The Friendship of New Mums

Our mothers group at the big kids’ 2nd birthday party. Doots and I are second from the left. These kids are so big now!

This post is by regular contributor Sarah Bendeich of Oesch & Doots.

Like so many couples, getting pregnant was not as easy or straightforward as Stephen and I had imagined, and so when I was finally, truly and unmistakably pregnant, I felt a huge sense of relief, tinged with a little edge of fear that something would go wrong. But mostly, I felt a sense of calm. I remember walking through the city on my lunch break one day during the second trimester. As I stopped at a busy street corner to wait for the lights to change, I felt the strangest sensation, like a wave of an almost spiritual happiness. In that moment I knew that I was right where I was supposed to be in my life. It was probably hormonal, but in my blissed-out state, I imagined my baby was connecting with me. It was a beautiful moment, standing, waiting for the lights to change in a city lunch hour, one hand on my bump and a smile on my face.

I was in a hurry to finish work. I loved my job, loved my colleagues, but I was really looking forward to having this baby and welcoming her into our home.  I was looking forward to being a mum and I was also looking forward to joining a mothers group. Actually I was desperate for my mothers group to work out, because having only been in Hobart a few years, I didn’t really have any close friends and I didn’t even know our neighbours very well. I missed my family and my old friends, and I was concerned about feeling socially isolated with a new baby.

Four weeks after Doots was born I attended my first mothers group meeting at the local Child Health Centre. On a chilly Friday morning, we took our places in a circle – six nervous new mums, six adorable new babies and a lovely child health nurse who helped us break the ice and get to know each other. We shared our birth stories in that first session. There were three natural births and three emergency caesarians. Three babies were breastfeeding easily, three mums were juggling nipple shields and breast pumps.

We all had different career paths, we ranged in age from our late 20s to mid 30s and we were all from different places. Two of us were from overseas, one from interstate and two from other regions of Tasmania.  We had different interests, different backgrounds and different personalities. But, we were all women, all experiencing motherhood for the first time and we all lived in the same part of town.

It was a slow burning friendship. We spent time together every week and gradually got to know each other. We watched our babies growing alongside each other, shared parenting tips, swapped recipes. Together we attended infant massage classes, swimming lessons, music for baby classes , library sessions and every park in town. Our babies became toddlers, and preschoolers, and we realised that their personalities have always been with them – right from those earliest weeks. Little brothers and sisters arrived. Some of us went back to work in between babies, some didn’t. One of us moved away, and two marriages ended.

With the older kids in kindergarten this year, we still make time every week for a play and a shared lunch. Next year, once the big kids are at school full time, we’ll meet every week with the little ones. We’re introducing a monthly dinner so the big kids can still enjoy a regular get-together. The children have been such a constant presence in each others’ lives that they are almost like cousins, like their own little tribe. The bigs look after the littles, and they all admire and adore each other (most of the time!).

Sharing the journey with these women and their families over the last five years has been a privilege, and lots of fun. What began as a group of individual mums and their babies, brought together by circumstance, has become a circle of real friendship, support and common interests. If you are about to embark on the adventure of first time motherhood, give your local mothers group a go – even if you don’t think it’s for you. You might just end up with some new friends, and a good mothers group is one step closer to that elusive village we all need to help us raise our children.

Do you have a mothers group story to share? Why not leave a comment telling us about your experience.


  1. I still catch up with the mothers group from when my first child was born. The bigger kids are now 6 and at school but there is still a weekly catch up for the Mums and younger kids. We have a birthday party and xmas party every year for the whole family and some of the families even go away together each year.

    1. Hi Shae, your group sounds a lot like our group, although we haven’t gone away together yet (but we’ve talked about it!).

  2. SquiggleMum says:

    Mothers Groups of all kinds are absolutely invaluabe. I <3 my MOPS group, and I still meet with a few of the mums from antenatal classes with our firstborns. Those kids are now turning 5!!

    Mothering is too hard to do alone. We need each other.

  3. Gorgeous post Sarah – and you sum up my sentiments about our little “village” perfectly, my friend!!

    1. Can’t believe how little they look in that photo Ange – it wasn’t THAT long ago was it?

  4. I loved my mothers group. We have dispersed a little from our original six after 7 1/2 years, but I can honestly say that I am good friends with two of the mums, and from the three of us, there is now 9 children. We don’t all get together very often any more, but we try and plan a ‘girls night out/catch up’ about once a year, and everything else is a lot more casual with cuppas and chats. I am so, so grateful that I met these mums, and it makes me so happy to still have them in my life.
    Thanks for sharing your experience Sarah x

    1. We really need to work on our kid free catch-ups. I don’t think we’ve all been out together without the kids. It’s been on the drawing board, but we SO need to have a girls night out!

  5. My Mum’s group was a true lifesaver when I had Goose over 7 years ago! Just to know others who had kids of a similar age was invaluable! None of my friends had kids at that stage and I had no idea what I was doing! One of them has become one of my best friends. Such a great group – although ours had double the amount of people than yours and we still all catch up – although not so regularly anymore, now that our eldest kids are all at school, we catch up a few times a year for a dinner out as a group of Mum’s.

    1. Hi Emma,
      I was just replying to Kelly that our group really needs to go out for dinner (without kids!). It’s great that you still keep it going, long after that initial phase wears off.

