Saturday, 30 June 2012

Mothers Group made me the mother I am

I ummed and ahhed abut going to Mother's Group. Like many, I didn't know if it was for me. I was nervous about meeting new people and looking awkward as a new Mum. After talking about it with hubby, he suggested that I go just to suss it out. "You can always not go back if you don't like it."

I wonder now, how I would have coped if I had not gone that first day? Would I have developed the same respect for other parents without my group meetings? Would I have crumbled within the first 6 months, thinking I was the only one experiencing doubt of my abilities? Would I have gone stir-crazy in the house without a weekly outing to look forward to? Would I have found assurance from other sources that my baby was behaving age appropriately? When would I have discovered that my baby had a dislocated hip?

As we got settled at that first meeting, we all looked around, sizing each other up (I'm sure I wasn't the only one!) I wondered how I could live in this rural town all of my life, and have worked here, without knowing any of the other 7 mothers. Introductions were made, and we shared what we wanted  of our birth stories. I remember thinking "Thank God, somebody actually wants to hear the gory details and understands what I'm talking about".

The Mother's Group co-coordinator went through what we could expect from each week with the group. The agenda seemed interesting and there were a few topics I was looking forward to, and others I thought I had a little knowledge of.

The first 10 weeks of the organised program went quickly, and the opportunity to continue to meet as a group was an option. By this stage, we had bonded as a group, finding our similarities and differences, and laughed at our initial hesitations and awkwardness. A few of the Mums drifted away at the end of the scheduled meetings, but those of us that were left agreed that we really looked forward to meeting up.

Importantly, for me and my baby, we had developed strong ties with the group co-ordinator, who was also our Early Development Nurse. She had discovered and pushed the issue of the dislocated hip at the 6 month mark. Her perseverance and expertise was so appreciated.

The group continued to meet. The venue changed as well as the frequency over time. We took turns hosting the gatherings at our houses. The babies were not babies for long, and they loved this chance to socialise and check out other toys. Us Mums loved the chance to have a hot cup of coffee, and talk to other Mums experiencing the joys and battles of parenthood.

At this stage, 8 years on, there are a handful of us that keep in touch. We have watched our children and families grow in that time. We have shared some hardships and made wonderful memories together.

Mother's Group, for me really was something that shaped me as a parent. I still marvel at the idea that you can throw a group of women together who share one common factor, and you end up with a support network and an invaluable source of knowledge to help you through your journey.

Did you join a Mother's Group? What was you experience if you did? If you didn't, what were your reasons?