I was 6 months pregnant, gently stroking my bump as I sat crossed-legged on my yoga mat. I had rushed around at work, pushed myself on to a hot, busy train before hurtling up the street so I could spend an hour ‘relaxing’ at my prenatal yoga class. It was all rather stressful.
As I shifted to my left buttock to take the pressure off my piles, I glanced around at my fellow expectant moms. I allowed myself a wry smile as they all shifted uncomfortably and looked exhausted. Although I didn’t know any of them, I could already tell that we already had a lot in common.
My thoughts are interrupted by the soothing tones of the instructor. “Look around the room”, she cooed, “look around…” We all obediently looked around trying not to catch one another’s eye. “You are looking at your new best friends.”
Pause. *nervous giggles and cough…
As statements go, this was a whopper. We all sagged under the weight of responsibility.
Yet, despite the melodramatic declaration, there was some truth in the message. Some of these women have become my closet friends. Without them in the early days of motherhood, I would have been lonely, terrified and totally out of my depth. As I wise women once said, friends enrich every stage of our life, but friendships during motherhood are a life jacket that keeps your head above water.
It all starts with the BIRTH STORY. You may have only known each other for a short time but this does not stop you going into the gruesome details of your labor. You will all grunt in sympathy as you relive the raw hell. Who else can you spend hours discussing how long the tear was, if the stitches are healing and how you never, ever want to endure childbirth again? (Well, until the next time).
BREASTFEEDING. I can guarantee that you will have seen every one of your mom friend’s boobs by week 2. Not only that, you will have also probably poked them for signs of mastitis and squeezed them to help attach the baby at the right angle. These bad boys will be whipped out at the slightest whimper of a baby and without a second thought. You’ll start to forget what they look like with a top on!
You will CRY together, all the time. You will cry from the lack of sleep, you will cry for your old life, you will cry because the baby hasn’t had enough milk, you will cry because all the baby wants is milk. The good thing is, your mom friends will be either be crying with you or holding your hand as they will know exactly how you feel.
You will walk endlessly around parks together to get your babies to ‘go the f*ck to sleep!’ Sleep deprivation will be the main topic of conversation as you all desperately try to work out how to get them to magically sleep through the night. You will all decide that Gina Ford doesn’t have a f*cking clue what she is talking about. You will be relieved that you are not the only one awake at 2.30am pacing the floor.
Together, you laugh until you wet your knickers (FYI: do you pelvic floor exercises) and discuss who will be the first person to have sex with their husbands (FYI: it was 6 weeks and most certainly wasn’t me!).
So, this blog is dedicated to those friends who saw me through thick and thin. We may not see each other as often as we would like now that ‘normal’ life has resumed but, be clear, I will always appreciate that very special time together. Warts and all.