It was Autumn 2016. I walked into an evening pregnancy yoga class and spotted a bright neon sports top (worn by a pretty blonde lady) on the mat opposite me. We said an embarrassed 'hello' to each other, I complimented her on her sports gear, to which she replied "It's the only thing that fits me that isn't in the wash." We practised some 'golden breath', worked on our pelvic floor and went our separate ways.
A few weeks later, my husband and I walked into an antenatal class on a Monday evening (I walked, dragging him in with me). I sat down in a room of unfamiliar faces and, to my happiness, spotted neon yellow yoga-friend on my left. This time we found out each other's names, worked out that we were having babies at very similar times (although, cleverly, she waited for a due date after Christmas), and swapped numbers and names. Sophie was having a little girl in January 2017. My baby was due on 18th December 2016. We lived super close to each other. Tick, tick, tick.
The WhatsApp messages quickly changed to who was around for a coffee to chat about breastfeeding, poo and myriad subjects that are spoken about when you become a mum.
Queue the awkward WhatsApp group exchanges from first time mums not knowing what on earth was about to happen in labour and definitely not after that. Finally, the day came when we had all had our babies. My daughter arrived on the 23rd December and Sophie's arrived bang on time. Our daughters were 3 weeks apart in age and a 30 minute walk from cot to cot! The WhatsApp messages quickly changed to who was around for a coffee to chat about breastfeeding, poo and myriad subjects that are spoken about when you become a mum.
The thing that was amazing about Soph was how she was always ready to have a cup of coffee. No matter how terrible the colic had been the night before, and no matter how many poonamis had exploded that day, she was always there. Loyal and reliable from the get go. I would talk about her to my family as my 'mum friend'. Now, I can firmly call her my friend, and one of my best ones at that.
Had I not met Sophie and Taggie, I'm not sure how I would have coped these last 2 years. My parents live in Cardiff and my family are all in South London, which wasn't easy to get to with a little one in tow. I remember feeling so lonely in the beginning in those dark Winter months. But, with the knowledge of Baby Sensory classes and Baby Cinema waiting for me in the week, with Sophie and Taggie there too, I always felt comforted.
We were there to encourage, to support and to cheer ourselves along through the ups and downs of starting a business.
And, more than that, Sophie and I found out that we wanted more for our kids and more for our working lives. We worked out that we wanted to make a difference and that we wanted to do it together too. And that's how Sleep Thief was born. A small idea at the back of our minds. And we basically dared each other to take a leap of faith and put our ideas to paper. We were there to encourage, to support and to cheer ourselves along through the ups and downs of starting a business.
That's why it's so important to find mum friends. Those people who know exactly what you're going through and are experiencing exactly the same things at exactly the same time. And, although you might not cry or break down with them (in the beginning), you can sit there and whack your boobs out in public, knowing that they don't care one bit. You can text them at 3am. You can send them pictures of poo-up-the-back disasters. They make life less lonely, less what-the-hell-has-just-happened-to-our-lives scary and less strange. Eventually, non-baby topics come up, and a fully fledged adult friendship emerges. One that started as a forced one but is now one of my favourites. And, as for Sophie's daughter Taggie and how much I love her? Well, that's one for another blog post...