Guilty Confession: I never thought I would be a mom. I certainly never thought I would enjoy being a mom. Yet, I always knew motherhood would be challenging and often times lonely.
In the first few weeks after giving birth to my son, my husband and I were frequently up at 2am helping to soothe him, My husband, however, soon went back to work while I stayed home recuperating from giving birth. Pregnancy and birth were wonderful experiences for me, but my body like all women’s bodies needed to physically heal. Yet, an infant doesn’t wait for you to feel better (and so far I am learning babies, toddlers and preschoolers don’t wait either).
Infants need what they need when they need it and there is no way for them to articulate those needs other than to cry. During the day, I stayed at home “recuperating” while at night I had to take care of my son’s marathon crying sessions. My husband, however, could escape the crying and go to work. Not me. I felt so alone.
With nine months of a baby inside our body and the many minutes, months and years that our children cling to us, believe it or not motherhood can be lonely. Families are separated by distance and the old model of grandparents and relatives providing support is not always there. In addition, in the fast paced speed of the tri-state area, moms find it more difficult to find connections with other moms. It is almost as though we court each other. Instead of checking out each other’s physical attributes, nonverbal body language and clothes, we pay attention to baby accessories, conversational queues and expressed parenting beliefs.
My solace came in talking to other moms in-person and online. In fact, online is where I found myself learning new ways to be a mom. Instead of putting my baby in a stroller, I opted to put them in a baby carrier (specifically mine was the Beco Buttefly 2). I made baby food for daycare but I also did baby led weaning at home. I learned about Waldorf and Montessori philosophies from moms in Oklahoma and Washington and incorporated some techniques into our lives. Thanks to a local Meetup group, I also participated in clothing swaps which helped alleviate a huge amount of costs to buy baby clothes. Meeting up with moms at the park from an online group when I would normally remain locked indoors enabled me to socialize and get fresh air. I learned so much from people from Australia, England and Canada because I lowered the boundaries of accepting information and ideas.
Motherhood is lonely but it is also this wonderful opportunity to meet and connect with others who challenge me to see the world differently. The online groups have helped me become a better mother as well as a better person. I found groups online through MeetUp and an online social networking group for knitters called Ravelry (four years later we still are an online community), and I have moms in real life such as Jess.
It is helpful to have that circle of friends whether they meet you for coffee in Starbucks or through the comfort of your own home via Facebook messenger. A few words can make all this feel less overwhelming and lonely!