Jude Grant from Durham NCT branch tells us about 18 great years of friendship for her group and the highs and lows they’ve been through together
My name is Jude and I had my first baby, Jai, in autumn 1999. I’d seen an advert for NCT and felt it would be right for us as we wanted to go to a birth and parenting class to meet other families in the same situation.
I met three other mums at our local NCT group, Pam, Jackie and Ali. We all had our second children at a similar time and they became friends over the years too. We’re all working mums and we live in the four corners of County Durham but we’ve managed to keep in touch.
It became clear we all got along well and held similar views about lots of things in life
We met for the first time at a church hall in Durham city.
Everyone was nervous at first and then quickly we began to chat about our common experiences, in particular how nervous we were about childbirth and the prospect of becoming parents!
At first I thought that everyone seemed more “together” and organised than us.
But it soon became clear that we all had the same worries regardless of what we did for jobs or how old we were.
At our last class we exchanged phone numbers and agreed a date to get together at Jackie’s house. This was so memorable as we met each other’s babies for the first time and, being just before Christmas, it was a great celebration of our new roles as parents.
After that we met up regularly whilst on maternity leave, supporting each other to navigate our new roles as mothers.
When the babies were about six months old my mum and her friend babysat so we could all go out together for a child-free meal. On arriving back we marvelled at how amazing they both were at managing to get all the babies to sleep!
We’ve had Halloween parties, birthday parties, camping trips and lots of outings.
And we started a yearly Christmas tradition where we met at a local forest for a candle-lit trail to the children’s very own grotto, which was a magical experience for both them and us parents.
Father Christmas had his naughty and nice book with their names in and he knew so much about them.
One year it began to snow and we sledged down the hill to get to the grotto. Before we knew it there was several inches on the ground and we only just managed to get out with the children in the back of a trailer.
The children thought it was a terrific adventure but the journey home in the snow that year was particularly memorable for all of us parents!
We didn’t realise how much parenthood would change our lives
To this day we still laugh at how shocked we all looked at our very first meet up.
We all remember being so tired and how packed Jackie’s house was with the vast amounts of equipment we all brought with us.
The early days were hard with the lack of sleep and trying to make sure you do everything “right”.
Our friendships have meant a lot over the years. We’ve been through lots together – breastfeeding, the terrible twos, having a second child, starting school, GCSEs and learning to drive.
Some of our children have had special learning or support needs and some have found school difficult in different ways.
And, now they’re all reaching 18, they’re either working or moving away to study.
We’ve been through life-changing events and have been there for each other
Together we’ve also been through things like divorce, redundancy, change of jobs, moving abroad and dealing with elderly parent issues, to name a few.
We may not have time to meet up as regularly as we’d like, but we can rely on each other when we need to.
We never stop chatting when we do meet and always enjoy ourselves. The highs have always been when we mark another birthday together and see how well all the children are doing.
With lots of shared interests and adventures, they really enjoy meeting up.
It was lovely to see them all laughing and getting along so well at their 18th birthday celebrations. They all feel like there’s a special bond.
For us NCT brought our families together and gave us so much more than birth or parenting classes.
We were lucky as we have friends for life.
We hope our children stay friends too and look forward to celebrating many more life events together – chatting over lunch and one day introducing our grandchildren to the group!
Share your story…
We’d love to hear about your NCT group and your friendships. Email us – email@example.com.
It sounds like a cliché, but treasure every minute.
We used to laugh about getting the children all together for their 18th and it has crept up on us quicker than we thought.
Don’t feel guilty about finding time for yourself – you will be a better parent for it.
NCT has been supporting parents over the last 60 years and we will continue to do this for many more decades to come.
For information about our vision and what we hope to achieve, click here
For information about local branch events and activities for you and baby, click here
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