Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why I Joined (and stuck with) a Moms' Group

I remember lying on the couch, hoping to fall asleep, absently watching "Kelly and Michael" while a 3-month-old Will snoozed peacefully in the cradle beside me. My sweet baby boy, my first born. My perceived-to-be-perfect infant son who wouldn't take a bottle, he cried every time he dirtied his diaper, and his nursing habits were annoying at best (one side every 1.5 hours on the button... and he took his time). It was then that I got the text from a friend inviting me to a women's brunch at a local church. It wasn't my "home" church, but one that I know a lot of people from and would be comfortable at.

It started in 30 minutes.

I remember starting the text saying I couldn't make it. Will was asleep and I didn't want to move it. I was in frumpy clothes and couldn't change in time. I just generally wasn't feeling up to it.

At least he was cute... Will, 3 months.
That wasn't the text that was sent. What I sent was something along the lines of saying I'd be there, please save me a seat. I gently moved Will to the carseat, packed what seemed like a million diapers, and went.

I hadn't realized it yet at the time, but I was struggling through a mild case of post-partum depression. I was anxious. I was down. I dreamed of the end of the first 9-12 months daily. I felt frumpy on a daily basis but did nothing to lift myself out of it. I looked forward to naptime not so I could get time to myself, but so that I could nap too.

To this day I am convinced that my friend's text was moved by God to get me there. It was God that moved my fingers to text her back, and I know this because my fingers would have sent an excuse as to why NOT go left to their own devices. I don't want to say that joining a moms' group saved my life, but I will say that doing so set me on a path to get "me" back again.

There is no way I could go through motherhood without other "mommy friends".

Image from
Did I know everyone in the group? No. But that didn't matter. Everyone in that group was a mom. Everyone in that group knew what it was like to have a new baby, and a lot of people in the group could relate - if not in whole - at least in part to what I was struggling through with Will. And above all else, being surrounded by moms who had been there and watching other moms talk of their struggles with varying instances of PPD after their babies helped me to find the strength to listen. Listen to my heart, listen to the pleas of my husband, listen to my brain and realize what I was going through.

Once I realized it, I sat on my bed in tears opening up to my husband and apologizing for not listening to his concerns with seriousness. I sent a note to a few close friends admitting where I was at and asking for prayer. I no longer felt alone, I began to feel less anxious, and I let the healing begin. By the time we became pregnant with Evie, I was feeling more like "me" again.

We are not meant to be alone, we are not meant to do life alone. Though I knew few women at that first brunch and though I was nervous to be there - I went. When Will started to go into the nursery and his tears would flow and I would get called back to check on him and my heart would break - I pushed through the anxiety and the pull to stay home - and I went. I kept going because I knew in my bones I could not keep going without the strength of a community of moms to hold me up.

Image from
Today I went back for my third start-of-session women's brunch and was once again reminded of why I kept going. I dropped off Will to his new room and the tears and screams for "Mommy" almost immediately began to flow. I had several moms assure me that it was a phase, that their sons went through it at the same age and outgrew it. I was reminded of what community is as the moms I've grown closer to over the years came together and talked about plans to do with our kids in the coming weeks. I accepted hand-me-downs from other moms whose kids no longer needed them. I shared in a brunch meal with moms I haven't gotten to know as well over the years and am glad that I did. I was able to ask for help rather than allowing anxiety to overtake me when I had to fetch Evie to feed her from the same room Will was in. I made sure to connect with at least one of the new moms in the group that came today.

I came to a moms' group because another mom invited me.

I joined a moms' group because I felt in my heart that I needed to at least try it out.

I stayed in a moms' group because we are stronger as a community of moms than we are alone as islands of moms.

No comments: