I have been blessed to have found about 9 other mothers, all with babies around Hailey’s age (within 6 weeks) to pass the time with while on my one year maternity leave. These ladies have made all of the difference for me and my happiness.
I have two separate groups of mommy friends that I hang out with. One group I met while at prenatal yoga and the other group at our midwifery clinic.
The name of the group of ladies (and babies) from our midwifery clinic is the “May Babies”. This name was given to us by the clinic because all of our babies were due in May (or late April). The majority of our appointments with our midwives were scheduled as part of a prenatal group class. We would spend the first half hour individually completing all of our checks (blood pressure, urine, heart beats, belly checks, etc.) and meeting with our midwives. Following our individual times, we sat down as a group for a prenatal-type class. There were 10 couples in our group and 7 of us now hang out with each other on a regular (almost weekly) basis.
Following the births of our babes, our midwifery clinic offered weekly classes that we could attend for free for the first 3 months. There was a rotation of guest speakers each week and we had access to the midwifes for questions throughout that time even after we had been discharged at the 6 week mark.
These classes provided us with valuable support and also became a social outing and a way to get to know other moms. I looked forward to these classes each week.
The group of ladies I met at the midwifery clinic is like-minded in the sense that all were planning natural births, whether at the hospital or at home. It has been interesting spending time with these ladies because natural births seemed to be the norm and it has become weird to talk to other people who plan on getting epidurals from the get-go. Funny how who you hang out with changes your view on what’s normal.
Because our babies were all born within weeks of each other (with mine smack in the middle) we have been able to support each other along the way, offering each other advice and comparing notes. This support has been extremely beneficial because we are all going through the exact same thing at the exact same time.
Imagine a group of friends on call 24/7. Especially in the beginning where we were awake at every hour, we could ask each other questions and get responses at anytime of day through our BBM group. We could also just chat and socialize during those lonely overnight hours. Now that our babes are sleeping better it’s not quite 24/7.
In the beginning, our socializing mainly consisted of sitting in a circle breastfeeding and chatting. Now, it’s hilarious getting together because all 7 of our babies are mobile and eating. These babies trash the place, have no sense of personal boundaries, and it’s a chaotic mess when we get together.
Our babies share toys (and they all go in their mouths so they share germs too), they roam under the table picking up scraps of dropped food as their baby friends eat, they climb on each other, steal each other’s toys, and teach each other new skills. Us moms are mainly there for damage control and conversations are frequently interrupted with a “What’s he got in his mouth?”, “We don’t sit on our friends.”, or “Gentle!”.
I met 3 other moms in my prenatal yoga class who ended up all being due around the same time. I actually got to know these ladies better than my May Babies group because of the round table discussion that preceded each yoga class. We all started taking the class in January and spent just over 4 months sharing the joys and pains of pregnancy.
I see this group less frequently, maybe once a month. This group is a quieter bunch since there are only 4 babies and not all of them yet mobile. It’s also a more reserved group but equally as fun. Because of our pre-birth sharing of intimate details of pregnancy the discussions with these ladies have been a lot more personal and in-depth.
We share some views in common but I also get opinions that are the exact opposite mine. This group has offered me a variety of perspectives on how to parent and on relationships with our spouses. This has been beneficial because it forces me to think about why I have the approaches to parenting that I have.
The Main Benefit of New Friendships
I’ve listed most of the benefits already but one that I need to mention is that having these other moms to hang out with on a regular basis has reduced my loneliness and increased my happiness.
A pregnant friend of mine asked me if I had any tips for her and I recommended that she make friends with other people who are due around the same time as her. She wasn’t too thrilled with this suggestion but I consider this one of the most important things I did to prepare for maternity leave with my new baby.
Being on maternity leave, in a new mother role is a shock to the system. Having people to socialize with kept me from getting depressed. I can’t stress this enough….this was the most important thing these friendships offered me. I am happier because of each of these ladies.
I will miss our frequent get togethers immensely. This group of ladies have kept me sane for the last 10 months and I am grateful that they have been part of my new motherhood journey. I hope our friendships continue once we return to work and I hope we continue to see each other on a regular basis.
My advice to any pregnant person out there: make new friends.