“One of the happiest times in your life, can also be the loneliest”
Mama Tribe was created in May 2017 by two friends Nikki McCahon and Haley Finlayson who both experienced crippling loneliness and isolation after the birth of their two children. Both Nikki and Haley were separated from friends and family, and struggled to connect with local mums in their area. They created Mama Tribe and the #nomumleftbehind movement to connect local mums and ensure that no mum felt lonely, isolated or without support.
In less than five months Mama Tribe has spread to over 50 locations, over 20,000 mums have joined, almost 100 mums have become volunteer location Ambassadors, 1000s of mum meet ups have been held and Mama Tribe has been featured on national TV, print and radio.
For more information on Mama Tribe download the Mama Tribe Info Pack and read Nikki and Haley’s stories.
I found mum life pretty lonely and isolating, particularly as a new mum.
I had no friends and family nearby and struggled to meet other mums in my local area. There were days where the only adult interaction I had was talking to the postman or the service station attendant. I went from having a busy social and work life, being surrounded by people everyday, to suddenly feeling like I was by myself – day in, day out. One of the happiest times in your life, can also be the loneliest.
For a long time, I felt like I was the only one who had this problem – and I didn’t talk about it. 10 months after my son was born, Haley had her daughter and suddenly found herself in the same situation and opened up to me. After many chats about the loneliness and isolation we felt, we decided to create Mama Tribe. It was hard putting yourself out there and saying ‘I feel lonely’ – but I hoped that my honesty would help me and hopefully, help other mums that might be feeling that way too.
When we created Mama Tribe I thought that we might find some local mums to hang out with – I never could have anticipated that so many mums were feeling the same way as I was. Watching Mama Tribe grow from just Haley and I to over 20,000 mums and 50 locations in five months has been nothing short of incredible.
Seeing mums reach out for support and being surrounded by it instantly, seeing friendships form and hearing mums share their experiences of using Mama Tribe gives me goosebumps. Mama Tribe is exactly what I wish I had access to as a new mum feeling lonely. I am so incredibly proud of the community spirit of the tribe and the impact that it is having for mums who need it.
When I first became a mum I was surrounded by the support of friends and family who flew in from overseas. My husband was also lucky enough to take 2 weeks off to help us all settle in as a family.
The first 4 months flew by and mostly it was hunky dory. Just after 4 months however, I started to feel an overwhelming sense of loneliness and isolation – was this my life now?
My baby was fairly unsettled a lot of the time which made outings very stressful. I didn’t have anyone to come with me for support and after a handful of melt downs (both of us!) I decided it was all a bit hard and we were better off staying home most of the time. Of course this made the loneliness even worse, but at least the melt downs didn’t seem to happen so much at home.
Around this time Nikki and I started Mama Tribe, and to be honest I was still in the zone of wanting to stay at home a lot! Luckily though, I was inspired to go out and meet some local mama’s and things started to change. I met a lovely mama with a son just a little older than Ava, and she shared a similar experience to me. She “got it” and when you’re a new mum, someone who “gets it” with you is like gold! I took it slow and steady, attending a meet up here and there and over the next few months my confidence grew. My calendar is now packed full of Mama Tribe meet ups, ranging from play gyms to picnics to mama wine nights. I am always looking at my week ahead and seeing where I can squeeze another meet up in, as they really help me in the day to day mum life.
Nikki and I continued our daily phone chats, which were and still are a god send. I think it’s ideal if you can have phone support from a bestie and also face to face support from other mums when you need it. I feel very lucky to have so much support now.
My hope is that other mums in Mama Tribe will feel ok in reaching out, going to a meet up or even creating their own. It can be a big step (trust me I know!) but once you are in the swing of things it’s so much fun and the support is invaluable. If you’re reading this now, and looking for a sign to possibly attend your first meet up – then THIS IS IT!! Mama Tribe is full of supportive and amazing mama’s, so don’t be afraid to reach out.