18 months ago I arrived in Hong Kong barefoot and pregnant.
OK… so I was wearing shoes, but yes I was ‘with child’ and just as suddenly, without career and a home. I want to tell you about mums’ groups, because without them, being a first time mum in a foreign country would have been a whole lot scarier than it has been.
So here are my top tips for joining a mums group!
- Don’t judge
I’ll admit, I was more than a little hesitant to join a random group of pregnant women – imagine all those hormones for a start! Looking back, I’d always been too quick to judge these mothers’ groups as nothing more than a vice for fiercely competitive mums to blow their own trumpets… and those of their little ones too! In fact, most mums I know are far too busy and tired for these shenanigans!
- Be confident
I like to think I’m a fairly confident gal but it had been a while since I’d had to actively put myself out there and open up to a group of complete strangers. So it was rather gingerly that I stepped into the café to meet my new friends. It felt weird and awkward at first… I only relaxed when I heard a couple of familiar Aussie accents; at that point, it was about the only thing that felt familiar in a city that was anything but!
- Anything goes!
We talked about everything in our weekly catch-up sessions – hopes, fears, dreams and all that general stuff. Plus, we laughed about things only pregnant women can laugh at – cankles, snoring, strange bodily functions and rapidly growing bellies. We all had different stories but the same apprehension and anticipation and it was both thrilling and terrifying at the same time… it’s great to share those thoughts with people who are in exactly the same boat!
- Giving birth is not the end!
Your mums’ group won’t stop as soon as you’ve popped! After the births, all of us were simultaneously feeding, burping and offering the odd mumble and nod of encouragement through our sleep deprived bones… but our meet-ups got us out of the house and into civilization!
- Don’t worry if you miss a session
It didn’t and hasn’t ever mattered if you miss a catch up; there are regular emails flying around to keep you in the loop with questions and concerns and equally so, reassurances and suggestions.
- Make time to meet up
Over one year on and I’m still busy and tired! We all lead hectic lives… some of us have full-time jobs, others part-time, some at home, some travelling… and yet we still manage our catch-ups, bubs in tow, oohing and ahhing at how much they are changing and most of all… we support! All different people, all with different children, but all on the treadmill of life doing the very best we can.
Here are some great ways to meet mums in Hong Kong:
I found mine through here – check out the “Due Date” forums which can match you up with other women who are due at the same time as you.
Nest is a drop-in group for new mums that meets at the Methodist Church (don’t worry, there is no religious affiliation) on Queen’s Road East every Tuesday afternoon from 2.30-5pm. Run by a group of expert women including two doulas, a pilates teacher and a physiotherapist, you can have your baby weighed, ask questions or just hang out and chat with a cup of tea and a homemade biccy. Costs HK$100 per session.
Meet other expectant mums and hear positive birth stories from those who have already been there, done that and bought the (maternity!) t-shirt! They are at Central and Discovery Bay and cost $100, with food and drink provided. RSVP by contacting A Mother’s Touch.
Meet other mums with similarly-aged littlies whilst a midwife or health visitor will also be on hand to weigh your babies, have a general chat and answer any questions about your baby’s progress. The Monday session (10am-12pm) is for babies from 3 weeks to 3 months old, with Tuesday sessions (10am-12pm) for babies from 3 months up to 1 year old. Sessions cost $190 each; book here.
And then of course… there are the girls’ nights out!! – but those stories are best saved for another day!
Know any other good mum’s groups? Drop us the details in the comments section below!