After I gave birth to Little Bird I became addicted to baby groups. It didnʼt matter if they were discussing breastfeeding or singing nursery rhythms, I was there. Two years before that, I had moved a couple of hundred miles from home and so had no close friends and knew no other new mums. Myself and my partner were knee deep in a game of No-Iʼm-More-Tired-Than-You so for the first year of her life I sought solace and companionship in the intimate circle of motherʼs groups. Iʼd like to be 21st century and say Parent Groups but the honest truth is those mid-week meet ups were almost exclusively women and their babies.
I had always wanted a child but never saw myself as ʻmumsyʼ, so adjusting to this new role had its challenges. I adored my new baby and was falling in love with her more each day but I did wonder, often aloud to the cat, whether I would ever really be ʻmeʼ again. Was I now just an appendage to a child? People stopped asking my name, or how I was - I was simply the humanoid carrying the cute baby they wanted to coo at.
The only place I felt real again, strangely, was in these mum groups where I finally felt I could be completely, harshly honest about my parenting experience. Joyfully, the women I met felt the same. I havenʼt been so intimate with a group of women since those long forgotten days of 1am toilet breaks in Whelanʼs, where the girl in the next cubicle was your instant new BFF.
So, here are 10 intimate things shared at baby groups:
I let my baby sleep in my bed.
As if this is some sort of terrible abuse, from which they will never recover. Everyone feels better once we admit that we pretty much all do it, to a greater or lesser extent.
I left my sleeping baby in the car while I went in to the shop to get a take away coffee.
Every hand in the group went up for this one.
Sometimes I want to throw my baby out the window.
No, it doesnʼt mean youʼre a bad person, or a danger to your baby, just a sleep-deprived parent who needs a break.
I peed myself a bit.
“Does anyone have spare knickers?”, one woman asked. A couple of mums produced toddler sized pants. “No, itʼs for me. I just peed myself a bit when I sneezed.”
I hate my partner.
Probably one of the more common confessions. But you donʼt really, youʼre just both addled.
I think Iʼm an alcoholic.
Craving a glass of wine at 9am is perfectly normal as a new parent. Maybe just donʼt act on that urge.
The other day I squirted my father-in-law across the room with breast milk.
Straight from my breast. Oops!
Someone asked me my babyʼs name and I couldnʼt remember, so I made one up.
Yup, did that one.
I want to have sex, but when it comes to it, I canʼt be bothered.
Spending the whole day with one or more small people hanging out of you means by the time youʼve got them asleep in the evening youʼre all touched out. A little night away might be called for.
Iʼm tired. Iʼm just so very tired.