It’s been a while between posts – I’ve been busy researching this one though, truly.
Having packed up our house and moved to Mexico City with our 8 month old, it took a while to get over the jet-lag and work out what suitcase had what.
Then came the apartment hunt, the race for furniture, and adapting to whole new (non)sleep habits of an active baby.
Then came the loneliness, the isolation, the frustration. I was struggling.
Having always been an independent, active, ‘fixer’, during this whole process I felt completely powerless.
Prices went north as soon as anyone saw my foreign face or heard my broken spanish, and the cheapest markets were not safe places for me to go.
At times like these at home I’d race off for a coffee with a mum from my group to talk it over with cake and a stroll by the beach. But they were a long way away, and in a whole other time-zone when I most needed to talk.
What’s more, in a society where so many women still without some very basic rights, I also felt like I couldn’t complain – I had it so much better than most here. Just-be-grateful.
Sitting at home mulling it all over. And over. This wasn’t me.
When our internet finally got connected I went crazy trying to find some support.
Here’s what I found – I hope it’s helpful to anyone else out there in the same situation:
La Liga de La Leche (Equivalent of Australian Breastfeeding Association for fellow Aussies). Monthly meet-ups for breastfeeding and expectant mums. Absolute gold! I met some beautiful Mexican (and some foreign) mums with similar problems to me. I got to feel that support that comes in a group of mothers. The facilitators have seen and heard it all before; it’s a real comfort. The mums there got me more connected. My new Mexican mum friends told me about home-deliery grocery shopping services. They insisted I get some help with the housework, told me how much to pay and where to find it. I learnt about like-new secondhand baby-gear stores…and best of all? – we laughed. About husbands, mothers-in-law, our bodies, our babies, the expectations we put on ourselves, and those that society does. It felt good.
On Meetup.com I found exercise groups, book-clubs and more mothers groups; on Internations I found afternoon coffee and breakfast clubs with like-minded people. Through contacts I heard about Facebook groups that focussed on mothering as expats, or where you could buy or sell secondhand gear.
Finally connected with support, once more with purpose, I felt myself again. I now had people I could call on those days I just needed to get out for a stroll (even if it wasn’t going to be by the beach this time), to debrief to; fellow expats to tell me where to find multigrain bread and red lentils; and locals just to explain stuff to me.
If you’re setting up in a new city, try searching a few key words in Facebook groups including the city/town name; for mums, find La Liga de La Leche or it’s equivalent; and scroll Meetups for a group that matches a non-baby hobby of yours – like books and wine!