Last week, I drove toward our weekly mom’s group with Edith in tow. But when we approached the exit, I kept going. When Edith turned six months old, we graduated from mom’s group.
Graduation felt like being pushed from the nest before I thought I was ready. Yet here I am, flying.
I’m incredibly thankful that women I’ve met through the group continue to get together. So last Monday, instead of stopping where mom’s group meets, Edie and I joined a play date. I got to catch up with other mamas and talk about sleep training; Edie chewed on Jenga blocks with other babies and practiced sitting up.
Being a stay at home mom can be isolating. The socializing I used to get at work, school and meeting up with friends in the evening turned into nonstop games of peekaboo, ball and how-many-dishes-can-mom-wash-one-handed. I loved time with Edith, but I missed adult conversation.
Cue mom’s group.
In that circle of women, I found answers for my questions and support when there were no answers. I watched other babies grow from scrunch-faced tinies to babies who smiled at my funny faces. I couldn’t believe how close I came to feel to these women, whom I’d known for mere months. What we held in common and what we shared each week turned strangers into confidants.
I am also immensely grateful for Kimberly, the doula who facilitated the group. She made us laugh and made us feel heard. She invited us to share our ideas and advice before she chimed in with her own, helping us all become experts in motherhood. She didn’t cut me off when I had one more question. (Did I say one more? I meant three.) Most of all, she cared about me and Edith, and she recognized that my baby was unique.
It’s a tradition for graduates to share a few things on their last day. We are asked to say what we learned, how we’ve changed and any advice we have for new moms.
I had a hard time figuring out what I’d say. Eric gave me a lesson he witnessed in the kindergarten classroom where he sometimes works:
Before a test, the teacher asked the room full of five-year-olds a question.
“When you’re working on the test, who can you ask for help?”
“Teacher!” one kid shouted.
“No, you can’t ask me,” she replied. “I’ll give you a clue.” She tapped her head.
“You can ask your brain,” she concluded.
So, I asked my brain. The next few posts I’ll describe what I learned, how I’ve changed and a few pieces of advice for new moms.
This post and the next few are also a giant thank you to the women in mom’s group. I’m not so good at saying so in person, but I truly appreciate the advice, encouragement, honesty and camaraderie everyone in the group offered. Mom’s group was my lifeline, the support that kept me trying, fighting and breathing through the hardest times.