From the outset, the BCT Pregnant and New Mums’ Drop In has endeavoured to be a safe, friendly place to make new friends and share experiences of being a new mum – the good, the bad and the ugly!
By Kate Ellwood | BCT First Aid and Hypnobirthing Teacher
My baby won’t stop crying. – Sometimes I resent my baby. – I’m sleep deprived. – I want to lose the baby weight. – I don’t trust my instincts. – Breastfeeding is tough. – My house is a mess. – I’m worried about my relationship. – Feeling completely and totally overwhelmed. – Feeling lonely.
Those first few months with a new baby are tough. You put on an act, smile and behave like everything is perfect. Being a mum is hard work, and when all your baby does is eat, poop, cry and sleep, it makes it hard to feel any sort of reward.
I know… the reward is the beautiful healthy baby. But let’s be real for a minute. Taking care of a newborn baby can be exhausting and overwhelming, especially for first time mums. Add to it some raging hormones, the everyday responsibilities most women have as well as living as an expat far from family. It’s a ticking time bomb. From the outset, the BCT Pregnant and New Mums’ Drop In has endeavoured to be a safe, friendly place to make new friends and share experiences of being a new mum – the good, the bad and the ugly!
“It’s been great to have space to discuss with other new (and not so new) mums. I was nervous the first time I logged on but looking back that was silly since even virtually there is a really welcoming sense of community in the group.” Isabel
Prevented from meeting face-to-face due to the COVID lockdown, the drop-in moved online and has met every one to two weeks since March 2020. And it is fair to say all of the thoughts and feelings expressed above plus many more have been shared at some point in the safety of the drop-in. But overlay being a new mum with a pandemic lockdown and there was a subtle shift. Feelings were magnified a hundred-fold and acquired a veneer of sadness and loss. Maternity leave has been spent isolated and rather than as it was imagined, out and about sharing the experience with other new mums over coffee and cake in a café. Two of the overwhelming sorrows have been the inability to celebrate new life and being prevented from sharing their baby with families, particularly their own mums.
The amazing mums who have dropped in have been a bright shining focus of camaraderie, love, and constructive support. It truly has been a space to gather together and acknowledge that it is ok to be not ok, offer kindness and then hints and tips on how to move forward. It has been truly humbling to witness the kindness and resilience displayed at the drop-ins.
“I joined the new mums’ group as a nervous pregnant first-time mum and found it so comforting to discuss with other mummies and hear their stories of survival. I wish we could meet in person, but at least having the online meeting means I can show up unshowered and pant-less after a rough night! It’s hard enough being a new mum, let alone in a foreign country, let alone during a pandemic. So, this group has been a huge source of support, comfort and useful tips for a blurry-eyed new mum and I’m so grateful for the collective wisdom of other mummies.” Nada
The associated WhatsApp Group is very active and has provided a vehicle for impromptu meet-ups to break up the lonely maternity leave walks, discussions on baby wearing, chicken pox, creches, relationships and lots more.
The Pregnant and New Mums’ Drop-In is exactly that: a drop-in. The times and ZOOM links are posted on Twizzit and the BCT Facebook page. Just click and join in the chat. Several mums have been able to travel over the past year or moved back to their home countries. With the wonders of technology, they have “dropped-in” from the Gambia, their car on the way to France, on a train heading into Copenhagen, Lithuania, a Greek Island. Others have dropped in from their bed not daring to move the sleeping baby sprawled across their chest and desperate for the loo!
The pandemic has come to an end and life has mostly gone back to some degree of normal and the Pregnant and New Mums’ Drop-In continues holding space to share the experience of being a new mum. Hopefully, we will be meeting face to face in the BCT Clubhouse one week and online the next very soon!
This is a slightly adapted version of the article published in the BCT’s Small Talk magazine in spring 2021.