Oh, What a Weekend.

This title makes me think of the Wicked Witch saying, “Oh, what a world, what a world” which is the tone I’ve been using to reflect on my wonderful weekend all day yesterday.

My weekend was filled with laughter, good feelings and great friends. Although the cast of characters shifted slightly throughout the few days, I hung out with people from the same group of friends three days in a row. It was so…high school like. And I liked that.

I think I felt something shift in the past few days with the friendships I’ve made since I moved here, or more accurately, since Scarlet was born. Older women always tell me that the friendships they made in birthing classes or in parent groups were some of the best friendships they’ve ever made and that they are still close to those friends decades later. I can see why. Sure, the friendship starts with a bang but it’s how it evolves that really strengthens the bond. When I first had Scarlet, I was at both my most vulnerable and also my most strong that I’d ever been. Vulnerable because of the love and vast unknown that had been handed to me for the rest of my life. Strong because of what I already accomplished bringing her into the world and what I planned to accomplish to provide for her always. Birthing classes, and more significantly – postnatal get-togethers are just so..real. Farting isn’t uncommon (mostly from the baby but hey, it can be from parents too), breasts are constantly being revealed for nursing, spit up is flying through the air, and the conversations are about giving birth, baby poop, body images and sex, and it’s just really hard not to let go and let it all hang out. Literally. Not only that, I can’t imagine having the energy or forethought to put on any airs at all. You can’t hide yourself when you’re bustled down with a newborn. Not only that, I can’t imagine that you’d even care about doing so when your life has been so enriched. And terrorized..

And that’s such a strong beginning of a friendship. A brief history of the group I’m talking about: I walked into our hospital’s Beyond Birth group when Scarlet was three weeks old. I was petrified of everyone in there and I was petrified of her. I sat in a sweaty, burpy, pukey, loud room for two hours and watched the clock, praying she wouldn’t wake up and cry, or worse – need to be nursed in front of all these women (and men) in my same situation. We had a few second time parents but we were mostly first time parents. Ultimately, we were all parents of newborns. I was going out to eat after the group so I made an effort with my appearance which is not something I’m at all ashamed of…but what I was wearing wasn’t very nursing friendly which just made me feel and probably look awkward. I talked to maybe one person sitting next to me and left the hospital feeling so proud of myself for putting myself out there, for connecting. Umm..yeah. I shouldn’t have felt proud! I sat there like a statue, didn’t speak once, and left without learning anything new! And this happened several times during the summer during the few times I attended the group.

Sometime in the fall it clicked in me that if I wanted to actually make friends I’d have to up my game. And it’s such a blur to me that I can’t remember what, how or when exactly it changed, but I started attending regularly, posting to the google group, talking during the meetings and going to the organized social events. I’m so grateful that it happened for me because it has increased the richness of my life and my parenting. And I have learned so much from a very intelligent group of maybe 40-50 men and women about anything from car seats to foods to teaching your baby to sleep. We aged out of the organized hospital group at four months postnatal, but by then, we had already started our own group to still have get togethers – and mostly to talk by email or phone and schedule fun outings.

This past weekend on Friday night, about ten of us dressed up for a girls’ night out in Amherst at a tapas restaurant. We laughed, we ate, we drank, we clapped when someone new from our group came in, especially if they were wearing a hot dress or shoes. We were just loving life. On Saturday, we had a huge one year birthday party for everyone since all of the babies were born within the same few months and we wanted to celebrate this milestone together. It was then and at a dear friend’s individual birthday party for her son on Sunday that I felt the shift so strongly. I felt it when Scarlet aged out of the hospital group at four months and I felt it much more now. As our group leader said back then, “Sure the babies grow but it’s amazing to watch YOU grow as parents.” (that wasn’t verbatim but it was the exact idea)

A year in, we’ve all grown to know and love each other and each other’s babies. If a baby is crying during a party or meeting, very often the mother who rushes to comfort the baby is not the baby’s mother. Of course in such a big group, you definitely have friends you get closer to more than others and we do separate off into smaller groups or just one on one many times, but the amount of respect and care is strong within everyone for everyone else. I am so blessed. Our babies have grown a year and we’ve grown a year, individually, and as closer (and closer) to one another into an even tighter-knit group than I ever imagined possible.

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One Comment

  1. great post. you hit the nail on the head. this is why i miss my friends in ny so much! we spent so much time together in that first year and it's such a special, unique relationship. i've met some great moms here and made a few friends but nothing will ever compare to the bond that i have with those women in my old neighborhood.

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