Mothers groups really can be more about clicking, than cliques.
I barely left the house for a whole year after I had my twins. I had been contacted to join my local mother’s group but could not fathom the idea of pulling myself together to attend with twins that screamed for 6 hours every night. I'm sure there are twin mothers who manage to go out jogging or to yoga – but that was not me.
I was suffering. I was lonely and angry that I could not master the basics of managing two babies, and completely exhausted and depleted. My previously active social, creative, work and travel calendar was empty. I had expected to be less busy when I found out that twins were on the way, but I hadn’t realised how important it had been in making me feel fulfilled.
I lamented never taking my kids to story time, baby sensory classes, hanging out in a park with other mums, chatting over coffee - all the things people do to bond with their babies or other mothers. But going out was just not worth it.
Before leaving I would have to tandem breastfeed, which required me to be seated with a ginormous pillow and both boobs out, and two burping sessions and two nappy changes.
Then I would have to get both babies in the car, (only for them to scream for the whole drive), and out again into the double pram, where I would only be able to have perhaps half an hour before I had to pack them back into the car, and home to nap on schedule, because if you get your twins out of sync there is hell to pay. I was desperate to control their schedule in the hope that I might get to sleep a little each night.
I was living in a state of total anxiety and resentment. Enter a completely selfless and secure friend, who had a baby boy 4 days after me, and very generously asked her mother’s group if I could join them as I had never had the chance to go to my local group. Even though they'd already spent a year bonding and sharing stories of their baby’s lives, they were all accommodating and invited me in, not threatened by someone new. I realised there was an unwritten code most mums try to follow – reach out to those who are struggling.
Honestly, it changed motherhood for me. I have thanked my friend a lot, and she thinks nothing of it. It was a simple act for her, but it profoundly shifted the trajectory of motherhood for me. I found joy, fun, knowledge, connection and a forum to ask, share and engage.
It has made me more aware of the ways in which I can support other new mothers. My mothers' group adopted me, and I still have such a sense of gratitude 3 years later.