We were floating around in a pool – a sea of nervous pregosaurus’ when we first met. I had joined the prenatal aqua class to meet new moms-to-be, and as an excuse to have regular visits with a friend who had coaxed me to join.
I remember one-by-one each classmate stopped showing up. Emails circulated with beautiful photos of the new lives they had brought into the world. A constant flow of congratulations, announcements, and birth stories flooded my inbox. Then one day I showed up for class, only to discover that I was the last one left from the original group. Ten days past my due date, I welcomed my baby girl into the world, and my story was added to the inboxes of the friends I had made in class.
The first few days as a new mommy were rewarding, but also a challenge. I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I was the first of my close group of friends to become a mama. When I saw an invite in my inbox from one of my aqua friends, inviting me to join in on a visit at their place, I was ecstatic, but also a bit nervous. I had only known these ladies for a short time. Would they judge me if my baby spit up all over their carpet? Would I have to leave the room to nurse my newborn, or cover up awkwardly while they looked on with judging eyes?I arrived at my friend’s house to discover a warm and welcoming group of ladies, and I knew I was in the right place. Surrounded by newborn baby coos and tired new-mommy eyes, I settled in and so our mommy group was born.
At first we took turns rotating between houses each Wednesday. We shared snacks, nursed babies, traded tips and vented about the challenges we had discovered in the week that had previously passed. I don’t know how I would have survived those first months without the comfort I had found in discovering that I was not alone on certain concerns, challenges and issues I was facing. They knew where I was coming from, and didn’t judge me, but instead supported me when I expressed what I was feeling.
One day, about 10 months into our weekly gatherings, we realized that while we had shared many hours together, we hadn’t learned much about each other as people. We had spent our time talking about our babies and our marriages, but we didn’t know much about each other’s backgrounds and personal interests. A girl’s night out was planned, and our group was transformed from a mommy group, to a group of lifelong friends.
5 years later and we still meet regularly. We’ve been through heartaches, disappointments, miracles, adventures, and celebrations. Some have moved on, and others have moved away, but a core group of us are still going strong. We had started as a group of anxious mothers-to-be, and are now forever bonded through our shared experiences.
Each of us are so different as people, but our shared experiences have united us through an unbreakable and everlasting bond. I don’t know how I would have survived these last 5 years without my mommy group, and I hope that every mother is blessed with a support system of friends like the one I have been so lucky to have.
“Family is a group experience of love and support”
– Marianne Williamson