Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Coffee. And Community.

Today I had a Show Your Real guest post lined up, but I had something on my heart that I wanted to share, so I decided to switch things up a bit. So that means you will be hearing from an awesome guest poster next week...How about some show your real action two weeks in a row?! Sounds good to me.
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After I had Fin, I saw flyer at our pediatrician's office for a New Mom's Coffee. Kind of like a play date, except for babies too young to play, it's basically a support group for new moms. The paper said they met every week (choice of attending on Wednesday or Thursday) at a communal space adjacent to my doctors' office. I grabbed a handout and debated whether I should go or not. On the one hand it sounded like it could be cool. When I had Piper I went through a bit of a rough patch of feeling lonely, discouraged, broken and overwhelmed. I was feeling pretty good with Fin, but knew that some extra support couldn't hurt. I was a little wary of showing up to a random group without knowing anyone, or what to expect, but in the end I decided to give it a shot. I figured if it was horrible than it was just two hours out of my life that I would never get back. And if it was great...then great! Either way, at the very least it was an opportunity to get out of the house. 
So I showed up...a bit apprehensive, but open minded. And from the very first day, I fell in love. It's a simple format: new moms come with their babies, sit in a circle, and each person gets to share what's going on with them that week. Their rule, the only rule, is that you have to be real. (So you know I felt like I was in the right place!) To people that don't have a baby at home, sitting around for two hours with other women complaining about their babies sleep (or lack there of) and poop (or lack there of) might sound excruciating. But for those of us in the newborn trenches, hearing somebody else's experience, being able to share in a forum without judgment, and having everyone care and understand about the slightest problems as much as you do, is a godsend.

 Fin celebrating 2 months...with a little snooze on the NMC pillows. 

I faithfully attended each week, switching from Wednesday to Thursday, and back again to make sure I never missed a week, even when our schedule was a little crazy. And I got to know a whole lot of mamas. Mamas that were like me. And mamas that weren't. I listened to their stories, and their challenges. I watched babies grow from two-week-old lumps into...well...three month old lumps, but still- they grew. I hurt for those mamas when they struggled, and I rejoiced with them when they succeeded. I gave advice to the newest amongst us, and I took advice from anyone who would dish it. We laughed together, cried together, learned together, failed together. Oh, and we drank a bunch of coffee together (Or in my case: coke zero). It was an intense community formed quickly and easily, based on some of the biggest and hardest tests of our lives. 


I looked forward to seeing those mamas (and babies) every week. And on my last week of maternity leave I may have even gone several days in a row, to say goodbye to each one of the different groups.And now that I'm back at work, I miss my mamas. I believe the people are designed to be in community with one another. And I believe that new moms in particular need this community. Thankfully, they've now started a Working Mom's Coffee, so I can get my fix once a month, and in the meantime, they have a facebook group to allow everyone to stay in touch even when they can't meet up live. 


I posted in that group yesterday when I was feeling overwhelmed, and in need of the special kind of support those mamas give so freely. And they met me there, with encouragement, and a comforting chorus of "me too's". I'm so thankful for that community, and wanted to share a bit of it with you all today.
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If I was attending New Mom's Coffee this week, this is what I would tell you:

I would tell you that I'm so SO tired. Like- fall asleep in church (seriously), 9pm bedtime, had to take a nap before work today- tired. The kind of tired that makes your brain fuzzy, your eyes hurt, and everything you say sound nasty.

I would tell you that my husband and I are fighting. About big things, little things, everything and nothing. Everything seems to be taken the wrong way. We're both on edge. There's no one to pile frustrations on so it just becomes each other.

I would tell you that I'm stressed. I need at least 3 more hours in the day every single day, to get everything done. My house is in shambles, the constant errands and meal prep seem to be a full time job of their own. And the holidays are coming which means planning trips, gifts, parties and forced family merriment.

I would tell you all these things not for sympathy (though that would be fine too). I would tell you so that you would know you're not alone if you feel those things too. If you snapped at your husband. If you snored through a sermon. If you canceled a Secret Santa exchange because you just can't stand the thought of spending one more Saturday picking up junk at TJ Maxx.


I would tell you all of those things, and then I would show you my sweet baby's cheeks and how they smoosh up when she smiles. Which is every time I kiss her. Which is a lot. And we would all laugh and nod and say "Hang in there!" And then I'd eat another cookie. 

3 comments:

  1. I'll chime in with a "Me too!" here. Snapped at my husband just this morning actually because he burnt my Panera pumpkin bagel. Oh, the horror! We'll get through it and be better on the other side! :) Chin up and thanks for being real!

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  2. Oh mama. This is still so crazy hard. I know this time will pass, and it is both good and bad. I've got so many feelings today. You're doing a great job!

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  3. Love your "real"! I remember those days and wish there was a school age moms coffee group - always need that support from other moms in the trenches with you

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