As a Parent, Having a Village is CRUCIAL- Here's Why
I had my first child six months ago, and it was such a life-changing moment in my life. Even being pregnant, I had SO MANY QUESTIONS. Why is my body doing this? Is feeling this way normal? What the hell is going on with my boobs??? I was so fortunate to find a group of women that were either thinking of TTC (trying to conceive), actively TTC, pregnant, or recently had a baby. They were able to answer my questions about all the changes that my body and mind were going through, as well as commiserate with me when it came to cravings, exhaustion, and the urge to kill my husband. Having their support has meant the world to me, and it has positively influenced every aspect of my life. It has also given me a huge sense of satisfaction to be able to help the other women in the group, be it emotionally, physically, or financially. With the recent government shutdown, we have even banded together to send formula and diapers to parents who had their jobs and essentially their lives on hold. EVERY parent needs a group to:
Understand the Struggle
I love my friends that do not have kids. They help to remind me that I am more than a parent, I am still my own autonomous person that just happens to also have created life. I also like to live vicariously through them as they go on vacations and sleep in and get to stay out past a kid’s bedtime. But no one can really know a parent’s struggle as much as someone else who has been through it. That newborn, sleep deprivation, postpartum depression, reality check of being responsible for another human FOREVER kind of struggle. Having my group has helped me to realize that these feelings that I feel so guilty over having at times are totally normal and that I will get through these seemingly impossible phases. My group has talked me off the ledge more than a few times and calmed my panicked fears with their own experiences. They truly get me and understand the highs of being so in love with your baby it hurts, and the lows of wondering if this parenting thing was a right choice in the first place.
I have heard a lot of stories about parent/mom groups that are super judgmental and belittling for the different choices that people choose to make. Being a parent comes with so many ways of doing things. Breast milk or formula? Sleep train or co sleep? Stay at home or work? Allow TV or restrict it? While everyone is entitled to their own opinion of what is best, no one has the right to judge how you parent. I am very fortunate in that the group I have found does not judge each other for the choices we make. We understand that every parent and situation is different, and we emanate love through each interaction we have, regardless if the way that other person parents is aligned with what we choose to do. Breastfeeding my son was the hardest thing I have ever done, so why would I judge a mom for choosing not to, or for the fact that her body may not allow her to? I only lasted for six months, so I would feel very disrespected if someone who completed a year of breastfeeding were to look down on me for stopping at that six-month goal. If you are ever in a group that puts you down or questions your choices, RUN! There are parents out there that will love and support you and those are the people you need to surround yourself with. Also, make sure that you are not judging others, and that you are giving the same love and support that you hope to receive. Being a parent is hard enough without the added stresses of feeling like you need to impress or satisfy another parent’s ideals.
Nothing can make parenting easy but having a group will help keep you sane in the darkest times and give you the opportunity to pull someone else out of the darkness that you have been through. My group has proven to be an invaluable part of my life, and I am so lucky and grateful to be a part of this amazing group.