When I first became a Mum I was stupid. Not as a Mum. I have always been most confident when it came to choices for my child but for myself. Nope. I let myself down. You see I have a lot of friends. (Not in a bragging look at me, Mrs popular, everyone wants to be my friend way) but a big group of us stayed friends from school. We are a big support to each other and I always felt like I didn’t need anymore friends because I couldn’t fit them in (I know, how arrogant was I? ) anyway I built up a friend group from work too and that is how I met my husband. Essentially everywhere I spent any meaningful time I have made friends. I am sure you have too. But for some reason I was resistant to this when becoming a Mum. I always said ‘why should I be friends with someone just because we have a baby? I have enough friends.’ I don’t know why. Maybe I had heard negative things about mummy friends, quick to judge and kick you out if you didn’t follow the pack. Or maybe my fear of putting myself out there kicked in and I just thought I have enough people to support me so I’ll be fine.
But now I realise I was wrong. How many women did I miss out meeting and building a supportive friendship with because of this silly reasoning. I was reading the book ‘It takes a Tribe’ by Will Dean, in chapter 4 he was discussing mental health and how we need to proactively engage in protective factors to maintain mental health. We need to be seeking improvement and growth, making new connections and building a community. This really struck me because I was fighting this at the beginning, afraid to put that effort in. Worried I would be judged or no one would like me. But meeting new mums who are in the trenches with you, Battling the sleepless nights, fussy children and trying navigate nurturing a confident and headstrong child while not losing your mind when they challenge your every move, may just be the solace you need.
I do still stand by my feeling of ‘why should I be friends with someone just because they have a baby?’ This would be a meaningless friendship but being open to building friendships with anyone I meet is what has helped me along the way. You might already be surrounded by friends who are having babies at the same time and you get what you need from them or you might be sitting in your house lonely wishing you had someone to say ‘me too’ and ‘I’m here’. We are a social species and there is kindness in our DNA but this can only be nurtured if we practice this daily with the people that surround us. So reach out to the mums around you. Support each other. Love each other. That is what we would want for our children. We need to give it to ourselves.