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Friends are like a second family

Elodie Hersant is originally from Paris and is married to Noureddine Boudhar, who is from Morocco. They live in Finglas and have two daughters Selma (6) and Yasmine (two and a half, pictured left with Elodie).

She moved to Dublin with the aim of spending a year here learning English, but she fell in love both with the country and her husband, so decided to stay.

"I moved to Ireland in 1998. It was meant to be for a year, to improve my English. French people love the Irish and I did find them so nice and welcoming. When I arrived here I fell in love with the country and also my husband – so I stayed. And it's now 15 years later.

"I had my first daughter in 2007. I wanted to get pregnant so I knew I would have my baby here, away from my family. But that didn't stop me. Of course, it's impossible to have all your family members at the time of birth but I knew that my mum would come over so that was good enough for me. France is not that far so it's quite easy to visit.

"She stayed with me for over a month because I wasn't able to drive. But then I can say that for the first year or 15 months, I felt lonely as I didn't know anybody in my area. But then I started to meet mums at the park, who gave me lots of information on playgroups and activities.

"When I had my second daughter, I found some good support through a local parenting group – meeting with other mums, sharing experiences and making good friends. I also have great support from friends at my Waterbabies group, where I bring my daughter swimming every week.

Advice

"I do miss my family but we try to go back as much as possible and they come to visit us sometimes.

"I do not have a mum or sister to babysit the girls and we do manage well – but the close friends I have now here are like my second family and I can ask them for help if I ever need it, which is great.

"The advice that I would give to new mums who do not have the support from their family would be to try to meet other mothers and socialise, especially with a first baby. This not only helps with questions you may have, it gives you a social life and it's great for the kids to mix with other children."


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