I Have a Village

Esther as young girl

My mom, Esther, around age 5

There was a time I hated Mother’s Day.  I struggled with infertility for years and seeing friends get pregnant left and right was enough for me to declare a day of self-pity and loathing.  My mom had already passed on at this point which only fueled anger and frustration into the mix. A dozen donuts, a pint of cookie dough and bingeing on chick flicks all helped me feel worse about myself.  Mother’s Day sucked.

Conception of a Village

Now that I’m three and a half years into this gig called MOM, I still don’t expect or ask for special treatment on Mother’s Day.  However, I feel like I’ve been at it long enough to realize I couldn’t have come this far without all the women figures in my life who have supported me in countless ways physically, emotionally and mentally.  They say it takes a village, right?

When I was trying to conceive I wanted so badly to ask my mom about what I was like as a baby, about her memories of our time together, and of her feelings and worries.

Instead I consulted nearly every woman I knew about giving birth, nursing, sleeping, playing, going back to work, etc.  I exhausted every question I had in emails, conversations, and online forums.  It was hormonal hyper-anxiety at its finest.

In the Company of Women

Looking back I’m embarrassed at my freakish behavior, but I don’t regret it.  I was overwhelmed by the generous community of women who addressed all my concerns.

Some of these responses came from women I hadn’t spoken to in years.  Women from my husband’s family, ex-co-workers, current co-workers, neighbors, college friends, high school friends, cousins, nurses, tennis friends, gossip friends, overseas friends – all were open and receptive to my questions.  Women were sharing personal stories of struggle, funny family anecdotes and some just wanted to listen to what I had to say.

Some of the most amazing women I continue to meet are the moms of my daughter’s peers. One of the fringe benefits of having a child are the cool people you encounter as a by-product of having kids who hang together.  These emerging friendships are so vital and gratifying.

Where Credit’s Due

I’ll never defer to Mother’s Day as an excuse for brunch, the spa or an adult beverage – those should happen irregardless.  I’ll also never expect SJ to buy or create something for Mother’s Day unless it was intentional.  What Mother’s Day means to me now is a time to recognize this supportive community who are endlessly helping me become a mom and raise a human being. It’s this network of strong, fearless and loving women, whom I’m so proud to call friend, sister and mama. They say it takes a village, and now I get it.

On this Mother’s Day I pay tribute to all the women who have been a mom to me in one way or another, all the women who want to be moms and can’t, the women who choose not to be moms but are mother figures, all the moms who live in the trenches on a daily basis and most importantly, the beautiful women who are mother figures to my SJ.  I can’t take credit for her entire upbringing.

Love Letter

In time for this Mother’s Day, my first article was published in Matador Network.  A love letter to my mom and to London.

10 thoughts on “I Have a Village

  1. Brittany Decker

    Beautifully said as you always do and so very true! It takes a village- and together we raise the next geveration of villagers! Infertility struggles make us appreciate our children even more, losing a parent – whether through death or estrangement- leaves a hole in out heart that can never be filled but is a space that we fill with our own joys of motherhood! Love you!!

    1. Jennifer | TheInterCulture Post author

      Yes, grateful that all we have each other to get through those “long” days. Its a joy to watch our kids grow up together, especially when we have friendship and loving support to get us through… Thanks, Brittany!

    1. Jennifer | TheInterCulture Post author

      Thanks, Meghan! And thanks for being one of the most understanding patient moms who responded to some of my neurotic questions! There’s a specific example from one of your emails that I always picture, but ultimately you were telling me that you just have to do what works for you regardless of what you deem is “normal”. I’ve always admired you parent according to your own gut & spirit.

  2. CAROL

    Just beautiful–a lovely tribute! Thank you for saying it so well, Jen–and Happy Mother’s Day to all of us in the Village!


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