Why 'mummy' friends are so important
Updated: Nov 18, 2018
I was someone who attended antenatal classes purely because I wanted to be prepared for childbirth and parenthood. My husband was a bit worried about having to talk about himself in front of a group he didn't know (he's painfully shy!) but he also felt it would be beneficial so we signed up to NCT because they offered evening classes we could both attend.
Little did we know that the best thing we would take from the classes were the friendships of the other parents we met on the course.
When we arrived, my first act was to check out everyone else's bumps as no one I knew was at a similar stage of pregnancy to me, and in our group of 6, we all looked totally different, despite our very similar due dates.
We got to know each couple through the activities on the course, laughing as we came to pre-empt the shocked reactions of some, and benefiting from some very different viewpoints on things like when to have your first visitors (ranging from 'when I'm in hospital' to 'after our 3-week Baby-moon).
Before our babies were due, we managed a few trips out as couple to get food and drinks, giving us a chance to connect 'off-topic'
Us girls quickly set up a Whatsapp group where we began sharing shopping links, discount codes, articles, pregnancy symptoms, joy at the start of maternity leave.
It was also the place where our birth announcements were shared, although one came much sooner than expected, just 2 days after our final session together! Cue panic from the rest of us to finally pack our hospital bags!
(The boys' Whatsapp group involved less shopping links but I know my husband loved getting the birth announcements from the guys, especially when was told something the girls hadn't yet been told!)
It was wonderful hearing of each safe delivery, and the mothers who had their babies first were so helpful for those of us with babies born a little bit later as they passed on their birth tips, pre-warned us about jabs, and let us know what products had proved essential for them.
We had our first meet up round someone's house because we couldn't wait for the scheduled one with our NCT course leader. It was lovely to actually connect with people who understood some of what you were feeling as we shared the good bits and the bits that were not so easy.
We were lucky to have some organised members of the group who sent round links for local baby groups, and soon we were all able to start a weekly class together, and for some, this grew to 3 or 4 classes a week with at least one other NCT mum. This was vital in stopping all of us feeling isolated, a feeling many new mums report feeling. Even the dads got involved by taking the babies swimming every Saturday morning.
Our babies are now 9.5-11 months and 4 of us are back to work already, but we are still attending classes together, or in some cases, our parents have joined the classes with our babies!
I have continually benefited by the kindness of the group when they outgrew nappies or clothes (the benefit of being the last born!), but also the emotional support on our tough days. I remember one day where we all just said out loud how tough motherhood was and it was lovely to know that I had people who truly understood with no judgement. I have plenty of wonderfully supportive friends without children but it is nice to know you're not the only mum who has certain thoughts or feelings.
Overall, I know I would have been a lot lonelier with my NCT friends, and I know I have benefited from more classes because I was sharing them with people I knew and was comfortable with. I was lucky to have been with such a lovely group of women who celebrate every baby's journey without feeling competitive, as our babies are so different.
We are looking forward to our Christmas get-together - without the babies!
If you are debating attending ante-natal classes, I would always recommend them for the content you learn, but also for the friendships you make.
Check out our page on ante-natal classes.