  6. My Mothers Group in Australia was a lifesaver for me, and I am still very close friends with 4 of the Mums. Like you, we hadn’t been living in Brisbane for very long, and we joked that we were going to rely on our new baby to find us some friends. We met every week, religiously, and had BBQs / picnics / wine & cheese fests, some weekends for the Dad’s to join in. We shared childcare duties when a few of us went back to work, and we all excitedly watched each others belly grow when our second kids arrived. I miss my Mothers Group so much, but am SO SO SO excited that one of the Mums and her two kids (one of whom is Milla’s birthday twin) is actually coming to stay with us in Belgium next month. It’s a year since our girls have played and our almost twin boys haven’t even met yet. I can’t wait.
    If I give any advice to a new Mum, it would be to find a Mother’s Group, and to stick it out through those awkward uncomfortable first few weeks when you may think that you have nothing in common with these other women. You DO, and you WILL, and you will love them all! x

  7. I absolutely agree Rhi, new mums intrinsically have a lot in common! I can understand how excited you must be to have one of your buddies coming over to Belgium to stay with you. I bet they really miss you too. And yeah, we used our baby to make friends!

    Have you found a gang of mums in Belgium? Writing this post I was thinking about what I would have done if my group didn’t work out – maybe playgroup. But we’ve been to a couple of playgroups and in my experience the friendships didn’t really extend very much beyond the sessions.

    1. Yep, finding a Mothers Group was high on my list of priorities when we moved here. They don’t have them locally – Belgian Mum’s are really missing out (most go back to work really soon, and most rely heavily on extended family who all live in the same village, literally). But I did find an ex-pat group of Mums, all of whom have English speaking kids, so we meet every week. It’s a little bit different, and they are more structured by the organisation (certain songs we are meant to sing for the kids.. that kind of thing), but at the core of it is a group of Mumma’s who need to de-brief once a week 😉 Once again it has been our kids that helped me find some friends!

  8. I tried to get into mothers group after Annie was born. The combination of me being really sick with crohns flare up (which led to hospitalization & have part of my bowel removed) and the huge negative judgement I received for bottle feeding were enough to cause me to give up after a couple of sessions. Perhaps if I had not been so ill I would have had the strength to stand up for myself an explain I couldn’t breast feed because of the immune suppressant medication I was taking.

    I found my support in the end through family and online friendships.

    Still feel very envious of those who mothers group worked for.

    1. That’s such a shame Marita. The whole feeding-judgement thing is awful, and I have a friend for whom the negative comments and judgement about her bottle feeding really put a dark cloud over the first year of her baby’s life. She gave it her best and it didn’t work. But she’s a fantastic mum and it’s awful that she didn’t get to enjoy that as much as she deserved to.

      Have you tried a playgroup? They haven’t really worked for me but I know other mums who have really bonded with playgroup friends. I’m not sure where you are, but if you lived near me you’d be so welcome to join our little gang.

      1. We did playgroup, but it was a struggle. It wasn’t until Heidi started early intervention that we found our tribe – other families with special needs children. Annie was about 4yo by that time. Luckily she had cousins her own age to play with and they lived close by so we spent lots of time together.

        I think it was the start of the intervention years that made me realise how important it was to have a group of mums who are friends and a support base in the community. Since then I’ve worked hard to build that support group and we now have a wonderful school family who have been so amazing.

  9. I am another whose Mother’s Group never really worked. I stuck it out for just over two years but wasn’t really feeling the connection with anyone there. I often felt on the ‘outside’ for my style of parenting. I did however find another fantastic group – my local ABA group and have made some wonderful friends there (I am now a breastfeeding counsellor and one of the group leaders of our local group!) I do agree though that it is important to find a group of mothers to ‘connect’ with – whatever it might be through!

    1. I think in our group were lucky that fundamentally, our philosophies are pretty similar – we’re not exactly the same, but the differences are small. I didn’t join our local ABA group, although I did use their fantastic counselling service once or twice, but that would absolutely be another great way to meet a bunch of mums.

  10. The big kids in my mothers group are now 3.5 and we have a weekly catchup with at least some of our group of about 7 who still keep in touch. We also try to do a monthly (or so) mum’s night out. Each year we throw a combined birthday party on a weekend around their birthdays (August -October) so dads can come and do a Kris Kringle style thing for presents so it’s not too expensive (and while some still have separate birthday parties for their children, there are no present exchanges as we’ve already “done that” when we have the group party). We do the same thing at Christmas. Most of us work part-time, but on different days, so recently we’ve been trying to make weekend catchups more regular.

    ‘Round 2’ has seen almost all the big kids gain a younger sibling (with one very soon getting number 3!) and those children are also included in our Kris Kringle birthday present. We’ve talked about going away as a group but not yet ever actually been organised enough to do it!

    I think we were lucky that our smaller group (there were almost 20 in our original mothers group with the child health nurse!) stuck together, but I also think there were certain reasons we did, in that fundamentally we all have similar parenting strategies and value systems.

    I always feel sorry for people whose mothers groups (or similar) don’t work out (or those who don’t even try them) as mine has been a wonderful source of strength and reassurance. I don’t know where I would be without them!

  11. My mothers’ group was such a saviour to me, especially in that first year of parenting. Having moved interstate, I really miss my girls. J x

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