Mommy-hood the second time is such a different feeling!
On one hand, I’m so much relaxed and given to this, and on the other I’m still getting my head around both kids’ needs and wants clashing, their schedules and requests, and how to compartmentalize them to everyone’s satisfaction. Now, let me be honest: Sometimes I struggle.
Anyway, moving on from that, the truth is that this post is about something. I want to talk about the tribe, that tribe we need to thrive (there’s a hashtag in the making here, people!). I have spoken a lot about this to clients, family and friends. I have mentioned it on speeches and commented about it on Facebook and beyond, because I believe our society is letting itself down by not having the tribe anymore.
When I talk about the tribe, I mean a support network, a group of people working together, and/or next to each other, for common goals. Yes, some of these are individual goals, but in the bigger picture, they all want the same: Healthy and happy children to carry on in the next generation, building and healing the world.
In my vision of the tribe, moms and dads, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, friends and acquaintances are all supporting each other in raising the children. The share the responsibility… After all, it takes a village to raise a child. They ARE the village.
As an expat in today’s world, my tribe (which is still under construction) looks a lot different than how I dreamed it would. My family is far away, must of friends are also far away (and the majority doesn’t even have kids) and I live in a multicultural country were my traditions and beliefs are foreign. Not to mention the fact that I marry someone from “another tribe”. However, when I have needed help, my tribe has been there, and that’s all I can ask for.
A few weeks ago, realizing that my milk supply wasn’t enough for my baby boy, who was losing weight day by day and after a lot of soul searching, inner dialogue and struggle (this is something I dealt with when Matthew was born and was a huge aspect on my struggle with PND), I decided to post on a Facebook group to ask nursing moms for some donor milk to supplement while I worked through my issues.
That was huge. Up until that point, I felt so much shame and sadness regarding my milk supply that I could barely talk about it without crying. Yet I asked for it, openly and allowing myself to be vulnerable, because this wasn’t only about me, but about my little boy and his needs… and what did I have in return? Love, pure love from strangers and friends. From “you go, momma” messages of support, to generous offers that moved me to tears, everyone was supporting us. My tribe had my back.
Some mom friends offered to pump and see he outcome, others to nurse Michael or babysit Matt so I could devote myself to nursing to bring the supply up, I was the luckiest mother, woman and friend, and still today, I can’t believe how much love was sent our way. In this picture you can see that. A tired, makeup free mom of a newborn and a toddler, smiling with all her heart with a bag of donor milk from an amazing momma, who even apologized for not giving me more.
This is what the tribe is for. This is what moms should do every day for each other and our world. This is how generosity looks like to me. This is how love and camaraderie feel. Thanks to all the moms who, one way or the other, nourished my family and me. Thanks to my donors for their amazing gifts. I’ll be forever in thankful to you.
In joy and love,