Mummy groups. Two words that bring to mind embarrassing scenarios akin to a new girl’s first day in high school. Cliquey. Awkward. A social faux pas disaster waiting to happen. “Uggh. That onesie is SO 2014.” Way too daunting an idea, right? Except that that is exactly not what mums groups are about.
There’s no wardrobe requirement and you don’t need to be the world’s most scintillating conversationalist to gain admission. You don’t need to be super-cool and you don’t have to have it all together.
‘Nappucino’ meet-ups, postnatal exercise sessions, NCT classes – mummy groups are where you can bare your insecurities, commiserate, and simply come into contact with life forms who were not once attached to you umbilically. And this is essential when you’re suddenly the custodian of a tiny human and your greatest achievement is shedding your 3 weeks’ ripe pyjamas and exiting your front door before dusk.
The first few postpartum months can feel like shellshock.
Partners and friends without kids might find it difficult to understand your frazzled psyche and daily struggles, so it’s important to hang out with newbie mums who are going through the same rite of passage, and get some proper perspective (you’re not a failure ‘coz ‘shower’ has become an increasingly abstract concept and you are never, ever going figure out how to tie a Moby wrap). Mental health professionals also name socialising with other new parents as one of the key ways to beat the baby blues and help with the treatment of postnatal depression.
BabyCentre.com has some helpful tips on how to find a mums group that suits you:
- Talk to other moms, because the way you hear about kids’ stuff is through the grapevine. Go up to other moms at the playground or in the grocery store and ask them if they know of any good mothers’ groups.
- Hospitals can be a great resource, too, and most cater to new mothers with great postpartum support networks. Health visitors also have loads of info on local get-togethers for mums.
- Go online. If you can’t find like-minded mothers where you live, or you just enjoy getting support and advice from others online, try a Web-based community. Many mothers who meet on sites and live near each other go on to form groups in the ‘real world’.
- Once you have a list of groups you’re interested in, the only foolproof way to make your final decision is to start visiting them. You’ll know in an hour whether you feel connected to the women or not.
- If you’re having trouble finding a group that meets evenings or weekends, don’t give up. Keep asking around, and if that doesn’t work, consider starting your own group. If you work in a large organisation, you might even be able to set up a mothers’ group with some of your co-workers.
The mums you meet in mummy groups need not become your eternal BFFs; there’s no requisite that you marry off your firstborns to one another. But they will form a circle of support that can help you through this crazy, thrilling, (and spit-up splattered) roller-coaster ride.
Do you belong to a mums’ group? Tell us your experiences!