When Natalie Bulgar moved from the UK to rural Queensland with her husband, the pair were fulfilling dreams of an idyllic life in a warmer climate on the other side of the world.
Finding her tribe
But when the couple started a family, they quickly realised that as beautiful as their new life was it also felt increasingly isolated with a young baby.
Not totally sold on her (possibly excellent) local community’s bingo nights as the optimal source of parenting support, Natalie turned to Facebook looking for a fix.
“I put a post up saying ‘hi, I’ve been in the area now for about six months and I’m struggling to meet friends or find people I have things in common with. I’ve just become a first time parent. I’d really love to meet people who might have similarities to me,” Natalie recalls.
She was quickly flooded with suggestions that she connect to one particular group – Mama Tribe – which other mums described as “fantastic”.
“It’s a relatively new movement,” Natalie explains. “It’s an online community of women who are mums or becoming mums”
“At that time, joining a mums’ group was really quite daunting, because it was so far from any sort of community that I had belonged to before,” she admits. “But I thought ‘what’s the harm?’ So I joined my tribe and I met the most fantastic women from the word go … at the very first meeting I went to.”
Read more stories about new parents and friendship:
- Study suggests mums’ friendships benefit babies for the rest of their lives
- Genius group supports dads who are keen to improve their parenting skills
- 7 reasons to go out for a mums’ night out – even when you can’t be bothered
New kid on the block
Describing her feelings ahead of that first mother’s group, Natalie says she ran the gamut of emotions.
“I sat in my car for about 15 minutes,” she explains, noting that she was really worried that she would not have anything in common with the mums inside. But she took a deep breath and did it anyway. What happened next was that the women welcomed her with open arms.
“I sat down next to this lovely lady who turned out to be English too,” a relieved Natalie remembers.
“The lady on the other side of me had been born in England, even though she’d spent most of her adult life in Australia. So I instantly had a connection, a way to make conversation flow. I’ve been friends with these women ever since.”
Of finding this group of local, like-mined women, Natalie said it made her feel much better about her own parenting struggles.
“It was fantastic to just feel that you belong somewhere and that you’re not the first person in your situation,” she confirms.
Those very early days of motherhood can be so hard, especially when your family are living far away. It’s hard to over-state the importance of having other women within reach, women who are also coming to terms with the challenges new parenthood can bring.
While chatting via Facebook or Instagram – as Natalie originally did – is valuable, meeting in real life provides a different and often deeper kind of connection.
“It’s that social need, that social desire that most of us have that we need to fulfil,” Natalie explains. “That sense of belonging. That sense of having something in common with someone. It was massively important to me.”
So just how many new friends could mums expect to make at a meet-up like the one Natalie went to?
“In my local Mama Tribe group, we have hundreds and hundreds of members,” Natalie explains.
If that sounds huge and a little daunting, think again. Women tap into Mama Tribe in all kinds of different ways, with the baseline beliefs that ‘it takes a village’ and women supporting other women is key.
Want to meet like-minded mama friends? Join the tribe to access local meet-ups and come along to a Mama Tribe pop-up party! With grazing platters and wine on arrival, you can instantly make new friends with other mums like you, and enjoy mini massages, make-up touch-ups as well as inspiring guest speakers.