“Let’s talk” and “Let’s meet”: Entreparents connects new and soon-to-be parents
The network regularly organises “Let’s Talk” conferences and “Let’s Meet” informal gatherings to help parents feel less alone on the road to parenthood.
The Entreparents network chose a quiet and relaxing setting for its first “Let’s meet”: the small, secure and shaded playground near the Princess Grace Rose Garden. It is noon: parents and young children are arriving. This is an opportunity for newborns and toddlers to play with the toys and games on the ground and for adults to meet and talk.
Among the parents, we met Sarra and Maeva: two young resident mothers. Sarra is mum to a four-month-old boy, and discovered the network thanks to the first “Let’s talk”, organised on June 1 in the Principality. A conference organised around the theme of post-partum, where professionals took the floor to inform the audience about this unique phase, between childbirth and the first menstrual period thereafter, which is sometimes, but not necessarily, accompanied by depressive disorders.
“I wanted to feel less alone, to be listened to, to get tips, to talk with other parents,” Sarra explains. “I could only find things in Nice, but that’s a long way away and difficult to get to. (…) The “Let’s talk” in Monaco was very well organised, there were many testimonies, specialists… You feel less like you’re on your own.”
We’re not born parents, we become parentsJohanna Damar
At her side, Maeva, mother of a three-year-old son and a five-month-old daughter, nods. Even though she couldn’t make it to the “Let’s talk”, she is delighted that the topic was addressed: “Thankfully the Entreparents network exists! In Monaco, it’s hard to find a place to talk. Thanks to the network, we can talk to other people, feel reassured… For example, the post-partum period is a complicated one and thanks to Entreparents, we can share our feelings, get information and not feel ashamed. (…) Plus, it’s really ‘kid friendly’.”
SEE ALSO: Entreparents, helping mums and dads in the Principality
Meeting up for real
The conferences are designed for young parents, it’s true. A play area for children, blow-up balls for pregnant women… Each event that the network organises is designed to enable everyone to approach parenthood with peace of mind. And it would be an understatement to say that the first “Let’s talk” was a success!
Johanna Damar, President of the Entreparents network, testifies: “It was a very well-attended event, we had more than 160 people. There were many mums, pregnant women, dads, grandparents, professionals, but also a lot of children. (…) People needed information and the professionals present were able to answer questions from the audience. The idea is to build our village during the pregnancy: we are not born parents, we become parents”.
SEE ALSO: Monaco Women in Finance Institute: a new think tank for the feminisation of finance
And to give the best guidance to young parents, the “Let’s talk” and “Let’s meet” events are set to grow. Three “Let’s talk” evenings are already scheduled for the first Monday in October, November and December. There will be a charge for these conferences, with a preferential rate for members of the network, and they will deal with education, child development and sleep. They will take place at the Club des Résidents Etrangers de Monaco (CREM) and will be sponsored by Papyrus Institut.
Other, more sensitive issues could also be addressed in the future, in partnership with the Monegasque Red Cross, such as perinatal bereavement or disability, again so that the parents concerned can feel listened to and supported.
SEE ALSO: Chris Dhondt: “The CREM’s role is to connect people in the Principality”
The “Let’s meet” events, on the other hand, will remain free of charge, subject to reservation, with an event organised every two months in Monaco, but also in the neighbouring municipalities. “We are betting that parents have some really precious treasures in the experiences they undergo and these “let’s meet” events allow parents to meet each other, to create a connection. We try to have a professional present each time, so that (s)he can provide a supportive ear for the parents,” Johanna explains.
Finally, there are due to be more “Let’s play” too: more “fun” events, for example for Easter or Halloween, where the emphasis is more on family fun than talking.
And at the heart of the Entreparents concept is a mobile app to allow community members to stay connected to each other and the services around them 24/7, whenever they feel the need. Thanks to grants from the Cuomo Foundation and the Prince’s Government, this application should be available on the different platforms in autumn 2022.
A major challenge for the four mothers who founded the network. For while Johanna, in true Supermom style, manages to answer our questions with ease while looking after Louis, her three-year-old son, developing an application is another kettle of fish altogether: “we were able to develop the prototype thanks to Allianz Hamache-Salmon, but also thanks to Carlo Technologies. Today, Antoine Bahri [founder of Carlo App – ed.] is helping us out and gently coaching us on the 100% tech aspect. It is important for the four of us to stay in our roles as mothers and to surround ourselves with the right people. Entreparents is a collaborative project that we have been developing, from day 1, in a spirit of co-construction.”
SEE ALSO: Have your say: your views on the Carlo app
In real life or on the Internet, the Entreparents network has only one goal: to allow all parents and future parents, from Monaco or beyond, to feel included and supported because, as Johanna reminds us: “Becoming a parent is a challenge, it’s intense. Intensely wonderful, but exhausting at times. And even if some days may seem endless, we are very keen to help the parents in our community to make the most of every moment with their families because, yes, time passes very quickly and this transitional phase is so precious!”
You can also connect to the network, on Facebook or Instagram using the @entreparents account.