I see you all decked out in your pajamas, spit-up spotting your shirt like moist, discolored polka dots. Your hair may be falling out in chunks (don’t worry—that’s normal!) and your great accomplishment for the day may be the fact that you got enough food for dinner.
You may be feeling lonely right now, burdened by the responsibility of keeping a small human alive. You may feel separated from the world and alone on an island. But don’t worry—we have all been there.
Motherhood feels isolating at first; your friends have their own busy lives and you are stuck at home with baskets of laundry and a screaming infant. For, as I’m sure you are learning, even the easiest babies cry. And they have needs—so many needs.
It does not leave with you ample time to chat on the phone or meet an old friend for coffee. Even if you make it out of the house, sitting next to someone who is wearing a pencil skirt and heels while you have on your husband’s old sweats and a maternity shirt can dampen a mother’s spirits.
The friends that you used to hang out with on Saturday nights are having trouble migrating themselves into this new era of your life. To be fair, they are busy, too, for during the day most of them will be at their jobs.
Their invites to have you join them at the bar or for a board game night become fewer and far between; being told, “Sorry, I can’t,” so many times eventually leaves an impression. Plus, no matter how amazing of a friend they are, there is only so much they want to hear about the weird color of your baby’s poop or how cute it is when your little one sneezes.
If you have not had a baby it is hard to understand the magnitude at which motherhood hits you.
It is like being hit by a huge wave and no matter how far from the ocean you walk, you will never feel fully dry. The water has soaked you to the bone and its sheer mass can drain both your emotional and physical being. While this weight may feel opaque at first, you will learn how to wear it well. Just give it time.
Especially in the beginning, when you are getting used to the encumbrance of motherhood, you will miss your old friends and maybe even your old self.
But you have been through this before. Each stage of life brings along with it the friends we need—and motherhood will provide you with ample opportunities to connect with other women who understand every intimate detail of what you're going through—as long as you’re open to it.
There are countless other moms who are lonely, stinky, and looking for companionship. You will notice them lurking in popular department stores, wearing their babies and looking just as desolate as you feel.
They will peer out from behind bottles of shampoo and look at you with big eyes that seem to say, “Hi. So I see you’re a mother too…”
Answer those pleas.
Do not be afraid to approach another mother be it at the playground, checkout line, or sobbing next to you in the grocery store parking lot. These new friendships that you make with other mothers will bond you for life.
These women will deeply comprehend your joy at getting your baby to sleep through the night and the frustrations of separation anxiety.
They will bring you casseroles when you have the flu and Google symptoms of your child’s illness with you. Other mamas will share with you some of the most mundane and yet incredibly intimate moments in your journey through motherhood.
Go into new these new friendships with gusto; join MeetUp groups or sign up for a “Mommy and Me” class.
It does not matter where you make friends, only that you make some. It is normal, nay necessary, to crave support and companionship. And you may be surprised, looking back, at how mama friendships will profoundly change you. They will fill vacancies you did not even know that you had and bring laughter to park swings and long afternoons.
A whole new friendship circle awaits. Promise.