Most of the women who bring up Mothers’ Group do so in a positive light. Being able to speak with like-minded women, and discuss everything from formula to first-steps to feeding provides a huge support.
They’re brought into conversation with a Holy Grail-esque tone, the saving grace protecting so many mums from isolation and insanity.
But not everyone likes the other women in their Mothers Group. Maybe they’re braggy. Or arrogant. Or too on top of everything. Not everyone likes the concept of Mothers’ Group at all. And that’s fine too.
Perinatal Psychologist Kirsten Bouse has counselled women on both sides of the fence.
“I definitely hear some of them are so close to the mothers in their Mothers’ Group, and that they really are a source of unending support, and reassurance, and usually a heck of a lot of laughs as well.”
She goes on, however, “I hear just as many say to me that they feel uncomfortable, that they feel judged… or maybe they just don’t click with them; that they haven’t gone to a Mothers’ Group with like-minded, similar mums.”
According to Bouse, a psychologist at Perth’s Centre for Perinatal Psychology, the whole ‘female group’ dynamic can sometimes be a little bit like going back to high school; uncomfortable and competitive.
And if you’re a new mum, and you don’t feel right about the group you’re in? That’s fine. There’s no need to subscribe to the blanket notion that Mothers’ Group is the be-all-and-end-all answer for every new mother. All groups are different. And all mothers are different too.
Listen to Kirsten Bouse, Christie Hayes and Holly Wainwright discuss the pros and cons of Mothers’ Groups on Year One, Mamamia’s podcast for new mums. Post continues after audio.
Actor and mum-of-two, Christie Hayes, figured out pretty quickly that Mothers’ Groups weren’t for her. “I went to a Mothers’ Group, and then I left half-an-hour later. I was too tired to make small talk. There was a woman there talking about the fact that the first night she got home from hospital with her baby, she made a roast dinner for her family.”
It made Christie feel guilty, and inadequate, and drained. So she bailed, to protect her mental health.
“If you’ve found it very difficult to make friends”, says Bouse, “if you lack a lot of confidence or self-esteem, and filter people’s comments through that negative perception of yourself… then you’re not suddenly going to become any different in a Mothers’ Group.”
“You’re still yourself, and you bring all of yourself to this experience.”
For some women, Mothers’ Groups are a valuable way to make friends for life. For others, put quite simply, it’s not.
Have you had any experience with Mothers’ Groups?
You can listen to the full episode of Year One, below.
- “We are the most messed-up Mothers’ Group ever created.”
- Mothers’ Groups are toxic, competitive cesspools, swirling with bitches. Apparently.
- Do I really need a Mothers’ Group? Short answer, yes.
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