Having children is actually good for a woman’s social life, a report has revealed. A study found joining ‘the new mum club’ on average boosts a woman’s circle of friends by nine, all of whom live nearby and have also just given birth.
The figures show that before the pitter-patter of tiny feet, women have a circle of 13 friends on average – but that grows to 22 in the year after the baby’s birth.
The research also revealed strong bonds are created almost instantly amid exchanges of views, hints and tips on subjects such as childcare plans, illness and how to get baby sleeping through the night.
The study, by Natures Purest, found that 53% of new mums felt it was surprisingly easy to make friends after having a baby, and 70% of those said it was because they had so much ‘in common’.
A spokeswoman for Natures Purest, the brand of organic cotton baby clothes, toys and bedding which commissioned the study, said:
“There is a misconception in society that starting a family will mean you are stuck indoors but it’s simply not true.
“Our research shows the opposite – becoming a mum can do wonders for your social life as there are so many groups and activities to become involved with.
“Having a baby is a life-changing experience, especially if you are a first time mum, so it’s important to have friends in a similar position.
“You need people who can understand what you’re going through and can offer both emotional and practical support – whether you want a shoulder to cry on, a friend to offload on, or just reassurance that you are doing things right.
“Many women whose friendships evolved when their children were young go on to keep the same group of friends throughout their life and as a consequence the youngsters form strong bonds too.”
The study also found 16% of those who took part in the poll said they had a better social life after having children as they had so much more free time to meet up with people.
Nearly half of new mums made friends with other women at a mother and toddler group, 22% struck up friendships in antenatal classes and a fifth met people through other friends.
More than half of the 2,000 mums polled said it was easier to bond with other women once you became a mother.
Sharing the experience of birth is by far the most popular topic of conversation for new mums – 73% would happily regale new friends with stories about their labour.
Four in ten said they felt more comfortable sharing intimate and personal information with their mum chums who they had only recently met.
Almost four out of ten said they have discussed their post baby sex-life with relatively new buddies.
And nearly 80% have poured their heart out about their concerns of being good mum and the guilt over whether to go back to work after being on maternity leave.
One in five have also discussed the baby blues with their mum pals, while other topics for discussion were breast feeding, sleepless nights, nappies and baby ailments.
One in three said they were worried about boring their old friends with constant baby talk – part of the reason why new friendships are formed with other women who are going through the same experience.
The research also found that once a child reaches school age a mum’s circle of friends increases by another five people.
Two thirds of those polled said they think it’s very important to get on with the parents of their kids’ school friends, while a third said it helped reassure them when their children visited friends’ houses for tea.
And a protective 34% said they wanted to be aware of the types of families they child was getting to know.
Nearly a third of those who completed the survey said their best friends were actually the ones they met through their children.