They say it takes a village.
But when I became pregnant, I was still relatively new to my city. There were no other parents in my local set of friends and I had no family close by. I was entering this new journey on my own.
I had to find my village after having my first child.
Not that I initially recognized the need for one. I thought it sounded trite and wasn’t for me. I didn’t set out to join any mommy groups or community gatherings because I didn’t think it was really my scene. Not that I have a "scene," but I can be reserved and hanging out with strangers doesn’t exactly sound appealing to me. Becoming a parent didn’t change that.
And so I began this new stage of motherhood. I was content with me and my baby. We went out on our own adventures and did our own thing. We were best friends and each other’s sole companions, at least until daddy came home at night. The two of us, the dynamic duo.
Until it started becoming less and less dynamic.
And more and more lonely. I don’t think people talk enough about how lonely maternity leave can feel. Because it can be quite isolating, even with a wonderful new baby.
But still, I didn’t realize what I needed.
Until one day, an acquaintance was kind enough to extend an invite to her house for a playdate with other moms she knew. At the time I didn’t realize these women would become my lifeline in the parenting world. I was just glad to be going somewhere with other adults.
It was my first time spending time with young mothers like myself and oh–my-God, they were going through the same things! Or had already been through the same types of situations and could provide me with wonderful, much-needed insight. It was refreshing and insightful.
The truth is that I had no idea what I was missing until I started going to these playdates.
It was everything this new mother needed.
A circle of friends and a built in support system. Friends who understood what my days were comprised of. The lack of sleep, the bursting love, the lack of sleep, the breast feeding, the lack of sleep, the food battles, the lack of sleep…
They understood it all. I had found my village.
So if you’re reading this as a first time parent or a second time parent or even a third time parent but haven’t found your village yet, go out and find it! Even if you’re a reluctant introvert, go and put yourself out there. Join a mommy group, take a mommy-baby class, go to a drop-in session.
You may be like me and think you don’t need one but go anyways. Go, anyways. Because ultimately, you don’t know what you’re missing until you find it. I know I didn’t.
But there is real truth to what they say; it does take a village. Now is the time to find yours.