Check-in on your new mum friends. Then check-in again.
Over the past three months, I've spoken to 68 new mums who accessed the fully funded counselling services that are available under the Beautiful New Beginnings Community Interest Company. The conversations haven't sounded like the usual flow that naturally occurs when you meet a new mum for the first time. Answers to questions like, how are you feeling? Have become amplified with emotions to the point I'm starting to ask myself if I should avoid that question altogether? But for a therapist that would be against everything I've ever been professionally taught, and through the life lessons, I've experienced. It's all about the person I'm listening to so why have I been feeling cautious before I speak to new mums?
I sat with my thoughts for a few hours yesterday and it suddenly hit me. I'm scared. Yes, scared. Scared of the answer I will be given by these incredibly brave women who are grieving. What are they grieving you ask? They're grieving the loss of early motherhood. Some of these women have been trying for their babies for years! Imagine years of planning, preparing and getting excited to become a mother. The thought of holding your baby for the first time can become overwhelming, but then you remember that you've got time on maternity to visit baby groups, meet new mums and time to meet the experts who equally with the new mum friends, encourage you through your motherhood journey and who remind you that you're doing incredibly well, and that makes you feel more confident. Imagine not been allowed to experience all of your motherhood new adventures. Not being able to ask the midwife to come out and see you, offering that overwhelmed mum in class a cup of tea and a friendly chat after the group. Imagine becoming a mum and feeling alone. Pretty heartbreaking, right?
If you're a mum who has experienced those early motherhood new friendship during a group you'll understand where I'm coming from when I say you need someone who gets it because they're experiencing it with you. Someone who's having those sleepless nights, someone who's experiencing those body changes with you. Mums from my own baby massage group with my daughter Aurora who's now 6 years old ( How did that happen? ) are still there on my what's app going through those milestones with me every step of the way. I love these ladies. They laugh with me on my good motherhood days and then they're there for me on the days only a GIF could explain how I'm feeling. We've explored every playgroup in our area and sometimes a little beyond. We knew where to eat when you wanted the best lunch, and where to avoid when it was the school holidays. New mums haven't had the in-person opportunity to meet other mums and become friends. That's tough. And that's why it was so important for BNB founder Carolyn Whitehead to connect mums, parents and communities during the pandemic. By doing this Carolyn has created online friendships that will, and I hopefully mean soon when I say this. They will connect in person and have the opportunity to make those friendships as real as they can get. Thank you, Carolyn, from every mum who has used BNB as a lifeline over this past year.
My overall take on motherhood in the pandemic would be that it has been full of more lows than highs. More challenges than smiles. Full of more silent days than ever before for mum who sits their with her thoughts, mostly on her own. So please, reach out. Reach out daily, weekly, monthly. Honestly, whenever you can send a message, send it. Even if you don't get a response keep checking in and reminding your new mum friend that she's not alone. Update her on the world, funny memes and well anything you think will her smile. Because she needs you even if she's all smiles and positivity, she needs you more than you might ever know.
68 new mums. Could one of those mums have been one of your friends? It's possible.
Take care of each other.
To access any of the support from Beautiful New Beginnings please click on the link below.