Tapping into the Network
"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."
— Jane Howard, Families (1978)
Often, woman have been accused (and guilty) of being catty, backstabbing Mean Girls. I challenge you to find a girl or woman who hasn't suffered the slings and arrows of a group of nasty wenches. BC (before children), I steered clear of girl groups. I had a few close friends I met between junior high and college, and we are still friends today, but I never really joined much of anything. Blame my mother, she wasn't a joiner, either.
When my twins were born at 24 weeks, I was completely overwhelmed. At just a pound and a half, they spent more than five months in the hospital being watched over every minute of the day by literally hundreds of talented, caring professionals. At first, it was difficult to find my place. I couldn't hold them, I couldn't nurse them, I couldn't care for them. I felt pretty lost, and certainly did not feel like a mom, whatever that was supposed to feel like.
About a month or so after they were born, a neighbor came by — a women with three kids, including a set of year-old twins. She invited me to come with her to a Mothers of Multiples (MOMs) meeting. I gave her a bunch of excuses, ending with the fact that I wasn't really a mother to them yet. She looked at me for a minute and then said: "You're their mother. I'll pick you up at 7:15."
I will be forever grateful to that woman for reaching out to me and dragging me to my first MOMs meeting. It changed my life — as a mother and as a woman. For the first time, I was plugged in to the powerful network that is motherhood.
Our MOMs group met once a month in each others' homes and usually had a terrific speaker. To this day, I pull from the parenting advice those speakers offered. But, as valuable as the speakers were, it was the camaraderie of the women in that group that saved my life.Continued on the next page