Today is the day. I am bound and determined to go to my first new mom’s group and get myself out of the house. Yesterday morning I felt so anxious and angry, a different kind of postpartum emotion that they never talk about. I felt like I just couldn’t mom. I didn’t know what to do, except to call my mom. It’s funny that no matter how old you get, you will always need your mother. “You need to get out of the house,” she told me, “Go for a walk. Go make friends. Do something.” She was right. Except for this morning, my little fuss bucket wouldn’t settle down long enough for me to get ready. Good thing I showered last night—the last thing I needed was to introduce myself, my son, and my BO. In between T’s warning half-cries, I slop on some foundation and concealer and mascara, so I don’t look like the corpse I feel like. I shift Baby T from arm to arm to put on deodorant. Jesus, my one-handed skills are amazing. I’d place effing gold in that event in the mom Olympics.
Group starts at 11 am, and its 10:50 and T isn’t settling down. If I can’t get out of the house by 11:00 then it isn’t worth me going, I think to myself. At 11:05 T is ready to be changed and to eat again. Forget it, I begrudgingly tell myself, I’m not going. The immediate next thought: “You ARE going God damnit because you need to get out of the house and prove to yourself you CAN do this.” I realize I’ve been holding myself back from leaving my prison, I mean house, because I am afraid to get out into the world with a new baby and juggle a stroller, car seat, diaper bag, and run the risk of getting shit on (literally).
I’ll show you shit, world, because I am coming for you. I park my car outside in the heat, unpack my stroller, and start sweating profusely as I try to put the car seat containing the wailing baby locked in the stroller frame. I push myself emotionally and physically to the building, find the conference room, and slink in late. The group’s discussion doesn’t skip a beat. No one looks at me funny. No one notices I am a sweaty nervous mess. No one notices my baby fussing in my arms. I sit in the circle and look around at all the women who are just like me.
The truth about mommy groups is that they not only offer incredible support, but that the experience of going shows you that you are not alone. You are not the only one afraid for your life to leave the house, thinking that you will drown faster than a brick among fish. You aren’t the only one with breastfeeding woes and problems. You aren’t the only one whose baby isn’t following the “standard” developmental milestones like sleeping 3-5 hour stretches at two months (ha!). You find out that there is nothing wrong with you or your child, and that every new mom is just scraping by, just like you. No one knows what the hell they are doing, but we are all raising healthy, happy babies anyway. We are all making it.
Mommy groups provide an odd kind of community, one that allows for hands in poop, boobs out, pumps humming away, and sentences constantly interrupted with babbling baby talk. And I love it. I’m not alone, and you aren’t either. We are all in this together, and we all know that raising a child is scary as f.
Btw, not only did I got to mommy group and survive, but I also went to lunch after. Yes, we were some brunchin’ bitches, taking over the restaurant with strollers and car seats, discussing how many things we had in common, and all feeling better that that “one weird thing” isn’t so weird at all.
Final thought: Don’t go at motherhood alone. It’s too hard to survive. Contact your local hospital to ask if they offer new mom groups, or check Facebook or MeetUp to find one near you. I promise, you won’t regret it. You will find a group of women that understand you, and help you feel understood. Being a new mom is something that not all of your current friends might understand, but this group will. Go head girl, show the world who’s boss—uh, it’s YOU.