Article by Alasdair Hooper: Moving to a brand new place can be particularly daunting, but it’s even harder when you are a new mum.
Rachael Watkins found herself in this position when she moved from London to Essex in May last year - but thanks to an app she says her life has completely changed. She said;
"I am originally from Bristol, I moved to London for work and then I met my partner who is from Essex. I left behind some really good friends from Bristol."
Rachael moved from London to Billericay with her partner while she was pregnant, and just a few months away from going on maternity leave. For the 28-year-old, who works as a compliance officer in an investment company, the change felt drastic.
From speaking to people virtually non-stop during her day job she soon became worried that, in a new town and without a job to go to regularly, she would become incredibly lonely.
"While I was pregnant we had a lot of conversations about how I needed to get out of the house and make an effort to speak to strangers. It was a big difference for me because I am used to speaking to about 20 to 30 people a day – all day long. It’s a big change to being at home with a little baby who doesn’t react to me. My partner was the same, his biggest worry was that I would be sat indoors and completely lost. One of my friends at work heard about Mush and suggested I go on the app."
What is Mush app?
Mush is an app that instantly makes you part of your local mum community.
It was created by Sarah Hesz and Katie Massie-Taylor after the pair bonded over the nightmare of "two under two." They wanted an easy and fun way to find local mum friends, with similar interests, and Mush – dubbed the Tinder for mothers – was born.
"Mush is by mums, for mums. We know that at times it’s brilliant and at times it’s tough. We also know that the whole thing is better when we do it together."
Mush was founded by Katie Massie-Taylor and Sarah Hesz, who had met on a cold rainy morning in south-west London. The two of them began chatting in a playground with their nearly-two-year-olds, just so that they could get out of the house, and they both had two-week-old babies strapped to their chests.
The two of them were simply looking for friendship and developed Mush – an app that operates like Tinder for mothers.
Users are able to meet and chat with other mums in their area as well as arranging meet-ups and get-togethers. When searching for friends you can also see their interests allowing you to mix with mums who are going through the exact same thing as you.
Visit the Mush App website to download: https://letsmush.com/
For Rachael, facing loneliness while pregnant was no longer something to worry about as the app soon allowed her to mix with like-minded mums.
Whether it is simply conversing through the app, or meeting in person, that social interaction has proved invaluable. She added;
"I honestly think it has changed my life, I have friends in the area and people to call on for everything. Billericay is very much a commuter town, with a lot of London girls that commute, so we have very similar interests. The first meet up that I did I sent an open invitation on the app. At that time there were about 17 mums in the Billericay group – they originally had a group for Basildon but not Billericay – and five people came. Now there are about 56 members."
Not only has meeting up helped socially, it has also allowed Rachael to network with people – one happened to be the head of marketing at the company she works for.
However, when the 28-year-old gave birth to baby Sophia – who is now three months old – the app and conversation proved useful once again.
It eased a number of concerns with being a first time mother and also gave her another port of call to discuss other complications. She explained;
"I had a really rubbish postnatal recovery and I ended up speaking to a lady from Chelmsford who was also having a rubbish postnatal recovery. We both found ourselves at the doctors and I got diagnosed with a postnatal infection and had to be prescribed antibiotics. That support was fab. It’s all well and good telling my partner but you also want someone to relate to. For a lot of people they use the app because they don’t feel comfortable in walking up to someone in a park saying ‘hi you have a baby, I have a baby, let’s be best friends’. It makes it a lot easier and then the only hurdle with the app is the jump between virtual reality and real life."
Article by Alasdair Hooper, EssexLive