Illustration 178933683 © Iuliia Istomina | Dreamstime.com
Thank you to my beautiful friend who shared these words with me. This simple affirmation really helped me on some of my darkest days and through my biggest struggles as a new mom.
The friend who sent this to me as a text when she would check in with me through my transition to becoming a new mom is someone whom I had known for years through my best friend. She was a dear “ friend of a friend” and we had always met up in groups with my best friend in all the years I had known her. We never had intimate one on one conversations but liked and respected each other and always enjoyed our times together. As we had never shared our more vulnerable sides with each other I was surprised and deeply touched that she was one of the people who made such an impact on my journey.
I should not have been so surprised. She was a mom already. And she knew. Every mom, no matter how successful, how “together” they appear, how perfect their lives may seem at times, needs affirmation and support. She is one of those amazing women who can do it all- she has two boys who are becoming such good human beings. They are literally the most thoughtful children I have ever met and embraced my daughter immediately into their fold. She has a very successful and busy career in New York City and pre-pandemic was also flying around the world to meet with clients. She also started exercising a week after delivering her second baby and transitioned back to work quickly and seamlessly. She also has a very supportive husband who puts his wife and family before everything else (those unicorns of men deserve their due credit!) That being said, she is a real life superhero.
I watched her from the outside through both of her transitions to mom and then mom of two and she did it all with grace and style. She made it look so easy to me and I aspired to be like her. But she knew. No matter how easy it looks from the outside pregnancy and transition to being a mom, especially when working in a male dominated industry such as she is in which involves long intense hours on tough deals in foreign countries or in a field that I am in where you are trained to work 24 hour shifts without time to eat, sleep, or even go to the bathroom, and then to feel gratitude and not complain at the end of the day because you get to be a doctor- making room for pregnancy and motherhood is TOUGH.
Her simple texts
Hey mama! How are you doing?
Hey mama! I’m just checking in.
You’ve got this mama!
made me feel the silent bond that we had formed as I was initiated into the community of moms. I am ever so grateful for her small affirmations and acknowledgements that made me realize I was not alone. Society treats the journey of becoming a mom as just a normal part of the life cycle, but for the women who have to deal with the hormonal changes, physical changes, emotional changes, spiritual changes, and new self identity that comes with this rite of passage, even small acknowledgements and encouragements can make a huge impact.
This woman is now someone I cherish and love dearly. I am so grateful that she is a friend and someone I feel safe being vulnerable with. She is someone who I love spending holidays, beach days, and snow days with, someone who I laugh with as our toddlers delight in a bubble bath and our families have dance parties (with disco lights of course). She is the superhero who reached out and made such a human connection with me in only a few words. She does not even know how deeply this small gesture affected me.
I am now paying it forward with these and other small affirmations and acknowledgements so that my friends and patients can feel that sense of connection through shared experiences and feel a little less alone along this crazy journey of parenthood.
What affirmations have helped you along your path?
What have others said to you that meant more than they could ever know?
We do not need to give elaborate gifts or a large devotion of time to let someone know we see them. It only takes a few minutes to reach out and remind each other of our shared humanity.