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.
Blogtoberfest 2012, 2/31