I feel much more myself this week than last week– I feel calmer and just more able to deal with what’s thrown at me (to a limited extent, apparently… just cried into my Raisin Bran for no apparent reason. One day at a time, right?). A weekend spent with Steve and family helped, as did my prenatal visit yesterday with our midwife. I absolutely LOVE her and cannot imagine anyone else as my health care provider. We have a very strong connection, open and nonjudgemental communication and dialogue, and total trust. She is the perfect provider for Steve and I, and my monthly visits with her are a sweet reminder that I am special and worth being taken care of.
Yesterday’s visit was extra special because I got to stick around afterward for my very good friend’s postpartum visit, after which the two of us (and baby!) went to a pub and enjoyed some delicious and much-needed food and hydration. Throughout my visit with our midwife, the postpartum visit, and while relaxing afterwards, there was much talk about community, and “finding our tribes.’ For me, entering into 22 weeks has really cemented for me that although I’m pretty private and introverted, I need to build a community for myself, for Babby, and for our little family.
Building a birth and family community is, to me, as important as building your birth team. Every member of my birth team was chosen with much care and consideration. We are picky anyway when it comes to those with whom we choose to spend our time, and obviously when it came to pregnancy and birth, safety for myself and the baby was top priority. We are very lucky that we found our midwife and doula, and that they are as compassionate, capable, and sincere as we had hoped they would be.
When it comes to building our community, I admit that I feel very challenged. For me, it is important that my community has open arms and an open mind, and welcomes mothers and partners from all walks of life. I need racial, spiritual, ethnic, and economic diversity. Even if my personal preferences of choices like breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering and gentle parenting aren’t the group’s norm, I want to be welcomed without judgement, just as I would welcome parents of various backgrounds and styles. I crave a community of women and men who want to learn and share and grow together as we celebrate our differences. I want to live more of a life of service, and meet others who are service-driven.
Though I crave connection, I cannot connect without genuine authenticity. I crave real women who feel real feelings, without false pretenses and condescension. I crave families who have struggled, who know hardship, and who persevere. I crave a community where it is safe to realize my challenges and strengths, and where both the good and bad are allowed to comprise who I am and the journey I’m on.
I’m lucky to have an incredible birth team and a small handful of women I truly call friends. Wanting to expand my circle, I’ve been looking online for local and internet-based communities that feel right to me. Here’s what I’ve explored so far:
- Mothering’s Due Date Club
- Mothering’s Find Your Tribe
- Holistic Moms Network
- The Mother’s Center of Central NJ
- Various groups on MeetUp.com
- Attachment Parenting International groups in NJ
During my googling I also came across these two sites that I really like:
This blog has actually begun to build a little community for me, and I thank everyone who has commented and shared their stories, struggles and happy moments in the past few weeks. This is only the beginning of our rollercoaster ride, and it is vital for our health and sanity that we continue to share the good, the ugly, and the real challenges and joys that come with pregnancy birth, and parenting.