The very first time I was home alone with my newborn son, I cried for nearly an hour. But it wasn’t out of joy; it was out of fear.
My husband and I had spent weeks cooped up in our house learning how to be this new family, and it was honestly all pretty blissful, until the day I had to do it all alone. It was then that I realized just how truly exhausted I was and how badly I needed to connect with another mom — someone who would implicitly understand why leaking boobs, postpartum hair loss, and the lack of adult human contact can be pretty rough on a lady.
And I’m clearly not the only one who thinks so (thank GAWD!). Turns out, lots of women have gone through this. So it’s no wonder then that Gylisa Jayne, a UK-based mom blogger from Cornwall, struck a serious chord with thousands of moms in her Facebook post last week, which starts out with one very honest line: “I never wanted ‘ Mummy Friends’.”
At the time of this writing, the post has been shared nearly 3K times, and for good reason: Jayne’s honest words come from a place of love and truth.
“I didn’t want to sit in noisy soft plays, or talk about different coloured sh*t,” Jayne’s post begins. “I didn’t want to have knowledge about best nappy brands, or know exactly how many fanny stitches we all had. I had a preconceived idea that Mummy Groups were vicious cliques, and I hadn’t been in one at school — I didn’t plan to start now.”
I’ll be honest, I had all of those same thoughts, too. Motherhood wasn’t going to make me dependent on other women, because I had my husband, I thought; and I sure as hell wasn’t going to put up with catty Facebook groups, where moms only show up to knock each other down.
But as Jayne continues, things changed as soon as that first baby of hers arrived — along with the deafening silence of loneliness that new motherhood can often bring.
“I had a baby, and I needed someone,” continues Jane. “The network I should have had, simply wasn’t there. My midwives were too busy, I hadn’t met any of them twice. My Health Visitor was a vanishing woman — still talking about phone numbers and triages and children’s centres I’d never heard of as she walked herself out. Never to be seen again.”
Motherhood meant a sudden and dramatic change in my social life, too. Gone were the wine-flowing soiree dinner parties and invites to art openings. No more were the late-night movie binge fests with pizza and friends. And sleeping in before going out for brunch? Yup — gone, too.
But also gone were those carefree days of being a couple with my husband, because we suddenly had this child to care for. And it turned out that babies are pretty darn demanding.
“Then there was my partner. My chosen mate. The first love of my life. The man that knew what I needed before I did,” Jayne continues, explaining in a truly elegant way just how parenting can affect a marriage pretty quickly. “Only he didn’t understand me anymore. He was trying to figure out his Dad Role. He didn’t understand why I was crying about putting the kettle in the fridge. He didn’t know why I’d forgotten to take the parcels to the post office. He didn’t know why I had no love left over for him.”
Jayne’s amazing post sheds some light on that moment when all of us realize that it really and truly does take a village to do this parenting thing. If not for just the babysitting, then definitely for the shoulders to cry on, the ears to bend, and the advice to be shared.
“I didn’t want ‘ Mummy Friends’,” Jayne continues. “Until I realised that no one else would understand me like they did. The ones that had been there, done that. The ones that were fumbling through for the first time — just like me. The ones who had had every argument you can imagine with their husband. The ones proving you didn’t need to lose yourself along the way. That you’ll find a new you as you go. The ones who needed me just as much as I needed them.”
… Anyone else feel like jumping up right about now and shouting, “HELL YEAH!”?
(No? Just me?)
In the end, Jayne says her newfound ‘mummy friends’ — the ones she was planning on avoiding like the plague — saved her. With laughter, with tears, and with support.
“I made them laugh, and they made me howl with our observations of this bizarrely fabulous and horrendous journey,” she writes. “There was no clique, just women loving women — despite what you might have heard. I had love left over for my partner again then. Because he might not get it — but there were scores of women that did.”
She ends her post with sucker punch to the heart strings, writing: “So I didn’t want ‘Mummy Friends’ … I needed them.”
You guys, parenting is really hard. REALLY hard. If you can find even one friend who gets that, then hold on to her (or him!) forever. Family and spouses cannot be replaced, but having a mom friend is a special and unique relationship that can mean the difference between feeling alienated by the experience of motherhood and thriving in it, because someone truly understands you.