I remember practically begging my husband to let me skip out on our birth class reunion….. post baby. I was recovering from mastitis, which was a perfect excuse, and looking and feeling like pure death. My birth class friends were awesome- us soon to be moms with our wide eyes, grandiose plans, and very certain lists of things we would and wouldn’t do. Mine went something like:
“I’m going to have a completely natural birth”- FAIL
“I’m going to exclusively breastfeed my son”- FAIL
“My son will never get a paci.”- FAIL again…….. this could go on a while.
Those women were strong, confident, and capable. Now that baby was actually here, I was not. I just knew they had mastered their lists while mine was sitting with a big fat “F” on top. I could hardly imagine facing them, staggering in with my fussy newborn and messy hair, shoving a formula filled bottle down his mouth, and recollecting my less than ideal birth story.
But God has made the man the head of the household for a reason (discussion for another time), and my husband, who rarely does so, exerted his God given authority to practically force me out the door.
I walked in, head sunk low and nothing but shame and embarrassment in front of me. I expected to be lectured for all the things I’d messed up, I expected to be seen as less than, and I expected, worst of all, to be labeled as that “failed” mom in our little group.
What happened was something very different. I shared my feelings only to realize they were all completely reciprocated. Everyone was struggling. We had all “failed” our lists. We all had many things that didn’t go according to plan. We all had struggles. We were all… human.
Not one of the four of us was exempt from the difficulties of “newborning.” So much so that I wasn’t the only one a little leery of making an appearance. We made a pact that day, a pact to share our struggles free of judgment, a rare and precious thing. Those women became my rock in that season. I would message them for a little encouragement at 2am pumping sessions, would reach out with my honest feelings when all I wanted to do was cry, and I would share my darkest moments and my very tiny victories. As our birth instructor stated, our class became something much more because we found what every new mom needs, a “tribe of women” going through the same thing at the same time.
I have yet to meet a mom that doesn’t struggle during those initial challenging weeks. “Newborning,” as one of those four women called it, is just difficult. Hormones are raging and sleep deprivation is a killer. Even the mom who looks like she has it all together, is walking that same road, carrying the same uncertainties in her heart. Being a first time mom is a unique experience, one that is beautiful and precious underneath the struggle. I’m thankful that I found my tribe of women and I pray that women can learn to stand for each other in that initial season. If you are a new mom feeling alone, feel free to message me. I’ll stand with you mama!