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'I thought Mothers' Group was for social outcasts and friendless women. I was so wrong.'

Unlike many first time mothers my whole approach to my first pregnancy, including giving birth was just to ‘wing it’ and hope for the best. My birth plan was no plan.

“I’m going to be a cool mum,” I told myself, and would just go with the flow, avoid reading and stressing over everything and just embrace every challenge as I met it.

So when the midwife at my local Child Health clinic signed me up for a Mothers’ Group four weeks after my daughter was born, I was pretty convinced that I didn’t need such a support network.

“Oh that’s not for me,” I casually dismissed after my last at-home midwife appointment. “I don’t need a Mothers’ Group.”

I foolishly believed that I had plenty of friends who were mums, lots of forums to follow and a great support network around me. Mothers’ Groups, I arrogantly surmised, were reserved for the social outcasts and friendless women of the world.

However, as the weeks rolled on and the date came closer to attend the first appointment (they start typically when your baby is nine-weeks-old) I became curious about other mothers who weren’t my friends and what they were experiencing.

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"I ended up attending all four of my scheduled Mothers' Group appointments." Image: Supplied.

Was anyone else struggling with blocked ducts? Did anyone else get super hungry at 3:00am feeds and polish off multiple packets of Scotch Fingers as well? Were there any other mothers struggling with unsolicited parental advice and regularly doubting their instincts?

Sure I could scroll through forums on my phone but that was time consuming, tricky when breast feeding, and frankly, some posts just freaked me out.

So off I trotted, convinced I would be a smug bystander in a room full of weirdo mums. How wrong was I.

Upon entering the room I was met with friendly, albeit tired, smiles and approachable women, all perhaps as reluctant as me to be in such a room. After a few awkward greetings the walls came down and the laughs rolled out over our naivety as new mothers. I ended up attending all four of my scheduled Mothers' Group appointments.

I learnt how to recognise different cries and what they meant. I shared my opinion on sleeping habits - to dummy or not to dummy, which nappies everyone was buying, how much tummy time to do and whether or not it was okay that my baby spat up after almost every feed.

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I enjoyed each trip because unlike my friends with older children, we were all going through the same stage at the same time. It was also a chance to get dressed into something other than pyjamas, pop some make up on, brave the big bad world with baby in sling and shamelessly drink coffee between feeds among the solidarity of other tired mothers.

"I learnt how to recognise different cries and what they meant." Image: Supplied.

So enamoured was I with these newfound friends, I even volunteered to set up our group on Facebook - something I would never have imagined I would initiate. Talk about stepping out of your comfort zone.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with all the opinions in my Mothers' Group, and there are certainly some in it who I naturally gravitate more easily to. As the months turn into years, I may only stay in contact with a few.

Regardless, how truly refreshing to meet women from various backgrounds. Not because we went to the same school, that we are work colleagues or that we live on the same street. But because we have all found ourselves navigating our way through this beautiful madness called motherhood at the same time.

At 37-years-old, I’m one of the eldest in our group. The youngest is 26. There’s a woman from South America and a woman from China, a theatre nurse, a vet, an accountant and even another teacher like me. Although it’s a lovely network to share our baby’s milestones with, I’m sometimes a little more thrilled by the women I’ve met.

There is a quote that often floats around online which resonates with me when I think of this group:

"Make friends with people who aren’t your age. Hang out with people whose first language isn’t the same as yours. Get to know someone who doesn’t come from your social class. This is how you see the world. This is how you grow."

So if you’re a first time mother, unsure about the Mothers' Group your Child Health nurse has signed you up for, don’t shrug it off. Give it a go. You may find it leads you to friendships you never knew you needed.

Was was your experience of Mothers' Group? Tell us in the comments section below.

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