Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The 36 year running postpartum support group

This was us 6 years ago for our 30th anniversary. My hair was especially short as it was just growing back from being bald
2 days ago at our Xmas party. The fifth mom was taking the photo. Should have insisted on dragging her husband from his lair to do it
3 of the 5 original babies at one year. Shanna used the bottle as a pacifier. Alas I have no photo of the five babies of the Moms in one place. And of course we had five more babies that aren't included in this at all
A few months later with 2 of the missing babies from above but now missing our hostess's son. The 2 extra babies  (the red clown and the ghost)left the group. One moved out of state; the other still here and I am still friendly with her as Josh and her daughter were close friends

pretty tree with 20 gift bags for each other
Beautiful table artfully set by the artistic mom Every inch of her house is full of art
I met the first Mom in my Lamaze class. I don't believe we spoke until the final night in which we all put down our addresses and phone numbers on a list if we wanted to be contacted in the future . I noticed that Mom One was a neighbor and waddled over (I had packed on 70 pounds, a lot due to pre-eclampsia) saying we should get together after our babies were born. As she didn't seem so enthusiastic, I reluctantly pounded on her door later. We became friends baby-sitting each others babies until the seconds were born. She initially was in a different Mom's group but asked to join ours as we seemed to be having more fun. Mom Two was my second roommate (first roommate, the immaculate conceiver, hymen had been torn giving birth, had left). Her baby had been premature and had been quickly taken away with breathing issues. She was up all night with worry so we talked all night. We had gone to the same elementary school though since she was closer in age to my brother, I didn't know her. At one point, our best friends were sisters. Small world. When the babies were a month old, she brought her son over to my house. He looked so frail and tiny compared to Shanna, who was growing alarmingly quickly. For the first 3 years, she was the tallest and heaviest baby (though Josh had her beat by quite a bit once he appeared) but the others all surpassed her being boys. Frail baby is at least 6 inches taller than her and weighs quite a bit more. Lamaze never contacted me but Mom Two did asking me to go to her group early January 1980 when our babies were almost 6 months old. I brought my short-haired dumpling encased in Osh Kosh overalls (I wasn't going to pink poison my daughter) to the facilitator's house on the west side of Ann Arbor.
Ah, it looks like we all have sons!
Um no. We met weekly for a while with the facilitator and then given the option to meet on our own at our own houses which we have continued to do for the next 36 years. It must be some sort of record. One of the moms quickly dropped out. She was very weepy as her son was rejecting her breast and it was difficult to see our babies greedily sucking away (though since I had to go back to work, Shanna had a bottle). Years later, I met the Breast Rejecter all grown up into a fine, young man at a science fair sponsored by our work. He was quickly replaced by the son of Mom one. Another mom moved out of state when the older babies were three; another left when they were seven or so due to hurt feelings. As she lived a few houses down from The Albatross (she long ago moved yet again), I still saw her as we had different friends in common and her daughter was buddies with Josh.
Two to three years later, most of us had second babies though again, I was out of sync as I had a son  when 3 of them had girls. Between the five of us, we've had 10 babies and now 9 grandbabies with me having the lion's share. Initially most of our conversations revolved around our babies. So much to discuss and worry about. And for me, this was my main outlet. Yep I have plenty of friends though most of my childhood and college friends were scattered to the wind and most of them did not have babies so early. And I had plenty of friends at work, some of whom I'd see outside of work. I worked with men. And although most of them  had or eventually had children, the quickest way to bore them is to say anything about my kids. No matter, plenty of other things to talk about. And talk I do.
Our friendships deepened over the years. We were so involved with the lives of our babies, it took years before we really learned anything beyond the superficial about each other. We have morphed into Chosen Sisters. Most of us have developed relationships with each other beyond the group so though we now meet less regularly, once a month or so, we see and talk to  various individuals much more frequently. When one of the daughters had a junior year in Paris, three of us hopped on a plane to see her, the first time in Europe for all of us. (somehow it isn't fair that our kids got to go to Europe and Caribbean Islands long before we got to). We have weathered many crises together but have also shared in the joy of our children's milestones. These babies are 36 year old grown men and women who are much older than we were when we first met. We've have grown up too in many, many ways. It has been a very interesting journey. I am so blessed that these women figure so greatly and joyfully in my life.

1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

How lovely that you found sisters of your heart.


Blog Archive