Posh Moms. They force the idea of breastfeeding on you. They believe children should only eat organic food.
These are amongst the common thoughts that may come to mind when someone first hears the phrase, NCT (National Childbirth Trust.) However, I can only speak from experience in that I have come across a group of down to earth, kind, caring, real mums (and dads too) who have shared advice and support and become lifetime friends and have been there for me and my family over the years.
My first experience of NCT was when my Husband and I decided to book our antenatal classes through NCT. We chose to do this, not because we felt the information they provided was any better or different to that provided by the NHS, but because we wanted to find like minded people to become friends on our journeys to becoming parents. My Sister had done her antenatal classes through NCT and couldn’t recommend enough this as an avenue for meeting and building a great support network of friends.
At the end of the course we arranged a reunion after our babies were born and it was lovely to hear of the safe arrival of the babies in our group one by one. Our group provided support to each other as we shared our experiences knowing that each was going through the same issues and milestones at the same time. Throughout our maternity leave we met up regularly over coffee and it was great to see our little ones growing and developing together.
When I returned to work after Mini was 8 months old I found it difficult to continue to meet up as regularly with our group, but I always knew that they were there if ever I needed them and I am sure they will be for many years to come.
Another key part of my NCT journey was my volunteering role. I knew that I wanted to keep my brain active during maternity leave so when I saw an advert for the branch membership coordinator it felt like the perfect opportunity for me. When Mini was 5 weeks old I attended my first branch meeting and was made to feel very welcome. My role involved welcoming new members to the branch and helping to promote the activities and support services that the branch offers.
I continued in my role for the next 4 years and have recently stepped down; it felt like it was time for someone else to take the role in a new direction. Although I don’t have a specific role in the branch anymore, I still try to help and support events where I can such as the Nearly New Sales, which are an amazing place to find baby essentials, toys, nursery equipment, clothes etc. at a fraction of the cost.
I found the experience to be very rewarding and felt like I was giving back to my local community. Again through this avenue I got to know such a fantastic and supportive group of people and Mini developed great friendships through playing with friends at the weekly Friday coffee mornings.
One of our favourite NCT groups to attend was Bumps and Babies, which was just for babies up to non mobile age. This gave new mums a great opportunity to have chance to catch up with other moms going through the same things as them and enjoy a hot cup of tea, knowing that their babies weren’t going to be accidentally stood on by bigger children.
It was at Bumps and Babies that I met my friend Jo, we got talking at our first meeting, when Mini was 3 weeks old and her daughter Frankie was 8 weeks old. Jo was fairly new to the area, having recently moved from Cardiff and didn’t know many other moms in the area. We have stayed good friends and Mini and Frankie have grown up together and love to cause mayhem together nearly 5 years on from their first meeting.
I would encourage all parents and families to look into what groups, events and support services are on offer from their local NCT branch and to keep an open mind and I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
I am part of the Stourbridge and Halesowen NCT branch and you can find out what is going on in the branch via their Facebook page here. You can also visit the main NCT website here to look at branches and events in your local area.
The Stourbridge and Halesowen branch have released their latest newsletter featuring my post along with a fantastic days out guide and more information about how you can get involved in the branch as a family. Click here to read the full newsletter.