One top essential, in my opinion for every new mum is her ‘tribe’. A support network.
For most, as soon as we find out we are pregnant we begin to prepare for the baby. We read the books, book the appointments and familiarize ourselves with the plethora of essentials we will need for our newborn.
But, how many of us prepare for ourselves? Prepare for the new mum. This new version of yourself that is also about to be born.
One top essential, in my opinion for every new mum is her ‘tribe’. A support network. Somebody to lean on and call when things get tough. At every stage of your little one’s life the one common essential you will need before anything else is a mum friend.
Becoming a new mum can be overwhelming. And we all know that maintaining mental wellness is more important, albeit more challenging, than ever.
In this day and age, a lot of our contact with the outside world is through social media. Our parenting support groups and most of our mum friends are all at the other end of a screen.
Although this support is helpful and can help mums feel less isolated, experts say there is nothing more beneficial than meeting somebody face to face. Evidence has actually shown that actual and perceived social isolation are both associated with increased risk of anxiety, depression and post-natal depression.
As human beings, we are social beasts. That means we have evolved in groups, and remain stronger when surrounded by groups today. We crave interaction, enjoy socialization, and have a more positive outlook on life when we feel supported.
Studies show that meeting a friend face to face actually increases the production of oxytocin, the hormone that floods our bodies when we're happy. The love hormone as its rightly named.
Oxytocin also plays a role in the birthing process, baby bonding, and milk production, so us mums need all of that magical love hormone that we can get!
Oxytocin is released during positive social bonding experiences and can make people more trusting, generous, and friendly.
Expectedly, it also serves as a great antidote for anxiety and depression, and it plays an important role in having great intimate pleasure.
Other health benefits to having meaningful friendships include:
- Higher pain tolerances (due to higher levels of endorphins thanks to social interaction)
- Higher rate of survival when it comes to fighting cancer and responding to chemotherapy
- Lower rate of developing dementia
- Lower rates of coronary artery disease, hypertension, and diabetes
Nothing beats a coffee with a mum friend. They just get it. The sleepless nights, the tiredness, the ever-growing laundry basket. The feel what you feel, and they are living it too. They are non-judgmental which can be reassuring when you just want to complain and moan about this baby you adore just to get it all out. That support goes a long way in increasing one’s purpose and sense of belonging.
A happy mum means a happy house and that is what we all strive for at the end of the day. Friends are the best investment you will ever make. Through good times and bad you will never go through something alone.
That in itself is priceless.
Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired by the chaos of it all. Follow her on Instagram.