Making 'Mum Friends' and finding your 'Vibe Tribe'.
You’ve googled ‘NCT near me’, that’ll sort it, ready-made mummy mates, tick. Well yes. And no. Let’s call it a maybe.
I am really lucky. I did exactly this. I was moving into a new area, five months pregnant and this seemed like an obvious solution to my fear of facing maternity leave alone. To cut a long story short, my NCT WhatsApp pings weekly still 6 years later. It’s harder to get us all together these days because, you know, life. But as I said, I was lucky, I got a good gang.
But it’s no guarantee. Another mum mate of mine also attended NCT. Her WhatsApp group soon disbanded (to her relief) following the obligatory birth announcements and she’s moved forward into motherhood with just as solid a base of mum mates as any woman I know.
Therefore, my first point is - pick your antenatal education for your antenatal education, not to buy friends.
I offer smaller group Antenatal & Hypnobirthing courses to allow more time for discussion and space to give all my clients the attention I want to give them. This may not result in you meeting your new family besties - then again it might (and happily sometimes it does!) But don’t book a birth prep course with the sole purpose of making friends. If you meet your Ross & Rachel to your Chandler & Monica it should be thought of as an added bonus but not the goal.
But what else can you do? How do you meet your tribe?
Start early. - Join pregnancy classes to invest in both your physical and mental antenatal wellness. Think:
Try an App! - Tinder for Mums (& Dads) - Peanut has been created to connect like-minded mums to each other, offer support and advice.
Facebook - You're entering a new realm of algorithms when it comes to social media and 'mums groups' can be worth their weight in gold. Fancy pinning down a like minded mum - don't be shy to try a little 'new to this' post, say a little about who you are, where you are, what you are and connect with those who like what you've got to say! For those local to me in Hampshire have a look at:
Baby & Toddler Groups - These are often held in local church halls, community centres and alike, even libraries hosting 'Rhyme Time' welcome tiny tots. A quick google should help you find a plethora of local gatherings full of local mums at the same stage as you.
Baby Classes - I separate these from baby groups as they tend to be owned by a franchise with structured sessions and thus cost a little more than a drop-in donation. They'll often have a free trial offer so you can check out the tribe before you commit, and make sure they get your vibe.
Classes for Mum (& Baby) - There are lots of classes out there for new mums and these can be a great spot to seek out and meet mum mates. Just as when you were pregnant, check out postnatal yoga, pilates and fitness classes such as:
Breast & bottle feeding Groups - These can often be an invaluable source of support for those who are struggling with feeding but they are also a great place to meet other mums and you never know, your new bestie may be lurking there. have a look at:
Ask your friends - Does that seem too simple? Honestly - why wouldn't they have already made an introduction? But sometimes, let's face it - we're just too hectic to even consider that Ella might really hit it off with Catherine and then actually get around to making the introduction. So wave a very obvious flag in your friend's face by submitting a Facebook post saying something along the lines of:
'I'm hosting a new mum's coffee and cake morning at my house next Tuesday - if you know anyone who'd be keen, please pass this on'.
You may be surprised at the response and because they'll be friends of friends there's a good chance you may have something in common other than a baby!
Bump2Brunch - come along to one of my Bump(&Babies)2Brunch held at The Yard, Chilton Candover every six to eight weeks. An informal gathering for local expecting (& brand new) parents hosted by birth and perinatal experts. Find out about our next meet-up here.
And as for me, here I am, six years after my first pregnancy, how did I make my mum mates?:
1. Infant first aid course - our eyes met over a sweaty room of expectant parents. It was ‘you could be a friend’ at first sight. They’ve moved slightly further away now. We’re off to stay with them next weekend.
2. Accosted by her aunt as we walked (I waddled) home from the pub - one of those ‘you must meet my’ moments. It was chancing it, but just in case, I made my way through a migraine and waddled to a village picnic where I suspiciously swapped numbers with a nice enough girl who just moved back from Dubai and was wanging on about something called Hypnobirthing. Unlikely as the match initially appeared, were now godparents to each other’s second children and she’s basically the reason I’m here/you’re reading this.
3. Following a Baby Sensory class - ‘I think you met my wife at that baby thing’ a random Facebook message from a very old friend read. Indeed I had. Flipping marvellous she is too.
4. Old mates become new mates - a number of friends I'd perhaps lost contact with I'd clock were also new parents at similar stages to me and we intuitively leaned back into our friendships with new commonalities (and limpets).
5. My existing friends became mothers - this was real luck. Two of my oldest and best friends, one in Australia, another in Dorset, both became first-time mothers in the same year as me. We were all a bit older so it was an unusual co-incidence and while they were not on my doorstep, the support and comradery I received from these two was second to none.
So you see, there's nothing particularly conventional. There's no guaranteed strategy. Be brave, put yourself out there. If one method doesn't produce 'your type of person' try another. They are out there, I promise.
It'll be worth it. x