“It takes a Village to raise a Child.” – African Proverb
Becoming a mother is not for the weak minded, and raising a child is not an easy task. I say that in the kindest possible way. Don’t go into motherhood thinking it will be a breeze. Yes, you can certainly have the “Unicorn” baby (aka perfect little snowflake) who sleeps through the night, is well behaved and breastfeeds like a champ. You can have also have the high-maintenance baby who won’t sleep more than 30 minutes at a time, demands to be held round the clock, and has temper tantrums like no other. Regardless of how things are going, we can all agree that at some point you’ll have that moment where you want to cry, scream, or perhaps crawl into a bottle of Pinot Noir. Let’s face it, we all need support.
So who do you turn to for guidance? Your Village.
It takes a Village to raise a Child. Remember this, it is probably one of the most important quotes about child rearing. What does it mean? Simply put, you do not have to raise your child alone. You are not on this journey alone.
There is nothing worse than that feeling of doubt and uncertainty in what you are doing, whether you are pregnant, a new mom, or a seasoned veteran in motherhood. The mind can be your enemy and without support you can fall. Your significant other may not always know how to best be there for you, because they may not understand all that you are going through. There’s no real instruction manual on how to raise your child. Believe it or not, the hospitals just let you take your baby home… you don’t even have to pass an exam. Sure, there are hundreds upon hundreds of books, blogs, and articles you can read. All of them will offer conflicting advice, and can often times be confusing or overwhelming. Your pediatrician can be helpful for the real challenges, but they can’t tell you whether you should cloth diaper or use disposables. They can’t tell you if babywearing will help, or if you should quit your job to become a stay at home mom.
In early 2014, I joined an online community called The Bump. Many of you may be familiar with their sister sites, The Knot for Weddings, or The Nest for your Home. The Bump is all about pregnancy, and the trials and tribulations that come with trying to conceive and raise a child in this mad, crazy world. Joining this online community was far and beyond one of the best things I did for myself during my pregnancy (besides getting a prenatal massage… that is what dreams are made of). I joined several other mom-to-be’s in my December 2014 birth month club. We would regularly share questions, advice, random thoughts, funny memes, unpopular opinions or confessions, crazy stories, and even irresistable sales! It was so easy to connect with some of these women, despite not really knowing them. Regardless of who we were, where we lived, marital status, social status, whether we were first time moms or seasoned veterans, introverts or extroverts, on The Bump we were the same.
Towards the end of our pregnancies, a few of us took the next step and hopped over to Facebook. Best. Decision. Ever. This group of 70 women have truly become my Village. Early on, we were able to commiserate over our exhaustion during our middle of the night feeding sessions. Some of us discovered our proximity was closer than we thought, and the desire to have playdates became a reality. We cried together over glasses of wine as some of us prepared to return to work. We shared in excitement when our December babies said their first words, rolled over for the first time, and even took their first steps. We offered support when relationships hit turbulence or families had hardsips. We shared prayers and positive thoughts when our little ones had unexpected urgent care visits. We cheer each other on. We build each other up. We offer advice (sometimes unsolicited). We share our experiences. We are a Village.
Whether you are thinking about getting pregnant, expecting a baby, or raising your brood, you should absolutely find your Village.
XOTell your friends!