If I had to list on one hand the things that have kept my spirit afloat since I hatched the beautiful Seabass back in May, they would be:
- Trust that God chose me to mother this specific child
- Writing this blog
- My moms’ group
It is no exaggeration to say that, throughout this new thing called motherhood, my moms’ group has buoyed my sense of humor, helped me to process what it means to care for another human being, and given me a treasure of wonderful new friends. Moreover, Seabass came into this world pre-set with a built-in group of baby buddies. It’s truly a brilliant arrangement.
The whole thing started as a pre-natal birthing class taught through our OB’s office. Jake and I met with eight other couples for six weeks to discuss our fears and expectations, and to practice for an event that would, inevitably, go nothing like we planned. (Did anyone else manage to breathe calmly through their contractions? Despite how much I practiced those breathing techniques, what came out was just a lot of grunting like an animal caught in barbed wire.) As each couple had their baby, they e-mailed us their baby photos and labor stories. Since Seabass and I were near the end of the line-up, it was fascinating to hear everyone’s birth story – and to see new little people that would soon be friends with our own new little person.
Later, the birthing class became the moms’ group, once again arranged through our OB’s office, and with all the same participants. And this was where the rubber met the road. No more abstract talk. No more what-ifs. With my transition from bright-eyed pregnant girl to battle-scarred new mom came a desperate need to get real.
“Is anyone else experiencing pain that feels like a blowtorch on their nipples every time they nurse?”
“I’m in so much pain down there that I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the sitz bath yesterday. Is that normal?”
“Every time I try to shop for groceries with the baby, he screams like I’m whacking him with a frying pan and everyone stares at us. Will I ever be able to visit Trader Joe’s again?”
For eight weeks, all of us new mommies talked, mused, cooed, wept a little, and compared notes on nursing bras and sleep methods. After each session, I went home feeling more at peace in my role and more connected to the outside world (though I also admit to feeling that somehow my baby was missing the QUIET/EASY button that the other babies had).
These days, it’s hard to stay connected as we all have such different schedules. But this past weekend all of the moms, dads and babies made a point of getting together and had such a wonderful time seeing each other. Babies rolled, crawled, and gummed toys. Moms swapped night-waking stories. And dads drank beer and discussed house projects.
(Aside: After the little party, I asked Jake if he talked with any of the other dads about being a dad. He said it never came up. “How could it not have come up?!?” I asked, flabbergasted. “Parenthood is your qualification for being in that group!” Then we both chuckled because we were reminded of this video.)
Anyway, Seabass is, I’m pretty sure, the biggest of the babies, so we passed him around to let everyone in on what it’s like carrying 22 pounds of
dead weight love around all the time. We all marveled at how comfortable we are holding babies now, whereas before having children, holding someone else’s baby was sort of like, “Huh. Great! Okay. Nevermind, it’s too scary. You can have your baby back now.”
By far, my favorite comment of the entire weekend came from one of the dads in our group. One of the moms was trying to relay a story about their son’s narrow miss overdosing on teething tablets when the father broke in to say, “Don’t tell Jaime that! She’ll write about us!” I laughed and assured them that wouldn’t happen.
And here I am, writing about them. Sorry guys. It was too good to pass up.
Here’s to Benjamin, Cole, Riley, Hazel, Sienna, Jaelynn, Scarlet, Ciaran and Seabass – the little people who brought us all together. Thank you, kiddos!