The mummy club: Befriending other new mothers

The mummy club: Befriending other new mothers

It's good to share notes with other new mums if your own family isn't around.

The saying "motherhood is the toughest job in the world" can only be truly understood when someone becomes a parent. During pregnancy, emphasis is placed on educating new mothers about labour and childbirth, but unfortunately there isn't nearly as much open conversation about what comes after.

Life literally changes overnight as we're faced with the reality of raising a child. It's a huge adjustment, and is especially challenging for those without an established support system of family as well as friends who are fellow parents.

After I moved to Australia, I developed a close friendship with two girls I'd gone to school with in Kuala Lumpur. As fate would have it, we were pregnant around the same time. I think my husband's ears are still ringing from all the squealing we did when we found out.

But career opportunities beckoned back in Asia for their husbands, so Trish and Michelle ended up moving to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to start their new families. Thus began our separate journeys into motherhood.

Their absence and the fact that I had no close family in Melbourne was definitely a struggle. I took a year off work as we didn't have anyone we felt comfortable imposing on to help care for our daughter Arianna.

Having a nanny or maid wasn't an option, nor was I prepared to send her to daycare at such a young age.

Perhaps I should've seen it coming, but the lack of human interaction that comes with being a stay-at-home mum was - and sometimes still is - incredibly isolating.

In an ideal world, I'd catch up with friends during their lunch breaks, then spend hours window shopping whilst my daughter entertained herself quietly in her stroller.

But ask any mother and 99 per cent will tell you that this simply isn't realistic when you barely have time to brush your hair, let alone prepare yourself and your baby for a day out.

Fortunately, our local council recognises that the isolation new parents face is an issue, and runs a programme connecting parents with babies of a similar age in a series of educational sessions with a maternal health nurse.

After a series of formal sessions with a maternal health nurse, it's up to the mothers to decide if they want to stay on to chat and get to know the others in the group.

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