They asked about support during the pre-admission questionnaire at the hospital and again during the pre-op procedures. Before we were discharged the nurse once again asked about family and friends. Three days later at my doctors office they asked the same questions: do you have support? Are family and friends helping out?
Four hours after I delivered my third baby boy three of my best friends were in my hospital room with me. While I sipped water and rode the adrenalin high that comes with birth, he was passed back and forth between them. They gazed and possibly shed a few tears and marveled over his newness, much like any new mother would. Knowing my baby boy came into the world already loved by so many people made his birth just that much more special.
My husband was already on his way home with our boys that night. He needed sleep and they needed him. One of my friends stayed with me until I was ready to sleep and then sneaked away home to her own family. I tried to sleep but spent most of the night holding him. Nursing him. Having trouble believing he was actually here.
I don’t think I could have coped on my own in the hospital after the firefighter or monkey were born but this time was different. Of course I have more experience and confidence but I also have this amazing community of people who are there night and day if I need them. Some family, some lifelong friends, some new friends, some friends I have only connected with online.
When the firefighter was born I had wonderful support from my family but not a single friend with a baby. The first six months of his life, despite my best efforts, were incredibly lonely. Gymboree, swimming, music classes, play groups: I almost gave up hope that I’d ever find ‘my people’. But two of them were standing in my hospital room less than two weeks ago snuggling my baby boy. Having them as friends for the last six years made every nerve wracking moment of walking into yet another ‘mommy and me’ activity not knowing a soul, totally worth it.
When the monkey was born we were surrounded once again by family but this time my ‘mom’ friends were also by my side. Stolen nights away from our kids, play dates in living rooms and at parks; companionship and support just a phone call or email (or short car ride) away.
Motherhood has gotten easier because I’ve been there, done that. But I think it’s also astronomically easier because there are more people to ‘share the load’ with. People I can rely on for friendship and support and help. Who are there to commiserate with, to talk through challenges with, and to talk me down from those moments of ‘what the heck am I doing!?!’
This birth was different for a lot of reasons but I’m especially grateful for the countless acts of love and friendship that made my baby boys arrival extra special.
For the friends who brought Starbucks and baked treats and kept me company while we were stuck in the dreary hospital room.
For the family who emailed and called with heartfelt congratulations.
For the friends who have gifted adorable clothes and loaned us baby gear that went MIA since the monkey was born.
For the friend who took the monkey on his preschool field trip and spent evenings at the hospital with me so I wasn’t alone.
For my dad and stepmom who chauffeured and fed and entertained my boys while their dad and I bonded with their baby brother. For making ‘too much dinner’ that they had extra to share. For baking muffins so I had something to snack on during middle of the night feeds.
For the friends who showed up with muffins and casseroles and meals: my husband is convinced he might have forgotten how to boil water, we’ve been so well fed this past week.
For the friends who brought their kids to the monkey’s birthday party yesterday and stayed to lend a hand.
For everyone who has offered their congratulations, requested a snuggle (from the baby), and showed up with food, presents, and love: perhaps you could explain to all the medical personnel why I get a little bright-eyed answering their questions about support.
It’s definitely not because of an absence of love and support but rather an abundance.