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Happy Mother’s Day to My Village Peeps

It takes a village to raise a child. And apparently one to champion this mother.

After giving birth to my son, I was alone. Just me and my crying, peeing, and pooing bundle of joy. The closest family member was about 400 miles away, with most being about 8,000 miles. My ex-husband was working 70-hour work weeks. And the vast majority of my former workmates were busy living their sans child lives going to gigs, pubs and all-the-rage restaurants, unable to compete in a National Nappy Changing Competition if their lives depended on it.

I had the blues worthy of a Robert Johnson song, and just as it is said that Mr. Johnson sold his soul to the devil for the ability to play the greatest blues ever heard, I felt as though I sold my sanity to ol’ Lucifer in order to have a baby who happened to have the lengthiest crying sessions ever heard.

I sought the help of a therapist, and she discussed post-natal depression. She recommended I research some mom and baby groups in my area, and I told her I had no desire to become a member of the Goo Goo Ga Ga Gang or Mamas Who Coffee Clique. She said I should force myself, and the next week I found myself doing downward dogs with fellow new mothers in a mums and babies yoga group.

Unbeknownst to me, this was the first day of the formation of my village, a village which initially helped me overcome my baby blues and a village which has subsequently helped me look after myself, raise my son, and nurture the baby in my belly.

Some of the mothers in that yoga class have become lifelong friends and parental pillars. And they have introduced me to other moms – at playgroups, story times and classes, at birthday parties and picnics, and in parks and gardens – with whom I’ve formed lasting friendships. These moms are the bricks and sticky tack, the shoulders, the “come overs” and the “I’ll be right overs” of my village.

We’ve spent countless hours in each other’s homes, celebrating milestones together, listening to stories of monster-in-laws, sharing holiday stories and photos, fetching tissues for leaky boobs, supporting one another in pregnancies and returns to work, and caring for each other’s children as if they were our own.

When my little Enlai had the chicken pox, my village wanted to bring over medicine. When I started a new business, my village all came to the launch party. When Enlai was in the hospital, my village visited him, offered to donate blood, brought him gifts, and called at all hours to check on the little fella. When Enlai started his first day at school, no less than a handful of my village moms called me within ten minutes of dropping him off to check if I was okay. When I separated from Enlai’s father, my village opened their homes. The first night Enlai and I moved into our new flat, my village came over with champagne and housewarming gifts.

Upon finding out I was pregnant with my second child and sharing the news with a mom in my village, she sat across the table crying tears of joy just as I did. When I announced this happiest of news to all the moms in my village, I received numerous offers of grocery shopping and babysitting while I rested. My village spoiled me with several home-cooked meals.

The sweet bun in my oven has already been shown so much village love. In addition to offers of going with me to antenatal visits and being a birth partner, my village has given me maternity clothes, a crib/cot, highchair, bath, baby gym, clothes, bottles and toys.

I have endless gratitude for my village of fellow moms. Endless. Happy Mother’s Day (US) to all of them. Now then, if only I could convince the majority of fellow tube passengers that they are also part of the village and that by offering a pregnant woman a seat, they may be contributing to the well-being of a child.

Category: Expat Mama, General, This Parenting Stuff

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One Response

  1. Marimena says:

    Very sweet.
    Happy mother’s day to you dear Lisha and to all the village mums.

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