I have a small group of friends that I’ve had since childhood. They are in most of my memories. Sometimes I think back about our fun and ache with a longing to go back to carefree and sleepless nights of laughter, tears, and dancing.
We are all grown up now. Most of us are married with kids and a few are living lives of adventure. Very few of us live near each other. In fact, I’m quite certain that very few of us will ever live near each other ever again.
It’s a sad moment when you realize that the past is long gone and nothing can ever be the same. I struggled with this realization for about three years after I moved to Michigan. I had lost a part of myself because I had lost a community. And here I had only a few friends.
I’m happy to say that I have found another community to fill that longing. It took a couple years, a lot of effort, and God’s timing.
For a long time, work provided that feeling of community. I made friends I will love forever and spent countless hours confiding in them. I also joined a volleyball league and enjoyed time with my teammates. I tried different ministries at my church and participated in a couple bible studies. I finally felt like I was beginning to feel at home.
And then my world was flipped upside down…
I got pregnant unexpectedly and quit my job so I could stay home with our child. No lie, I thought it was a mistake. I was alone at home all the time, bored and restless. I convinced Bear to get me a puppy so I could have a project to occupy me. I cleaned and fixed up our apartment. I did whatever I could to not go crazy.
Then one Sunday, a friend from church invited me to join the moms group that met twice a month. I felt weird going when I was pregnant, but decided it was a chance to get out of the house. Nothing I can say will accurately describe the family I discovered there. They were warm, open, and were going through similar circumstances (or had at one point).
The amount of love and acceptance I found in this group of young mothers made me feel like I was home for the first time since moving to Michigan. And through that group I made more intimate connections to friends I have now, to my church family, and to a group of once strangers that I will meet up with again come fall.
My purpose in writing this post is to encourage mothers of all kinds and to let you know that you are not alone. There are connections somewhere that will make you feel loved and included. When you feel like you are the only one struggling with a rambunctious toddler or a colicky baby or a stoic husband, know you are not. There are women out there just like you, who are struggling with the same things or who have come out the other side.
My encouragement to you is to find a community that will lift you up, that will help you find your joy again, and that will motivate you to keep pushing yourself.
Some helpful places to look for groups are churches, community centers, and libraries. You can even use social media to find mom groups and join mom meet ups. It will take some time and effort, but it is worth it you have a support system. Remember, mamas need friends too.