It’s either because I moved around a lot as a child, or because of a personality trait, but I never had much of an entourage growing up. Despite moving frequently, I didn’t struggle to make friends and am still in touch with many of them to this day. However, I never relied on anyone. True, I can be a bit of a control freak. If something needs to be done, then I will generally go and do it myself. I never needed my friends to ‘lean on’, they were there to have fun with, to have a laugh, go for some drinks, but in a crisis my first port of call would always be my siblings. That’s just how life was.
The day I gave birth, everything changed. I wept when my husband returned to work leaving me alone, sleep deprived with a week-old infant. What was I meant to do all day? How was I supposed to look after this tiny little person when I was too tired to look after myself properly? My family lived miles away, I was overwhelmed. This was the first time I realised the importance of a ‘Mama tribe’. Breastfeeding endlessly, I turned my free hand into a communication device, emailing my new-found antenatal friends constantly, questioning every parenting skill I had. Almost daily coffee dates were arranged so we each had a shoulder to cry on when there were moments we were certain we were screwing it all up. Those ladies saved me on my darkest days.
When we moved away from my antenatal friends to a new county and a new life I missed them more than I ever thought I would. As the children grew there was less time for emails, and life got in the way of regular catch ups. I was in a new place, pregnant and suffering from Hyperemesis. The control freak in me realised that having a Mama tribe as a support network was more important at this stage of my life than at any other time. I am grateful for all the Mamas out there that feel the same way.
Four years ago, I unloaded a removal van in a place where I knew no one. Today that place feels like home and I can honestly say it is my ‘new’ Mama Tribe that has made that happen. I know I have used the expression before that ‘it takes a village’, but it really does. I can no longer count the number of times my tribe has come to my side when I have needed them, from simply borrowing cake tins and sleeping bags to dropping everything when a family member has had to be rushed to hospital, they have done it without complaint and I can honestly say that they make my life complete. Before I undertook my role as a parent I never realised just how much of a support network is needed to raise a family. I would like to take this opportunity to shout out to all my lovely Mama friends who have helped me on this journey and allowed me to see that I don’t just have to do it all on my own. If I haven’t said it before thank you for being there, and I am always here for you too, no matter when you need me.