I’m sat in bed feeling really emotional as I reflect on the past year. I go back to work tomorrow after almost 11 months off and oh my how the time has flown! This year I became friends with two very special groups of mums; one was through NCT and the other through Twitter. These ladies have been a rock for me over the past 12 months as we navigated pregnancy, birth and the unknown territory of motherhood.
Last January Mr T and I had our first NCT session. We walked into a room with 5 other pregnant couples with the only thing in common being that we were all due to give birth in the coming weeks. None of us had ever met before and little did I know how good a friendship I would form with these ladies.
When our NCT classes finished and maternity leave began, we used to meet once a week for a coffee cradling our ever-expanding bumps while tucking into cake. One by one the babies started to arrive and still we continued to meet up weekly. I’ll never forget that first trip out to see Sarah and Ninna who had had their babies a few weeks before Ethan arrived. We all sat in Sarah’s living room looking a bit shell shocked and feeling totally stunned and overwhelmed.
Over time though we all began to find our groove with this parenting malarkey. As the babies were all born within weeks of each other it was so useful to have friends who got it and were going through the same things at the same stage. From questions on feeding, sleeping, stitches and everything in between, I lived for those Tuesdays especially in the early days.
My other special mum group is my lovely Twitter Mummies. I’ll be honest, I have no idea how we got talking to each other on Twitter but somehow we did. By pure coincidence we were all pregnant within 6 months of each other and all lived in Leeds and Bradford. Whilst I was off on maternity leave (before Ethan arrived) we decided to meet for the first time (apart from Tammy who was in hospital having given birth recently). There were two of us with babies and two of us cradling bumps and even though we had never met before it all felt so natural.
From then on, we met every second Wednesday but it soon progressed to every Wednesday until things changed as some of the mums had to go back to work. We still meet as often as we can and talk every single day. I’ll be honest here, I talk to these ladies more than I talk to my own family! What I love about this group is that as there is a varied age range between the babies there is always someone who has been there first that can offer advice and support. In the early days, I had Alice and Em tortured about breastfeeding, it was great to have Tammy whose little girl is only a couple of weeks older than Ethan and then we have Sara who has the baby of the group. As the months progressed the gap between the babies has got smaller while they have gotten bigger!
These two groups of women are just amazing. They came into my life when I had very few mum friends and now I can’t imagine life without them. Yes, my besties have been there for me and always will be but it’s not the same as having people around you who you know might be up at 3am too with a screaming baby.
We have all winged our way through the past 12 months and I truly believe they have all helped me to be the mother that I now am. They’ve offered support when I have been broken from lack of sleep, offered me tips and advice on weaning, toys and babyproofing. We have laughed and we have cried, we have compared poonami stories while tucking into endless slices of cake but most of all we have been there for each other.
Nothing can prepare you for that first year of motherhood. You can read all the books, watch all the videos but until you actually experience it first-hand only then will you truly get it.
This time last year I didn’t know any of these ladies but now I can’t imagine life without them. I’m excited to see what 2017 has in store for us as we watch our babies navigate their way into toddlerhood.
“There is no way to be a perfect mother but there are a million ways to be a good one.”