I was 21 when I first found out I was pregnant. An age where some friends were completing their dissertations for their final year of university, others who had travelled to the other side of the world and some who had begun the first few steps into their career. Being pregnant felt isolating and lonely. We had all taken our first steps into a new direction but there was noone around me who had taken this particular one.
We were nervous and tentatively excited about having a baby but felt incredibly out of our depth at the same time. I knew I would need friends around me to help and whilst my friends that were my age were incredible and so supportive, they couldn’t relate and didn’t know how to help.
Making friends doesn’t come naturally for everyone and I fell into this category purely through being shy and reserved. I was worried that because of my age especially that I wouldn’t make friends as statistically in the UK most first time expectant parents are 29.1 years of age (https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/olympic-britain/population/have-kids-settle-down/). At 21 this felt like a big gap in life experience and maturity.
After having a word with myself, I booked onto classes after having my baby because I wanted her to grow up around other children and hopefully make some friends myself. It was putting myself out there in a way that didn’t come naturally but it was worth it to have made some genuine connections that are still going strong 5 years later.
It came about from a few compliments about how cute each others babies were, commiserating over lack of sleep and a sneaky cake and coffee after classes. Daisy actually brought me my closest mum friends, it was a chilled enough environment that there was time to chat about these things and the babies were plenty distracted by the class.
Being on maternity leave can seem from the outside, a perfect time full of this type of day. However most new parents are knee deep in sick, sleep deprivation and worry about doing the right thing. Have I done enough to play with my baby today? Why does the house always come last? When did the washing become so never-ending? When was the last time I actually washed my hair and dried it on the same day?
Making these friends can seem like the toughest job on top of just surviving. But if you make it out of the house and have a conversation with one other person, it is a relief, you’re not alone. In the small hours of the morning, googling every tiny symptom, they will text you back because they are also up doing the exact same thing whilst rocking, feeding and winding their little ones. They’ve also tried a few ways of relieving colds, weaning and everything else and you suddenly have another perspective that can help you make decisions and calm the worry about whether you’re doing a good job. Because you are doing a good job, we’re all doing our best and doing what we think is best for our little ones. And when we support each other in that, it makes the responsibility feel that little less scary.
Be brave and strike up the conversation! It could be a lifelong friendship or one that gets you through your parental leave. At Daisy classes we create WhatsApp groups to help you build your village and as someone who has benefitted from exactly that, it was definitely worth working past my own shyness!