Last night I sat around the table with other women, matriarchs. Girls who fought for the title of mother and writer, and child of the King and we swapped stories and shared our histories. We told of the beauty of pregnancy, even when unexpected and the bitter pain of infertility and failed adoptions. And as we shared, one woman at my side, Simone, remarked on how beautiful it is how storytellers communicate. We ask questions and seek details, drawing out the story and the beauty of a life. And she’s right, we do. I think even more so as women. We need our words. We need the commonalities between us: the shared overflowing piles of laundry and the never-ending sink full of dishes (not to mention the floor that needs mopped again). But most of all, we need each other.
Over the table I watched two mamma’s laugh over their age and the fact that they’ll be on the playground for so much longer. Both had babes later in life, and it was beautiful to watch them share their joy and fatigue. I shared my story of infertility and watched the nodding heads of understanding penetrate my soul like a warm blanket. I listened as one woman shared the joy of her granddaughter, born to her teen daughter, and kept after a failed adoption, show such love to a mamma who had been on the other end of that story in her own life.
We need each other. We need the girl next door that doesn’t turn a man’s head but turns the heart of her sister skyward when it seems like the babe just wont stop crying. We need the grandma in church to bring over cookies and banana bread to the working mamma who doesn’t have time to take a bubble bath let alone whip together pastries for the school bake sale. We need the childhood friend who picks up the phone because she knows, deep down, that you need her-even when you haven’t seen each other in years.
We need the other mamma, who has felt the pain of a miscarriage, to reach through her sorrow and put her arms around the stranger in the doctor’s office who just got the news. We need each other. This humanity of living and breathing and souls and soul-searching, we need each other.
We need kindness out of the goodness of our hearts, without asking anything in return. We need the Kleenex of a shoulder and the soothing balm of a whispered prayer. We need the words of encouragement, and the hands that just hold and tell us that it’s hard. That it’s okay to say it’s hard, and that sometimes it’s okay to just be angry.
We need the baby to stop crying and when he doesn’t we need the grandma to come over and hold us both because we’re so weary we can’t see straight. We need the aunties and the sisters to share over our labors of body and paper and love, and tell us that it doesn’t matter how we got here, we’re mammas just the same.
We need the women we’ve never met but who know our hearts and our souls like none other because they’ve lived in our words and felt our laughter and our hearts on a page and it mirrored their own.
We need connection. We need understanding. We need to lay down the idols of competition and the “I did, you didn’t” or the “You parent how?”s. We need to stop fighting for Mother of the Year or Woman of the Universe and start fighting for the mamma in our office or MOPS class.
We need kindness.
We need encouragement.
We need compassion.
We need empathy and understanding.
We need someone to ask our story and want to listen.
We need each other.