For a baby shower a few months ago, I thought about getting the mom-to-be “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding,” because it was a huge help to me when Tommy was an infant. It would have been even more helpful to have in the first days home from the hospital.
But I decided not to. I didn’t want her to think I was pushing my agenda. Nursing doesn’t work out for everybody, and that’s fine.
Then, earlier this month, I got a message from a college friend I hadn’t heard from in awhile. She was just checking in, “from one busy mom to the next,” she said.
Among other things, she asked how breast-feeding went for me. She acknowledged that it might seem weird to ask about boobs, but said, “I also hope that you found support when/if you needed it.”
And then I realized. I should have given that book. Because that’s what all moms — new and not new — need sometimes. A little extra support.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “There are many ways that communities can support breastfeeding mothers and babies, and everyone plays a role.”
My role could have been simply buying that book.
I still need support too, even though I didn’t realize it until right then. Maybe not for breast-feeding, but for other stuff. When my friend reached out, we messaged back and forth about not juggling it all, conception struggles, miscarriages, potty training and poop. (Some topics just aren’t taboo when you’re a mom.)
It was great to chat because even though I love, love, love being a mom, sometimes it is hard. Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m doing the right things. It felt so good to talk to someone who understands.
After my last column ran, another mom I know texted me out of the blue. We messaged about breast-feeding toddlers, not sleeping, child-care woes, changing careers and, again, not juggling it all.
Talking with her was awesome, too. It made me feel like maybe, eventually, my son will sleep through the night. Maybe, just maybe, I’m not doing everything wrong. And that definitely, moms have to stick together.
So I’ve decided I’m going to start paying it forward. I’m going to reach out to a new mom and check in on her. And the next time I’m invited to a baby shower, I’m taking “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.”
I’ll say, “If you decide to nurse and you have questions, call me. And if you don’t, still call me, we’ll talk about something else and I’ll get you a new present.”
That’s what I would want someone to do for me.
To reach Pamela E. de la Fuente, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.