Mother's group

It didn’t take long for me to seek out like-minded really, really, really tired new mums after I had my first baby. I didn’t do it for the company or the socialisation of my child: I did it to have someone to share my new mum war stories with. Because nobody else wanted to hear about the stuff I needed to get off my chest.

After test-driving the openness of mums at all the local outdoor parks, indoor parks, baby yoga classes, mother’s groups and ice cream shops, I assembled a motley crew of fellow mums ready and willing to gather on a regular basis. Their brutally honest stories and genuine interest in my own terrifying tales were my favourite traits of theirs. Here are a handful of the things we’d share with each other over coffee, fruit plates and the hum of breast pumps:

1. Every single gory detail of their childbirth experience, including the vast quantity of things that spilled out of their honey pots and why they decided that day to hand-make voodoo dolls of particularly unhelpful nurses or relatives.

2. The shape, size and colour of their nipples.

3. The shape, colour, size, speed, smell and frequency of their baby’s poo.

4. What sex was like after pushing a person out of that thing.

5. Which doctors at the medical centre were literally the worst.

6. That they hadn’t showered in maybe a week? Or so?

7. That the baby peed on their bed again.

8. That they peed on their bed again.

9. Which neighbours they could see doing it in the living room through a window while out walking a restless baby at 3 am.

10. Stats from the spreadsheet they’ve been keeping since birth that chart the baby’s peeing, pooping, eating and sleeping.

11. How they really feel. Not how they tell their husbands and neighbours and in-laws they feel, how they actually, truly feel (spoiler alert: it ain’t pretty).

Knowing I wasn’t alone with my purple swollen lady parts (or sleepless delirium that made me forget my husband’s name more than once) made me feel connected. Seeing the mums whose babies were a little older than mine—even if just by a month—finally hit milestones, like showering regularly and being able to look at raw chicken again without rage, gave me hope.

Sure, most people don’t want to discuss topics like episiotomy scars, cracked nipples or bladders that have given up, but the ones that do have a way of healing the mums around her. Like me. And I wouldn’t have traded those meetings of oversharing for anything in the world. Okay, maybe I would have in exchange for a baby that actually slept through the night at least once in the first six months, but that’s just crazy talk.

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Image: Getty