So much of my first year of motherhood is a blur. I can't tell you without checking her baby book if my daughter slept through the night the third or fourth month of her life, or which nights she woke the most. I know we spent many days in our backyard or at the park, but I can't always put my finger on how exactly we filled those long afternoon stretches (especially the ones without naps). In my memory, she threw up at least once a day the first month of her life, but I don't know if I'm always remembering accurately.
I know I cried almost as often as my baby did in the beginning as I struggled to navigate those choppy new mama waters.
And yet. When I think back to that first year, it's always washed in a glow of joy and celebration, even on our toughest days. My mama tribe is so much to thank for that.
There's something magical about mamas who help other mamas. I think of the dear friends who helped me through those endless last weeks of pregnancy, when my body felt stretched to the limit and I couldn't believe there were still so many days to go. The ones who coached me during labor and were among the first people to hold my daughter's tiny newborn body and soothe her first wailing cries. The ones who always seemed to know when to give us our space and when I desperately needed adult company—and who always managed to sneak in a load of dishes or drop off dinner when they came to visit. Those first days and weeks felt like a blur of exhaustion and happiness, and I was grateful for every woman, from my own mama to my friends, who kept me and my life together so I was able to focus on caring for this new baby I had created.
These were the women who knew my sleep-deprived struggles better than anyone—because they were written in the lines around their own eyes as well. They shared stretch mark battle scars and laughed with me over spit-up and diaper blowouts—things that would have been anything but funny were I alone. They held my baby when my own arms were too tired and forced me to take long showers and naps while they watched the baby because they knew I needed it.
Simply, when they said they got it, they meant it. They've walked my baby-laden steps and carried my same loads. They let me cry on understanding shoulders and helped me find the beauty in the stormiest days. And so many of them survived on the same help they then passed on to me.
Because when mamas help other mamas, everyone's load is lightened.
I'm so grateful that they are my daughter's first exposure to female friends. This supportive village we've made for ourselves fortifies us both and teaches her lessons you have to feel to know.
My tribe inspires me to provide the same level of support to the next generation of mamas—and to return the favor should any of them expand their own brood. It motivates me to be the soul-saving mama tribe that another new mom might need.
Fortunately, it's surprisingly easy to lend a hand to another new mama. Whether it's providing practical help, like offering a home cooked meal or two, helping out with dishes or laundry, or just coming over to hold her baby while she naps or showers, these simple acts can feel incredibly arduous for new moms in the beginning. I was so grateful when friends stepped in. I also love sharing my favorite product recommendations, from the baby carrier that saved me during the "fourth trimester" to the only diaper cream that soothed my daughter's sensitive skin. If passing on these miracle products can help save the sanity of another mama, I'm more than happy to do it.
Because, unfortunately, not every new mom gets the support she deserves. And often, the mamas most in need won't be at my local playground or in my own neighborhood. So I push myself to find ways to help every mom, whether we've ever met in person or not.
That's why one of my favorite ways to give back is the Burt's Bees Baby Baby Bee Box. Not only is it a gift I can give to a new mom in my circle, packed with a whopping three months of gentle, environmentally friendly essentials for a new baby, but it's also a gift that gives back. With every box purchase, Burt's Bees Baby donates a box to a mom in need so she can feel supported as she bonds with her new little one. Because the bond of motherhood extends well beyond my immediate circle.
I can't imagine my life without my mama tribe, and it brings me a lot of comfort to know I can help other moms feel the same way. Mamas helping mamas? That's the real magic.