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.