The mother of all get-togethers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 April, 2013, 10:53am

I gave birth to my first baby in Hong Kong at the age of 25, which - given the average here - made me practically a teen mother. And although my husband and I remain among the youngest parents in our children's circle, I don't think we have ever had our age used against us.

So while I was busy getting pregnant and giving birth most of my friends were still building careers, moving from country to country and enjoying nights out past midnight and whole Sundays in bed.

For several years, every time we met for dinner or drinks, I was either pregnant, breastfeeding or mindful my helper would be going on holiday, leaving us with three little ones and a banging, wine-induced headache. I usually stuck to a soft drink and an early ferry home because I was racing to get back to my little ones snuggled up in their beds.

But six years on, things have changed. Many of my friends are settling down, getting married and having children.

This is great for so many reasons. First, I am no longer the only mummy around, or the token pregnant friend, or the token friend with a baby; I am instead the one that has been there, done that, and got the sick-stained T-shirts, which makes me a fountain of knowledge and experience. Not that I want to be sanctimonious (I've had three caesarean sections and breastfed three children, and not had one child sleep through the night before their first birthday), but it's nice to have inside knowledge and to be able to share it with a newbie.

Sleep now, I tell my newly pregnant friends, because you will won't get uninterrupted, deep, long sleep like that for a while. I know you can't bank sleep and more now isn't going to help during those first few sleep-deprived months. But at least you will have the memories of what good sleep felt like.

It is also nice to look forward to dinners as the non-pregnant member of the party, and choose something to wear from my entire wardrobe, not just the maternity section. And as long as the next day isn't a Sunday, I get to drink wine! To be fair, since my children were born I haven't drunk much and only when out with old friends. Still, it is nice to enjoy it with everyone else.

But it's also good to have friends to plan play dates with. Much of our social life revolves around our children's friends. But now my own friends are having babies, maybe our social events can include them, too. Even without the wine.

It is great to think that, as friends, we share another bond. As teens we were united by a love for flared jeans and Friday afternoons spent deciding how to convince bar managers in Tsim Sha Tsui to let us in. As we hit our 20s our lives went separate ways. But now we are united over morning sickness, prenatal vitamins, delivery methods and raising our kids.

Rebecca Tomasis, a mother of three, was co-winner of the first Proverse Prize for unpublished writers