Many women find that motherhood brings a need to be with other women in the same situation.
"I find it very reassuring to talk to other women who know exactly how you're feeling." Sam, new mother.
With a network of friends you can:
• Share difficulties and learn new skills;
• Establish regular get-togethers at each other's houses;
• Set up a babysitting circle;
• Swap childcare;
• Have girls' nights out;
• Create a social circle for your children.
Your health visitor may be able to introduce you to mothers with babies of the same age. There are plenty of places where you can go:
• Mother and baby clinic.
• Local mother and baby club.
• Local sports centre - for postnatal exercise classes, or baby swimming lessons.
• The library - you can find out about local mother and baby groups here and get books out for your baby too.
Making contact with other mothers on-line is also a great source of support, especially if you live in an isolated area.
Your local NCT branch should be able to offer a combination of one-to-one support and informal get-together groups, such as open houses and coffee mornings. Some branches also run NCT postnatal discussion groups where you can meet specifically to talk about the experience you're all going through. You can choose from:
• 'Drop-in' discussion groups led by a trained worker and lasting about an hour (you can just drop in from week to week, as you wish) or;
• Pre-booked discussion courses, also led by a trained worker, but meeting weekly for six to eight weeks with no more than 15 parents in a group. Ring the NCT Enquiry Line on 0807 444 8707.
As your baby gets older, It's also worth making a special effort to meet 'non-baby' friends by joining an evening class, say, and letting someone else baby-sit.