postpartum support in Pittsburgh

This free Pittsburgh-area postpartum support group is here for you — and has been for decades

Photo by Humberto Chávez on Unsplash.

In 2003, two labor and delivery nurses from Heritage Valley Sewickey began meeting with a small group of new moms. Edi Davidson and Diana Cooper, both veterans in guiding moms through their first postpartum days, knew there was a need for more help. What they envisioned — a free group for new moms to find support and friendship — has now been meeting for two decades.

Davidson and Cooper began meeting near the hospital with new moms who had delivered at Sewickley, running six-week sessions of a group they named “Storkbites.” The group focused on things like postpartum depression, infant care and what it’s like to deal with a changing body. Over the past two decades, the group has welcomed hundreds of moms through its doors.

Switching to Zoom during the pandemic allowed Storkbites to reach moms beyond Pittsburgh. But now Davidson, who has retired from nursing, is excited to bring the group back in person at a new location — Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church. (Note: Storkbites uses this church as a meeting place, but is not a religious group and is fully welcoming to participants of all backgrounds.)

Meetings are casual and welcoming. If you didn’t have time to shower and your clothes have spit-up on them, you’re dressed just right for Storkbites.

“A mom can expect that it will be normal for babies to need attention during meetings,” says Davidson. “They need diaper changes, fed from the breast or bottle, they are fussing, they are all normal and expected, and that should not stop you from coming.” After many meetings, moms will go out for coffee or lunch with the leaders and other group members — learning how to handle their baby in public while juggling their own food, diaper changes and bouts of tears (from babies and mothers).

Emily Baron attended Storkbites after the birth of her daughter a decade ago.

“Edi was such a great group leader,” Baron says. “I really appreciated how she would ask us all to share one good thing and one hard or bad thing from the week.”

Baron says that helped her find good moments during a bumpy transition to motherhood: “It was nice having a space where we could be real and everything didn’t have to be wonderful and a blessing.”

Now parenting a seventh grader, Angela Bates remembers how Storkbites allowed her to connect with other moms before returning to work full-time. This meant she got to form the kinds of connections that many stay-at-home moms get, but working moms often miss out on. She decided to attend after a postpartum checkup phone call.

“Honestly, I didn’t sign up at first,” Bates says. “When the hospital called on my first check up, like a week out of the hospital, they really urged me to consider, so I did. And I’m so happy I did.”

Running the group solo in her retirement, Davidson is continuing the six-week rotation of topics that the group has been doing for years.

“We cover self care, early intervention, the many ways your life has changed, your body and emotions, relationships — so many things,” she says.

The group discusses sleep and how the lack of it can affect new moms, and regularly brings in both infant experts and Storkbites alum to share their experiences and expertise. Moms also process their delivery experience together. Adoptive moms and parents from non-traditional families also sometimes attend, and have also found camaraderie and support.

One of the best things about Storkbites is that the support extends long past the first six-week set of classes. Most participants remain in touch with their cohort for years, meeting up for play dates and coffee through life’s changing seasons.

“We would get together outside of the group for playdates and precious ‘mom night out’ dinners, and stayed close for several years,” says Baron. “Preschool inevitably dragged us all into different groups. But we stay clued in to each other on social media.”

When a big life transition happens — such as another baby, divorce, or loss, Storkbites members still show up for each other. Those connections formed in the early days of motherhood are strong, say past members.

Storkbites meets on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Mt. Lebanon. Meetings are totally free, and while groups run in six-week sessions, moms are welcome to join in mid-session. Find the details on the Kidsburgh calendar. The current session runs through Dec.19, and in the new year will resume on Jan. 2. Please email Edi at with any questions.