New mums and friendship
Your children will always be a blessing, but they won’t be the only important people in your life. You need to remember your friends too, as they can stand by your side when you need them the most. When people become busy with parenting, friendships can sometimes fall by the wayside, and this something that needs to be considered as you enter motherhood.
If you have friends in your life then, don’t forget them as you begin your parenting journey. Draw on their support when you’re preparing for your baby, and keep them close after your baby is born. And if you don’t have a ready-made set of friends to draw on, then do what you can to make new friendships, so here’s some advice on how to make friends in a new country if you’re living as an expat.
The importance of friendship
before your baby is born
In the months and weeks leading up to the birth of your baby, your friends can be an invaluable support, especially those friends who have already experienced motherhood themselves. You will have people to turn to for advice on how to prepare for your life as a new mum.
You will have emotional support too. Pregnancy can be emotionally challenging, and this is partly because of the hormonal imbalance you will experience during each trimester. You will probably become overwhelmed with the worries that persist for many new mums, such as:
- Will I be a good mum?
- How will I cope after giving birth?
- Will my baby be okay?
- Will my life still be my own?
- Why is my body behaving in a strange way?
Your friends might not have all the answers, but they will be there to reassure you when you find yourself getting into an emotional state. You can talk to them about your concerns, distract yourself from your worries with their companionship, and have a hand to hold when you need to steady yourself.
If you do have mum friends, they can share their own experiences of pregnancy with you. You will have the opportunity to learn from the way they coped, and have people to turn to when you need to reassure yourself that what you’re going through is normal.
Your friends are also there to celebrate with. You’re having a baby – such fantastic news – so you should get together and do something that’s fun. Check out these fun and unique gender reveal party ideas for inspiration.
The importance of your friends after your baby has been born
Here’s the tricky part. Your life will change after the baby has been born, and so there is the chance that your friendships could slide. The common reasons for this are:
- You won’t always feel like leaving the house
- Your baby might become your sole focus of importance
- You will have an endless list of chores to get on with
- You won’t always feel like conversation or social get-togethers
However, while there will be times when you feel too tired or too busy for the friends in your life, you should still make the effort to see or speak to them occasionally. Not will you retain their friendships, but you will be able to draw on their support too. You will have people around you to:
- Assist you with your household chores and cooking
- Give you child caring respite if you need to get some sleep
- Talk to when you’re desperate for adult company
- Offload to when you need to express your emotions
- Offer you parenting advice (if they are mums themselves)
- Give you hand-me-downs for your baby, including cribs, clothes, toys, and any other items that they might have if they are parents themselves
Your friends aren’t only there for practical and emotional support. They are there to be with you for the fun times as well, even though those fun times might now incorporate your little one within the things you do together.
Of course, when you’re feeling up to it, you can also enjoy nights out or nights in with your friends if you have a partner or family members to look after your baby. While this shouldn’t be a constant – parenting will have to be a priority – there will be times when you need to have a blowout with your friends to let off steam and relieve your stresses.
What happens if you ignore your friends or fail to make new friendships?
Are your friends really that important? Do you really need to make new friendships? Our answer has to be yes, for all of the benefits that we have listed thus far.
If you don’t make time for friendships, you might start to:
- Feel lonely and isolated
- Fall prey to the effects of postpartum depression
- Become anxious if you have no mum friends for advice
- Lose sense of who you are outside of motherhood
- Lose touch with the people who are important to you
- Alienate people who care for you
Pretty bleak, right? Of course, if you have a partner, you will already have somebody to socialise and talk with. However, relationships can sometimes get a little strained after a baby arrives on the scene, so it’s still important to have somebody else to turn to when you need practical and emotional support.
How to make new friends as a new mum
If you don’t have a ready-made friendship circle, there are still things you can do to make friends as a new mum. This way, you will have people to turn to when you need practical and emotional support, and you will have people to lift you up and make you feel good about yourself too.
To make new friends you could:
- Join local Facebook groups. Social media has always been a great way to connect with people, and by committing to a quick search, you should be able to find parenting groups on Facebook. For some groups, your only contact will be online, but you will still have the opportunity to make connections with individuals. However, there will also be those groups that offer meet-ups and playdates, so you will get the opportunity to meet other mums face-to-face. Members of Facebook groups will often post news of upcoming events in the community too, with a specific focus on those that might be enjoyed by other parents and their children.
- Join community parenting groups. There are often parenting and antenatal classes for people new to parenthood, so get yourself along to one of them. You will often find groups at your local library and leisure centre too, with activities that are designed for mums and babies to do together. By attending such groups, you will have the opportunity to strike up conversations, share experiences, and formulate friendships. And not only will you make friends with individuals, but you will start to form a connection with the group you are a part of too. It might be that you all arrange to do things together outside of the classes and groups you attend.
- Go to places where other mums hang out. Visit the local park or zoo. Sit in local coffee shops and eating places. Head to the cinema for parent-and-baby friendly screenings. And browse the internet for other places that are local to you. You might be able to strike up a conversation with other mums when you’re visiting places in your community, and who knows? It might be that you will be able to make a close connection if you see them often enough.
- Initiate friendship opportunities. If you can’t find a local parenting group on Facebook, then why not create your own? The same applies to meet-up groups. You can create your own group on Meetup. You could also join together with other mums you know to set up parenting events and groups. The more connections you build through your own efforts the better, as there will be a greater potential for friendships to form. You will be able to help other mums too, as they might be desperate to forge friendships with others.
Motherhood is a blessing, and you will have days when your baby becomes your sole focus. However, remember that your friendships are also vital.
True friends can lift you up during times of difficulty, and they can distract you when you need a break from your stresses. They can offer practical support, and they can offer you a shoulder to cry on when things start to overwhelm you.
So, don’t neglect the importance of friendships, especially as a new mum, as this is one time in your life when your friends can be invaluable. Keep them close and benefit from all that they can give you.