Thank God For Amsterdam Mamas

When I was pregnant with Cal, David and I decided not to do any of the pre-natal classes and workshops that people usually do. I was confident that I could handle the birth and didn't think I especially needed to meet other pregnant people. But I was wrong. 9 months down the road of new motherhood I've suddenly discovered other mamas with babies Cal's age and I'm stunned by how good it feels and bummed that I didn't discover this earlier.

David and I had heard stories about what went on in pregnancy yoga classes and to be honest the thought of having to meet other pregnant couples kind of irked us both. I pictured us all sitting around in a circle, David behind me holding my belly, while other couples shared their pregnancy fears and experiences. We immediately gave each other permission to skip it. I also reasoned that I wasn't a fresh-off-the-boat expat mum in need of new girlfriends - I have lots of girlfriends here with kids. Instead I read every pregnancy book and website ever written, did my own yoga every morning at home (until my pelvis crapped out around 6 months) and spent the last half hour of each day practicing my Kate-Moss'-celebrity-baby-birth-yoga-guru's breathing techniques and visualizations. I was totally prepared for my 4 hour, pain-free birth. My birth ended up being a 12-minute emergency c-section, so in that sense it was a good thing we didn't shell out for pregnancy yoga, but I was wrong about not needing to meet other new parents. 

If I could give one piece of advice to pregnant girlfriends it would be hunt out other ladies who are due at a similar time and make them be your friend, whether they like it or not. Because when you go crazy, and you will, that's not up for discussion, you'll really need them. It is also important that they have a kid that is close, say within 2 months of yours, but the closer the better. Because listening to someone whine about their kid's teeth/sleep/feeding habits is a very niche interest and it helps if they are going through the exact same thing. And as perfectly supportive as your "normal friends" are, even the ones with kids, it's not the same.

I found my mamas this month. Online (I finally discovered the Facebook group for Amsterdam Mamas with its wealth of meet-ups, activities and advice) and at Cafe Giraf which I've been banging on about for weeks. The place is a god-send. Yesterday I met  a doctor in training who had a son 1 day older than Cal. For an hour we sat on the floor and rapid-fired questions at each other about feeding, day-care, grand-parents, and our own mental health. There was no, let's be coy or polite about it, it was a warts-and-all exchange of survival tactics. I left the cafe beaming. Man it feels good to shoot the shit with other mamas.
Kicking it at Cafe Giraf, Amsterdam


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