My first blog post in over 4 months was only 2 days ago. As you can see, I meant it when I said I would focus more on blogging!
Today’s post is inspired by a Scary Mommy article that appeared in my feed yesterday. The title of the article is “Am I Invisible? One Mom’s Pain-Relieving Response to Being Excluded” by Rachel Macy Stafford. The title itself triggered my mind to flash back to many experiences of trying to befriend other mothers, only to have my attempts stopped dead in their tracks with the same kind of cold reaction mentioned in the first few paragraphs of this article. I’ve hated–no, DESPISED– the feeling of being excluded since I was repeatedly excluded as a teen by these 3 C’s: cliques, classmates and even fellow churchgoers. Exclusions by teens is one thing. But exclusions by adults? Totally unacceptable, unnecessary, immature, inexcusable …..and quite simply, crappy.
As an adult, I have never had any problems striking up conversations with strangers I’ve never met before. I have done that fairly often during the past 29 years of commuting into the city. Usually, we are able to have these conversations due to our shared commuting woes. That is our common bond.
In 2018, I made more new friends in my area in the one year than I have in the past 17 years combined. As I’ve said in prior posts, I’ve found it challenging making friends in my area. The friends I made last year arose from shared objectives of ensuring a #BlueWave this past November. That was our common bond.
In 2016, I made more friends with classmates at my college reunion than when I was in college! Being alums (without the stress of getting passing grades) was our common bond.
In 2006, I became a member of Postpartum Support International (PSI). I blogged about our common bond previously in this blog post.
These are just some examples of how a common bond encourages friendships to form and conversations to be had even between strangers. But that leads me to ask why a common bond of motherhood does not encourage friendships to form and conversations to be had even between strangers? Why did the author of the Scary Mommy article experience the cold and mean exclusion that she experienced? Why did I experience numerous cold and mean exclusions of countless mothers, even ADULT mothers of newborns, when we share a common bond of wading through unfamiliar territory together?
Doesn’t matter what the reason is, now does it? Regardless of the reason–whether it be insecurity, pride or just plain nastiness–I would never do this to someone else. It’s taken me a long time to piece it all together….the realization that such nasty behavior was actually a favor, as it instantly warned me not to waste any time. In keeping with my philosophy “Life is too short for BS,” when I see people who–whether they know me or don’t know me yet–behave in a manner that is suggesting exclusion, I won’t waste my valuable time or energy on them.
In keeping with my philosophy of “Love, laugh and live a life with no regrets” I will take my experiences of people turning their backs on me and make sure I DO NOT treat others the way I DO NOT want to be treated myself. I would NOT turn my back on someone who needed help, a listening ear and/or support. I am not in the business of being on this earth to earn negative points in the karma area, TYVM.
- Help others who need help because, if the situation were reversed, I would want someone to offer me help
- Listen and provide comfort to others who need comforting because, if the situation were reversed, I would want someone to comfort me
- Support others who need support because, if the situation were reversed, I would want someone to support me
You know what they say about motherhood? IT TAKES A VILLAGE. Do what the Scary Mommy article suggests, which is to be the one person that makes a difference for someone else. Imagine if everyone did that? We would truly have a village!
The article urges us to each be the one that makes a difference for another, because all it takes is one person to help, listen/provide comfort to, and support someone else and help them realize they aren’t totally alone in this very-populated-and-yet-quite-lonely-at-times world. How do we know the other person who’s coming to you for help, comfort or support isn’t in a dire situation? How would you feel if you found out you could have made a difference by helping them, but was cold to them and there was a tragic outcome?
New mothers who are experiencing, or have experienced, a postpartum mood disorder share a common bond of loneliness, of feeling alone in our experience. All it takes is one person to help another to not feel alone. This is why so many new mothers have dedicated their lives to providing help/listening to/providing comfort to/supporting mothers suffering from postpartum mood disorders. They want to give to someone what they did not receive while they were sick themselves. Many, like me, did not get help, comfort or support. Too many new mothers feel alone and for no reason at all. There is no reason for a new mother to feel alone and at the end of their rope.
I will end with this beautifully-written poem in the Scary Mommy article:
With one invitation, we can take someone
From outsider to insider
From outcast to beloved member
From unknown neighbor to coffee companion
From wallflower to life-of-the-party
From shortened life expectancy to 80 years of joy.
I DO NOT want to have any regrets for not doing something when I had the opportunity. Do you?