Moms, find people to get vulnerable with.
At our last support group, we talked “Mommy Confessions”. Jennie and I planned for this to be a lighthearted conversation where we shared some silly oopsies that had happened to us, to see if other moms had similar stories. (Think, accidentally bumping baby’s head on the car, the door frame or anything else for that matter because your depth perception was already not great and now you are two people instead of just one. Or, saying things you shouldn’t probably say in front of your little one as their vocabulary is starting to take off, and then hearing it come out of their tiny mouth.)
We definitely shared some laughs but then it got a little more serious. One mom shared an issue leading with something like “I don’t want to make things too serious, but..” and the conversation took a turn. One brave Mama shared a real “confession” and that’s when the conversation really started.
It was a beautiful thing. Most of the moms in our support group do not know each other outside of this virtual group. They have spent an hour or so together at a time and it would have been easy to either not share or to only share the silly stories. But, what we heard and what we ourselves felt able to share turned into one of the best conversations I have ever been privileged to be a part of amongst moms.
Of course, I will not be sharing anyone’s personal story here. But, what I want to share is that as these moms shared their stories, their doubts, their insecurities and the things that made them feel like they were less than, other moms quickly chimed in and affirmed them, pointing out specific qualities they saw in each mom that made them a good mom.
There were so many times people said they could relate. No one had the same story. No one had handled their situations the same way, but we all left feeling seen, heard and supported.
Our support group is full of people who breastfed and people who did not. Some of our moms homemade organic baby food and others bought it from the store. Some of our moms work full-time, some part-time and some keep their kiddos at home full-time. We have moms who sleep-trained and moms who didn’t; moms who got an epidural and moms who didn’t. And that’s what is so beautiful to me. These moms are so different and yet they are all on the same team. As moms were vulnerable and shared stories that they maybe had never felt safe to share before, every other mom in the group took the opportunity to lift up someone who, though not like them in MANY ways, was on the team.
It is not hard, especially on the internet, to find moms putting down and judging moms who do things differently than themselves. And because of this, of course it becomes difficult to share things that make us feel vulnerable or even bad about ourselves as moms. Mom guilt creeps in. But we saw last month how powerful it can be when moms can come together and support each other in their struggles.
So, I encourage you to find a group that makes you feel safe to share without judgement. Of course, we would love for you to join our group, but our goal really is just to help other moms to feel supported. There is not room for competition when we are all on the same team. So, if you find support somewhere else, that’s great! Just make sure you find it, because your story can help someone else to feel less alone or, even better, more comfortable to share their story. And, we moms really do need each other.