The New Mothers Group


The New Mothers Group

For many new parents, their mothers group becomes a lifeline of support and intimate conversations with the only people who are really in it with you. For some, this safe space isn't available to them. This week, a new kind of mothers group is making its debut. The First Word is a video series of raw, unfiltered conversation between three women who just get it.

Andrea Robertson


0 minute read

Published: February 2023

Origin: Australia

During the pandemic, a physical, in-person mother’s group was something most women lost out on.

And truly, it was a real loss. The comfort of those raw, intimate conversations that flow freely within the coven of new mothers who are experiencing the exact same stage at the exact same time cannot be understated.

For me, my mother’s group was a lifeline during those early postpartum months.

Living in Bondi in 2017, the 15 or so of us would meet above the grassy knoll in the shade, clutching our large coffees, talking over each other as we vented, compared sleep routines, and described baby bowel movements to the only other people in our orbit equally as interested and invested in this information.

We'd catch up en masse in any cafe big enough to house our enormous prams and nappy bags, go for long walks, and watch each other's babies while we went for a quick dip in the ocean— allowing the other a few minutes of much needed peace.

The WhatsApp group chat was on fire, with links to products we’d found helpful, pleas for tips on dealing with mastitis, and funny memes pinging through during 3am feeds. 

I still have the group chat in the archives of my WhatsApp and scrolling through it now, I don't remember ever typing some of the rambling streams of thoughts and opinions I contributed.

Everything from that overwhelming, sleep-deprived period is fuzzy, but I remember the support. The safe space.

These women come to know the recovery progress of your third degree vaginal tearing, how long you waited before having sex with your partner again after birth, and whether you developed haemorrhoids or not during your third trimester. Searingly intimate details your closest friends are not privy to, but this group, who were strangers just weeks ago, confide in each other.

Of course, there is something manufactured about a friendship with other people when the only thing you have in common is your postcode and your baby’s date of birth. But existing friends who are even six months ahead of you in the parenting game are not in the trenches with you. They’ve already moved on to the next phase. While you're trying to figure out your newborn's sleep patterns, they're debating the merits of puree versus baby led weaning.

This is what a mothers group serves: a shared experience during what is often one of the most earth-shattering and formative stages of your life. These other parents just get it. They're in it too.

While some form lasting friendships with their mother’s group, for others, it just doesn’t always click. The bonds of navigating the same leaps and milestones might not be strong enough to overcome vastly different personalities or values. And that’s ok. Hopefully, they have a strong village to turn to for empathy and guidance. 

And this week, a new kind of mothers group makes it debut. From creator Tori Bowman, author of Afterwards, comes a new youtube series which hopes to offer the same lifeline, a safe space, for women in the trenches of parenthood. The First Word features three women who are mothers, in raw, honest conversation where nothing is off the table.

They chat everything from sleep deprivation and postpartum depression, pregnancy loss and co-parenting with an ex, to Botox and libido. Peppered into the episodes are tips, hacks and genius products they have discovered and love that make parenting a little bit easier. 

A modern day mothers group for women who also happen to be mums

The First Word

“She was this perfect little baby, it was me who was spiralling down and down...”

Making this series a video medium which requires viewers to sit and pay attention was intentional, says Tori: "While podcasts are amazing, I find that women listen while doing a million other things... because multitasking is our superhuman power. BUT, so many of us are becoming burnt out, depleted and a little resentful? To try and help women slow down and rejuvenate, the show is there to encourage them to sit and just 'be'."

"It's old school - yes! But I truly believe it is a way to help support the wave of 'new age mums' i.e. those who raise babies, return to work (life takes two incomes these days!) or start their own businesses if they're spending a lot of time in the home (like me!) ... and who desperately want to stay committed to their pre-baby self— the part of themselves who loves to stay connected to wellness, skincare, health, beauty, culture, fashion etc.

"If we can cater to the 'multifaceted' woman/mum and represent her on-screen in mainstream media, it may help to reduce the isolation so many of us feel.

"Isolation leads to dips in confidence, self-worth, self-esteem. It triggers mental health hiccups, and interrupts our sleep, our libido, our general mood, and overall wellness."

The First Word will release two new episodes a month, and will forge a community of mothers who can tune in to feel supported and seen by women who have been there too. "Simply allowing women to gather and talk about ALL things - whether the topics are emotional, superficial, political ... with the goal of allowing all women to feel validated is the aim."

When my son was four months old we moved from Sydney to London, and losing those midweek mothers group catch-ups was one of the hardest changes I encountered. We kept in touch at first, but after a while the texting slowed and we drifted apart. I'd wake up and read text chains that had occurred overnight, arranging the usual meet-ups at the beach or cafe, while I was starting another long day in midwinter England with no plans.

The isolation and loneliness I felt in new motherhood during that time was gut-wrenching. No friends close by to vent to, go for walks with, or meet at the playground.

Making new friends as an adult is a bit like dating, and I often returned home after having a coffee with someone I'd met feeling drained. When you've been up every hour overnight, you crave the ease and short-hand of an existing friendship, not the effort of small talk.

Watching The First Word would have been a valuable resource during those days for me. Three smart, real-talking women bantering about both breast milk and botox is the digital friendship circle I really could have taken comfort in over a cup of coffee while the baby napped.

For any mother who is feeling untethered in new parenthood, trying not to lose yourself, yet feeling the pull to surrender to this new all-encompassing role, and in need of those intimate conversations, this is for you.

Watch The First Word here and follow on Instagram.

Andrea Robertson



Noteworthy Reads