Whether it’s practical advice you’re after or a chat with someone who knows what you’re going through – a regular catch-up with other new mums can be a tremendously supportive experience.
Making new friends and keeping old ones
Becoming a new parent, particularly for the first time, can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unexpectedly isolated. Finishing work, being the first in your social group to have a baby, moving to a new area or being a single parent can all add to the feeling of isolation – which means making new friends as well as keeping up with old ones is all the more important.
Life with a newborn can be busy and tiring but making time for old friends may be just what you need to help you maintain your life balance and stay connected. It’s a good idea to keep things simple and plan ahead to help take the stress out of getting together.
Making new friends may sound a bit daunting but there is now a whole new social group of friends open to you – those with new babies and shared experiences just like you.
Benefits of making new friends before and after the birth
Connecting with other new mums gives you the chance to share experiences whilst getting you out of the house. New friends can become your ‘instant’ support network while providing the opportunity to learn from each other’s triumphs and disasters – and exposing you to different ideas about parenting.
Making friends with other mums-to-be (before you have your baby) has the added benefit that you’ll all be going through the process at the same time. So you may want to keep in touch with other parents who go to your antenatal classes or who you meet at the hospital.
Making those social connections
You may be lucky enough to be linked-up to a mother’s group through your antenatal classes, hospital or maternal and child health clinic – but here are a few additional ways that may help you meet other new mums:
- Check with your local council, library, community and childcare centres to see if there are any parent groups in your area
- Once you have children try joining a local playgroup – you can look-up your closest on their website (playgroupaustralia.org.au )
- Exercise classes for mothers and babies are offered by some councils and gyms
- Try using online forums or other social media channels to find other mums in your area – there are even apps designed to help connect like-minded local mums.
Finding extra support when you need it
Becoming a new parent is an exciting time but it can also leave you feeling overwhelmed. Talking to friends and family about anything that’s worrying you can help – but sometimes you may need some outside help and support, and your doctor or maternal and child health nurse can offer practical and emotional support before, during and after the birth of your baby.
There are also phone, online and other support services that may be of help with anything from parenting queries, breastfeeding problems to relationship difficulties (but remember advice from the internet should not be a substitute for informed medical advice from your doctor or other members of your healthcare team).
At other times it can also be beneficial just to take some time to meet up with friends, new or old, to recharge your batteries and share experiences.
Remember, if you are worried or have any healthcare concerns, contact your healthcare professional.