When I was 6 months pregnant with my first, we bought our home and moved an hour and a half north of Sydney. We knew absolutely no one. We were confident we would stay good friends with all our Sydney mates, and we have.
My gorgeous midwife would visit for prenatal appointments and every time would ask me ‘how about your support network, who are they, where are you going to find them?’. I would answer her questions positively but my inner monologue was less engaged, I didn’t see it as a priority. Making new friends was not my forte.
However, she is a very wise woman and I took her advice. One piece of advice I always pass on to other expectant mums is to attend an ABA (Australian Breastfeeding Association or La Leche League in other countries) meet up BEFORE baby arrives so I know where to turn to for support if I do need it the early days. And I did. I went to an ABA meeting and met some lovely women. After Jack was born I went back and met more lovely women.
My best friend gave me my first baby carriers and joined me up to the local babywearing group and I went along to local meet ups.
I found the local natural birth support group and went along to meet other women who loved talking about birth.
I started to see familiar faces, women who clearly had the same interests as I did because we went to the same groups.
Then, I took a big breath, and threw myself in the deep end. On one of the group pages of like minded parents I specifically asked for friends – well, friends for Jack… but really friends for me!
Women who had met me and recognised me suggested other groups, play groups, coffee catch ups. All of a sudden I had loads of appointments and was meeting other women craving connection too. Now Max is nearly 18 months and some of those women are dear friends, and we have developed our local tribe of mothers. I feel supported and connected.
So, here is my guide to find your tribe.
- Attend your prenatal or post natal groups offered by your local community health centre or hospital.
This is a great starting point. Everyone is in the same boat, your kids are the same age and you have lots to talk about. Make sure you start a private Facebook group so that you can connect online or reconnect later when everyone is ready.
If you meet someone in particular that you gel with, remember to sit next to them and strike up a conversation. Make a date to meet at the park/café in the next week.
- Get along to your local ABA (Australian Breastfeeding Association or La Leche League) meeting. Go back to the next one, and the next one. If you like it keep going regularly!
- If you have a baby carrier go along to your local babywearing group (search on facebook). Don’t worry about what type it is, or whether you even use it. Just be yourself, and hope to meet someone you like! If you like it, go back again!
- Find your local KANGATRAINING class. Kangatraining is a dance-based exercise program that you do WITH your baby (actually, they’ll love it so much they will probably fall asleep) and is especially designed for the post natal period.
Instructors are especially trained to ensure safety for new mums and exercises are modified to heal and strengthen your core. It is easy to do more harm than good exercising after birth, so if you can’t find a Kangatrainer and are looking at other exercise targeted at mums, make sure to ask if they are specifically QUALIFIED for the post natal period. If you see any running, jumping or crunches run WALK for the hills!
- On the exercise note – do a Facebook search for your local MEGA (Mums Exercise Group Australia). This is a non-profit forum for free or low cost exercise, and often will have localised walking groups.
- Find a nature playgroup. Search out your local bulk food or organic co-operative or produce swap. Search on Facebook, ask on a local Buy Sell Swap page, ask at your local organic or whole food café. These are often run by parents and sometimes have a playgroup associated for socialising, Our local one is called ‘Environmental Group’ and has a dedicated nature playgroup that meets every Thursday in a different location. It always popular and this is where most my local tribe have found their way.
Don’t have a nature playgroup or can’t find it? Maybe it’s time to start one!
- Maybe you are like me and love talking about BIRTH? This is a timeless topic that all us mums have in common! Search on Facebook for your local Homebirth group, or VBAC group, or even contact a local Doula to see if there’s a supportive group near you, or maybe start one with her!
- Local Community garden – so many communities have these repurposed green spaces run by dedicated volunteers. This could be a great place to meet like minded folks and get your kids involved in a great project.
- Still coming up short? Why not ask your chiropractor/naturopath/acupuncturist/etc at your next appointment if they know of any mothers of kids similar age that you could maybe get in touch with as you are searching out a playgroup?
- See another mum wearing a MAMAKU Breastfeeding top? Go up to her and say hi!
It can be really hard to put yourself out there! But finding your tribe will be really rewarding! We’re all in the same boat so just try to be yourself and you will eventually gravitate to others who are like you!
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