/ The Daisy Foundation with Lesley Doig

A baby in hindsight: The importance of community during pregnancy and parenthood

Being a part of a community has always been an important part of civilisation. We spend time finding people who understand us, who we can relate to and share common interests with. But despite this, our world is increasingly isolating. For many of us, we no longer live around the corner from our families and close friends. We move away for a variety of reasons but this can mean that starting a family can be challenging.

There is an invisible pressure that dictates to us that we should be able to cope with parenting our children ourselves. Alone in our nuclear style households. Movies and social media add to this pressure and anything less is a failure. But this puts a huge amount of stress and strain on families and can lead to rising tension in the parents’ relationship.

Having other parents around can help to normalise behaviours of our children and the emotional rollercoasters that the parent can go through. They can help us develop coping strategies during difficult times, be a shoulder to cry on, a rock when needed and a person to offload to. That is what they were for me.

I cannot tell you the number of times in my classes and groups, a mum has walked in and cried, or I have cried. Being able to feel safe enough to be that vulnerable is an amazing experience and speaks volumes to the support received in the groups. Being able to just be with other people that get it, that understand its hard and don’t try and swoop in with some ‘solution’ to the ‘problem’. Being able to just be heard. It’s needed.

I still speak to the mums I met in my first Daisy class. I lost touch with some until we had other children and landed in classes together again. We meet up for lunches, dinners and teas. We often speak about our experiences being parents and maintain our WhatsApp group so we can continue to meet up and support one and other.

If I could give one piece of advice to parents, it would be finding a community you feel comfortable in. With the right support and the right people, the journey will be smoother.