Plunket Coffee Group Creates Social Wellbeing

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We are swiftly approaching Wesley’s first birthday. ¬†Looking at this past year, I know I wouldn’t have felt so secure and sure of myself as a new mother without the weekly get togethers with our coffee group mums. ¬†There are 7 of us who regularly meet and enjoy watching our kids frolic, whilst we chat and catch up on what’s been happening in our little worlds.

This was all made possible by Plunket.  If you are a new mum looking to create a bit of social activities you should get in touch they are so helpful!

The early months, I’ll be honest, I was so nervous to go to these gatherings that I sometimes had to remind myself that Wesley needed social time too. ¬†Being exhausted and worrying about fitting in, made the first little while scary but ultimately I became very comfortable and looked forward to meeting the women each week. ¬†In fact I would attribute a huge change in my social skills to joining this group. ¬†Previous to having Wesley, I would sometimes bail on plans for the worry of not fitting in, or being nervous about talking to new people…feeling I had nothing important to say. ¬†This has totally changed since I’ve been getting together with the Plunket Coffee Group.

It was so good to laugh, enjoy the horror stories, ask questions and just see where our little kids were at and how they interacted with each other. ¬†Had it not been for this group, I wouldn’t have had much of a social life and it’s been the greatest thing we have done for our little family.

Wesley has become very social and loves to spend time with his friends and it’s truly wonderful watching him interact with other little people his age. ¬†These groups are structured so that your little one will be playing with other babies their age, between 0-12 months or 12-24 months.

Social wellbeing and support as a new mum is so important.  I am living in a new country far removed from my immediate family, and close friends back in Canada.  I found there was a void that needed filling as we settled into New Zealand just prior to Wesley being born.  That sense of connectedness was created quite quickly and helped me to maintain a good sense of self worth.  Simply being around other mums who were experiencing the same challenges and triumphs helped boost my mood and encouraged me through the harder days.  Our weekly meetings have been invaluable.

Yesterday I invited the ladies and their little ones to a photoshoot to capture some moments as a thank you of sorts. ¬†While I wrote a little bit about how grateful I am to them on Instagram – I wanted to elaborate here. ¬†I truly do love the sense of normalcy and ease that came about from us connecting to one another. ¬†These photos are a thank you to them…a gift in return for so many months of positive interactions and moral support. ¬†We all believe in each other and that’s one of the best gifts I think a new mum can receive. ¬†In the coming weeks we will all be celebrating some of our first Mother’s Days and I hope you all know how dear you are to us.

Maree & Blake

Giselle & Lucas

Teina & Cleo

Amber-Lee & Te Ahorangi

Georgia & Theo

Tyla & Dixie

Thank you all for being such amazing women and friends to Wesley, myself and Mike.

If you live in Palmerston North and are looking to connect with other new mums and are a bit unsure where to start, you should definitely give Plunket a call or check out their page on Facebook.

There is also a great free program hosted by the Palmerston North Public Library called “Baby Bop” which is at 10.00am each Thursday morning. ¬†Kids sing songs, dance and interact with their parents guidance and there is plenty for the kids to run and be silly.¬† You’ll be seeing us there!

Pregnant & coping with major change.

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Right, so February was amazing and it was also overwhelming in so many ways.  Moving from Australia to New Zealand and then beginning a month long road trip (whilst 7.5 months pregnant) was kind of a massive undertaking.  To top it all off we moved into a new home and Mike started a new job.

During the flight, move and trip; between the amazing memories and events, I experienced a few moments (4 to be exact) of complete and total panic.  Mike supported me through the brunt of these episodes as they came suddenly and often without warning.  I partially blame these on hormones.  We spoke about the episodes after each one happened, and I even took time to mark them down in our trip calendar to see how often they were happening.

As a first time pregnant person, I feel a huge sense of responsibility and some uncertainty and lack of control about what the future may hold for us and our child… there are so many unknowns. ¬†I know Mike has his worries too. ¬†I guess that’s natural to have worries.

