baby

'I can't do this alone. Second time mums need mums' groups too.'

I’m thrilled that I’m pregnant with my second baby.

I gave birth to my son, Charlie, over two years ago while living in London.  I was one of lucky ones, I crossed into the unknown territory of motherhood with a new-mum army by my side.

We met in the middle of summer in a stuffy meeting room with no air-conditioning.

I had no idea the pregnant strangers sitting next to me during dull Wednesday night ante-natal classes would become like family.

On a spa date. Image supplied.

It didn't happen right away but eventually our small-talk over biscuits turned into a life-line for me.

The first time we met up after we all had given birth to our babies some of us could barely walk.

My newest friend confessed her two-week-old dummy guilt and the newest people in my life became my closest confidants. These new mums were kind enough to laugh and listen to my worries and share their own.

We went from letting our babies crawl on my lounge-room floor in the winter to meeting up in Hyde Park in the summer.

My maternity leave was a walk in the park because of them. Coffee in the Autumn and baby-free night's out in the Spring. I had a four seasons of Monday to Friday support as we watched our babies grow.

Listen: How to make an adult play date? (post continues after podcast)

My new mum friends understood how hard it was to shower and show up somewhere, on time, or go to the bathroom alone.  We went to art galleries together and saw little art.  Being out of the house before lunch was achievement enough.

As a brand new mum, I made friends at the community centre, at the park - I felt like I had a new mother tribe with me.

Now I am facing being a second-time mother - without them. How will I do it without my new mum gang? Who else is going to listen to jokes about sore nipples?

The babies had a gang too. Image supplied.
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I've been looking for an Australian equivalent of the NCT classes I attended in the UK, where I first was introduced to some of these amazing women.

But it seems that post-natal mum's groups - on the whole - are only catering for first-time mums.

A bit like pregnancy the second time around, some of the sparkle is missing.

As a second time mum you can get in to some groups with special permission or conditions - like not bringing your first baby.

Or there are playgroups - which are apparently great places to bring two kids.

But like my second pregnancy - I've sort of just been left to it.

When I was pregnant the first time around, everyone treated me like a goddess growing a baby - like no one had ever done that before.

This time is different, I'm feeling like I have even overlooked my growing bump.

Last pregnancy I was amazed by my ability to grow a human - it was my focus. This time, I'm distracted. I'm seasoned. I've done it before. It's not all new. But I feel more alone.

In London, my small mum's network had given me a sense of community - of people going through the same thing.

Boys in the hood. Image supplied.
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I was friends with my neighbours. I'd been to their houses. They had babysat for me, I'd babysat for them. I was in the biggest club on earth, I was a parent and I had other new parents to call on to help me find my way.

Two kids is a going to be game changer. I don't know what I am doing.  I only found out the other day there is no end game in parenting, it just keeps going on and on.

By this September, I will want some friends to soundboard ideas on how to leave the house with a toddler and a newborn.

Spring walks. Image supplied.

By this September, I will want a playmate that is older than three to have a laugh with.  By this September - I'd love to have even have one good friend that just gets it.

It's only March and in a panic, that's how scared I am - so I started my own Second Time Mums Facebook group.

Firstly, I made people join (my Facebook friends with kids) and then some other Sydney-siders asked to join.

There's not much going on for that group right now but post (second) baby, I want to host some tea clubs with the women that have been brave enough to put themselves out there and join my group.

I'm so aware of this that I've admitted in a very public way that I can't do this alone, but I need a new Australian gang.

My old new mum gang helped me shape who I am as a mother.  Unfortunately, I can't bring that group back together - it's been split by an unthinkable distance.

The first time around was so hard, I sometimes felt as if I was drowning, but they helped me through it.

With the help of those warm open, loving friends by my side in London, I felt like I was able to keep my head above water and swim though that first year - or at least dog-paddle.

Now that I am up for this all over again, I still need a new tribe. Thank you to the mums to be that have joined my online gang so far. I feel better already.

Second time mums need mum groups too. It's really double the need.

Do you agree, do we need more avenues for second time mums to connect?

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