Tonight, I spoke with two old friends of mine. One is a biological mum, the other is a stepmum. One reached out to me directly, the other commented on a Facebook post. (For all its failings, Facebook is a remarkable thing)
Each conversation existed around the same thing: anxiety. The “what if” of it all and the fears that come with being a mother. We opened up about our worries and found such a beautiful thing…
… Someone who felt the same.
None of us go through life with unique feelings. Our experiences and perspectives are unique, yes, but no one has felt a feeling that’s never been felt. I reassured my friends that they weren’t alone; I shared my fears and experiences and I was amazed by how alone motherhood makes us feel.
We think that our negative feelings are a singularity, that we’re the odd one out. My friends and I each had the same fears about expanding our families. The stepmum worried she’d love her biological child too much and isolate her stepchildren – or vice versa. The variables involved are concerns I have myself about my own blended family. Would I connect with a new baby? Too much? Too little? At all? Would Maggie feel left out? Would she and I cocoon ourselves away in an effort to preserve the relationship we have now? I know now that these are not unique concerns. Reaching out and breaking our isolation helps us resolve these feelings. Doing research, gathering facts, sharing experiences… These are the things that help us grow. This is part of the “village” required to raise a child. Finding out you’re not the only new mother who hates the idea of a second baby because you’re having such a hard time with just one is so damn liberating. Saying it out loud and not feeling ashamed is so damn liberating.
Connecting with others is how we break the cycle. I just wish it weren’t so hard to reach out and speak up in the first place.