We all know the benefits of having a support network when a baby comes along, but do you feel that you already have enough friends and family in your life, so there’s no need to get out and meet new people? Or, perhaps do you feel self-conscious and that you’ll be judged in a group of other parents?
It’s more than understandable to want to stick to what’s familiar and safe during the postpartum period. Getting out the door with a newborn is hard enough, let alone adding the task of making small talk with strangers when you’re sleep deprived, healing from the birth, and going through an immense life adjustment.
However, there are definite benefits to making new friends after having a baby. Before you decide to skip the new parents group or mums and bubs class, here are a few things to consider:
Other new mums can relate
Being able to share your experiences and feelings with someone who is going through something similar is immensely reassuring and comforting.
Unless you’ve got friends who are having babies at around the same time as you, they may not be able to empathise and relate to your conversation topics about engorged breasts, night sweats, or baby poo.
And if your friends are already mothers, they may have emerged at the other end of this phase. We have a tendency to forget the details of these parenting challenges when we’re faced with the next ones as our children grow!
You’re no longer pre-baby you
You’re naturally going through a huge transition from the person you were to the mother you’re becoming. Surrounding yourself with people who only know you as a mum, who have no preconceived notions of who you were before, can help you to discover your new identity.
You won’t feel pressured to be the old you or prove that you haven’t changed, as you might with people who have known you for longer. Mumma, there’s no denying that you have changed in the most profound way.
You could make lifelong friends
Remember that other new mothers are probably worrying about all the same things as you and trying to navigate their new roles. If you ever do feel judged or you find it difficult to connect with other mums, perhaps they’re not the right fit for you. Just because you have new babies in common doesn’t mean that you’re going to hit it off.
There are plenty of spaces to find like-minded mums other than just the local council-run new parents groups. There are usually Facebook groups for every type of parenting approach or interest, so join what appeals to you and organise in-person meetups. Here is a great list of local activities for mums and bubs.
Many mums make friends for life during this sensitive period when support is crucial. You won’t regret making the effort to seek them out now. It could be exactly what the new you needs.