Illustration of 5 women sitting in a support group.


Mothering, Postpartum

You’re up before the birds start singing, baby bright-eyed and ready to begin the day.   It’s been a rough night…frequent feedings and disturbed sleep.  The hours loom ahead.  You absolutely love this little bundle of baby but sometimes it’s lonely.   Days seem long.  Hours and hours ’til naptime and a little break from mothering.  Guilt creeps in…aren’t you supposed to be relishing every minute?

And then you remember…it’s your mothers’ group today.  The place where you and baby can hang out with other mothers.  A place where you can socialize, ask questions, laugh, cry and share honestly.

You’ve surprised yourself.  Who would have thought that you’d be spending time with such a variety of women?  A group who have birthing, babies and mothering in common but these aren’t women you would have crossed paths with previously.   In this gathering, it doesn’t matter where you worked before giving birth, what type of a house you live in, what type of car you drive or what you chose to wear that day.  All that matters is that you are a mother.  That is connection enough.

This is a place where you have been asked  to leave judgment at the door.  “Mothering is unpredictable,”  the facilitator reminds the mothers before each get-together.  “When a mother is born, she is filtering through her biases.  She has false expectations.  She has pressures from family and friends.  She has challenges that she may feel are unique to her situation but, in fact, are experienced by mothers everywhere.  She is fragile and most importantly, she loves her baby more than anything in the world.”  You are learning to embrace these wise words.

You contemplate the last mothering group, when one of the new mothers said some things that made you very uncomfortable.  You squirmed as she shared with the other mothers.   Her ideas were so different from yours.  Well, maybe not so different at one time in your life, but you’ve changed your philosophy since giving birth and you’ve been considering how you want to mother your baby.   If you are honest, you actually were thinking very judgmental thoughts and secretly hoping that someone might challenge her.

But then you looked at her closely.  You saw a mother who was tired…like you.  You saw a mother who was finding her way…like you.  You saw a mother whose body had grown a baby, struggled through labour, cried tears of happiness when she held her baby after giving birth…like you.  And your heart softened.  You saw a mother just like you.

And now you know the secret that could transform mothering for so many…mothers shouldn’t judge one another.  Every mother, no matter her situation, is doing the best she can.  Some mothers don’t have support, others don’t have accurate or helpful information, some haven’t been mothered themselves and so this whole experience of being a mother is foreign and confusing.  Every mother is on a journey of self-discovery…she’s being stretched, she’s changing, she’s evolving.

Dear mothers, be kind to one another.  Look and see the other mother’s struggle.  See her tears.  See her frustrations.  See her joys.  See the mother-love that overwhelms her and fills her to overflowing when she least expects it.   And let her see all of this in you.

Remember… mothers need each other.   We are changing the world, one baby at a time.

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