Becoming a mum for the first time is probably the most life changing and overwhelming thing that will ever happen to you. The second you hold your baby in your arms, you are different. Some of these changes are obvious (‘I have stretch marks WHERE?’) but some are so small you can hardly put your finger on them to start with. If you are lucky, you will have friends at a similar stage in life and you will navigate that change together. But it can be extremely isolating if you aren’t.
I’m not saying you can’t maintain your old friendships; of course you can. Just because you are at different stages, with a bit of effort and a lot of love your relationships can evolve into something new. But I truly believe now that in order to really embrace your new life and be completely content you need to find a great group of mum chums.
This isn’t always easy though. Baby groups can be daunting, especially if you’re shy, or your baby isn’t the placid, sleepy, laid back type and you spend the entirety of each session jiggling them round the room in a sweat whilst watching all the other mums coo and massage and generally manage to participate. Apps for mums can be like dating apps – slightly embarrassing and with a high risk of rejection. There was a time I never thought I’d find my support network. But I have, and they are WONDERFUL.
It’s slightly unconventional. We started as a group of strangers on a popular online baby forum, brought together only by the header ‘April 2016,’ our expected birth month. Through tragedy, we moved over to Facebook and those anonymous strangers became women. Mums. Lovely, kind, empathetic ladies with families, and little profile pictures, and amazing senses of humour. Day and night, there is always someone present to give advice, to sympathise, to reassure. These ladies have become a lifeline.
They were the first people I told when I got my positive pregnancy test with this baby. We have been through so much together over the last 10/11 months. It is thanks to them I started this blog. Thanks to them I am contemplating starting my own business once life as a mum of two settles down into some normality. Really, I cannot thank them enough for their constant support. Somehow, I have been lucky enough to gain 260 mum chums, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! So this one’s for them.
New mums: my advice to you is this. Put yourselves out there. Be it physically, or via the Internet, whatever you feel comfortable with. But I promise you, with a group of similarly minded mum chums, you will be able to tackle anything motherhood throws at you, and have a good old giggle along the way.