For a number of years I have been involved in a group that meet regularly on a Friday morning.
The group was set up by a friend who felt prompted by God to set up a little group to meet at her house on a regular basis to enable support and to develop friendship between those with young babies in our church.
The original group consisted of six mums and their babies. Over the years the group has grown, members have moved on and new ones joined. We’ve watched bumps grow into babies turn into toddlers and observe them develop as children. The group opened up beyond Mums to include Dads and Grandparents.
Various people have taken on the role of opening up their homes and hosting over the years to enable our group to maintain that homely feel.
When I was invited to join the original group, none of us had any idea that it would flourish all these years or the impact it would have on us individually. For me personally the group enabled me to have social interaction at a time when I struggled to be in bigger and noisier environments due to my rapidly declining hearing. For a another friend it enabled her to just come and be a Mum and not as an organiser running the group.
Within the group there is no pressure to attend regularly, and all are supportive of one another that extends outside of the times that we meet.
It is a group where we can come, just sit and have a brew with a slice of cake with no expectations upon us to talk if we just want to sit. Equally there is no judgement if we need to offload or seek advice. There is recognition that caring for a baby or child can be exhausting and challenging especially when surviving on little sleep. Quite often you will find a small baby being passed around being given attention by others to enable an exhausted mother to have a hot drink and the chance to relax.
I recall on one occasion when an exhausted mother came with her newborn whereby the baby had a major poop explosion. The group sprung into action to help the mother clean herself and her baby up, providing wipes, nappy and change of clothing as the mother in her exhausted state had forgotten to bring a bag with all the essentials. No judgement was made, as we’ve all been there at some point.
It’s not just the adults that have benefited from this group. Our children have too. It has enabled them to develop their social skills and build up relationships with others outside of their immediate family.
In today’s society it is easy to feel isolated as a parent particularly as very few have a network of family close by to offer advice and support. This group has enabled so many to find a support network and to build long lasting friendships. We definitely need more “Friday Groups” in today’s society as it would make such a difference to many people.
My time at the group is coming to an end as my youngest prepares to start school. It will seem strange not to attend the group anymore although I suspect I may not be able to resist sneaking in for the odd slice of cake and baby cuddles!
I am so thankful for my friend plucking up the courage to invite five other strangers and their babies into her home, and so proud of how that vision has developed over the years.
I can honestly say that it has been a real privilege to be part of “Friday Group” for so long and to share in the lives of so many lovely people and their families.