When I was pregnant with my first child, a lady I met at a party gave me one very valuable piece of advice. She told me to attend the mothers group meetings organised by my local early childhood centre. She also told me to go to more than one meeting. She went on to explain that at the first meeting, I might feel that I have nothing in common with these women. That the meeting would feel like a waste of my time and there was nothing to be gained from listening to a group of mothers complaining about sleep deprivation and sore nipples. She advised me to stick it through, to go a second time and a third time, and in that group, I was likely to find a friend. As a new mother to be, in a foreign city, loneliness was definitely a concern of mine. None of the new friends I had made had children. Now, looking back, I am so glad I listened to the lovely lady who took time to talk to me at a party.
My son will be three in a few months and I have to say, nothing prepares you for motherhood. Not the endless advice, not the literature and not even those lovely think pieces (like this one) that show up on your facebook feed. It’s a whole new ball game, and for that reason, I am thankful for the ladies from my mothers group who have now become friends and confidants.
Together, we have laughed, cried and shared our stories of motherhood many a times. It’s because of them that I survived those first nine months of sleep deprivation. It’s because of them that as I experience the joys of having a newborn again, I have managed not to lose my mind. They have taken my son away for a few hours when I needed to concentrate on my baby girl, brought meals to my house and sent me messages to remind me that when it comes to parenting, none of us really know what we are doing and that is okay.
So here is my hope to anyone reading this. If you are a new parent to be, or know of a new parent to be, encourage them to go to that mothers group or meet up. Tell them to go a second and a third time, and hopefully, somewhere in that large group of other mothers, a new friendship will blossom, and just like me, they will be glad they showed up.