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to start another thread on 'mummy friends' but to ask a genuine question about it?

(37 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Mon 05-Nov-12 13:36:14

I am in throes of trying to work out what to do about an NCT ante-natal course; we may (or may not!) be moving area and I am getting myself worked up into a ridiculous paranoia that if I join a class where we live now and then maybe (or maybe not!) move areas I will have wasted money joining the class as the only reason I really want to join is to try to meet other mums-to-be so I am not suicidal isolated when I have the baby.

Looking at MN I get the sense that it can be difficult to meet people in a similar life stage (not wild about categorising it as 'mummy friends') unless you do quite structured things like NCT etc.

The only experience I have had so far is ante-natal yoga where (and this could just be the location I did it in, a very swish bit of London near where I work) the other mums-to-be terrified me. It was like being back at school with little gangs and cliques and giggling. I think this (plus hormones, plus uncertainty about where we are going to live) is now why I am getting into a state about being very isolated after arrival of the baby.

I am pretty self-sufficient and don't want to spend every day drinking coffee with anyone (not even my current friends, let alone new ones!) but I would like to be able to meet people for a chat, either about kid stuff or about what's in the news, I'm honestly not bothered.

I'm shy with new people (though a hoot when I relax, honest!) and the thought of broaching conversation with women if they're anything like the lot in my yoga class is giving me cold sweats!

Any advice or personal experiences of the whole 'mummy network' thing?

FreudianLisp Mon 05-Nov-12 13:39:22

Post-natal groups can be a good way of meeting new people. I don't know whether they're available everywhere, but they're free, and run for about six weeks.

AdoraBell Mon 05-Nov-12 13:39:38

Fred about a Fred, YABVVVVVVVVVVUwink

I would join the group, even if you move you will have some practice at making small talk with strangers. Then, if you do move see if there are any groups nearby, even a MN local. Good luck

Afritutu Mon 05-Nov-12 13:41:42

I would not rely on an nct course to find like minded friends. I know many people who were sorely disappointed, and experienced as you describe the cliques etc within their nct groups. When baby comes, spend the money on a baby massage course, and an attend a baby cafe (if you are bf), then graduate into some nice baby classes (baby sensory, Jo jingles, mad academy). Do a pram fitness class. You will meet lots of people that way. It's impossible not to.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 05-Nov-12 13:43:19

Thanks Freudian and AdoraBell. Hadn't realised MN do local groups - that could be a good place to start.
It's illogical as I don't have a problem making friends in whatever situation I usually find myself in but this feels very different. Sad sack alert - I have tried making small talk with a couple of women in the yoga class but none of them seem interested in continuing a conversation beyond a couple of words or smiling back at me when I smile at them if I accidentally meet their eye

A friend of mine had a similarly depressing time at her buggy fit class a couple of years back so I think this is paranoia kicking in.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 05-Nov-12 13:44:56

Afritutu would you not sign up to any ante natal class at all, then, or is it just the NCT ones? Is there much useful info beyond the desperately trying to meet nice people?

specialmagiclady Mon 05-Nov-12 13:48:39

If you think of Mummy Friends as workmates rather than lifelong friends, you might relax a bit about them. Of course, sometimes you do get to keep workmates as lifelong friends, but you never go into a new job thinking you'll meet the friends of your dreams, do you?

NCT run post natal groups as well as the expensive ante natal classes so I'm sure you can join them at that point. Call the NCT and check if there's some running in your area.

The other thing I found when I lived in London was that the NCT were offering me a course in a Sloaney Area miles from where I lived just because I lived in a strange bit of town where 3 boroughs joined. I got in touch with Active Birth and did Yoga classes which were great fun and there were a more "me" group of people - a bit more down to earth, but not officially in the borough I lived in. We spent 6 months doing yoga together once a week and so got to know each other more slowly and "organically", I guess.

Also, it's very common for lots of people to be "about to move" when they have a baby. So don't worry, you won't be alone in that, and you don't have to make lifelong* friends, just people to get through the first year with.

*though actually, you might!

Good luck!

