parent opinion

'I am so lucky to have found my village.' An ode to mum friends.

The old adage tells us it takes a village to raise a child. I remember wondering after the birth of my first child where exactly one would find this village because I really, really needed it.

My introduction to motherhood was a rocky one. Besotted with my baby boy but also plagued by postnatal depression and postnatal anxiety, things didn’t look quite how I imagined them. 

I had the most wonderful group of girlfriends who’d been part of my life since high school but as the first to have a baby; I was in unchartered territory. 

Watch: The horoscopes as new mums. Story continues after video.

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Everything was so much harder than I thought. Breastfeeding and bodily fluids occupied my days. And then there was the sleep deprivation. Those first months were tough and incredibly isolating, and I used to wonder when and where I’d find my village.

I joined a local mothers' group which helped, but I still struggled. I was lonely without being alone. I had a wonderful husband, amazing friends, and a supportive family, but I was mothering 'alone.' I didn’t realise at the time, but I was craving the very specific type of community that comes when women with children gather to parent together and share their experiences openly and honestly, navigating the intense highs and sometimes crushing lows. 


When my son was 18 months old, we upped sticks and left Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs on the hunt for a slower pace (and, ahem, more reasonable house prices). We were craving a change and the desire to feel more of a connection to where we lived and our community. 

Having always lived on the coast and keen to still be in commuting distance of the city for work and family, we ended up settling in a small town on the South Coast, about an hour and a half from Sydney. 

It was a big change; apart from time overseas, I’d only ever lived in the one place. We’d left the known for somewhere completely new and initially, I only knew one other mum; another ex-Sydneysider who I’d met in mothers' group. Slowly though, more people appeared on my radar. 

I connected with an ex-colleague who I’d been email buddies with and who’d left the inner city for the same small town. We ended up quite literally running into each other at the park one afternoon. Two became three. Then four, five, six as I was introduced to other women who’d made the same sea-change as we had. 

Image: Supplied.


All had toddlers, many were pregnant. The majority had partners doing the same commute that my husband was doing. These women were in the same stage of life, facing the same challenges that I was. They understood why I looked like a shell of a human after being awake for three straight nights with my unsettled second born and provided coffee (and wine). 

Someone was always up for a nutritious 'hot chips at the park' dinner. Sometimes the chat was surface level, other times it went deeper, but regardless there was always someone to listen and 'get' what was going on. I truly believe finding these women helped me avoid developing PND and PNA after the birth of my subsequent two children and kept my sane as I learnt how to juggle two then three little ones.


We’d all stumbled upon each other, in this small town on the South Coast, and whether it was geography, like mindedness or necessity, our little village was born.

Fast forward to today and the childbearing years are behind us. The youngest 'baby' is my daughter who, at five, no longer really qualifies for the title. Some of the toddlers I met when we first moved to the coast are in high school. Park plays have been replaced by coffee catch ups and dinners sans children. 

Coming together as a group with all the kids is more difficult these days with #mumlife being more about juggling extracurricular activities, screen privileges and friendships than nappies and snacks. 

But the village is still in full swing, sometimes I think even more so because bigger kids equal bigger problems. We all still need the support in the way we did when we were baby wrangling, just in different ways. 

Leaving Sydney to move down the coast was one of the biggest decisions of our lives and it was scary as hell at first, but I can honestly say it was the best thing we ever could have done, largely because of what we found; a 'family' and community of the most wonderful people to share our lives with. I am so lucky to have found my village.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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