The control freak in me – doesn’t like not having a plan for everything. ¬†This has been a bit of a process of learning to let go and enjoy the ride. ¬†Most days I am enjoying the ride…

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There is also the actual pain of growing so quickly. ¬†My body has been in a constant state of change, and just when I think I’m settling in to a comfortable skin… ¬†bam! that little bugger “pain” turns up again!

I feel like little pain elves are playing games with me and pinching me and cutting me with tiny little knives when I’m not looking. ¬†Some days my hips don’t work right, and other days I feel I’m on the verge of exploding my guts all over the walls.

Getting comfortable is my main priority most days.

I found the days I was most in pain, were the days I cracked.  There was always one small thing that would tip the scale (however it could be a number of items even combined).

  • Too hot (this one is almost impossible to manage at the moment – I’m an active lava filled volcano spewing heat everywhere. ¬†Mike can’t even cuddle me at night – I’m too warm for him to snuggle!
  • I read a particularly sad news article online about a mother and her children and postnatal depression (terrible story) that had me worrying about the condition.
  • Too constricted in my clothes
  • Exhausted or over tired (there two two nights I did not sleep a wink while we camped due to the sheer power of lightning and wind)
  • Cramping/false contractions
  • Thinking about the actual event of giving birth (thankfully I was recommended a great book by Mikes counsin Kat. ¬†I’ve read it since and it really has helped me understand and embrace the event!). ¬†That book “Birth Skills” can be found here.
  • Driving for more than two hours
  • Feeling muscles tearing along my stomach
  • Too full
  • Too much time on my hands worrying about the future
  • Mike saying or doing something that inadvertently hurt my feelings
  • Moving into a new house and cleaning (I’m a bit of a clean freak)

This list is shockingly long… it also has made it a bit harder for Mike. ¬†He told me after he read this that it’s like he’s walking on the tiniest tightrope or..on eggshells sometimes.

In an effort to make things a bit easier, Mike and I slowed the pace of our trip considerably after the second “event”. ¬†I also made sure I didn’t drive the car for more than two hours so I could stretch out, and began to be very conscious of the type of clothes I placed over my middle section. ¬†I now strip down to nothing and cool off or take a shower and wet my hair (being too warm is like…indescribable torture). ¬†Most nights I end up sleeping over the blankets with nothing on whilst Mike tells me he’s cold under our duvet…then I touch him with my fire hands!

Part of my panic was around the “unknown” in birth, so I began reading more, and absorbing positive birth stories to help bring me a more enlightened “I can do this” mind frame when thinking of the big day. ¬†This has been hugely rewarding…

A lot of the uncertainty is still there – and I’m sure it always will be. ¬†Parenthood – whilst it’s exciting and there is a TONNE of anticipation, is also bringing items to consider that we’d never really considered before.

In an effort to be more mindful, I’ve been spending 15 mins each morning practicing meditation and muscle tension relaxation skills that helped me through some tense times last year. ¬†Taking the time to tune out and sit still has been so beneficial. ¬†I always feel so peaceful and relaxed afterward (it generally carries on throughout the entire day). ¬†Also going for daily walks and setting small goals each day instead of burning myself out – and taking the time to rest has been humbling.

The audio clip – if you’re interested can be found here.

The baby is going really well, he is 8 months along today. ¬†His dad talks to him all the time, and confides to him as if I’m not “in the room”. ¬†He makes me laugh…

Mike and I have been reading a birth magazine together, that details the multiple ways parents experience natural childbirth together (it’s something that is encouraged here in New Zealand). ¬†My midwife gave us the copy on loan, and reading this together is partly amusing and also helping us to have more conversations about what to expect on the day/days.

I’ll tell you about some of the more interesting statements he’s made lately…next time.

If you have any positive birth/motherhood stories or experiences, you’d like to share – please feel free to comment or email me¬†personally. ¬†I’ve been taking these in, and have been enjoying knowing there are going to be extraordinary moments we’ll have in our family memory bank soon.