Last week I wrote about my lonely world, which you can read here, but my life isn’t completely lonely. I do have some truly wonderful friends, who I am grateful to have in my life.
Plus I did find one mummy friend…
It wasn’t long after I found out that I was pregnant with Alice that I started to think about antenatal classes and which would be the right ones for us.
Would we opt for the classes from the NHS or would be opt for the NCT classes that you have to pay for? I chatted to a few friends who had done the NCT classes about their experiences and they really varied.
I looked on NCT website to find out what they offered and if they had classes in my area. They made it sound wonderful and all the quotes from mum’s said how they had made lifelong friends. Plus they had classes in my area, which made up mind that I would opt for NCT classes.
I spoke to Andy about it and he was a bit unsure about it, he knew from his friends that had done it before that the groups would meet up afterwards and he wasn’t sure about that part of it. But he also knew about how important it was for me as a new mummy to have people that I could spend time with whilst I was at home with our baby. People that were going through the same thing as me. He didn’t want me to be isolated and knew only too well the effects this can have on woman.
So, we signed up for the classes.
Driving to that first class I kept thinking about who was going to be in our class, would they be people that would become life long friends like they tell you on the website. I decided that I was going with an open mind, my main reason for attending the course was to find out how I was going to get this baby out of me…anything else would be a bonus.
I can remember going into the village hall and my first thought was, those wooden chairs look really uncomfortable have I really got to sit on them all evening. This is important stuff when you are eight months pregnant and your back already aches.
Anyway we all sat down and it honestly felt like being back at school, checking each other out, making small talk. Praying that the teacher would start soon, so we can get on with the class and then leave.
At the end of the first class we all left, cheerfully saying see you next week and we got in the car, neither of us daring to speak until we were sure no one could hear us. Then when it was safe, we both said at the same time ‘What do you think?’
I replied first…It was really lovely to meet people going through the same as me and knowing that we are in it together. Yes, yes he said that is all lovely, but what did you think of everyone. What is he like! I replied…everyone seems really nice, a quiet group, but hopefully as we get to know each other better that will change and there was someone that I thought was lovely, that I warmed to…Caroline. I mainly based this on that I liked her clothes and handbag, that is always a good sign to me!!
He agreed, that its difficult when you are all sat around taking in so much information that can be a bit scary and daunting, but at the same time also trying to be friendly. We came away looking forward to the following week.
The next couple of lessons, were much the same, yes we were chatting more and the information that we were listening to was getting more scary…they will be doing what to me when I start pushing?
Andy is much better at these social interactions and when the men were in a group on their own, he had got chatting to one of the guys about golf and they had found some common ground. Who I said? I was so happy to hear that it was Caroline’s husband.
Then, we had a lesson that fell on a Saturday and it was a longer session, we were told to bring lunch as there was no facilities to buy any food and you know how hungry us pregnant ladies can get.
Anyway we broke for lunch and it was a lovely day so we ventured outside, most people sat in their couples. Caroline was on her own for this lesson. Her hubby was off playing Hockey (lucky him, was Andy’s response!), and we got chatting to her a lot more and it appeared we had a lot in common and we all had the same thoughts on the classes.
The final class was a woman’s only class in the daytime and to be held at our teachers house, I had just started maternity leave and was looking forward to seeing everyone.
We all arrived and we got on with the final class, learning how to put a baby grow on! Then we sat around in the lounge chatting and it was a bit uncomfortable, the teacher had mentioned going for lunch afterwards, but everyone was a bit hesitant. I couldn’t work out if that was because they didn’t want to or if they were just shy and nervous about being the first to say ‘Yes, lets do that’. I remember thinking Laura, you are going to have to step into work mode, and make this happen.
So, I did, I suggested going to the pub down the road and luckily you could feel the relief around the room that someone had said something. Caroline quickly said ‘Yes, that sounds perfect, if you show me the way (this was to become a theme in our friendship) and others joined in too. In the end everyone except one lady went for lunch.
Caroline was worried about getting lost and I offered for her to follow me and we swapped numbers, in case she lost me. Yes, I had someone’s number…it’s like dating, we had made the first step.
Yes, it was awkward at times, but a friendship takes time, especially in a group environment. We have all been thrown together because we have a similar due date, that is the basis of our group. But, it was lovely and we were starting on the journey together…we even made plans to meet for coffee the following week.
Then our babies arrived and the fun really began. We would meet up every week, normally at the coffee shop and chat about the sleepless nights, feeding or not feeding our babies, and everything else in between baby related. Because really our babies, were our common ground, it is what brought us together.
After a few weeks, I was chatting to Caroline as we walked back to our cars about swimming with Alice and how much she enjoyed it. Caroline hadn’t taken her little boy yet, but she keen too, but also nervous. By this point I had more than warmed to Caroline, I knew that she was someone that I would be friends with even if we had met in different circumstances. Someone that I wasn’t friends with just because we had a baby the same age. So, I offered to go with her and share with her what I had learnt in my classes. Luckily for me, she jumped at the chance and because we already had swapped numbers, we arranged it for the following week.
This became my new normal, Caroline and I would meet up every week with our NCT group, but we also met up every week just the two of us with our babies. I saw Caroline more than my own mum and it was lovely.
Nearly four years later and it is still the same, Caroline and I meet up most weeks. We have spent far too many days at soft play, climbing up and down slides! We have enjoyed a lot of sunny days out and we have supported each other through having our second babies.
If Alice doesn’t see them, she will ask for them, they are a constant in her life and we love it!
Our friendship has grown away from children too and we will go for dinner just the two of us. It is heaven, we get to finish conversations and don’t get interrupted. Yes, we might still talk about our little ones, but we talk about so much more too.
I will always be grateful that we made the decision to do the NCT classes and I found my first mummy friend…someone that I now just call my friend.
Whilst I may not have found a whole group of friends for life, I have definitely found one. So, for anyone who is pregnant and wondering if NCT classes is for you or not. I would say, go with an open mind, go for the reason that you want to learn more about your baby and if you make a friend or two then that is a bonus…