Ping group member, Niamh, talks about making friends, going to baby groups and feeling judged.
For many new parents, meeting and making new friends can be difficult. This is especially true for young parents. In the UK the average age for first time mothers is now 30. This can often place young parents in the minority when it comes to baby or toddler groups and classes. My first experience of this was in hospital at an antenatal workshop for breast feeding. Only one mother made an effort to chat with me, while I was either ignored by the others or judged with questions such as ‘so do you still live with your parents?’ or ‘that's far too young! Are you still with the dad?’
Following this experience and the birth of my baby, getting out and making new friends was so daunting. I started attending a young parents group, which was great because it was so non-judgemental. This is turn gave me the confidence to start going to other groups and classes, which has been great for building my daughter’s confidence. I used to feel anxious about leaving the house, but now we go for swimming lessons, bounce and rhyme and toddlers along with some young parent groups.
I have learned that it doesn’t matter what age you are as a parent; there will always be some people who judge you no matter what. You could be 18 or 40, there is always someone who has something negative to say. Try not to take it personally; this says more about them than it does about you. Equally I have met older mothers at groups who feel isolated because of their age, so don't worry about what other people think or say. The majority of other parents I have met are great, and my daughter has really benefited from having lots of different playmates.
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