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Are you the first of your friends to have a baby?
If you are, you know that there are some really great things that come along with this. Your baby is the centre of attention. Also, your friends and family are able to take extra time to come and support you, that other parents may not have the time for. Being the first of your friends to have a baby can really be a blessing. On the other hand, there are times when this can feel isolating.
There may be times where you want to talk to someone who knows what you are going through. You may need someone to tell you that you aren’t the only one to wake up with a soaking wet shirt from leaky boobs. Sometimes, you may need someone to remind you that you aren’t the only new mom who accidentally pees their pants. When your baby won’t sleep or breastfeed, it’s helpful to talk to other moms who have been there. Wanting that connection is very normal!
As moms, we need a village that can support us so we know that we are not alone in this motherhood journey. If you are the first of your friends to have a baby, these are some ways that you can build your village!
How to create a village
1. Think about what you are looking for in a village
What is it that you need from people in your lives? Do you need more real conversation? Do you need someone come over to hold your baby while you take care of yourself? Take time to really evaluate values and needs. This will help you know what part of your village you need to seek out!
2. Be open with your friends
Just because you are the first of your friends to have a baby, does not mean that you need to keep all of your baby related concerns to yourself! Don’t shy away from talking about the real issues that you are facing. Even if your friends have not been through the same thing, they will still listen to you and try to support you! Your village does not just need to be other moms – your current friends will be a huge part of your village of support!
3. Explain things
Don’t expect your friends to understand everything you are going through! I know before that I got pregnant, I had never thought of things like breast pumps, strollers, swaddles, and nipple cream. If you friends have never had a baby or been around babies, they probably have never heard of many of the things you are dealing with or experiencing. Take the time to explain what is going on with you, openly and honestly, and answer any of the questions that they have.
Your life changes a lot when you have a baby, but your relationships still need to be nurtured. Don’t expect that just because you have a baby, everyone will drop everything for you. In order to create a village, you need to be there to support your friends as well. Make sure that you make time for baby free conversation with your friends, where you focus on what is going on with them as well!
5. Remember that your friends can be your best non-judgemental support
One of the best things about being the first of your friends to have a baby is that none of your friends know if you are screwing things up! You don’t have a bedtime routine? No problem. You formula feed your baby? Great, they can feed the baby too! Your baby still wakes up through the night? That must be normal! Being the first friend to have a child makes you the first one to set the tone for parenting. You also won’t be comparing yourself to your friends because you are the first one.
6. Find non-judgemental mama friends
When you are the first of your friends to have a baby, it is important that you take the time to make mom friends as well. This will give you someone to text at 3:00am when you are up for a feeding, or someone to cry with when your baby just won’t sleep. Your mama friends are the ones who understand how tired you feel, how touched out you might be, how bitter you feel towards your spouse sometimes, and finally how much you love your little bundle. Making mom friends can be done by joining a local moms group, going to a Life With Baby Event, or finding a moms group through a local church. Make an effort to go to these events and find connection. Know that you are not going to make a good friend right away, but give it time and patience.
7. Find support online
Finding a really great support group online can help fill the gaps when you need mama support in your life. This is said with caution, as there can be some very judgemental groups that will not help you as a new mama. Find a group that works for you online where you can ask your questions and find support (and don’t be afraid to leave the groups that don’t give you this support!).
8. Ask for what you need
No one can read your mind. When building a village, you need to be willing to ask for what you need. Finding a village may also mean seeking professional support. A part of your village may include counsellors, doctors, physiotherapists, lactation consultants, or other professionals! Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need and seek out help. You do not need to struggle on your own!
9. Give yourself time
Remember that creating a village takes time. This is not going to happen overnight, but instead piece by piece, month by month, and year by year. Give yourself grace and kindness. There may be days where you feel lonely, but you are not alone. You will find your mama village.