Last week I met up with a group of girlfriends for the first time before my daughter was born.
For the last four months, I stayed at home because I was either too big (near the end of the pregnancy) or still adjusting to being a new mum again.
As we sat there, laughing and chatting about nothing in particular, I had a sense of contentment and peace.
All the challenges of the last few months, that feeling of ‘how am I ever going to get through this’ or ‘when will things go back to normal’ slowly melted away as I sipped my tea and ate some scones.
You know the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”?
I think the saying should also say it takes a village to keep mums mentally and physically sane.
My friends weren’t doing anything special, it’s not like we were having a semi-therapy session instead of breakfast.
But just being there with them, laughing, enjoying each other’s presence, talking about what was going on with their lives and how mine had been over the last few months made me feel seen, appreciated and loved.
When you become a parent for the first time, life changes beyond recognition, and often we feel we have lost a part of ourselves in the process.
Good friendships help remind us that we are still us.
Perhaps a bit more tired and less able to hold our alcohol or sleep past 10… but we are still ourselves.
Whether in person or over zoom, spending time with friends is just as crucial for our mental health as spending time in nature or practising meditation.
So if it’s been a while, call your friends, spend time with them and enjoy their presence.
And remember that you are seen, appreciated and loved… even if you might forget sometimes.