Hartsville resident and professional photographer Elizabeth Baldwin Combs is the founder of a Facebook group for local moms who are new to the area. The group has become known to its members as the Transplanted Moms.

Combs first decided to launch the group when several of her new clients expressed how difficult it was to connect to a new community without friends or extended family nearby. With the influx of new residents to Middle Tennessee, Combs made the decision to take her group from a social-media gathering only to a monthly, in-person, enrichment event for mothers.

“We have had such an influx of newcomers here,” said Combs. “I have been photographing some of the new families in the area, and something I have noticed is that they keep saying over and over, ‘I don’t know anybody. I don’t know my way around. I don’t have anybody that I can call if I need somebody.’

“It can be very lonely. A lot of people who have joined the group are families with very small children. We do have a couple with older children, but the majority have smaller children. I think that is the time when a group like this is really needed. There’s a lot of potential for postpartum depression and just depression in general when you’re isolated and you don’t know anybody. I’ve met a lot of people like that who are on the brink of absolute depression. That just tugs on my heart, and I really want to be welcoming to them.”

The group’s goal is to get people connected with others that live in close proximity to one another. Although most group members live in Trousdale, Macon, Sumner, Wilson, and Smith counties, all mom’s are welcomed.

“With so many transplants in the area, I continue meeting lonely families, and there is no need for that,” said Combs. “I’m hoping that by having everyone’s location listed that people can find somebody close to them and establish a friendship.”

The group plans to meet twice a month. The first meeting will be in person on the first Thursday of the month at 6 p.m., and the locations will vary. Each month, the location will be announced through the Facebook group. On the third Thursday of the month, the group will meet at 6 p.m. via Zoom.

“We are meeting in person one night a month, during the first week of the month,” said Combs. “Then we are doing a Zoom meeting during the third week. In between, if anyone has a special event — a birthday party, baby shower, a park day planned, or whatever —t hey can say, ‘Who wants to come’ … just something more spontaneous. But you can’t be spontaneous if you don’t know anybody.”

The group’s first in-person meeting will take place on Thursday at 6 p.m. in Hartsville.

“The first in person get-together is at Farmer’s Harvest (a restaurant located at 226 Broadway) for dinner,” said Combs. “This month, it’s in Hartsville. But I’m hoping to move it somewhere else for next month and just try to keep moving around each month. Whoever can make it can come, and whoever can’t can come next month.

“We have some people who are coming from Lafayette. So, we do plan on having some meetings there. I went up to SheBrews Coffee the other day, just kind of scoping it out. I thought we would have a meeting there, kind of a meet-and-greet.”

Finding places in Sumner, Wilson, and Smith counties are also options that Combs is exploring for the monthly gatherings as building community continues to be among her top priorities for the group.

“When you first come into a new community, if you don’t have anyone, you stay that way a while,” said Combs. “This group is for (all moms), because when you have strong families, you have a strong community. When biological family is not there, we can be there for each other, like a surrogate family. Come, be a part of our family, so we can be there for each other.”

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