Motherhood is a lonely business. People say “It takes a village to raise a child ”, I would rather say “It takes a congregation of mothers to raise a child.” Allow me tell you why.
A village is a whole community of people, older and younger, with different objectives and at different stages of life. They help you raise a child, no doubt about that but what they don’t offer is companionship. Companionship to the mother. The mother often feels lost and judged in this village. Well, at least I did and so did lots of friends I have subsequently made!
The idea of village was around this mother who could be happy just being a mom. But even then, no mother ever like being judged. Sadly, there was hardly any choice available. It was a lonely road every mother had to walk through. Perhaps, it was this agony that led the older generations to help the next breed of mothers sprout wings and look beyond their children.
With time mothering has changed. The emotions remain the same, but the expression has changed. Today, a mother’s life do not revolve around just raising children. We want a place for ourselves in our own life. We need to have our own identity besides just being a mom. We are not happy sitting in the house all day taking care of children. Might sound selfish till you take the epic task on yourself. To add to this, there are societal and, in some cases, financial pressures to return to work.
A woman’s life takes a 180 degree turn once the child is born. It is totally different from the life she once new. Suddenly meeting friends, going for a movie or even taking care of oneself begins to appear selfish. The intimacy you once enjoyed with your partner is replaced by taking care of the baby. These are not small changes. Even though it is the most satisfying and blissful feeling in the world, motherhood is tiring. In some cases it is accompanied by post-partum depression as well.
All these things together rob a mother’s joy. What’s worse is that most mothers feel a sense of shame and guilt admitting to these feelings. They feel less of a mother when they think about themselves and how they have reached a point where they are no longer happy with themselves. This is the worse feeling for any individual. Unable to confide in the village, the woman in the mother is lost.
I experienced this identity loss firsthand. It was lonely and even my best friend, my spouse, could not comfort me. All he could offer was kind words, which were a little help. What really bought me back to life, were the mother groups I found on social media platforms. There I found not one but a whole community of people who knew and understood what I was going through.
They knew how the day passes in burping, feeding and changing diapers. It is this mutual respect, appreciation and anxiety that brings mothers together. This community is like no other. There is no drama, no competition among mothers.
This was the place where I (and a whole lot of mothers) could be myself again. I could ask the most insane questions and yet get honest answers. No judging! It is where I could vent out my agony, find solutions to my dilemma, connect to like-minded people and share the weirdness of parenting. And gradually that feeling of loneliness started to drift away.
Positivity and life started to flow again. I rediscovered forgotten hobbies, found my strengths and weakness all at the same place. I started to feel in control of my life again. There were just so many like me, who had made better out of their situations. I learned from them, inspired to do better. There were some whom I could offer advise. That made me proud of myself and regain my confidence that I am not all bad.
Slowly this group of mothers, whom I have never met before, became a part of my family. We all go out together, take our kids to movies and picnics and enjoy our companionship. It is like a sisterhood of mothers.
Looking back, I wonder how would have done without them. I know I would have been in a mess had I not found them. They bought my sanity back and I bought them theirs. We all contributed to each others journey like no one ever could. We shared our sorrows, our fears, our joys and what not! Funny how motherhood first distances you from your existing friends and then finds you another set of soul sisters!
It is this congregation of mothers that makes me a better mom and a happier, more positive person. And I sincerely wish with all my heart, that every mom finds her own congregation.