By Jonathan Phelps
---- — BEVERLY — Christa Terry knows firsthand how important it is for moms to connect with one another, especially with her daughter, Paloma, being born prematurely.
“My daughter was born six weeks early and in the middle of flu season, so I couldn’t get out and meet people for a couple of months,” the 33-year-old Beverly resident said. She said it would have been great to be able to connect with other mothers dealing with similar issues.
Last year, Terry teamed up with Julie High and Meg Gerritson to launch Mom Meet Mom, a website that allows moms and caregivers to easily connect. The website helps local mothers meet and plan play dates by finding other mothers whose children, schedules, interests, parenting styles and personalities are most alike.
Terry said it can be difficult to meet moms on the playground or at mom’s groups, especially ones facing challenges like her daughter’s prematurity. Mom Meet Mom, with its pilot being launched locally on Mother’s Day this year, helps users connect on issues ranging from autism, severe allergies and premature births.
“We all faced challenges when it came to staying social and meeting other mothers,” Terry said. “On top of that, we all had challenges that got in the way of meeting moms and having friends who are moms.”
The website, which currently serves the Boston area, is expected to launch nationally next month.
What exactly is Mom Meet Mom?
Mommeetmom.com is a new site that uses geo-mapping and social matching features to help moms connect, online and in person. It’s free to use and takes the stress out of making mom friends and finding mothering support.
How did it come about?
Myself and my two co-founders, Meg Gerritson and Julia High, are moms, and we’ve all been in a position where we could have used more support. I had my daughter a month and a half early, right in the middle of flu season, and so not only felt the isolation of not being able to take my newborn out of the house but also eventually had to deal with people not understanding why I would do things like cancel an outing just because someone had the sniffles. It would have been nice to be able to connect with other moms of preemies in that first year.
What has the reaction been so far from mothers who use it?
We have received an amazing amount of feedback from moms who are excited that someone has finally launched a site like Mom Meet Mom. There is literally nothing like it out there operating on a similar scale or that matches moms as effectively.
How does the site go about matching mothers?
We use an advanced matching algorithm similar to those used by high-profile dating sites. It was created by our developers under the oversight of Julia High, who has a background in computational neuroscience. Location is only one element of the algorithm. Mom Meet Mom users answer questions about themselves and their families, and their answers are weighted based on whether they feel certain criteria is important or unimportant.
Why is it important for moms to connect to one another?
When you become a mother, the need to connect with other moms becomes a priority. Only another mom can really understand the stress of caring for a newborn or parenting a toddler. Moms know what it’s like to be bone-tired and up with a sick kid or deal with a teen who suddenly hates the whole world. Whether you’re feeling defeated or celebrating a new milestone, there’s nothing like having the support of a network of mom friends … Our goal in creating Mom Meet Mom was to make sure that every mother has a group of like-minded moms she can turn to for conversation, advice and help.
Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.