Baby Friends are Forever

I believe that the friends you make when you're pregnant with your first child, are often friends for life, especially when everyone is having their first babies.

When I was pregnant with Alex, I met a group of wonderful women about three months into my new life in Doha. None of them, of course, were locals since many of Qataris kept to themselves. These ladies were from Canada, Australia, England, Scotland and the USA. We met every week at different people's houses for coffee and company for what we called the 'Itsy Bitsy Baby group'.

My two years in Qatar were hard. I was pregnant for 18 of those months in heat that you cannot even believe. I would walk out my front door and be either be suffocated by humidity + 120 degree heat, sand or the scent of oil coming off the sea. The city reeked of exhaust every day and without many places to walk safely (due to lack of sidewalk and reckless driving) we were often confined to one stretch along the water (which mind you, reeked of oil) or each other's compounds. Now it is possible the city didn't smell as much as I seem to remember, but I was pregnant for 18 months of it so my sense of smell might have been a bit more sensitive. I digress.

My point in this is that even in this wasteland of a city (the only real city in the country) I managed to find an amazing group of women.

These new moms taught me valuable lessons like:
--How to breastfeed at the local Starbucks, even with men in thobes (aka dishdashes) right next to us.
--How not to stress about what solid food your child eats as a baby. In place where limited jarred baby food is available, you make most of it and move on from there.
--A little sand in your food never hurt anyone.
--Trial and error is really the key to raising kids. No child is the same.
--You need to understand and research vaccines, medications and what diagnosis your doctors give you.
--Taking your four-month old swimming may be the only way for everyone to stay sane.
--Babies can stand the heat, even over 100 degrees.
--The American way is most certainly not the only way and sometimes may not be the best way.

In a phone conversation with my friend Nicole a few weeks back, we threw around the idea of a reunion in London, where she is currently living with her three boys. The other people are scattered now in Malaysia, Vietnam, Canada, Australia, Qatar and the US. We figured London was the most central location. So talk has begun of a reunion of our Itsy Bitsy Baby Group. Since I last saw them all, each one has had either one or even two more babies. (Life overseas can be great for having babies.)

I can't wait to see them all again. The question is: should I drag my kids along with me?


Stimey said...

Dude, totally leave your kids at home.

I agree about the first moms you know. I was part of a 12-woman group (we called ourselves the "bestevermomsgroup") who all had our first babies within two months of each other. I haven't seen them since my oldest was 1 1/2, but I still email and still love hearing about them. I'm hoping to see them when I'm out west for BlogHer.

Cara Fox said...

Agree - my mom friends are the best friends I've made since college. My first group (the Gymboree moms) meets less frequently than we used to but re-connects every year during birthday party season. My second group (MOMS Club) have become like sisters to me - I see them daily. Sometimes multiple times a day. It's like being back in the dorm!

Tooles in Virginia said...

My two boys (21 months apart) were born in Germany, and I agree with your statement that the "American way is not the only way" when it comes to haivng/rearing children. The cold was harsh and the snow was always several inches thick, but German mothers didn't let that stop them for taking their babies out for a stroll. I thought it was so weird and then found myself doing it about 18 months later with my first born son! (I saw your blog at dcmommies.com! You have done a great job.)