The first year of motherhood is exhilarating.
It's emotionally reckless. It's messy, and trust me, it is absolutely exhausting.
When I first got pregnant, I was a newlywed starting a new life with my husband. I was so excited to be pregnant with my first child, and I couldn't wait to meet my daughter. I focused so much time & energy on having a healthy pregnancy, staying active, and being very practical for the days to come. I wanted to make sure we had everything we needed when she came. I was nesting and ready. I thought I was prepared! But there was one thing I didn't really expect to hit me in the face.
Once she came I suddenly found myself in a whole new world. I was bombarded with all the emotions that come with having a first born child. The overwhelming love, the exploding diapers, and of course, the painful leaking boobs. It was smack dab in the middle of Winter and I had been transferred to the land of overflowing breast milk & sleep deprivation, and being home all. day. long. I wasn't the same person I was before, and that wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it was just a new thing. Not to mention, taking the baby out of the house became like a matter of national security from an episode of "24". It was somewhere in the middle of the delirium and my cold cup of coffee that I realized...
\\ You need friends.
You've heard it said, "It takes a village to raise a child."
It takes as many people as you are blessed to have in your life and then add some more.
You need your girls! You need them to come steal you away every once in awhile, to force you to dress up out of your leggings, and to get you out of the house. You need them to remind you of who you were, who you are, & who you will be. (Psst! They still really need you too.) You need to be called out when you are more than comfortable wallowing in self-pity and discouraged. You need to be praised and encouraged for the big victories and small accomplishments you are making in your life. You need to be seen. You need to be heard. You need to give and receive the same support and be able to ask for help freely.
\\ Women thrive when they are in a tribe.
Somewhere along the way we lost the culture of women raising babies together, cooking, doing laundry, and yard-work together. Now we are encouraged to be "strong & independent." There's this unwritten pressure and expectation to be some sort of all organic super mom, and to do it all alone of course. I don't know about you, but it's just too dang hard doing it alone. If your blessed with a wonderful husband, I promise you he won't be enough. He isn't supposed to be either. Your husband can not be all things, all the time to you. He's a rock, but not your girlfriend.
If you don't have any other friends that are mothers, go find and invest in one. Find that new & lonely one at that moms group or at church who is in the same place as you. You will need someone who can relate to your new season in life. Someone who can come over, while the house is completely destroyed and will just get it. (Not to say that your friends without kids wont understand your new role, but there can definitely be a different dynamic in relating to one another. Lets get real, ladies night out as a mom looks like getting home by 7pm.)
You'll need someone that you can shamelessly both whip out the leaky boobs and feed your kids at the same time, while never missing a beat in the endless conversations of breastfeeding mishaps, baby milestones, and 101 remedies for teething infants. There is something so invaluable about going through the same season, and stage of life with one of your girl friends. I am so grateful for the new mamas who came alongside me, and for those precious moments of genuinely encouraging each other through the ups and downs of early motherhood.
Sometimes it's hard work finding a tribe or a group of authentic friends, if you don't have any. Be persistent & patient. You may have to get out of your comfort zone if you are not usually fond of introducing yourself to new people or you don't have an extroverted personality. Finding just one quality person to invest in is worth it, because you are worth it.
Bottom-line is, you need real community. You need your single friends, new mom friends, & married couple friends. Don't accept isolation. Every friendship has a vital place and something to bring to the table.
So, enjoy this new season mamas! Invest in your new & old friendships.
What are your thoughts, questions, or fears on the early stages of motherhood? What was your experience? Do you have a tribe?