I had a chance to reconnect with an old friend this past weekend. She's a very special friend, indeed. We met during prenatal yoga. Our babies were due within a day of each other. We didn't really become good friends until after our babies were born (hers was early; mine was late), and another mom from our prenatal class suggested that we all get together. I remember that they had gone for a walk together, and then we all met at a coffee shop (I had to skip the walk because I was still bleeding too much). I soaked up every ounce of our conversation. I didn't even realize how desperately I needed what they had to offer--empathy, advice, and their own new-mama questions and uncertainties. By the end of our first meeting, I was begging for us to make a weekly ritual out of it.
We kept it up for about three or four months. We would walk together, return to one of our houses, breastfeed our babies, give them some awake time together (we thought it was adorable to line them up on a blanket and watch them "play" together), and then put them in their wraps for a nap while we ate our lunches.
To this day, I am so, so grateful for those days together. I'm quite certain I wouldn't have made it through that really hard phase without them. There was something magical about finding women who were going through the exact same thing at the exact same time. We were all sleep-deprived, we were all figuring out how to pump, and we were all wondering how to do this parenting thing.
Reconnecting with one of the women this past weekend while she was in Austin brought back all the same feelings of gratitude and relief. We slipped easily into our old honest conversations. She now has a second child (who was also due within a day of my second child; she again gave birth early and I again gave birth late!). We talked about how hard it is. Yes, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for how lucky we are to have healthy children, but it's really hard. And sometimes we don't like hanging out with our children and yes, we need to find more time for self-care, and: Did we mention how hard this is?
It felt so good to say those things out loud to another mama and to hear another mama echo back similar thoughts and feelings. And that's why I wanted to say them out loud to you. Just in case you feel something similar and need to hear your own thoughts and feelings echoed back to you.
This parenting thing is so hard for me. I love it and am so thankful we decided to expand our family, but it is so, so hard right now. It's hard to muster up the patience that is needed to get my three year-old to brush his teeth every night. It's hard to stay calm when my one year-old is screaming because he both doesn't and does want to be held. It's hard to muster the energy to scrub hardened food off the table all.the.time when my one year-old still doesn't reliably sleep through the night.
Phew. I feel better just saying it.
This weekend was a good reminder about the power of friendship and companionship. I need to make more time for it in my life!