Let’s consider wolves for a minute. A wolf pack typically consists of an alpha male and female, and when the alpha female gives birth, alllll of the females in the pack stick by her and the pups, making sure that everyone has food and shelter and can, I’m guessing, shower.
Help, in other words, is not optional. It’s innate; an evolutionarily ingrained piece of the baby-making pie.
Here’s what happened to us: We had a baby and came home from the hospital and were elated and devastated in nearly equal parts. Our world was turned upside down, we weren’t sleeping, the dogs were neglected, my mind was turning to mush, we were never going to travel anywhere ever again because HOW, and I was never going to get my body back, but who cares because life is over as we knew it.
Oh and also, how horrible a person am I for being overwhelmed instead of staring at my perfect baby all day in grateful bliss? Again, #momguilt for the win.
See, for most of the women I know and me, it’s hard to ask for help. It feels like consenting that we can’t handle X, ergo we are weak and will be the first characters killed off. No, it’s much better that we try to parent and wife and job and support our friends and stay in shape and be happy, rested, polite, rational, witty and informed on our own. Because, see everyone?! I can!
Except that I can’t. And here’s something motherhood has taught me: that’s okay.
WHAT?!? Mind blown.
But, it’s true. The wolves know it, and thanks to my whetheryoulikeitornot friends, now I know it.
Because here’s what also happened to us: My mom stuck around to resuscitate the dogs and scrub our tears off the counter tops and be a mom. A local “MOMS Club” delivered meals, despite the fact that, being new to town, we’d never met any of these women. My friends answered every weepy phone call and, bonus, didn’t tell me everything was okay.
They told me the truth.
One friend told me that for the first two months, she and her partner regretted getting pregnant. Another admitted how relieved she was when her toddler started school. A friend in the city laughed about leaving the kids with Nana so that she could nap without interruption at a nearby salon. One of my dearest friends said simply, “Stop waiting for it to be magical. It doesn’t get magical for months.”
They flew across the country to meet Forrest and do nothing but sit and watch me breastfeed. They drove miles at Christmas for a few hours’ visit. They responded to texts at all hours and held him and sang to him and danced for him and they never asked for gratitude or recognition because they were too busy telling me I was doing great.
My sister wolves gave me permission to feel exactly whatever I was feeling, and it saved me.
And here’s the other thing: the moms in this pack are the best moms I know and they adore their kids even when they don’t deserve adoring. None of their admissions detracted from that truth.
So, if I want to do and feel my best at motherhood and partnership and work and all over, maybe asking for help is part of the deal. Maybe, definitely, I can’t get there without it, and recognizing that makes me, and all of us, anything but weak.
If you could ask someone for help with anything today, what would it be?