I was nervous because I hadn’t really needed to go out and source new buddies since uni or since starting my last job, let alone meeting a whole posse of chicks who I may or may not have had anything in common with.
I was late to the first meeting by about 20 minutes and, even though it was winter, I was sweating – probably from trying to breastfeed while watching Channing in Magic Mike.
I was so flustered and disorganised, and carrying way too much stuff in an oversized nappy bag, even though I had only walked 100 metres to get to the community centre from home. For some reason, I thought I needed eight nappies, six packets of wipes and four baby suits. My bag was so full I had to squash my Arnott’s assorted biscuits in, crumbling all the orange creams.
We went around the room saying our names, our baby’s name and a little bit about our experience to date. I always get really nervous in these circle discussions as it comes closer for me to say my bit, even though I know my name and have done so for over 30 years.
As I was late, I missed the part about the ‘little bit’ about your experience to date. I sat down in my flustered state and straight away it was my turn. Dammit.
‘Hi, I’m Ali and this is ummmm… Alfred or Alfie. Yeah, I think he is an Alfie. Totally. Or maybe Freddie. We’re still not sure. Definitely Alfred though. I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know what happened nine weeks ago, but I was renovating and I had a sore back and I think it was coz I was painting skirting boards, but then I felt sick…
‘We had a portaloo coz we didn’t have a toilet and I didn’t feel like going outside to use it. But I felt sick, so I woke up Reggie – oh, that’s my husband , and he’s nice and has a beard – and said I thought I had the flu and that the bub in my tummy might get sick. We had about four weeks to go before our due date, so I said I would drive to the hospital coz I wanted to be sure that it wasn’t pneumonia or the measles or something serious like that.
‘I wanted to drive but couldn’t fit behind the wheel properly, so he drove (we have a little car). At the hospital, they checked me out and told me my waters were leaking, which was really funny because I thought I had just done a little wee when I was laughing. So I said, ‘cool as, can we go home?’ and they said, ‘no’. Then they broke my waters and it was like doing a massive, beautiful, hangover wee and they induced me and then I had a baby an hour later and I said the ‘c’ and ‘f’ words heaps. And I now really miss my old vagina and I can’t wait until I feel like a whole person again. Oh, and I brought Arnott’s bikkies. Sorry. I opened the packet on the way, so there aren’t many Monte Carlos left.’
Verbal. Nervous. Diarrhoea.
Then it was the next person’s turn: ‘Hi, I’m Karen and this is Marnie. I’m really excited to be here. Thank you.’
Dammit, I shared too much. I provided too much information. I used too much inside voice, outside. Too keen to make friends. Too keen to make an impression. Too much time spent alone in my house… Yowsers.
After the meeting, we went into ‘cuppa’ mode. I stood shyly in the corner, still sweating. Karen came up to me and whispered: ‘I miss my vagina, too.’
I did it; I made a new friend over a cuppa and a discussion about our fannies.
Over a year on, my mum’s group still meets. We laugh, we bitch, we share way too much information with each other, and it’s freakin’ fantastic.
Recently, we caught up at a mum’s house and drank wine and discussed everything, as we do. It is like I have known these women for years, not just 12 months. They have seen me cry, seen me struggle, ignored my foul mouth, encouraged me, supported me and have heard my endless discussions about my fanny.
I can’t wait for our kids to get nits together, just so we can experience it as a gang. I can’t wait for our kids to go to school together, just so we can share those awkward photos and have a bit of a teary. I can’t wait until our kids skateboard together and hold each other’s hands in the emergency department. I can’t wait until my son is caught climbing out one of the girl’s windows and our hubbyies have a man-to-man chat. I can’t wait, but I totally can. It’s been heaven seeing our kids grow up together.