When we found out that we were pregnant with our third child, we were in shock. Not a total shock because we know how sex works when you’re not protected. But a shock all the same. I had given our very last baby related item away just that morning to my niece. We had to start all over again. In every sense of the term. Welcome back sleepless nights and nappies and prams and feeding that had consumed us for so many years. We needed to shop and I needed to book in to the hospital.
At my first Antenatal appointment with my midwives they went through the routine questions. Yep Yep all good. No concerns, no worries. Everything tracking well. Laugh, laugh, joke, joke. I’ll see you in a month. As I was leaving she said “Would you be interested in coming to our first time mum group sessions?” I wondered to myself if I had enough time and whether I would need to attend. I felt very comfortable being pregnant again. I didn’t have any areas that I felt I needed to work on. We had successful breastfeeding, I had been through it twice, I have a supportive husband and family. I felt confident that this pregnancy would run smoothly. My midwife explained that it might be good to have someone come to the group who had done it all before and might be able to reassure and discuss with first time mums what its really like. She then said that the sessions were at night, with food and away from my 2 existing children. Say no more, I’ll be there early.
I turned up, excited to be free from doing dinner and bedtime. Put my name tag on and looked around at all these gorgeous, very quiet women. All with their bumps and polite nervous smiles. It was at that moment when I felt great and at ease, that I knew that I was the only one who had done this before. As we went around the room introducing ourselves, I couldn’t help but smile at what they were about to experience. Naturally I make jokes. I lighten the mood. I share myself in order for others to feel more comfortable. Even if that means I over share. As the night went on, I felt myself answering questions and laughing with these women who were getting a little louder. Not much, but opening up. We had our check ups, heard the heartbeats and returned to our families.
I went home, spewed everything out to my husband. I started a closed Facebook Group. I wondered if they wanted to connect online as it was a month in between our appointments. Slowly over the next few months we had our little group of 10. We started seeing each other for coffee in between appointments. Asking questions to each other during the night if we were lying awake thinking about things. We had become friends. We were sharing things with each other that we hadn’t even told our friends or husbands. Fears we thought might have been silly, cute things we saw in store or sales on baby furniture. We asked all the questions that they didn’t talk about in the group sessions. Where did you have your car seat installed? Was it ok to have milk already? Maternity Pads are on spesh at Coles so stock up for your hospital bag. Concerns about being a mum. Not being able to think of a name. It was fantastic.
We supported one another through scary moments and had a genuine concern for the wellbeing of both our new friend and their little one who had scared his parents.
One by one we had our babies. Over 5 weeks all 10 of our tiny humans were earthside. 8 boys and 2 girls. Some of us visited each other in hospital. Two of us were in the same room only separated by a few hours as one left with a baby and another arrived to deliver theirs.
I thought when I joined the group that I was just going for convenience. I didn’t have wait times at the hospital to juggle with school pick ups because it was at night. That’s it.
I didn’t know that I was going to make lifelong friends. I didn’t know that I would need them too.
Our children turn 3 over the next 2 months. They have changed so much and grown into the coolest little individuals. We have had joint birthday parties. Play dates, catch ups and babysat for each other. There is constant chatter on our Facebook group and through texts. There have been 6 more babies born and added to our tribe.
There’s nothing like going through the same thing with someone else. To not feel alone. To share the highs and lows of motherhood. Our conversations have changed from newborns to toilet training, day care and night terrors, fussy eaters and back to newborns again. I have groups of friends from all my children along the way. But never from the very beginning.
If you have the opportunity to connect with other pregnant mums in your local area, jump at it. Grab it with both hands. You never know what will come from it. Ask your midwives what programs their hospitals offer. And if they don’t offer anything, tell them to start. Our villages are sparse these days. Everyone is spread out or feels they need to do everything alone because otherwise you feel like you’re failing if you ask for help. That’s not the case. Create a village. Find support. Build your own community. Or join someone else’s. We are all in this together. And it’s so much more fun sharing this life with others.