I went to a council run baby group. I thought it might be nice to meet other new Mums. I was a bit nervous about going - just because it was a new group of people, and also because I'd spent such a long time actively avoiding normal, fertile women that I felt a bit like I was going to be out of place.
The first time I went was a little bit awkward, but I got chatting to someone else who was fairly new, and was really nice.
The next couple of times, she wasn't there, and it was a bit rum. It soon became apparent that all the other mums went for lunch with each other a couple of times a week after another parent group, and I felt a bit like the unpopular girl at school because no-one had said anything to me about it.
But, I told myself I was being really stupid, and that I shouldn't wait to be invited to things. Some of them had toddlers as well as babies and seemed to have been going to these groups for quite a long time, and were maybe just in a more comfortable groove with the whole parenting group thing and had forgotten than it was nice to make friends as a new parent.
So, after one of them had a long and loud conversation with how to promote the other parent group and how she was now running it, I politely asked her who the group was for and where it met
She was really evasive about who could come to the group, to the point that one of the health professionals who drop in to answer questions at the baby group must have realised what was going on and chipped in and said "Oh, that parent and child group? It's for everyone."
And then the group leader woman started telling everyone about how she had three kids and needed a place to store her personal birthing pool. And there was a lively conversation about how it was best to buy vastly expensive designer clothes for your baby so the babygros didn't get misshapen in the wash.
Uncharacteristically, I felt a bit bad about the whole thing. Like I was never going to fit in at any group, and that I was somehow a bad mother for kitting out DS in stuff from Tesco (I know, I know. I must have been having a bit of a low day - this sort of thing has never bothered me previously). And I didn't understand why the woman had been so obviously unwelcoming about the other parent group.
Until I bumped into one of my neighbours, who was telling me that he hated taking his toddler-age daughter to one of the groups because, when we went, it was all chat about breastfeeding and giving birth. And, of course, it transpired that this was the same parent group that I'd tried to find out about. And that his wife had been to the same group I had, but found them all very cliquey and hard to get on with.
So, it seems like Ive unfortunately run into bunch of women who have no outlet but to try and dominate baby and toddler groups, where they can sit around and stealth boast about how much money their families have, and try and exclude everyone not in their gang. How pathetic. I've stopped going to the original group, I think I've had a lucky escape with the second!