|Liz, me, Laura, Kathleen, Kathryn, last year on Mother's Day. Aren't they all so gorgeous?|
These days, late-night conversations tucked in bed with my husband are likely to start like this:
Me: "Tell me it's gonna be okay when we have this baby."
Husband: "Honey, it's gonna be okay."
What's great is he truly, genuinely means it. One of the most amazing things about my husband is his unwavering faith (despite, I would say, plenty of evidence to the contrary) in my abilities as a mother. He is grounded and solid and his confidence in me gives me such strength and comfort.
Last night, he went on to list a few things that would be different this time around from when Silas was a newborn, and topping that list is you didn't have your mama tribe when Silas was born.
|Almost a year ago: Meghan, Aiden, Lucy, Silas, Jonah (omg those thighs!)|
|Silas, Lucy, Meghan, Jonah (Aiden missing from photo) recently at our favorite coffeeshop hangout.|
I had met most of them before. Kathryn and Laura had been Prenatal students of mine around the same time the previous year, while I was in the early months of pregnancy myself. Kathleen was one of my first students once I returned to teaching after Silas' birth, joining us for just a few weeks right at the end of her pregnancy. I met Liz when MDO started. We were all first-time moms, our babes all born within a year of each other. Two of us are grad students and professors; one of us works from home; two of us are full-time moms. Each afternoon we would scoop up our babes just before 3pm and convene to nurse them on the oversize couches in the church's foyer. Not many things will cause women to bond faster than breastfeeding together.
Soon we were meeting for coffees after school, on Friday mornings when there was no MDO. There were some brief, glorious months before the kids were all mobile when we would bring our fellas along and all gather for happy hour on Friday afternoons. We talked about everything. We listened to complaints about nursing and eating and sleeping. We offered support through earaches and toothaches and late-night fevers. Always offering an ear to hear, a shoulder to lean on, an extra pair of arms to hold each other's babies when one of us just had enough. Our kiddos are growing up together, with a tribe of aunties watching over them. We share coffee and beers and donuts and tacos and tears and laughter. And a not-entirely-healthy obsession with purses.
|On the last day of MDO last spring.|
|Partial tribe: me, Kathleen, Kathryn, this past Saturday.|
I don't know what I would do without these women in my life. Their presence is vital to my sanity. And I know that having them around is going to make life with this new baby a whole lot better. Since I am the first one to have a second child, and several of them aren't going to try for more, what I have are four aunties who are very eager to dote on this little one! And don't you know it, they gifted me with my coveted diaper bag, making me feel even more together, ready and excited for this baby to come. (Oh man, this thing is amazing.)
I am lucky that in my work as a Prenatal yoga teacher, I am encountering new moms all the time. I was lucky that circumstances brought the five of us together around MDO. I am pleased beyond measure that a (closed) Facebook group that I started for local mamas, first with mostly just my own students, has bloomed and blossomed over two years to have over 500 members, among which many, many mamas have found their tribe.
Maybe you are lucky, and have established mama friends already who will hold your hand along the way. But maybe you're the first one of your circle to have a baby, or you've recently moved to a new area. Yes, your childless and faraway friends will be of immense value to you in this time of transition. And your husband may be a wonderfully supportive and involved daddy. But still, allow me to strongly recommend you seek out mama friends in your community. There is simply no substitute for a mama tribe you can go out to the coffeeshop or park with. Facebook is a good place to start, to see if there are groups in your community. Your local La Leche League chapter is another excellent way to meet mamas. (And you don't have to wait until your baby is born! In fact, I encourage you to go and bring your questions while you are still pregnant.) And may I recommend you seek out a Prenatal Yoga class in your community? Also, please check out this great post on Happiest Mom about making mom friends. You might have to put yourself out there, to make an effort, to be vulnerable, which, I grant you, is difficult when so much in life with a newborn is new and raw. But your efforts will be rewarded hundredfold once you find those women to support and love you, to let you know that, though you may feel otherwise some days, you are strong and beautiful and a good mama to your children.
May I propose a toast? To all of you beautiful, strong, competent mamas out there. But, most especially, to my very own mama tribe. I love you and I would be lost without you.