Over the past 3 years or let's say after the birth of my daughter Sia, I have made quite a set of new friends. That's quite surprising since I am very choosy about who I call real friends and I have left college more than a decade back, probably the last place most of us make friends in.
So I surprised myself the other day when I went through my phonebook and thought of the ones who would qualify for that late 4 am call when the world is crashing around you and you want someone to speak to. It was quite a number and yes the new set I have added to my speed dial list comprises of all mothers.
There is a strange bond which unifies mothers. I mean one moment you are strangers and then two lines about your babies or pregnancy or motherhood and you are ready to do anything for each other, well almost. Diapers and potty training connect mothers faster than any internet service in the world.
We have a small mommies group on blackberry and though I haven't even met half of the mothers on it, I feel I know all of them deeper than other friends who have been with me from my school days. For one, mothers can't pretend or lie. What I mean to say is that with little babies in their arms and the pressures of motherhood, they hardly have them time to put up a faade or even contemplate it. Mothers say it as it is. "My son has 104 fever and all I want to do is sleep for a few hours, Am I selfish?" goes one while the other day someone wrote, "What shyness? After child birth is there any woman who relates to the term shy"? Another one was feeling guilty of slapping her child for the first time and when her own tears couldn't console her she turned to the group where each one got together to make her feel better and realise that she was a great mother and by then probably her son had forgotten all about the slap. By the end of the chat she was back to her cheerful self. We mothers laugh, cry, cheer for each others kids. We get worried when another mother is worried about her babies' health. We are deliriously happy when a baby rolls for the first time all by herself. We share our doctors numbers, maid agencies, pass on stuff our babies have used and are through wit and unabashedly ask for help without sometimes remembering to thank the person too. But its all well as long as it has served its purpose. Sometimes we just gossip or bitch or have a good laugh. After all we mothers too need our time out. As I always say, 'A happy woman makes a happy mother'.
My hubby often finds me typing away vigorously in the dead of the night. But I just can't help it. If a message pops up on the mommies group about a baby not sleeping or not feeling well or a mother feeling low, I have to give all the support, advice, suggestions I know. For some reason I relate to the whole phase where I used to be alone with my baby in the dead of the night and looking for some sort of consolation or support to take me through. From ear piercing to washing milk bottles to diet plans to switching to solids to 2nd baby dilemmas, we mothers share, discuss, debate and are with each other. I must admit I do get a lot of respect, probably much more than I deserve for being an author on pregnancy and motherhood and my persistent habit of reading up on the topic holds me in good stead when I give advice or suggestions. And there has been no bigger victory or moment for me than when a mother has written to me that her baby's colic eased after she tried a home remedy I suggested or her daughter went through teething effortlessly after she tried my tips. All career highs pale in comparison to these moments when a grateful mother sends me hugs or blessings.
Mothers are less judgemental about each other. Having gone through so much with pregnancy and childbirth we can be easy going, ignore the extra weight, sympathise with a dirty home, handle bad behaviour and I think this makes it easy to be friends with them. We can handle another kids tantrum simply because we know our kid could be throwing it next. We have larger issues to deal with than worrying about our thickly grown eyebrows or our child bearing paunches. And we have the same stories to share with different perspectives, reasons and solutions so its easier to bond and relate on those. There is no need for explanations or start from ground zero. We just know when to hop onto the train of a running discussion.
A big salute and hug to all mothers for doing so much more than just raising babies. For being there for each other. For making another mother feel better just when she needs it the most.
Till my next post. You can write to me at http://mammamania.in