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.
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.