Grateful for…friends

We live in Australia, but my husband and I are from Germany and Scotland respectively. Apart from my father’s cousin who I’ve never met that lives in Perth, WA, we have no relatives within 16,000k. Only my stepmother and her partner have ever met my little girl, and we have no plans to visit Europe any time soon (if ever) because it’s too expensive. We have been here for almost 3 years and have no regrets whatsoever about our decision to emigrate. We LOVE living here in Australia and we feel very blessed and grateful that we have been able to make it happen, and start a family over here. I was 35 when we landed in Brisbane after 7 months carefree backpacking in Southeast Asia and within 6 weeks of settling in our new home on the NSW Mid North Coast, I was pregnant and we were over the moon!

In hindsight getting pregnant and having a baby in a new country so quickly was a very tough road to travel and I struggled quite a lot, not having the support of any family or close friends. I didn’t know any other mums and I had no idea what I was doing. Fortunately I had made some community contacts during my pregnancy – volunteering with Lifeline as a telephone counsellor and becoming an active member of the local branch of Amnesty International Australia – and my husband and I did know a couple of people in town, albeit not very well, so I didn’t feel completely isolated. The months went by though and I realised things were not quite right, as I was becoming increasingly down. I went to my GP who referred me to a psychologist and while I only attended a couple of sessions, she helped me so much. I was able to see where my difficulties were coming from – absolutely natural issues relating to being a new immigrant and a new mother, and deep-rooted stuff with my own mother that had come to the surface with the birth of my own daughter, mixed up with not having a close, familiar network to lean on, was a tough, but understandable set of circumstances. Once I was able to talk them through, things became clearer, and life got better and better.

My best decision during the more difficult times in my daughter’s first 6 months was forcing myself to go to a local mothers group that I found on Facebook. So many times I didn’t think I could face it, but I made myself go and always felt better afterward. I dreaded the monthly mums night out even more but I kept on going. I learned that it was normal to find the days hard sometimes, everybody wanted to cry some days, it wasn’t just me. I also grew to appreciate the joy of being to share little things about my daughter with other mums who understood my fears and wonder and love for my child. Two years later and these same women are some of my closest friends. I love our catchups, and am myself involved in setting up meets and welcoming newcomers. I now adore mums night out 🙂 Last weekend some of my lovely Aussie mummy friends threw me a baby shower brunch. As we sat in the sunshine laughing and sharing our tales of woe and joy, I couldn’t help reflecting on how different things are this pregnancy, and how very lucky I am to have found these friendships in a far away country that is now very much our little family’s home. So all the time, but this week most especially, I am grateful for my friends.

This post is part of the 52 Weeks of Grateful link-up hosted by Maxabella Loves

and

Blogtoberfest 2012, 2/31

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6 responses

  1. Wow, I am full of admiration for you! Starting a new life in a country so very far from home, while at the same time being pregnant – that is amazing! I’m so happy to hear it’s all worked out so well for you, good luck with your second baby!

    1. Thanks Fiona. To be honest we just didn’t really think it all through properly…but then if we had, we probably wouldn’t have done any of it – sometimes it’s good to fly by the seat of your pants 😉

  2. Oh sweetie, I can totally relate to this. While I was lucky enough to be “surrounded” by family and friends here, I felt very isolated when my daughter arrived three years ago… and totally overwhelmed by the “stuff” that came up about the way I was parented.
    It has taken two years of therapy for me to work up the courage to try again for the next one!
    Like you, I found that mothers group gatherings didn’t quite work for me. Nothing against the individuals involved — all lovely — but I have never felt comfortable in groups. I admire you for persisting until you received the support you needed.
    Thank you for sharing this here. It takes a lot of courage. We live in a culture of relentless positivity, and we can find ourselves on the receiving end of a fair bit of judgement when we open up that things aren’t all rosy. The irony is, the only way we can really forge deep connections with anyone is to admit how vulnerable we’re feeling.
    So glad that you’re joining the Blogtoberfest12 community. It’s a privilege to have you.
    Kat xxx

    1. Hi Kat, thanks for your lovely comment. It’s funny you should say that about having lots of family around yet still finding things tough – I have met several women in the last couple of years who have / had a lot of family around when their children were small and they still struggled a great deal, for a variety of reasons. Often because the support still wasn’t there even though the family physically was, which I think must be worse, because you have the hurt as well as the struggle! I just assumed the grass was greener as it were, and that is not so of course. And of course if stuff comes up from the past, well those things we have to work through ourselves, having a regular babysitter isn’t going to make it all better unfortunately. Good on ya doing all that therapy, I’ve done a fair bit over the years and it is hard work but so worth it in the end! If I understand correctly you are TTC – wish you all the best with that X

  3. That is such a tough thing to do! I am completely in awe. Even having lots of family and friends around to help, a new baby is still such a daunting prospect. To be on your own like that and to manage so beautifully – hats off to you!!! It’s so wonderful that in such a short space of time you have made the kind of friends who are making you feel so much more at ease this time around. That’s an accomplishment in itself! x

    1. What a kind comment, thank you! I see that 52 Weeks has moved since I last visited some time ago – congrats on your new job! I plan to stay involved for the remainder of the year as much as possible. Will you be running the project again next year? It’s such a great idea X

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