I had this epiphany last week while at a sound meditation….and first of all, holy fucking shit, it was one of the craziest experiences of my entire life. A husband/wife team play these gongs and sound bowls and I don’t even know what happened, but I had all these amazing crazy thoughts and then suddenly it was an hour and a half later and I’ve never been more inspired in my entire life. It was like…the coolest. ALSO, I was expecting a lot of hippy dippy looking people my age (33) and I was maybe the youngest one there. All these older people getting WOKE as fuck. If you ever have an opportunity, DO IT. Even if you don’t have major experiences, I can’t imagine it being anything less than relaxing as hell.
So! Back to my big epiphany! A lot of it had to do with my business specifically, and I’ll obviously be sharing more as my thoughts around it unravel and I’m able to put more structure to it, but the main theme was COMMUNITY. Community among mothers and mothers-to-be…I mean, it’s just everythinggggg. When I had my first child, we had just moved to a new neighborhood. All of my friends were either still in the city or elsewhere. It made the first few months of motherhood LONELY. My parents were 20 minutes away so we’d drive to them often, but that was in the evening since they both still worked.
I started signing Mack up for activities more so that I would have something to do than actually wanting my 3 month old to participate in music class or expecting her to learn how to swim at 6 months. It was something that got us out of the house and TALKING to people. I would have to say the best activity I signed up for was more for myself. Three morning a weeks I did a Stroller Strides class through Fit4Mom. It was an hour long workout where you keep the kids in the strollers and throw snacks at them so you can do your burpees in “peace”. Looking deeper into it, the reason I enjoyed it more was because I was connecting with other women who were going through the same thing I was going through. Sure in the beginning it stayed pretty surface, “Oh yeah, not sleeping through the night yet, but we’re hanging in there!” or “I love my husband but he’s worthless with the dishes.” When maybe in reality it was more like, “I’m so fucking tired I could cry and I only came here today so I wasn’t alone with this little monster who kept me up all night.” And “My goddamn husband won’t lift a freaking finger to help in the house after I’ve been busting my ass keeping his offspring alive all day.” But still. It was something. It allowed for a little bit of that human connection that we all needed…and the calorie burn didn’t hurt either.
With my second, I felt SO much less lonely. For one, my parents lived a mile away and I saw them way more often. Two, by that time a lot of my girlfriends had moved out here with their kids and I also had made friends in the neighborhood to hang with. Also, my oldest was almost 3 and while not the most inspiring of conversations, at least she was someone to talk to. AND, something that I am obviously so glad I did was hire a postpartum doula. She started coming after my husband went back to work. The first week she came for three hours on three different days, the second week she came twice and the third week she came once. It was just so nice. She was kind and considerate and so nonjudgmental. She helped with the dishes and folded laundry. She took Mack to the park and read her stories. She held the baby while I napped, and honestly, she just chatted with me. The days she came didn’t feel so long, and knowing she was on the calendar the next week made it all seem so doable. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the time in the days because I had friends, family, and the doula’s support.
So what you may be catching onto is that the point I’m trying to make is that building a community and support center around yourself can make such a difference in those early days with baby. Sometimes tackling the outside world is a little much at first so having people who are around to just BE there with you is everything. This is something easier said than done, but I hope it will inspire you to consider your community for after you’ve had your child when the reality of having this extra little human who needs you so much sets in. There are tons of online communities these days. There are lactaction consultant meetings where it’s super easy to meet other moms, and there hopefully is postpartum doula support available. Postpartum is a time when all the focus can be put on the baby, but it is SO important that we take care of ourselves too. I hope that this thought will encourage you to not only take steps to create your own support system but to be that support system to others. AND, and to be sure to accept this support that is offered. This journey of mamahood is so rewarding yet so hard. We must be in it together.