On Finding Sisterhood Through Motherhood
"Alright bubba, I think we're ready!" I said to my son as we prepared to leave the flat. We were going to the children centre as we had been doing at least once a week since he was born. We always went to the one closest to our home, which was only about 15 minutes by car. But since I didn't drive, we would get one bus from outside our building to the main road, then catch another going the direction of the centre.
I had been on this motherhood journey for almost a year by then and though I was loving it, I didn't expect to find it so incredibly isolating. I had gotten married at 23 and had my son at 24; not particularly young to some but quite so to others. For me, it was just right. I graduated from university the year before and was in the middle of completing my project for my masters degree when I found out I was pregnant. I had no choice but to defer my studies to the following year because I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum aka very bloody severe morning sickness. My university friends had all moved on with their lives most of which didn't include getting married and having children. Only one of my mates had also married his sweetheart but then they moved back to the states. So none of my friends who lived close enough were on this journey with me.
The plan was for me to stay at home for as long as possible and care for the children while my husband worked to put food on the table. When he wasn't working, he was resting. I felt very much on my own most days and going to the children centre for soft play and other activities was perfect. So on this day, we got off the bus and did the five minute walk up the hill to the centre. I greeted the lady at the reception, signed in and we made our way to Baby Café where I volunteered as a peer supporter. I would be spending two hours chatting with breastfeeding mothers and encouraging them anyway I could.
She was sitting by the door when I walked in, baby in a cross cradle position and her mother sat next to her holding her second baby. Lovely twin baby girls. They were speaking Spanish. I was the only peer supporter that could communicate in Spanish so I was happy to chat with them because although she spoke English, her mother didn't.
"¡Hola! ¿Estáis bien?" I began. We chatted a while, discovered we lived really close to each other and exchanged numbers. That's how I made a wonderful friend, who even though I moved away from the area a year ago, I still keep in touch with regularly. Ordinarily we may not have had much in common, but we bonded over motherhood, culture and long ass walks in the woods; me with my baby in a sling and she pushing her heavy double buggy.
I'm sharing this story for two reasons. One of them is to encourage new mamas who may be feeling lonely. I know what that's like. I found it all very overwhelming. There were days I would sit and weep when the enormity of what it meant to be a mother hit me. Being naturally an introvert, it was tempting to just shut myself and baby away indoors but it always did us a world of good to go out for some fresh air and socialise. The children centre became my place of solace. I got involved in baby massage, messy play, sing and sign and lots more. I discovered my passion for supporting other mothers, I gained important knowledge from the breastfeeding peer support course and I made many new friends. I found my tribe. A group of wonderful women who made me feel welcome and supported. When I had to move away from the area, I was heartbroken to leave them but having them in my life had given me a boost of confidence and I knew I'd be okay in my new environment. I still have days when everything comes crashing down on me but they are few and far between now, thanks to my mummy-sisters.
The second reason for this post is to shine the spotlight on a fantastic group of women. Mummies who go out of their way to provide support for others. I have met so many of them over the years. Some of them open up their homes, some organise playgroups; in fact some of the best playgroups I have attended over the years have been organised by mothers who saw a need. Other mothers create websites and groups for women to link up online and even go a step further to organise events for everyone to meet up in real life and have a great time together. I attended one such event a couple of weeks ago called Mummy's Day Out, put together by a very lovely lady. This is only the second event I've been to but they've been running for a year. I was honoured to celebrate and document this birthday event with so many gorgeous women and their children. I really commend mothers who make all these possible usually with lots of enthusiasm and very limited resources.
At February Mummy's Day Out (MDO) First Birthday Event (Instagram: Mummys_Day_Out)
So my dear mama, don't let loneliness eat you up. There are so many of us out there on this journey just like you, you don't have to do it on your own. I hope you find an awesome sisterhood of mothers. You're very welcome to join mine if you live in or near London or Kent. Just drop me a message! If you're reading and know of similar groups and events near you, please share in the comments section. You never know who you might help.
PS: Incase you were wondering, I haven't fallen off the blogging wagon. I've just been in a more visual-creating headspace. Check out my Photoblog and if you aren't already, keep in touch with me on social media. All the buttons are at the bottom of the page!