One of the things I’ve loved most about this first year of being a mother is other moms.
I love moms of all ages and shapes and sizes, I love moms who are now grandmoms, I love working moms and stay-at-home moms, and breastfeeding moms and formula moms and homeschool moms and moms at their wits’ end and moms full of inspiration and moms bobbing somewhere in between.
I love the moms who were my friends before I myself became a mom. These are the friends who taught me about motherhood before I was even pregnant. These are the moms who taught me literally how to breastfeed and how to swaddle and how best to soothe a baby to sleep. I am endlessly grateful for them because they crossed over into this wild world first, and held out their hands to help me step into motherhood myself. These are the mama friends who knew how hard it was before I became a mom, and instead of laughing at my naiveté, tried to teach me, just to try and keep me from making the same mistakes they did. Thank you, mama friends, for being so gentle and patient with me. Thank you for reassuring me for the 15th time that all was well and I was doing just fine. Thank you for letting me complain to you when I was overwhelmed, thank you for giving me advice, thank you for urging me to keep going when I doubted myself.
But I also have an ever-growing soft spot for new moms like myself. I love the moms who are in the trenches like I am, learning this all for the first time. The women, who like me, watched other women become mothers and thought maybe we understood, but in reality had no clue what it would actually be like to live it. I love the new moms who are just trying their best, and constantly feel like they are on the verge of failing. I love the new moms who are coming to grips with the fact that this is forever and always, now – this level of hyperawareness, this constant worrying, this constant responsibility.
I love all kinds of moms and how we support one another. There are women who I was close with, many years ago, and there are women I barely knew, had a class in college with, went to high school with. There are internet friends who I’ve been friendly with for years but might have drifted from as time passed. Women, that prior to having a baby, I would have thought of with pleasant if dim memories, a warmth without much heat behind it.
Suddenly, these moms became so much more. Suddenly, their little comments, their reassurances, their messages – became little life lines for me. There was this bond, all of the sudden, that seemed to come out of nowhere – and yet, it was born of understanding. Young women who gave birth within a year or two of me – they experienced what I experienced, in enough proximity of time that it is so fresh, so common, so mutual between us. The newness and the shock and the love and the frustration are so prominent, so current – for them, and for me.