There's the whole birthing process that is full of surprises no matter how informed you are. Then there's the fun surprise for some of us of finding out the gender, or getting to see if the baby has momma's blue eyes or the red hair that only a few people on your side of the family get.
And there's the grosser stuff- who of us knew about meconium until it was upon us? Were you surprised when your newborn girl starting lactating a little? And who knew that such a little person could change life as we knew it inside out, upside down?
...and there's also the surprise that many of us don't really like to talk about.
I never knew I'd be so lonely.
The good news is that sometimes motherhood isn't very lonely. When all our friends are in the same stage of life and babies are popping out right and left, it's fun to be able to experience that together as a community, sharing our struggles and our victories, visiting one another and praying for each other. The problem is, many of us aren't so blessed to have that. Maybe we're the first of our group of friends to have kids, or maybe we waited longer than the rest of our friends and they are long past the stage of 7 o'clock bedtimes and Gymboree classes. Or maybe we just changed jobs or moved to a new location.
I think there are two sides to this way of life. For those of us who ARE well-connected in our neighborhood, our local Moms Club chapter, our churches, wherever, we can always be looking out for the new person (whether that person be new to the community or just new to being a parent), inviting them into our lives and circles. Even the simplest connection could provide hope for that mom who just doesn't have the same networks of support- "Have you met my friend Amy? She has same of the same interests as you do- I bet you'd love her. How about you come over next week and I'll introduce you!" I remember when I first moved to Wilmore, KY for seminary-- I didn't know a sole. I'd only been there a week or so, and a mom down the street (Mandi!) invited me to a game night that she was hosting. I met a whole gaggle of kind women who asked me a bunch of questions, artfully included me in on the conversation, and were immediate potential friends. A couple weeks later I met another mom (Lynne!) on the playground and she invited our whole family to dinner as we were leaving (like, "why don't you guys come over in 15 minutes to eat with us?"). Another awesome example of an invitational life. Lynne and her family actually ended up becoming some of our best friends!
And for those of us who ARE the lonely ones, we can live an invitational life too. I think many of us assume that people are already busy (rightly so), and most moms don't want another friend. Bianchi encourages us to show up to places where we can meet new friends (playgrounds, etc) and be social. Smile at another mom; strike up a conversation. You never know what kind of friendship can come out of it. We can also be invitational, being on the lookout for those moms that seem a little lonely themselves.
We were created to live in community with one another, and it is through this authentic, Christ-centered community that the Kingdom of God comes. None of us can live life by ourselves; we're called to love one another, which means we have to know one another! America right now is a very transient place, especially for those of us who are in the child-bearing season. Jobs change. People go to school. Many families aren't as geographically close as they used to be. Many of us choose to have kids later in life. All of this makes relationships difficult to make and keep.
So our homework for this weekend is to make a new friend! Reach out to someone, invite them to "do life" with you- whether that be going to the park, taking a walk, or doing laundry after the kids go to bed. It'll be worth it.
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Congrats to Heather for winning a copy of Mom Connection!!
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