When my oldest son was born, I quit my full-time office job to stay home with him. When we realized I needed a paycheck to keep our family finances afloat, I took a retail job at our local Buy Buy Baby.
As a sales associate, it was my job to help our customers, mainly expecting and new parents, find the things that would meet their needs or solve their current problems. As a new mother, myself, this was easy for me to do. But the longer I worked there, the more I realized that my presence met a different kind of need for some of my customers.
In my early days of new, stay-at-home motherhood, I was lonely. The days were long. My constant companion only communicated by crying, cooing and the occasional, fleeting smile. Desperate to encounter another adult in my day, I would go to my neighborhood baby store, hoping someone else would initiate a conversatior or, at the very least, tell me how cute my baby was. Sometimes all I got was an exchange with the cashier, but somehow, it still helped me understand that there was still a world outside my home with people in it who existed.
Working at the baby store, I began to recognize the isolated new mothers. The ones who came seeking something they couldn't really name. I saw myself in their tired eyes. I saw their unacknowledged ache, the tears that they refused to shed in public but were sick of pouring out hidden inside their homes. I saw mothers stepping out into an unchanged world, shell shocked from the transformation that was still actively erupting through their own hearts.
I saw them.
I knew them.
I had been them. And I had become someone else. I knew how lonely it can be. I also knew how amazing it would be once they came out the other side, once the haze began to melt away, once they began to discover the wonder of their metamorphosis. Once they realized their babies were really fascinating people that they would become so eager to get to know. I knew from connecting with them as they shopped for nursing covers or the right bottle nipples or swaddling blankets. I knew they were grateful for the little I could offer.
And I knew that they would be okay.
And now, I get to offer more. And to tell you, I see you, too. I know what it's like. I'm here for you. And you will be okay.
I am beginning this journey to serve postpartum women with slight hesitation and a humble heart. I know how much of a joy and a challenge new motherhood can be. And I want to be an anchor to those who might feel untethered as they step into it.
I question whether I have what it takes to provide what is needed.
I envision my role as an encourager, a listener, a warm embrace. I want to be a comfort, offering nourishment for both the body and the soul. I want to help women find their strength in motherhood, their confidence and laughter. To illuminate and celebrate the tiniest moments of perfection, however fleeting they may seem in those early days. I want to walk with them through the messy bits and help them understand that they will emerge from the challenges with a grace and power they can hardly imagine.
I want to show new mothers how beautiful they are, in their rawness, even when they haven't had a shower or slept very much. Because there is love coloring every fear and sorrow and defeat. There is so much love. So much vicory there with it. It makes them radiant. I want to exist in that radiance with them. I want to reflect it back at them. I want to help their hearts to fill.
I trust that it will be amazing. For my mothers, and also for me.