Friday, April 24, 2009

A Better Mom Because Of Them

Soon after I found out I was pregnant with RJ I joined an online message board for Mom's due in January 2008 (she came early on 12/31). I would be ashamed to count how many hours I spent on that site hanging out with those Mom's. There was a core group of oh, twenty or so mamas, who were big time posters and we all got very close. It almost seemed silly how attached we all were, but most of us really didn't have much "IRL" (in real life) support so we kinda clung together. The majority of us were first-timers and had a lot of questions. The more experienced Mom's shared what they knew. It was a wonderful place, so comforting to know I wasn't alone! So nice to have a little community who was going through all the pregnancy discomforts at the same time as I was. Asking the same questions and researching the same things. Anticipating and preparing and waiting for our babies to arrive.

Then the babies startd to be born. There were a few preemies in November, we prayed for their safety and wrote notes of encouragement to the postpartum Mommies spending their days at the NICU while trying to recover from delivery and survived all the emotions and trauma involved with having a preemie. Then several (including RJ) arrived throughout December. And then the great big baby boom of them all (obviously) in January. A few trickled in when February arrived too. It was so fun to hear every ones birth stories, and work through and process our labor experiences together. It was a precious time, and I will always remember those ladies who went through and encouraged me through that huge "first" in my life.

Enter postpartum hormones. The board wasn't as fun. A difference of opinions on baby care and parenting really started to rally by the end of February. Mama's who I really had come to respect, did not have the same parenting philosophy as I did. We could agree to disagree, but that didn't change the fact that we no longer could relate like we had during our pregnancy.
"Battle threads" started, it really got very silly, and then one big dramatic dispute came up and a lot of people left. The whole thing completely blown out of proportion by hormones, sleep deprivation, and well...That probably was all that fueld it. Our lovely time was done.

I was sick of the drama so I joined another site with some of the Mom's who had regrouped and started our their own private board. I got very wrapped up in the new group- I loved the support and company. But it was really taking over too much of my life. By this time Riley was around 4 or 5 months old and she wasn't sleeping all the time or content to nurse while I was on the computer. I realized that it was time to step back and start weaning myself from my little online world, and start looking for real life mama friends and support. I made the decision one day, and took the dive and left the group quickly (so I wouldn't chicken out). I know some mama's were really hurt by this and confused. Especially when they saw that I was back on the old origional board for a few weeks... Mostly because I was at loose ends, I didn't yet HAVE any support and being a stay-at-home-mom to a baby gets very lonely. It was a rough adjustment.

What does all this have to do with any thing? Nothing really, I was just musing on all the different Mommies I have come into contact with. How thankful I am to have shared with them, learned from them, I have so many more tools in my "parenting tool box" because of their input. They were all were from different backgrounds, parenting philosophies, and geographic regions and I got the privledge of hanging out with them for almost a year. A year where I was really formulating what kind of a parent I was going to be. God really used them in my life to help me through the tranistion of becoming a Mother.

And now here I am with my second baby growing away inside me, and I don't even recognize myself from this time 2 years ago.

I guess I was feeling really naustoligc and thought I'd write a post to those Mom's... To all the Mom's who supported and encouraged me while pregnant with RJ, and to the new Mom's I've met on GCM and who I am learning from. I am thankful for you!

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