When we first moved to northern New Jersey last October, I worked really hard to network and make new friends for the boys and I. Like, no kidding, I got on The Facebook and searched things like, “Mommy Groups in [my town],” or “[My town] Moms.” My least favorite thing about parenting has always been other parents, because other parents — mothers especially — can be so judgmental. I strive to be the type of mom friend that, instead of saying, “This is the right way to do it…” says “This is how we do it.” We, as in my husband and I. Not implying that there is a right and wrong way, because I really don’t believe there is. Just sharing what works for us. Finding other parents with this mindset has been surprisingly scarce, but thanks to all those late night Facebook-surfing mommy group investigations, I was able to find an incredible group of 6 other mamas that have truly become my closest friends here in NJ.
My #momtribe, as I call them, has been incredible. We ask each other questions without being judged; we look out for each other’s kiddos when we’re out together; we plan preschool classes and field trips and fun events for our 2 and 3 year olds to do together. We celebrate each other’s joys, empathize during each other’s difficult parenting moments, offer suggestions about anything needed, and in recent weeks… mourn each other’s losses. When I found out I was pregnant, I told my #momtribe early. Earlier than I would announce it publicly or even share it with my long-time friends, because these are the mamas I see every week and the ones to ask about the best OB, what hospitals to deliver at, etc. They know my boys and they know my lifestyle. I also told them as soon as I found out I lost our baby. Within the day, they were quick to tell me that they were cooking our meals for the rest of the week and offered love, support, and wonderful food.
Truth: All I wanted to do was shut down when I found out about our loss. And for 24 hours, I pretty much did. Josh took care of our boys while I stayed in bed. My mama friends took care of our meals. The day Josh went back to work, I sat on the floor with Preston and Troy and just cried and cried while Preston came up to hug me and say in his sweet, little voice, “Hi Mommy. Hi. Mommy? Hi Mommy.” I canceled all of our commitments, classes and appointments for the entire week and just stayed home with the boys, working through everything as best I could.
But when you’re a mama, and you have two little humans who completely depend on you while daddy is at work, you have to keep going.
It’s like Dory says, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, what do we do? We swim, swim swim.”
The day it happened was the day before Preston’s third surgery to have tubes put in his ears again. The week it happened was the same week Troy got his first ear infection, ever. Talk about timing, right?
Each day, it became a little easier. The bleeding was nonstop for 2 weeks, but emotionally, I became more accepting and at peace, little by little. Of course it’s all blown to smithereens when I hear a song like “Concrete Angel” with lyrics like “fly to a place where she’s loved” and bawl my eyes out, hoping our angel baby knew he/she was loved. The hormones during this process? Out of control. Like, hella crazy. Like, my emotions have been from zero to sixty within 60 freaking seconds, at least for 2 weeks straight. I think that’s all normal, though? I think it’s part of the process?
I’ve been doing a lot better as the weeks have gone on. With everything going on in our lives right now, it’s almost impossible to slow down and grieve. I start to feel guilty for even needing to grieve when others in our country have suffered so much recently between natural disasters and mass shootings. I am blessed with two beautiful and healthy boys, a hardworking husband, and the ability to be home for all 3 of them. But still, it’s okay to grieve and it’s okay to move forward. This mess has become my message. Me, mine. This may not be the “right” way to do it, but it’s the way I’m doing it.