Michelle Langford was one of 12 mothers invited to join a morning tea for mothers with babies born at Glengarry Private Hospital in July 2003.
“July 24, 2003, was one of the happiest days of my life,” she said.
“Little did I know how important it would be – the birth of my first child but also the start of many wonderful shared friendships.
“When I was invited to attend the Glengarry hospital morning tea to catch up with all the mums who had babies born in the month of July, I was both nervous and excited.
“I had no friends with children living in Perth, nor did I have a lot of family support.”
The Greenwood resident said after a talk by the midwives and check by the lactation consultant, a group of mothers organised a regular catch-up in less formal settings, such as their homes.
“For 12 of us, Friday seemed like a great day and Rosie volunteered to have the first catch-up at her house in Heathridge,” she said.
“Twelve-and-a-half years later the 12 families have all become very close, sharing annual combined birthday parties, Christmas gatherings, celebrating special occasions, movies and even holidays away together.”
Mrs Langford said the families had even been playing indoor volleyball together for more than 10 years.
“Even more special than the social contact has been the emotional support we have given each other,” she said.
“These girls have all become like sisters to me, supporting me through a miscarriage, three years of IVF and personal difficulties along the way; I would never have coped without their love and support.
“We are so thankful that we took the step of attending the invitation to morning tea.
“Twelve families and we now have 25 children – we are like a big Glengarry family.”
Rosanne Jacobs said she was initially reluctant to get involved in a mothers group as her impression of them had been women competing for “baby firsts” and bragging.
“Instead, I found a group of like-minded women who offered each other support and I discovered that the issues and problems I faced were the same for them too,” the Mullaloo resident said.
“It helped alleviate any feelings of helplessness or isolation that often face first-time mothers.
“I looked forward to Fridays as I knew it was my day to relax.
“Years later we are still in contact, the kids still know each other, the mothers still socialise.
“Although some may have drifted away from regular social contact with the group, we still hold positive and happy memories of all our time together.”
Ashby resident Rachel Sinclair said she had to move to Sydney two weeks after the first morning tea, but kept in contact with Mrs Langford.
“I moved back to Perth six months later where I fitted in and picked up with all the mums and kids; they welcomed me back with open arms,” she said.
“Fridays became a great support to me as Aiden was diagnosed with anaphylaxis at 10 months of age.