Every new mum needs a friend with a baby the same age as hers. Because it’s hard to make friends as adults.
By Jessica Hill, founder of The Parent Collective
When you’re pregnant, you have that as the common thread, so it can sometimes be easier. So you should hold onto the mamas you meet during that time. They will save you!
You need other friends with babies so you can enjoy/survive the early days (and hopefully beyond) together.
Mum friends at every stage of the motherhood journey are super helpful, but you will find that friends who have kids the same age as yours are super essential – especially during the first few months.
1 // She is going through it all too
When your baby is having their first growth spurt and you find yourself feeling like a feed-bag (every. 20. f*cking. minutes.), you have someone to talk you off the what-if-I’m-not-producing-enough? ledge.
Or to suggest that perhaps his latch is wrong – or isn’t – he’s just preparing you for increasing milk production.
She knows because it happened to her last week.
She also understands that it’s usually just one shitty day that’ll soon recede into the fog of being a new parent – and that sort of validation is maternal gold dust.
2 // She is right there with you in the trenches
Babies throw us into a time warp. Once you have moved past the phase of cleaning the belly button, you completely forget how to clean the belly button, and other seemingly obvious tasks.
As a next-level mum, your brain starts to function on auto-pilot; it only has capacity for the here-and-now and, that combined with sleep deprivation, means total loss of short term memory.
A week can feel like a year, and a year can feel like a month.
Being able to call each other about each and every symptom to group-think on how to deal with it in real-time is invaluable.
3 // She has ‘baby brain’
Because your friend with a two-year-old doesn’t remember being in the throes of reflux or perhaps the traumas of sleep regression.
She’s onto her own coping mechanisms for toddler derangement, like potty-training strategies, meal-time power struggles, emo-melt-downs and other less-than-darling behaviour.
Once you survive one baby phase, you must dump all unnecessary information to make room for the new.
4 // She understands
No one can fully appreciate the daily trials of a newborn like your new mum friend, who is also navigating life with a newborn.
From spilling (a lot of) preciously pumped milk (which will inevitably result in some hormonal rendering of a new-mama-meltdown that makes you feel a bit Linda Blair-ish) to thwarting a poo-nami in-transit (which of course only manifests once you have run out of wipes), when you are in it, these feel like total disasters (“if only I planned for X better…).
However, these stories will not elicit a visceral “gasp!” from a new parent, but rather a breath of relief as you realise another real person (whom you have actually met) has experienced something similar – like, yesterday.
5 // She will help you survive this season
Most importantly, you need other friends with babies so you can enjoy/survive the early days (and hopefully beyond) together.
Keeping each other company as you stroll, pump and strategise, textually passing the sometimes monotonous days together, offering support through sleep deprivation and petty arguments with your partner, to name a few.
Until those new humans start wriggling, that is. Then you can pretty much forget about finishing a conversation…but at least you can start one with someone else who gets it.