One of the first things to consider when you get pregnant is if any of your pre-existing (girl)friends is in the same boat. Who will be your co-explorer through the jungle of childbirth/rearing? Who will be your maternity leave sidekick, your partner in crime…who will know exactly how you feel at all hours of the day during this impending upheaval? Husband/Boyfriend? (No…they are uterus-less weaklings). This is a job for female(s).
In all likelihood, your mates aren’t going to get impregnated the same week as you, so you need to look elsewhere. You have been warned…you must get some Mum Friends.
The hunt begins…tentatively at first, with Pregnancy Yoga:
Unfortunately, yoga is not the most appropriate place to sidle up to fellow females and ask “so…do you ever think there’s a penis (or vagina) growing inside you?”. In fact there’s probably no appropriate place to ask that…Everyone wants to get in, get out and hope they’re not the fattest one in there (they weren’t, I was). I end up paying £70 for a course of very comfortable and relaxing naps; so far, no Mum Friends.
I am going to stroll in to this church hall and find a snappily dressed, witty BMFF (Best Mum Friend Forever) who will share every parenting moment with me. We will shop together on maternity leave, have boozy brunches, go to more baby related yoga etc…bliss! It turns out that meeting several other couples from your local area who happen to be having a baby at a similar time to you doesn’t guarantee new best buds. The likelihood is, all you will have in common is that you will know jack shit about babies and be £300 poorer. Missing the last two sessions and having your babies two months before everyone else also doesn’t help. Don’t get me wrong, the people I met are lovely…but the main experience we share is the time we sat in a circle and changed a mustard filled nappy on a plastic baby.
Feeling a bit disheartened, it’s time for the Setups:
Everyone will try it, especially if you’re having twins. “My boss’s brother’s aunt’s assistant is having twins! I should introduce you…”. It’s like when you’re young and your parents try and make you friends with their friends’ children, just because you’re the same age and gender. Like most setups, they rarely work…
Finally, it’s the Clubs:
I am not sure you get these with single babies (they get to waft around with a baby in a sling rather than dragging two in a tank through the Zara sale) but there are Multiples Clubs. This is a great idea as you can get together with people who have more than one baby who totally get that it’s a pain in the arse. However, like the other Mum Friend strategies, just because you have twins doesn’t mean you have anything else in common. Having a baby or two also doesn’t make everyone nice. Mums can, and will, still be dicks. They’re just tired dicks (so more dick-ish because they’re too tired to pretend to not be dicks). On a positive note, Twin clubs have provided me with somewhere to go where someone will hold/feed a baby and a lot of entertainment while people debate sleep schedules (things get a tad “cat-fight-y”) – but alas, no proper Mum Friends.
In fact after over a year of searching, one failed app concept of “Tinder for mums” (which already exists and apparently wouldn’t make me any money anyway), various failed Mum dates and the time I was mistaken for a lesbian (loved it), I have a total of TWO new parent pals. One of them is a man (my neighbour – I am still not 100% sure he likes me but I think he is fab…plus he is trapped next to me) and the other is a twin mum who is actually one of his mates.
At the end of the day, I don’t see my current friends enough – “come over any time before 5:30pm” is not as accommodating as it sounds. On top of this, having two means it’s great to meet up with people who don’t have their own babies to take care of – the perfect friend during maternity leave would be unemployed, live really close, get up really early, make a good cup of tea, enjoy holding/bathing/feeding/changing a baby, have more interesting shit to talk about than offspring and have a poor sense of smell. Luckily, most of my friends embody at least one of these criteria and ultimately it will be these friends who turn up the day after you have given birth with a bag of necessities (nipple cream and chocolate – what a combo), who get a whole week of fancy frozen food delivered to your house, who come over when you’re ill and help you with bath time and will tell you how fit you are when you feel like your eye bags have descended beyond your cheekbones.
I still see the girls from NCT for a meet up here and there and I go to the occasional twin club but don’t break your back trying to find the the perfect Mum Friend…your old friends will be the ones to scrape you off the floor and get you out the house when you need it most. Plus following around women with prams in M & S (“she looks cool and she likes the same crisps as me!”) is really frowned upon…apparently…