Walking around the city with my baby, I now pick up other Mommies. We eye each other with a kind of curiosity. I’m not shy so often I’ll initiate conversation and most moms seem relieved to chat. Typical questions: How old is your baby? Is this your first baby? Do you live in the neighborhood? Do you have any help? Did you have a C-section or a vaginal birth? What hospital did you deliver? These questions are the standard ones but if there is some comfort or connection the next questions might go a little deeper: How is your marriage? Have you been fighting? Have you felt depressed? Have you lost your baby weight? Do you miss your life before the baby even though you love the baby more than anything?
I meet these other mommies on the street, at Buy Buy Baby, and at Whole Foods. We are drawn to each other because I think on some level we all need some instant therapy. We need a quick download followed by a supportive upload from the only other people who could really get it. My husband is surprised by how much I learn about these women’s personal lives so quickly. But we share so much because I think we need to.
I was taking a walk the other day with a fellow Mom I picked up on the 14th street. Her son was born two days before mine. She is a Pilates instructor and I’m a yoga instructor. We apparently have something to talk about. As we walk and compare notes on balancing our schedules with our desire to be with our babies we spot a woman pushing her chameleon stroller onto the street out of the doorway of her building. She looks tired and a little lonely. We approach her and ask how old her baby is. “10 days old!” she announces happily and wearily. We begin some of the typical above common questions and rather quickly the woman tells us that her baby was conceived through IVF and is her “angel baby.” I sense a certain need of hers to share this information with us. We cheer her on and congratulate her for getting her beautiful baby and we mean it. Later, I wonder why she felt she needed to share this with us but it occurs to me that perhaps she needed the assurance that she is as much a mother as any one of us. Perhaps she stepped out of the building needing that validation and there we were to give it.
I’m loving this city as a new Mom. So many people view it as a big, overbearing and lonely place but I’m learning that the neighborhood is my village. Moms walk together, share information, and give a little support when needed. I used to notice caravans of strollers, pushed by chattering women and wonder what it was all about. Now I’m one of them and even though I’ve never been a group kind of girl, I’m finding myself grateful for the support we’re giving each other.