Today's Throwback Thursday has me all up in my feels.
First, big shout-out to this mama community. My Mom Village.
We took these at one of our beloved OG's baby No. 2 sprinkle a few months ago.
I met nearly every one of these women one fateful day four years prior, when I self-consciously walked into the 2nd-floor room of a medical center with my six month-old baby for the first time. The Socioemotional Support Group for Postpartum Mothers.
At the time, I was feeling confident in neither my career path nor my new role as a mother. I had recently left my full-time job with the surface-level hope of figuring out how to run my own therapy practice and the deeper, hidden panic of learning quickly in those first few postpartum months that I could no longer sustain my previous ways of approaching work, relationships, and self-care. Being a new mom took up all of my physical, intellectual, and emotional energy, and it suddenly felt like I had no idea who I was. I was lost.
I returned to that room to sit in a circle with these mamas and their babies almost every week for the next six months.
After most of our meetings, we'd caravan with our strollers down the block and take over a local restaurant to have lunch together. One of our group members' nearby apartment became headquarters for continuing our conversations from group about marital, infant-feeding, and internalized stress... or sometimes just to sit together and stare blankly at the wall in a collective sleep-deprived daze, while our babies rolled around on the floor beneath us.
Were we all instant friends? No. Were there moments over the next year and beyond where we would come together and unintentionally hurt one another due to being unskilled in navigating our racial, cultural, and other markers of power difference? Unfortunately, yes.
But did we learn from each other? Sure did. And did we support each other in the best ways we knew how to at the time? Absolutely. These women were there during my fledgling, awkward, early days of learning how to be a parent--one of the biggest transitions of my life. And then they were there to react, and respond (mostly virtually; it was 2020/2021 by then), to my concerns of belonging and safety as COVID, public and private reckonings with the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and so many more Black and Brown people, and surges of AAPI hate crimes raged in our country. Unsurprisingly, not all of our mom friendships survived the fallout of these multiple pandemics.
But some became stronger.
The important thing, for me at least, is that we (I) stuck with it over the years. With each other. Community can take time to build. Relationships are a process. To take a note from my favorite decolonized parenting educator, Nat Vikitsreth... just like parenting and social activism, mom friendships can be hard work. BUT, they are most certainly worth it.
It's a wild, full-circle feeling that today, the same baby that I walked into that mom group with four years ago is starting Transitional Kindergarten. And I know that many of my fellow moms are experiencing the same thing: withstanding the test of time, even with many of us and our families having moved to different cities or states all together, we still have an active WhatsApp thread that was poppin' this morning with all of our kiddos' start-of-school pics!
They are my Mom Village. And I'm so grateful for them.
It is in part due to them that I am feeling so deeply passionate and excited to launch my own take on the Mom Village for my San Jose and statewide new/new-ish mama community. I have two upcoming 6-week group therapy series: starting Monday, 8/28 at 11am I'm holding First-Year Moms, an in-person, babies-in-arms postpartum support group; and on Thursday, 9/7 at 5:30pm, a virtual supportive space opens for Anxious Moms anywhere in California. I'm grounding each series in the values of social justice, anti-oppression, and decolonization, in hopes to facilitate a stable foundation of belonging and mutual accountability among the supportive, interdependent Mom Village I hope we will form. We all have to start somewhere!
Registration ends in less than a week. If you or any mother (inclusive of all genders) you know might be interested in these offerings, please take a look and feel free to ask me any questions.