Pre-pregnancy (PP), I knew my crews. My work crew, my inner circle crew, my outer circle crew, my nod-and-say-hello crew, my be-wary-of crew. These were crews that had developed and evolved through many years of observation, interaction and experience. I knew who I could tell what to, who not to say certain things to, who would challenge me, who would accept me, who I could cry to, who I should never cry to, who would talk about me after I’d walked away and who would love me at my very worst.
During Pregnancy (DP), the realisation came over me that there was an expectation I would now need to acquire a mum crew. I didn’t want a mum crew. I felt warm and safe in my aforementioned crews. The problem was, I was a pioneer in childbearing in most of my PP crews. So although I could talk to them about what was to come and my innermost fears (of which there were many). No one was in that place with me.
The thing is. I’m a grower not a shower. I don’t always make a great first impression, because I get anxious meeting new people and being in new social situations. I hide it well. But it’s there. Forcing me into either talking way too much or not at all. Always giving me moustache sweats.
So now I was about to enter a chapter of my life that I knew nothing about (cue: internal horror) and that I would be the most vulnerable I’ve ever been. And it was going to be INCREDIBLY challenging to do that without mingling with…other mums.
I had decided that ‘other mums’ were all people who had fully succumbed to the-way-of-the-child.. spent their days crafting in local meadows, wearing flowing skirts with no tops, because breastfeeding, or were part of a cool mum clique, destined to never accept me and always give me the moustache sweats. I got angry about the fact I didn’t want any new friends and definitely didn’t want to be part of the ‘mum club’ that people kept welcoming me to and I definitely didn’t want help getting into the ‘mum circuit’. Whatever happened, I would manage alone.
5.5 years on.
THANK GOD FOR THE OTHER MUMS.
Other mums are bloody wonderful. All of them. Even the ones that you probably never would have spoken to PP, because they are nothing like you. Even the ones who you initially think are aloof and too cool at baby groups. They are wonderful too. Because EVERYONE IS IN IT TOGETHER. This parenting shit strips back all the superficial stuff that doesn’t matter and you realise that NO ONE IS NAILING IT. Everyone is scared and lonely sometimes and tired all the time and just trying their best, which they constantly think is not good enough too. They will be kind to you and offer you support and reassurance and suggest things and share their fears, which are often the same as yours. They will make it possible to make sense of the craziness and will bring laughter and tears and often, baked goods to your life. It took me a long time to realise this. But now, I love The Other Mums.
My husband and I still hang out with several people we met on our antenatal course, despite almost not going because we didn’t want any ‘forced friendships’. It’s been vital and at times, life-saving.
A really important part of Buckle Up, is helping you to build a village of both professional and informal support. It’s not imperative. It’s not forced. But it provides the opportunity and the open door. This is still the case with the Online Edition whilst Coronavirus is upon us. There is opportunity to chat to and learn with other expectant parents and as a course participant, you will still get access to all the Buckle Up social pop ups when we’re allowed to be physically social once more.