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What they don’t tell you #673: that having a baby may be one of the loneliest things that you will ever do.
Sure, people come around and visit and bring you casseroles (or, in our case, ready-for-oven yummies from Pusateri’s and Whole Foods) and flowers and offer to clean your kitchen (sometimes, these will be the same friends that will later abandon you because you blog). Your mother comes to town and sits in the dark with you while your ever-wakeful new baby – dubbed Baby No Sleep by the nurses at the hospital – chews away at your tattered nipples and tells you about how she gave you sedatives as an infant (formula and sedatives. Ah, the seventies…) because you too were a wakeful baby and drove her crazy. Your awesome Husband takes some time off of work to hang around home and gives you all of the love and support that is in him to give. You’re not actually alone.
But you’re lonely.
There’s a lot to be said about why this is, and how this is. About how every time your husband walks out the front door you panic, your heart clenching with resentment as you realize that you’re on your own with this strange new creature that is entirely dependent upon you and that you will always be on your own with this creature precisely because she is entirely dependent upon you. About how you think that nobody will never fully understand how it feels to know that you are, now, forever burdened, forever shackled, and that no matter how sweet those shackles, no matter how much you love the shackles, they are just that – shackles. About how you don’t want to talk about the experience of new motherhood with anybody because it’s impossible to talk about without falling into an incoherent rant about how hard, how very hard, how very fucking hard it all is. About how you’re scared that if you talk about it people won’t understand that at the same time that you are overwhelmed with anxiety and fear and frustration, you are also overwhelmed by love. About how you’re scared that you are a bad mother for being so afraid. About how you’re scared that everyone else is going to think that you are a bad mother for being so afraid.
So you sit in your ratty sweatpants and unlatched nursing bra in the corner of your sectional sofa, infant tucked to your breast, surrounded by bottles of water and pumping gear and dog-eared copies of What to Expect The First Year and The Baby Whisperer and the tattered bags of cookies that are the mainstay of your diet when Husband is out. And you think about how very, very alone you are.
New motherhood can be lonely. I was lonely. So when I was invited to join a mom’s group-slash-baby playgroup I was thrilled. New moms! A bunch of new moms! They would know. They would understand. It didn’t matter who they were, I would like them. And if I didn’t like them, for some bizarre reason, I wouldn’t care. They would still be moms and they would understand and I would no longer be alone. I would join them no matter what. I would embrace them no matter what. Like (spoiler alert if you have not yet seen Season I of Lost) when the Lost survivors on the raft meet up with that boat of people at sea and are delighted to see them even though they totally look like extras from Deliverance. I wouldn’t care. I was adrift and alone on a spit-stained mommy life-raft. I’d take salvation in any form.
So when the mom-group boat approached, I jumped on. But although I was initially glad that I did, it wasn’t too long before my grateful enthusiasm wore off. They weren’t extras from Deliverance, but still, I didn’t like them. I didn’t dislike them, exactly. It was just that although they nodded at some of my stories and I nodded at some of theirs, we didn’t really respond to each other. They didn’t laugh at my jokes; I didn’t laugh at theirs. They were sometimes judgmental of each other, and of me (you shouldn’t do this you shouldn’t do that it’s too early to let her do that why on earth would you buy THAT kind of stroller?) They were sometimes nasty about their husbands. The conversation always felt strained. There was no quote-unquote connection.
I just wasn’t that into them. But I stuck around. Because I was lonely. Because there was nothing better. Because sometimes you just need a baby-call and any mother will do.
But as I got more into blogging, and discovered that there were dozens of mothers and fathers out there whose jokes I could laugh at, whose stories I was interested in, I started to feel a bit ripped off. Why was I stuck with bitter, competitive mommies who knew all about Baby Einstein but cared nothing about the real Einstein or his cultural equivalents, when somewhere, out there, were hosts of crazy smart funny mamas and dads? When some of them were actually in Toronto?
So when Sunshine Scribe wrote her post about getting iced by some snotty MILPs (Mommies I’d Like to Punch), that was it. I’d had it. I came out of the closet and said publicly that I was lookin’ for mama-love and did anyone care to hook up?
And they did. And we did. And it was awesome.
MotherBumper and I hooked up on our own last week and had a roll in the park. Then, on Friday, Sunshine Scribe, Kittenpie, MetroMama, BubandPie, SomethingBlue, Scarbie, Petite Gourmand, two soon-to-be-bloggers (send us your links!) and yours truly indulged in some rollicking group action. (TOMama missed us because we changed locations, and for that I am truly regretful. We’ll be making reparations at the next gathering.) And later that evening, a smaller group of us convened at a bar and got drunk on liquor and good company – really, really good company – late into the night.
It was a Total Mommy Hook-Up. It was knock-off BlogHer in the T-dot and It. Was. Good.
(Pause for long drag on virtual cigarette. Slow exhale. Aaah.)
Others have already run through some of the details of the events, and Sunshine Scribe did an newsfeed-worthy recap that I couldn’t possibly improve upon. But I will say this: I loved it. Every minute of it.
And I hoped that they still respected me in the morning. Because I’d really, really like to see them again.
(And, FYI, all you other bloggrrls out there? I am now going to be insufferable at BlogHer, demanding that everyone be my friend. Because having tasted the sweet, sweet goodness of real life cool-girl-on-cool-girl action, I cannot get enough. I warn you now.)
I done got dressed up all purdy for the bar and Mama left me at home…
(TO blogger baby smackdown photos – evidence that the TO mama-blogger love-in is not just urban legend in the making – ARE UP at Mama Blogs Toronto)
(There’s someone new in the Basement. Go, hear her. I sure did.)