We are not meant to mother alone

Here’s a shout-out to my friend Susan Lanterman, who took me under her wing when I was a bewildered new mom. Susan had three kids – and she had breastfed the first one for a whole six months, longer than anyone I knew! He was so cute and smart. It seemed like she didn’t sweat the small stuff, and she loved those kids to pieces and wanted to do what was right.

She was just the right mentor for me in those early days.

Soon we were running a mom’s get-together, and later I became a La Leche League (LLL) Leader. I learned so much about mothers and babies and group process!

One of the most important things I learned was about how women turn into mothers. I’m sure there must be people out there that are in love and confident from the get-go – but not me! I worried about everything. Of course I also read everything – and sometimes that was part of my problem! Good thing I didn’t have Internet access at the time. I probably would’ve been paralyzed.

Getting together with other moms was one of the best learning experiences ever. My first LLL meeting, there were two other babies born the same week as my daughter, all six months old. I was so worried that Phoebe would never crawl – and at that meeting, she was her usual self, she would just sort of lay there and talk. One of the other babies was sitting up quite nicely, and the other one was airplaning. But the other two were clearly not as verbal as my little babbler.

And that was the gift – each baby was in a different place. There is a diversity of gifts and abilities and personalities – even at six months. Even at three months! Suddenly I stopped worrying so much.

I love New Moms Network. (That’s our BMH moms get-together on Wednesday mornings. You can see our schedule and check us out on Facebook at Brattleboro New Moms Network.) I love to see the newest moms with their babies. It takes a while to figure out – yes – you are safe here. Everybody’s baby fusses, and everybody looks like they don’t fit into their clothes yet. And nobody slept all night!

Soon they are looking at the older babies and their moms. Does that baby really roll over? Can a baby drool at three months? What kind of diapers are those? Oh, that baby smiles – and another one is giggling, I know I heard it. And my baby will look like that – there’s hope!

A mom with a three or four month old has found her groove. She is ready to share what her baby has taught her – not only about his own little self, but about her own self. And she’s ready to start being good to other moms – a mentor.

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