These sage words were shared at a writing group a few years ago, and little did I know what a big impact they would have. When I work with new moms, loneliness is the shared feeling that I encounter most. Ironic indeed, now that new mothers spend 99.9% of their time with another human being. But moms want to connect with others, they want to share the big feelings, the little moments, the questions and not by someone on a phone or computer screen…someone in real life.
When I first became a mom, I found myself longing for heart to heart connection, too. Funny enough, I started making excuses that actually kept me feeling lonely by keeping people away…maybe some of these disclaimers sound familiar to you, too.“The house is a mess.”
All of these disclaimers are really barriers to connection.
If I committed to Full Disclosure, it may have sounded more like this:
“I feel ashamed that I can’t manage to keep my house tidy and care for myself and my baby. I don’t want you to see my imperfection.”
“I have no idea why my baby is crying so much, shouldn’t I know why? I don’t want you to see my imperfection.”
“All of my clothes are covered in spit up, poop, blood or sweat and I don’t know how to get my laundry done and care for my baby. I don’t want you to see my imperfection.”
“How the hell do women find time to take a shower when my baby needs me to hold him, feed him and comfort him 24 hours a day. I don’t want you to see my imperfection.”
“I have changed the baby’s diaper, fed him, rocked and cuddled him but still he cries. What am I doing wrong? I don’t want you to see my imperfection.”
“If you come over, I will not offer you a cup of hot tea or fresh baked gluten free muffins today. I actually thought I would be “that mom” who could. I don’t want you to see my imperfection.P.S. maybe you could make me a cup of tea.”
If a friend said any of the above vulnerable statements, we would be over with an open heart in a flash. But it is so tender and hard to be seen for what we feel is “imperfect”.
I also want to be clear that I don’t think that inviting in friends and supportive community is the responsibility of a new mama, it is the task of her community offer care, acknowledgement and resources.
I do, however, encourage new moms to practice the art of No Disclaimer & Full Disclosure. The ripple of heart connection and truly being seen serves the well-being of the parents, the families and the community as a whole. Give it a try.
If you want to learn more ways of nurturing community in the postpartum year, sign up to receive our monthly muse letter (below) or download our free community supported postpartum plan
Do you feel called to create a group for moms and babies in your neighborhood? Check out our Community Supported Postpartum Facilitator Course, now enrolling for September 2019.