There have been many realisations for me since having a baby – things like, I'm stronger than I ever knew! And Wow, you really don't need that much sleep to survive! But one of the greatest revelations for me has been the importance, actually, the ABSOLUTE NECESSITY, of female friendships.
The first three months of being a new mummy were, for me at least, pretty damn hard. Not only was I more traumatised from the whole hospital experience than I thought, I was massively sleep deprived, incredibly anxious (about EVERYTHING), felt pretty inept when it came to knowing why my baby was crying, and perhaps more than anything else, I felt terribly guilty that this experience I'd been longing for was so NOT enjoyable at this point. (Spoiler alert: I did come to find it all very enjoyable). Everyone around me was so loving and supportive, especially my beautiful husband and my wonderful mum. But I needed to know that I wasn't the only new mummy feeling like this. And then I joined Transitions, this wonderful course/mothers' group/ support group for women having their first baby, second baby, seventh baby even! From the very first get-together, I felt an enormous weight had been lifted off my shoulders, just through discovering these other women were going through the same experience as I was. As the weeks went by, we became more and more comfortable with each other, discussing and sharing really personal things about ourselves as women, as wives, as mothers, as friends. I remember looking forward to our Thursday morning get-togethers SOOO much, knowing that I had found a safe, supportive space, with two incredibly special facilitators, where I could unload all of the crap I'd been storing up from the week and feel rejuvenated.
Now, many months later, the course is well and truly over and we have sadly had to say good bye to Jane and Suzanne, two beautiful women who facilitated our course each week. But the seven of us, all strangers a year ago, continue to meet weekly in each other's houses for our dose of mummy solidarity. We have become friends, confidantes, supportive peers in a time of our life where we probably need it the most. Our babies, all born within 2 months of each other, are growing together and becoming little people in their own rights.
As we approach that marvellous milestone – our baby's first birthday – I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to the beautiful women in my life who have given me love, strength, understanding, the perfect cuppa tea, much-needed hugs and belly-laughs. It is an honour to stand in the sisterhood of women, of mothers, alongside each and every one of you.