There comes a time in a new parent’s life when the visits stop and you’re left alone with a tiny baby that you’re suddenly the primary carer for. You’re deep in the mire of the fourth trimester; you’re sore, sleep deprived, totally unsure of yourself and probably feeling lonely.
I hit that spot at about 10 weeks in. How the hell was I going to make friends when I could barely get myself and Sebastian out of the house? I tried downloading Mush but felt out of my depth – what if I didn’t like the Mums I met? It felt too much like putting myself out there in an intimidating one on one situation.
But I’d also been to a local cafe called The Nest with my parents or the husbear a couple of times. I knew it was for parents and I heard they ran a baby group on a Monday morning called Babba Club. I’d never been on my own but I knew I could just have a coffee if my nerves failed me. I decided to give it a go.
It started at 10:00 in the morning, but for two weeks I couldn’t get us both out of the front door before 11:00 and by that time I felt stupid for turning up so late.
Third week lucky, I made it and found a small group of Mums with babies just like me. I arranged to meet my parents after for moral support but turns out I didn’t need to. The group itself was really relaxed and everyone so friendly and they invited me to stay for lunch with them the week after.
I did, but this time with a slightly bigger group of Mums. I ended up squeezed in the middle of a table, with Sebastian screaming out for a feed on my lap. My change bag was on the floor between my legs and I was desperately fishing around for my nipple shields, feeling so embarrassed that I couldn’t just breastfeed him “normally”. I finally got my hands on the shields box, opened it and the bastard things fell on the floor. I was on the verge of tears, thinking that I couldn’t sterilise them now so I’d just have to go with it and hoped no one judged me.
At that moment, one of the other Mums just leaned across to me and said, “I feed with nipple shields too, they’re a pain aren’t they?” and I immediately felt so much better. These were people who got me, who understood what I was going through, who could genuinely empathise and, above all, who were kind and friendly. Another Mum then gave me a recommendation for some wipes I could carry around with me in case it happened again.
And it sounds melodramatic, but in that moment I felt like I was going to be ok.
Since then, I’ve been to Babba Club every week I could. I’ve made really close friends with those Mums I met at the first week and we helped each other through maternity leave.
As things have got easier for us, I’ve also stuck around to help other Mums coming to the group. They say it takes a village and they’re not wrong. I found my village at The Nest and it’s been there for me through all the ups and downs of maternity leave and beyond. Sebastian and I love it there still. It helps that the coffee and cake is delicious!
Now The Nest needs my help and hopefully yours too. It’s had a tough year, it’s missed out on vital funding and resources and is running a Crowdfunder to help keep its head above water.
It does so much more than just being a cafe, it offers funding for parents who can’t afford baby classes, it can access therapy for parents struggling with postnatal depression, it runs free breakfast in the school holidays. It’s there for parents at all stages of parenthood.
If you can spare even £1 to help it survive, please click the link below, but you’ve only got one day left! They’re so close to their fundraising target and every little helps.