Friday, December 16, 2011

Motherhood: sometimes lonely and isolating...

The topic today for the Hearts at Home Blog Hop is:  When did you realize that you were not alone on this journey called Motherhood?

Today's topic pulls at my heart strings and takes my mind soaring through the emotions that accompanied this journey.  It is wonderful to look back at a vulnerable time in my life and to see how God has been so faithful.

After 16 hours of Labor, eight of them excruciating, eight of them blissful (grateful shout-out to the inventor of epidurals), my mid-wife informed me that the baby was simply not going to come out so we had to do a C-section.

I was not open to this option.

"I don't have time to have a C-section! I am moving in eight weeks!!!!," I insisted.

And this was not a simple move for me.  It was a heart-wrenching move from my ultra-coddling church family in Indiana, to the great unknown in South Carolina.  Leaving my girlfriends and Bible Study Ladies felt like I  was being torn from all my support. I did not want to move and I was having troubles trusting my husband that he had our best interests at heart.  All of this would have been hard for me all on it's own, but mix that in with becoming a first-time mama and I was a real mess.

Well, the C-section happened in spite of my protests.  And eight weeks later I found myself feeling very alone in a new house, with a new baby, in a new town.  Actually it turns out that the South is a whole new culture.

I can still remember that feeling six years ago of strolling my baby around my new neighborhood with a deep sense of grief washing over me... missing my "old life", longing for the familiar and resenting all the "new".

Starting over was hard.

My next door neighbors were so sweet and welcomed me with such grace.  But I did not know them, I could not depend on them, they knew nothing about me.

The struggles of becoming a new mom overwhelmed me, esp. when my son broke out in hives on his face when a milk-based formula dripped on him.  I was scared, and alone.

I went to my first MOPS-like moms group at a local church and the speaker talked all about how moms need support.  He encouraged us to lean on our families and depend on our friends.  I choked back tears as my mind screamed, "but what should I do when I have no one here!!!!"  My family is a plane ride away, and everyone here is so foreign to me!  I felt hopeless. I knew that friendships took a long time to form and that I needed help NOW!  I felt so needy and I despised that feeling.

I attended another MOPS group at another local church and I clicked immediately with all the other moms at my table... who were all first time moms with new babies!  I was not about to let on how needy I was, but one of the girls confided to the group that she felt all alone and had no one.  One by one, all the other mom's at my table expressed the same thing.  I felt like I could let my shell down a bit and admit how alone I was as well. God had put me in a group of amazing ladies that not only I needed, but that needed me!

My neighbor friends also continued to win me over with their love.  They showed me that even though we had not been life-long friends, that I could trust them and that they were there for me.  And they were.  In just a few short months, I felt surrounded by love and support.

 I remember distinctly the time when I realized "wow, I am not alone in this motherhood thing"... it was when I had taken my son to the doctor for something and when I got home there were two messages on my answering machine.  Both of the messages were my neighbors calling to see how my son was doing and wanting to know what the doctor had said. 

 It was at that moment that I realized that I had friends who truly cared and were with me on this journey.  They were with me in the daily stuff... brightening my days when I would go out and get my mail and end up talking for hours at the mailbox, sharing food and discussing all the details of which diapers held in blow-outs and when it was time to take the bumper off the crib.

It was different this time.  These new friends had never met my parents, did not know my sisters' names and had no understanding of my past... but it was okay and I was grateful.  I knew God had provided for me and showed his great love for me even when I doubted.

I lived in South Carolina for only 1.5 years.

We moved to Iowa where I live only a few miles from my parents and have cousins galore in a 15 mile radius.      Surprisingly, I was sad to move from South Carolina where these wonderful women had made a glorious impact on my life in such a short time.  I was a bridesmaid in my neighbor's wedding in South Carolina, two years after I moved away.

Lessons learned:  God is good!  God is faithful!  Friends are a gift.  Friends don't have to know every detail of your life to be a true friend.  I still have my life-long friends that I have known all my life and I am so blessed by them.  I have learned to open my heart to different "levels' of friends along the way.  
I also have a heart for the mom who is feeling alone and needing "connected".  A great way to integrate that mom is through MOPS and/or invite her to the Hearts at Home Conference.  
A lot of bonding happens in that car ride and hotel stay!  I have invited moms that I BARELY know and it has been a huge blessing for them and me!  One mom that came with me two years ago is now one of my closest friends and a huge support to me.  Reaching out is a two-way blessing!  

Check out other Hearts at Home Bloggers below writing sharing their thoughts on this topic!


Nichole said...

Tricia, isn't it amazing how we think we are all alone and somehow we are surrounded by others who feel the same way? love how God works to bring us together and help one another out. i remember hearing 6 years ago about poor little Mickey needing prayers as you guys worked through the trials of trying to figure out what was wrong. you had some prayers warriors back in that little Indiana town (and still do today!):) thanks for sharing your heart

Camille said...

What Indiana town are you from?

Mouseymom said...

Hi Camille! We were living in Fort Wayne before we moved to SC. how are your children's allergies doing?

Pam said...

It's amazing what God will do when we let our shields down, isn't it?

On another note, I sooo wish I could go to a HAH conference this year. Baby #4 will only be a month old (maybe), so leaving hime or her at home isn't an option.

And on yet another note, I should be all set to have another Swaziland post up around midnight, barring anything too crazy happening here at home. :o)

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