I consider myself very lucky.
I was pregnant alongside 3 of my very good friends. There were 3 of us who were each 3 months behind the other one (me being last) and my other best friend was a few weeks behind me.
Having these ladies close to me, going through exactly the same meant a lot. I had someone to answer my questions, knowing they'd been through it themselves recently, I had someone to open up to about any fears I had, safe in the knowledge they'd 'get it'.
I didn't feel like I was missing out on life because my friends were also staying in of a Saturday night and more than likely in bed by 8pm with a bad back or similar too.
We could talk about midwife appointments, baby clothes and all that comes with pregnancy and impending motherhood together, without fear of anyone in the group becoming bored, since we were all with child.
It meant a lot having that support, all the more once I'd welcomed my son into the world and become an actual mother (nothing like what I'd imagined it to be while I was pregnant mind you!).
When I'd simply had enough of trying to breastfeed and made the decision to try formula early one Sunday morning 6 days in, it was my best friend I turned to for advice on what to use and what to do.
Bless her heart, she sent me a step by step guide on how to sterilise bottles. It was just what I needed during that period of sheer bemusement while staring at my Tommee Tippee steriliser and suffering from complete and utter exhaustion. She even went out to Boots (bearing in mind she had a young baby herself) to pick me up a formula starter kit. The girl's a diamond I'll tell you.
It's not only advice and a shoulder to cry on that makes mum friends so important, it's the ability to put on a united front when visiting soft play centres. In the first year of motherhood I was so anxious, I was suffering from Post Natal Depression and Anxiety, thus soft play centres weren't the places I'd relish going to. "Is he ok"? "Did that child just push my son?" "Are you sure that's safe?" were questions I'm sure left my mouth on the regular while at soft play. Luckily I always had someone there, going through the same and able to instil a bit of confidence that all was in fact well.
Becoming a Mother can be as isolating as it can be amazing.
Once your partner heads back to work, be it a few days or weeks in to parenthood, you can often feel a short, sharp shock.
The days can become a lonely world of constant feeds, naps and very little adult conversation in between.
Building up the confidence to attend Mother & Baby groups solo can be a challenging feat. It's an unknown quantity with the potential for a cliquey atmosphere. Something you might not want to experience when you're perhaps feeling vulnerable.
This is why I feel the website MeetOtherMums is such an invaluable resource. The website matches you up to other mums in your local area, with the view of starting up friendships. Great idea huh? I like to think if I didn't already have my organic Mum Squad I have, I'd have given MeetOtherMums a whirl.
Mum friends know how hard parenting can be, they know what it's like to see every hour on the clock from 1am and those friendships are worth their weight in gold. They understand why you're hideously late for a prior engagement because your baby has just decided to fill his nappy as you're heading out the front door.
Of course, not one baby is the same and not all experiences of motherhood will be the same but bouncing weaning ideas (not to mention problems) off of one another can only be a good thing!!!
Back in January 2016 my son started Pre-school, along with 2 of my best friend's children. It was an emotional morning packed full of nerves and apprehension. I'm so pleased I had my 2 nearest and dearest there with me, knowing that the thoughts and fears that were circling my mind, were also circling theirs too. Of course, you know deep down all will be OK but having that support network around me meant the world.
The 3 of us went for coffee nearby, counting down the minutes until we were reunited with our babes once again. What could've been an awful morning of anxiety and tension was actually a lovely couple of hours. A time for us to catch up, to be there for one another and to take each of our minds off of the undoubtedly hard task of leaving our toddlers in the care of others. For that I'm eternally grateful.
My mum friends really are the best.