In her session about thriving after PMADs, Kate Kripke told us about wolves. About how, after a mother gives birth, the pack brings food to her and her pups. More than that, mama wolf gets to take a break while another female stays with her pups. And ok, yes, in the human world, we bring each other casseroles and, sometimes, someone volunteers to watch the baby for an hour or two so mom can take a shower or get groceries or a nap. But those facts don’t quite illustrate a key concept that Kate shared with us quite like the wolf story does. That concept is: It is not natural to mother in isolation.
It is not natural to mother in isolation. Let’s think about that for a moment. These days, new mothers are advised to stay home with their babies for a certain period of time to protect them from contagions. And now, online forums are a thriving community. New and expecting moms flock to places like Baby Center to ask each other questions, vent, and even just connect with another human being who gets it. Why? Because there is, I believe, a primitive part of us that is searching–yearning–for a tribe. A place we can connect without judgement. Where we are accepted for who we are, not just what we do.
This weekend, I found my tribe. I found my place, my people. We came from across the country (and even a few moms from other countries!), we sat together, and we bonded. We drank, we talked, we laughed, we cried, we hugged. We told each other things we’ve maybe never told another person, and we did it without fear or shame. Why? Because we also held one another. We told each other, “Hey, mama. I see your brave.”
Before we left, Katherine Stone warned us that, when we got home, we might feel lost. We might feel alone. We might even fear that we’d fallen back into the despair of our maternal mental illnesses. She also told us to give ourselves time. Time to adjust back to the “real world”, where we looked around and wondered, “where are my people?”. Because coming back from this beautiful conference of personal connection? For me, it was a bit like being shoved from a warm, cozy cocoon directly into the sunlight. In winter. Naked. With all your bandages ripped off and wounds bared to the elements.
I’m still a bit raw. Still a bit lonely. Still yearning for “my people”. But, bit by bit, my eyes are adjusting to the sun. I’ve made arrangements to have my wounds tended. And I’ve promised to keep myself wrapped in the blanket of self care. And when the light starts to feel a little to bright, the wounds start to itch on the way to healing, or the blanket starts to feel a bit threadbare? I know that, always, my tribe of Warrior Moms has got my back.