Twelve years ago I gave birth to my first beautiful baby. When he was a few weeks old, I was invited by a local midwife to a neighborhood center to meet other women who had also just had their first babies. It was my introduction to the “moms group.”
Moms groups get mixed reviews. Some say that having a same-aged child in common is not enough to form a social relationship. Others report that these organizations are a breeding ground for competitiveness – whose kid is rolling over, who is toilet trained first, which mom has already lost the baby weight…Sometimes people have different expectations around what the group will provide for them.
But these are just things I have heard. From that first moms group, and through the following years I’ve spent completely immersed in the mama community, I have never experienced these things. Instead, I have been supported by other moms who want nothing but for my kids to flourish and succeed. They have been my cheerleaders, friends, confidants, reliable advice-givers and opinion sharers. We have laughed and cried together, us mamas.
There is one less mama to laugh and cry with now. One of the beautiful and talented mamas I met in my very first moms group passed away on Christmas Eve. I still picture her as I saw her that very first time – sitting peacefully at the neighborhood center before our first meeting, nursing her beautiful daughter, Harper, with a look of love and adoration in her eyes.
You share something special with the mamas you have traveled the whole journey with – those in that first moms group. These are the people you filled the days with – walking the neighborhood together with your strollers, chatting as you pushed toddlers on the swing at the park, taking care of each other’s kids when a sibling arrived. For over a decade we have watched each other’s children transform from newborns to pre-teens.
Of course, I can’t stop thinking about my friend’s now motherless children and what that will mean for the rest of their lives, but this passing has also been a reminder to me of how special our mama relationships are. I am thankful that she was a part of my amazing introduction to the mama community, a community that will never be the same without her.
Her loss also made me think about moms groups and the very different experiences we all have. What does “moms group” mean to you? What was your experience?