Catherine Cameron's Take on Creating a Mums Support Network
I have always placed great value in friendship
For guidance, advice, support and reassurance, my friends have listened and understood anything and everything that life has thrown at me.
And then at 29 years of age, I became a mum and my world changed.
My lifestyle changed. My interests changed. My mood changed. My perspectives changed. My priorites changed. My focus shifted. My emotions became more intense. My time became more precious. I became stronger and more vulnerable both at the same time.
Motherhood took hold of every piece of me, and taught me a new way of life. I learned to be selfless. To be grateful. To fight. To protect. To sacrifice.
But best of all, I learned a new kind of love. An all-consuming, skin-itching, heart-pounding, breath-stopping and gut-wrenching love.
And suddenly, there were parts of my life that I could no longer share with those that had understood absolutely everything before.
I found myself afraid to be honest. Afraid to reveal my reasoning when declining social invitations, or in justifying that I wasn’t crazy if my biggest priority in my day to day life was trying to establish some sort of routine.
I found myself too tired. Too tired to face the looks of bewilderment or judgement, as I spoke openly about my struggles, rather then aligning with the image of ease so many other mums portray. Too tired to find the words to explain just how earth shattering the thought of missing sleep was.
I found myself growing weary of justifying. Justifying my choices as a mother.
Justifying that my baby’s behaviour wasn’t a reflection of me, but of her unique and individual little self. And that whether I was doing things ‘right’, or ‘wrong’, my baby would continue to keep me on my toes.
I became tired of defending that for many mums, this is the norm.
I wasn’t the carefree, baby basket swinging, ‘sit still while mummy finishes her merlot’ kind of mother that could slide into motherhood as though nothing had changed.
But soon, I noticed something magical.
Through coffee groups, support groups, baby classes, and even out and about in day to day life – I began to connect with other mothers. And before long, my world became colorful with their support.
I bonded with mothers of all ages, gravitating toward the wisdom of those slightly older, and feeling reassured by the shared naivety in those who were younger. Walls dropped immediately. There was no time for small talk. While some friendships can take years to establish, these developed at an extraordinary pace.
I shed tears in front of mammas I’d known for mere months. I frantically messaged others in the middle of the night seeking advice. Together we would spend hours discussing nap schedules, feeding, relationships, sleep, and topics that 7 months ago I never knew existed.
It was like we all had this unspoken pact between us; ‘I know what you are going through. And I am here.’
Before long I was forming an army. An army that followed me without judgement, without question, and without effort.
We struggled, won, wept, and learned together. And we continue to do so.
Although I still (and always will) cling to and cherish the friendships I have held since before becoming a mum, it has taken me a long time to realise and accept that there are pieces of me that these friends may no longer understand in the manner that they did before.
However, this is only temporary. As my girl continues to grow and change, so will I. I will become less tired. I will become more aware of the world around me, outside my baby bubble.
But one thing will never change. My new found respect and gratitude to all of the mothers who are now a part of my life. For approaching me, listening to me, supporting me, and most of all, for understanding.
Thank you Mammas.
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