CailinDana Mon 05-Nov-12 13:48:49

It's totally a matter of luck with things like this unfortunately. A friend of mine invited me along to her NCT postnatal meet ups (I hadn't done the classes) and it awful - awkward, competitive and just boring. I moved not long after and just randomly started attending a mum and baby group which is absolutely fantastic. I'm now on the committee and have made some great friends through it. It's got a friendly relaxed atmosphere and I think that's mainly due to the mums who set it up - they are just nice people.

You have to get out there and try a few things. Something will work out hopefully.

FantasticDay Mon 05-Nov-12 13:50:17

I moved 100 miles away when my DD was four weeks old. Six years on, nearly all my friends are those I made at the SureStart Children Centre. If you have one near you, I would recommend going to as many activities there as you can.

firstpost Mon 05-Nov-12 13:50:35

I moved to a new area at 34 weeks pregnant, and started NCT that week. Was quite reluctant to go to NCT in a way, thought friendships may be forced or that I may feel obliged to meet up with people I had nothing in common with.

In real life they were wonderful people, and really useful to have friends also with new babies who live nearby.

Have since moved again, and without NCT I am in a rather unfriendly patch and have not made any mum friends.

The classes themselves weren't that great IMO, although the learning to change a nappy class was! We did not have a clue blush

niceupthedance Mon 05-Nov-12 13:58:21

Another vote for sure start over nct.

My nct group was cliquey and nasty but at sure start I was made to feel very welcome.

mrsgboring Mon 05-Nov-12 13:58:22

IME some groups are very cliquey and/or self contained and you never meet anyone at them, some are brilliant for finding and making friends and it's hard to predict what's going to be what. I have a bit of a reputation for having oodles of mum-friends because I'm a group addict, but there are one or two things I do which I just continue to find soul destroying and hopeless for social interaction and there is very little rhyme or reason which ones. Antenatal was one of those things for me (and it is slightly likely to be the things which are very structured and expensive)

I'd say go to lots of cheap things like baby groups, rather than pinning your hopes on on one expensive class (unless you really want to do it for other reasons). You may well meet your best mum friend in the park, or the doctors waiting room. But just enjoy the time as best you can and friendships will emerge naturally.

Allegrogirl Mon 05-Nov-12 13:58:22

When I was pregnant and still working full time I couldn't imagine making 'mummy friends'. However once on mat leave I met loads at baby groups and activities at the local Sure Start Centre. If you go to to lots of groups you start to see the same faces ('hi, didn't I see you at signing/massage/rhyme?'). From there friendships grow. If you don't find anyone nice at a baby group try another group. I did do NCT and made some friends through itbut would have been absolutely fine if I hadn't. Other new mums will be in the same position as you and will be thrilled to find a friend.

I wonder whether NCT in your area would attract the swish types that do yoga and buggy fit. Maybe you would meet more down to earth types at an NHS antenatal course, or just the Sure Start/church hall baby groups. Not such an issue for me as I live in a small city where people of seem to mix more.

Afritutu Mon 05-Nov-12 14:00:42

Nct is quite particular, doesn't suit everyone (very 'middle class', and some of the tutors have quite an agenda on all intervention is bad, you must bf etc, which is OTT IMHO. All I am saying is at it is no different to anything else in terms of probability of making friends, some will, some won't. If I were likely to move, I wouldn't waste money to 'make friends' at that point. Save the money and spend it after on activities with baby where you equally might make new friends, and there is a lot of free stuff too!

Notfootball Mon 05-Nov-12 14:11:21

I went to my local NHS antenatal class and made some briliiant friends. Three years on, we still all meet up regularly with or without the children.

I also did buggy fit and attended baby groups without my antenatal 'gang' and made new friends there too. Put yourself about a bit.

TheLightPassenger Mon 05-Nov-12 14:15:29

Don't bother with the pricey NCT classes as you are moving. As everyone else has said, try a range of cheaper stuff before and after the birth - Surestart tends to be a more mixed group than NCT, also swimming, library rhyme time and church groups are worth trying out. Oh and baby film screenings.

MrClaypole Mon 05-Nov-12 14:20:42

I must admit that I was put off attending NCT classes as I used to see the local groups meeting in our local cafe and didn't like the sound of the smug competitive pregnancy/parenting that was going on! I'm sure there are some lovely groups around though!

So I didn't do NCT classes but made loads of friends through our local clinic's postnatal support group, mum and baby groups, surestart and activity groups, library sessions etc and just chatting to people with small babies in cafes.

