When I began my journey to single motherhood I knew I’d need an amazing support system. And as soon as I shared my decision with those closest to me, the offers of help came pouring in. I wasn’t surprised; I’ve always known I’ve been blessed with amazing family, friends, and coworkers. But I was grateful.
I also knew though, that when it came down to it, a lot of this journey I’d be venturing on my own. Even the most supportive people in my network have families, obligations, and struggles of their own. If I was going to do this, I had to be prepared to do some, if not all, of it solo. Being the independent person I am, I was okay with that. A little scared, but resolved.
Then I started fertility treatments and was frankly surprised by how much emotional support I needed. But it was there. My parents and friends were even more supportive than I could have expected, and considering how highly I thought of them before, that’s saying something.
Pregnancy I thought would be easier. Heck, it was mission accomplished, time to celebrate! Only it was scary and stressful at first, mostly because I kept waiting for something to go wrong, and my body loved to torture me with frightening symptoms. That first trimester was also exhausting. It hit me for the first time in over a decade of living alone how much work it was to do it all single.
But just when I thought I’d drown in correcting and housework before finding the energy to do it all myself, my support system once again came to the rescue. Dad threw on his superhero cape in the form of picking up groceries and dragging the heavy litter up the stairs to the trash on more than one occasion, while mom relinquished her ten-years-retired red pen to help me through sets of literature tests. My neighbors noticed my days off and came to check that all was okay. And my friends kept me sane and smiling like only a woman’s closest girlfriends can do.
In addition to the support system I knew I had, but who have continued to astound me with their sheer awesomeness, I’ve discovered another support system I didn’t count on: fellow moms. Sure, some of my friends, neighbors, and coworkers were moms well before I began my journey, but that wasn’t why we had a connection; it was secondary. Now, though, I’m beginning to understand the bond fellow moms have, a bond I’d witnessed in the past, but never truly appreciated until recently.
Ever since announcing my pregnancy fellow moms have gone out of their way to share their wisdom, humor, and support—not to mention their desire to clean out their stuffed storage spaces by donating piles of amazing maternity clothes and baby gear for which I am tremendously appreciative.
And it’s not just the friends I’ve always been close to who have overwhelmed me with their generosity and support. It’s also friends of friends, whom I’d never previously met, and the mother of the girl I tutor, and the parents of my students at conference night, and the second-time mom at my prenatal yoga class.
As someone who has always appreciated the bond between women and felt strongly about the importance of having a close group of women to talk with, I wouldn’t have thought such shows of support could surprise me. But I find myself in awe of the experience. Moms are amazing people. I can’t wait to be a part of this ‘club’ and fully intend to pass forward the generosity I’ve already been shown when I finally find myself on the other end.
I knew as soon as that faint little line appeared on the pee stick that this year I would have more than ever before to be thankful for—not just my amazing friends and family, but also a chance to start a family, a dream come true, growing stronger every day inside me. But my support system has outdone themselves, leaving me overwhelmed with gratitude. From books, to baked goods, to baby gear, I’ve been showered with generosity, but what’s really struck me has been the generosity of spirit. There may be days later on when I’m physically alone with my little guy, and those days may be difficult, but already I know that I’ll never be without amazing support. I’ll carry that compassion and my gratitude for it in my heart, and in turn it will carry me through.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday full of those for whom you are most grateful!
Photo credit: dar19.30