If you’ve got it all under control and are nailing this whole motherhood biz, then you’re probably super excited to head to your first Mother’s Group and meet the women who will potentially be your new mates. I bet you can’t wait to show off your new baby in their cool new threads. You are the lucky ducks. If you’re anything like I was and your first couple of weeks have been harder than you expected, then you may be feeling a little petrified right now.
I wish I could turn back the clock and have given myself a break when it came to Mother’s Group. I put so much pressure on myself and on everything needing to be be perfect when in actual fact, life with a newborn isn’t perfect, it’s messy, bloody messy, and I should have just embraced it. That’s what I want for you. For you to embrace it, shitty times and all.
There were a few things that stood in my way and shook my confidence when it came to Mother’s Group. My baby had reflux. I now know reflux babies are not like other babies, of course I didn’t know that at the time. Everything comes in hindsight when you’re a mum (why is that? It’s NOT helpful). Because of said reflux, my daughter Edie didn’t like laying on her back, which meant the five minute walk to the maternal health centre was kind of a nightmare. Edie would cry the whole way. I was stressed and anxious by the time I got there. By the time I’d fumbled my way through the too-small door with my too-large pram and crying baby and sat down I felt like I’d ran a marathon.
I would make sure when I arrived, Edie was due to be fed. That way, I knew she’d be happy and quiet while my maternal health nurse (who is an angel, by the way) taught us about being mums – because reflux babies tend to cry a LOT when awake. Sometimes she’d be done with her feed before the session was over. Those times I would feel my blood pressure rising. I would jiggle her around and do everything that I could to make her happy, it was always unsuccessful. Other mums would suggest, ‘pop her in the pram, she might be tired’. I knew I had no chance of her sleeping on her back in the pram. What I didn’t know was why I had the only baby in the group who wouldn’t sleep in her pram. All I knew was I wanted to go home. Fast. I could cope better on my own.
I tried to go to all the sessions at the health centre. Apart from the baby massage class…laying your baby on a mat on the floor for two hours? No chance.
When the classes came to a halt and the mums were left to their own devices to meet up afterwards for things like coffee and brunch, that’s when I dropped off. If we were going for walks, I was in (I discovered the Baby Bjorn – and a reflux baby is happiest upright, so man did I do a LOT of walking with that thing!!) but coffee or brekky dates? Sadly, it just wasn’t going to happen for Edie and I. I never said anything to them or suggest a walk instead, but I wish I did now.
So, my advice to new mamas who may be feeling a little apprehensive about Mother’s group?
Do it. Embrace it. It will be worth it. If it’s all feeling too hard, speak up and chances are someone else is finding it hard too. That’s the beauty about Mother’s Group, you’re not alone. And don’t not go because you’re having a bad day with your bub, it could be just what you need to turn your day around. As cheesy as it sounds, it really can have that power. Women are bloody ace like that.
And something else that’s pretty cool? You may find your tribe. I have loads of girlfriends whose besties are friends they’ve made in their Mother’s Groups. And you can’t underestimate how important it is to have friends with babies the same age as yours and going through the same stages.
I have my own ‘Mother’s Group’ with my friends and their babies now and it’s heaven. Having each other to lean on, swap tips and advice, and *vent (*bitch and moan) is priceless. And now I’m confident enough as a mum to speak up when I’d rather we meet at my place because Edie is being fussy, or I’d rather go to the pub because it’s all about finding mutual ground as she’s going through a not-sharing-her-toys phase… or because I’m desperate to ignore her for a bit and have some wine.
If only there was a Mother’s Group for second time mums, I’d nail that shit.
Love, B. xx
What was your Mother’s Group experience like?