Thursday, 25 May 2017


So this is another catch up post about the 5 similar baby quilts I've made over the past 18 months.  They all follow Jen B star quilt tutorial downsized but were made in colours to match the recipients nurseries. But taking the photos and uploading them got me thinking about the babies and their very special Mummies that I made them for so that's what I've written about.

Jos' Quilt

Ever since I left university with an on tap supply of similar people who were available for drinks or a chat at a moment's notice, I wondered how adults made new friends.  I wasn't friendless but I didn't find it easy to make new friends and once I moved to Bath I missed my old school and university friends who no longer lived locally.  Gradually over the years I made new friends at work and I made online and real life friends who shared my crafting interests but that was about it.  When I became pregnant I wondered how on earth I would make friends to spend my maternity leave with.  Everyone said that when you had children it was easy to make friends but the idea of walking into a baby group on my own terrified me.  

My sister in law swore by her NCT friendship group and all but signed me up herself.  For those who aren't familiar with NCT its Natural Childbirth Trust who run ante natal classes in small groups for parents to be.  There is obviously a lot of focus on natural childbirth and after just one session I came away convinced I would just breathe this baby out.  (For the record I didn't breathe either baby out and took all the drugs and interventions offered!)  But most people go along pretending they are desperately interested in learning about it all whereas in reality they just want to meet another gang of parents who just might want to be friends with them.

Sally's Quilt
I also signed up to pregnancy yoga (again on the pretence of learning breathing techniques but in reality so that I could snooze for half an hour in the relaxation session at the end).  After a few weeks of talking to the same person each week we made a throw away comment about swapping numbers the following week and meeting for a coffee.  I was so excited and rang my sister in law to say I had finally made a friend.  And then the next week she didn't come to class and I joked to my husband that I had scared her off.  And then the next week she didn't come either and I honestly felt like crying.  At the end of the class the yoga teacher approached me to explain she hadn't been able to come for a few weeks but had asked her to pass on my number.  Hurrah- she didn't think I was a crazed stalker new Mum (or at least she didn't then!).  Over the next couple of months with a couple other yoga Mums we had coffee and dinner and pizza and more coffee and cake so by the time our babies arrived I knew I had a group of great women to keep me company for my year off.   Between the two groups there were 5 of us and in the summer after we had our babies we did Mum & Baby yoga (45 mins yoga, 2.5 hrs in the nearest coffee shop afterwards) and cemented our little friendship group.

Four and a half years later and these wonderful women are still my Mum Gang.  Our first year of maternity leave was spent at baby sensory, swimming, baby massage, baby cinema, coffee shops and play dates at each other's houses.  The babies every cough, wave, spot, developmental milestone and coo was admired in minute detail.  Weaning success and lows, lack of sleep, teething cures, lack of sleep , feeding dramas and lack of sleep were all mulled over and analysed.  Slowly we all returned to work after a year and I wondered if we would all lose touch.  But by then we had more than our babies in common - though all different we had enough common ground that we were now friends because we liked each other enough and not just because we had babies the same age!

Thomas' Quilt
We've been through many house moves, job changes, a fabulous hen weekend and wedding and many many many cups of coffee, slices of cake and glasses of wine together.  And then the impending arrival of second babies started to be announced.  Somehow we managed to time most of these babies into a relatively small window meaning a second year of maternity leave off together. But oh my how different it was with the seconds.  No whiling away the hours at coffee shops and baby cinema this time round.  No instead, the babies were strapped into slings while we rang after escaping toddlers at the park or forest school.  Coffees were drank in take away cups while lobbing malt loaf and cheerios at hungry toddlers.  Conversations were frequently interspersed with requests for drinks, snacks or the toilet.  But it didn't seem to matter.  Our second babies just fitted in in a slightly haphazard, neglected way (speaking for myself anyway who has spent the last 2 weeks moaning about Thomas' lack of sleep but failed to notice he had actually cut 2 molar teeth.......)  But I thought it would be nice if each of the "neglected Team B babies" at least had their own special quilt.

Sophie's Quilt

In the past 8 months, despite having busy family lives of their own, these wonderful women have been my rocks.  From practical help with childcare and food, to arranging lovely treats like afternoon tea and spa visits and magazines to read, to always being at the end of the phone or text I literally could not have got through it all without them.  Or at least it wouldn't have been so much fun!  They also just allow me to still be me - we still mostly talk about everyday life, our children, our work or moan about our husbands or mothers in law.  We still sit scoffing cake while pretending to watch our children in their gym class where everything smells like feet.  We still squeeze in nights for dinner at each others houses where there are no children to interrupt us.  And very occasionally we venture "out out". We still all have good days as mums and we still all have bad days as mums. But we know that there is someone else going through it too.

I'm so lucky to have found my Mum Gang and I was so pleased to be able to make each of them a special quilt for their second babies.  In September our oldest all start school and they are all going to different schools.  But this time I'm not worried about losing touch - I know our friendship will last.  And anyway you can be sure I'm going to continue making them all cake on a regular basis to hang onto them!!!

Genevieve's Quilt

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