It’s really easy to let my friendships slide into oblivion during these early days of parenting. After all, taking care of Jamie takes up most of my waking hours, if not all. But that would not be a wise move at all.
Just as it is with all other phases of our lives, I believe we need the presence and support of others to get us through this madness known as parenthood. Because even if we can survive it all on our own, we’d be missing out on a whole lot of fun that would come from sharing those experiences with another person.
I am personally really blessed to have Hosanna around to journey through motherhood together with me. Our babies were born merely a week apart from each other, and in the same hospital. We live really nearby to each other too. Just a short 5 minutes drive away (or less… I was never good at numbers and estimation). It’s an uncanny coincidence, but perhaps it’s what God felt we both needed.
In fact, we actually knew each other as friends long before this (while we were both still single and new to the working world), but sharing our motherly joys and woes on a regular basis has created an added depth to our friendship.
Of course, I’m not saying that you neglect your friendships with others in your social circle who aren’t parents. They are equally important to have in your life as they give you perspective on things beyond the confines of running a family.
But what I am saying is that it’s important to have other parent-friends who can help see you through those darker days of child raising and for whom you could also offer support to whenever they too need a boost.
One incident where I felt particularly encouraged by having shared something with Hosanna was the day I accidentally cut Jamie’s finger when I had actually intended just to cut his nails. I initially hadn’t realised my mistake until Jamie started wailing out of the blue and I saw the blood oozing from his finger. I felt really sorry for having inflicted unnecessary pain on my son.
I related this to Hosanna only to discover that she too had done the exact same thing not too long before that. While it didn’t change the fact that what had happened had already taken place, it comforted me to know that this is a common challenge that new parents like us faced.
It might sometimes seem like a trivial thing to share your concerns or day-to-day struggles with someone else. Especially a new parent like yourself, who is bogged down with just trying to get by everyday caring for their newborn. You may feel like not burdening them with petty matters. But for all you know, they could be just waiting to talk to someone about what they’re going through too. And there could be no one willing to do that with them.
But it could be you.
If you are able to, give it a go and open up to another fellow parent. Chances are you’ll find that what you thought was unique to your situation or your child isn’t really as isolated an incident as expected. That there are certain things that ALL parents face and ALL children experience.
It will warm your heart to know this, and it will be the fuel you need to keep going.