As an only child, my search for community started young. I can remember being alone as a child, wanting, craving, community. Someone to call on when friends let you down, someone to whisper my secrets to late at night.
For this reason I hold relationships with my friends extremely dear to my heart. Equally, the loss of friendships devastate me deeply, when they fade away until you no longer speak. When your paths drift so far apart that your lives are no longer shared, it saddens me.
Women, we are a difficult breed. We share such ties from just being, women, yet we are the most vicious to one another. Our words strike like vipers, our eyes can cut like knives. We are like two batteries laid next to each other at opposite ends, attracted and pulled.
Then we become mothers, and we are drawn to each other once again. Drawn to this community, that I know exists, that I know deep down to the core of me is needed in order to mother.
When I became a mother, I did so without sisters, or close friends who were mothers themselves. I did it alone, the only advice, strong arms and listening ears were those of my mother. I journeyed alone, in secret, wondering if this was normal, if the lack of sleep would end, if my body would be my own again. My mind raced with thoughts and questions that only other mothers could give the answers to.
Though I live in a city where there is no shortage of mothers, building friendships with them is another story.
Why is it when we go to the park, instead of talking to one another we get on our phones and ignore the presence of one another. Why is it that all I feel is the judgment of heavy eyes burning into me, critiquing what I'm wearing, what my child is wearing, what wrap I'm using, what stroller I'm pushing. Why when such amazing joy surrounds us, that of our children, do we fail to rejoice in it? Why when we see a mother whose face is full of old tears and no sleep do we ignore her, and not tell her that this too shall pass, that we've been there. That there is a light at the end, that we to are journeying along with her.
Silence, the deafening silence that wraps itself around too many mothers, crippling their day-to day. She masks it with a painted on smile, filling the spaces with talk of milestones and triumphs, careful not to mention that her head is barley above water. Postpartum depression, fear, doubts, the simple lack of support, that pushes her to the edge.
Some of us suffer in silence because we are to afraid to talk about the hard stuff, the dirty stuff, the stuff that motherhood is made of! We're afraid to just let it out because we can be vipers.
Let it end here.
Let us be the light for someone who is in the dark.
Let us talk about the hard stuff, and the messy stuff.
Let us support one another.
Let us cheer for the ones that are on top.
Let the ones on top be humble and reach out to the ones who are not.
Let the judgment end here.
Let the harsh words that come so easily become words of encouragement and love.
Let us journey together, side by side, shoulder to shoulder.
Whether you breastfeed, bottle feed, co-sleep, crib sleep, had a natural birth, love your epidural, push a stroller, wear your babies, whether you're a crunchy mama, or a smooth mama, who cares! It's all peanut butter at the end of the day.
We're all doing the best we can, all of us!
We need each other! We areall searching for community, and I know its there, just beneath the surface, the glitter, and perfectly cropped pictures.
Tiffany a mother I find so deeply inspirational said it well, "we women hold up half the sky!" so lets hold up each other shall we?