community. The age of 30-35-40 is difficult for everyone, regardless.


But it’s good that you’re bringing this aspect in, because up until now we’ve been looking at crises practically only in terms of the situation of children. What happens to us around 30-40?

Around the age of 21-42 is a time of spiritual development. The so-called “wandering years” last until the age of 28, when we lay the foundations for the unfolding of our personality. Between the ages of 28 and 35 we are in the “dying and rising” stage, and around the age of 35 we are at our deepest. Increasingly we ask the question, “Who am I?” “What will be left of me if I drop all my roles?”

This is a difficult period in everyone’s life. It is different for everyone, but it is difficult for everyone. Even if we don’t talk about it, and even if the newspapers say that 40 is the new 20.

If we think about what it’s like when a child has a developmental leap, we can see our own developmental pattern in it. How does he behave then? He sleeps badly, he eats strangely, he’s always whining, fussy, nothing is right – so why do we think it should be any different for us?

“we can drop a huge bag with one share.”

How true! It means that we can be in crisis ourselves, and that our families add to it… So perhaps it is even more justified for us women, mothers, to tell someone what has happened to them, what is inside us. How do you see sharing really being therapeutic?

Being able to say what’s on my mind gives me a clearer picture, a better understanding of my situation. I can more easily find the root of my problem and my needs. It also brings me closer to myself and my own solution. Our feelings act as a kind of seismograph, always indicating where there is an “earthquake” in us at the bottom. That’s why it is very important to live our feelings, even when they are difficult. They are our signposts, our parts. We can drop a huge bag with one sharing. Also, feedback helps legitimize our feelings, and often it is the one sentence related to our story that keeps us going and helps us move up to the next rung.

These “one-liners” are frequent guests in women’s circles.

If you feel you need a support circle but can’t find one, feel free to create your own. How? We’ll continue with this next week.

The discussion on MotherNature-Apenatermature  Association and MINE, Mother Centers International Network for Empowerment.

* Source: Gudrun Burghardt: Taking life into your own hands – working on your own biography c. könyve. Published by Freises Geistesleben, Stuttgart 1997

Photos by MotherNature – Mother Nature Association


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