The NCT run postnatal groups, bumps to babes etc so you can still meet people through them if you want to.

You do have to make a bit of an effort though.

barbigirl Mon 05-Nov-12 14:24:21

specialmagiclady your comment about work mates is spot on.

CommanderShepard Mon 05-Nov-12 14:42:27

I got really lucky with my NCT group - more than just babies in common and 11 months on I'd count them all as genuine friends. Our tutor was great too and took the time to explain c sections to us with playmobil dolls as well as gently explaining that c section rates meant it was possible that one of us would give birth that way. As it happened, she was right - it was me - and I was really grateful that she'd ensured that we knew what was happening.

But as I say, I really got lucky - a friend's group was awful and another of my NCT group did the early days course and was really upset by the other women. And the problem is that you pay up front not knowing what kind of experience you'll get.

I too am desperately shy with a cracking anxiety disorder but honestly, I've found that the majority of parents are desperate to talk to someone to and are so happy if you make the first move! I find it really hard but if I make sure I talk to one new person at each thing then a) I feel most proud of myself and b) that's one more person I know. Basically I just say something nice about their baby and go from there smile

MsVestibule Mon 05-Nov-12 14:58:21

Another vote for the "see them as workmates" comment from specialmagiclady! I hate the sniffiness about seeking out "mummy friends". Would they advise people who've moved away from their home to university to just "stick to their old friends"? (Yes, I have seen that advice on a previous thread about mummy friends.)

I moved away from my friends and family 6 weeks before DC1 was born. The Surestart Children's Centre was fantastic; most of the women I met there were lovely and while of course the only thing we all had in common was that we'd just given birth, you gravitate towards people with a similar SOH/interests and then arrange to meet up with them outside of the baby groups.

NellyBluth Mon 05-Nov-12 15:00:58

Allgrogirl makes a great point - before you have the baby it can be hard imaging how to make all these new friends. Once you have the baby it is actually a lot easier. If a mum has made it out to a baby group it will probably be because they would like a bit of company and adult chat after being home alone for a few days, and so everyone is much more friendly and chatty. There's no real need to do that at a pregnancy yoga class.

Sure Start classes seem to always be lovely, Buggycise classes are good too, and some areas have NCT Bumps & Babes meet ups, you don't need to be a member to attend. Then there will probably be something on at the library, and swimming classes. And remember to try lots of different groups, it can take time to find the one you like and meet like-minded people.

My NCT class friends are brilliant, it's 9 years this month since we did our ant-natal classes and we still meet up most weeks and the friendships are rock solid. Our DCs have all ended up at different pre-schols and schools, so we all have wider circles of local friends too, but our little group has stuck together, I love them to bits.

emeraldgirl1 Mon 05-Nov-12 15:34:06

Thanks v v much everyone.

I am so torn over NCT antenatal, it seems that about 50% of people have great experiences and 50% have rubbish ones. Obviously a lot of that is luck of the draw.

The classes are expensive though so maybe it is just not worth the risk.

Argh, didn't think these kinds of things were what i'd be worrying about when we were ttc. Mind you, these days I worry about everything so it's just partof a long list...

Ithinkitsjustme Mon 05-Nov-12 15:55:17

I wanted to attend anti-natal classes on my 5th baby as everything was different in England (the others were born in Wales) but was told that they were only available to first time mums and they cost a fortune. I have to say that the ones I went to with my first were a total waste of time and i've never seen any of the stuck up snobs other mums to be again. Lots of places have very good baby and toddler groups that you can go to even when your baby is tiny and some people even come to ours before they have the baby (that way they get a week of meals turn up on the doorstep when the baby does finally show grin), ask your new health visitor/ doctors surgery for a list of teh best ones.

iamamug Mon 05-Nov-12 16:26:08

I used the NCT classes as I was new to the area and was really lucky - We have all sent the resulting babies off to university this year and are still very close friends. I appreciate it's the luck of the draw though. Our group was very mixed but we took the time to get to know eachother well and I know I would have been very lonely without them.
There is a lot more out there these days though and I think you have to try out a few groups - I am sure you will then find lots of friends who will talk about more than the colour of poo (although it is hugely riveting in those first few weeks grin)
Good luck!

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