After Sam was born, I had a hard time. The ridiculous math of extreme sleep deprivation + unhealed body = a new mama coming apart at the seams. I was trying to figure out how to be a mom, wrapping my brain around this new precious gorgeous baby that was truly mine. And nobody tells you that having a child will wreck your marriage. I don’t mean wreck in a bad way; rather, wreck as in completely tear down your old normal to make way for a totally new, rearranged way to be husband & wife. It’s make or break time, and I am deeply grateful Jared chose ‘make.’ We’ve fought and clawed our way through this first year, breathing grace and exhaling love. Tried to, anyway.
In the midst of all the life changes, I longed for mom friends. Yes, I have great girlfriends. Many of them are moms. In a way, a friendship changes with the birth of a child too. There’s great depth that can come from choosing to grow a friendship in this way – you loved this person before their babies, and you kept loving them after. That’s a very special thing. But I think what I was longing for were some new mom friends, who couldn’t compare me to ‘before’, because I was doing that enough on my own.
I needed a place to go where it was ok if my son screamed the whole time, and I couldn’t fit into my jeans, and I half-slept through the time, and I could ask questions that being a new mom brought about. I knew that if I wanted to go to such a place, I was going to have to be intentional, take risks, and seek out opportunities.
The first thing I did was register for a new mom and baby ‘class’. I’ll never forget the first day. I was three weeks postpartum, and I wore new black sweatpants because I didn’t think my sore hooha would ever allow me to wear jeans again. It was the first time I had left the house alone with my baby, and the first time I’d driven the car with him in it. I was petrified. When I arrived, there were three other lovely girls there with their darling babies all about my Boy’s age. Long story short, we became good friends and have kept in touch.
After new moms class was over, I needed something else and I knew I’d have to make it happen. So I registered us for ECFE and MOPS. We’ve been going to these two groups since early September, and honestly, it was the one of the best decisions I’ve made as a mom. A whole hour with my baby being taken care of and playing with other babies, and I get to have a meal or snack and talk with other mamas about real, daily things. These groups gave me a break during my sometimes hard everyday.
I’m a straight-up scaredy-cat when it comes to making girlfriends, my heart bearing scars of hurt and misunderstandings. I knew if I didn’t want to walk this momlife alone, I had to let my guard down, both inviting and accepting invitations. My natural inclication is to decline and stay at home, in my safe cozy house. But I need out – my kid needs out – and so I say yes. Yes to playdates, yes to MOPS events, yes to lunch and coffee. I only say no if I have a work obligation. And it’s been so good – for the first time in a long while, I’m making new friends and strengthening the friendships I already had.
This is without a doubt my area to grow. I don’t know if it’s nerves or what, but issuing an invitation is hard for me. How selfish. For those of you who have so graciously offered invitations that we’ve accepted, know that we have had such a wonderful time with you. Each playdate invite is like a warm cup of coffee offered to a weary soul. Please don’t be offended if I haven’t returned your kindness. It isn’t you. It’s a very old, very deep heart wound that I am still licking. I don’t want to stay in this growth area, so I’m challenging myself to start inviting this week. All two days that’s left of it. =) But I have to start somewhere, right? So pray for me, please.
These days, my son still doesn’t sleep well. My body still isn’t completely healed (seriously. I’m still in physical therapy.) Some days I still feel that my seams are splitting (and no, I’m not talking about my pants from the un-lost weight). But there’s a community that has my back, and invites us for playdates and lunches, and I accept and take risks and feel gratitude and it is good.
Where do you find community? And if you haven’t, what are some steps you could take to seek it? What is your growth area? How can I pray for you in that?