1.13.2017

Life with baby

As life with a new baby went on, I decided being a stay at home mom was just not for me. I thoroughly enjoyed going to mommy group on Thursdays and seeing my friends. We loved it so much in fact, we made a day of it! We would meet for lunch, sitting around extra-large tables with our babies in their baby carriers napping, and happily chat about the week since we last saw each other, ignoring the glares of other patrons and employees wanting us to move on. Then we would caravan over to our group session at the hospital. We would meet with other moms, and lead by two nurses, discuss our problems, the babies, our lives as mommies and whatnot. Eventually, we would all walk over to “baby weight watchers.” A scale in the hospital’s retail office for weighing your baby. The hospital provided disposable covers for the scale and we all happily weighed our babies and tracked their growth.
Overtime, the moms would develop into little groups. It was not really on purpose, but it definitely felt a little clique-ish. The designer mommies with super fancy diaper bags and the newest, latest baby things. The very hippy, free spirited moms with recycled everything and cloth diapers and they had that patchouli and peppermint oil thing happening. And then, the free spirited groups that organically grew of children who were close in age and so their moms started the group around the same time. There was a core group of moms that we were all a part of. Even though we had our preferred sub groups. The nurses, Cathy and Kathy, who ran our little mommy therapy were really wonderful about sharing information, calming upset mommies or just being really sweet, helpful people. They encouraged us to welcome every new person with open arms and to continue our budding new mommy friendships.
As it would happen, one of those days, we had several new moms all show up together. This would generally happen every time someone new would show up, as in high school, no one really wants to go anywhere alone and new moms frequently arrived in pairs. On this particular day, we started our group with everyone in a circle.

Cathy to the group, “Good afternoon, everyone! Welcome, I’m Cathy, a nurse here at Baptist. We are so glad you’re here today! Please share your name, how many children you have, your baby’s name, how old your baby is and nay milestone your baby has met that you’d like to share. We’ll start on my left and go around… Cindy?”

And so we went around.

Each mom proudly showing off their babies, generally born within the last 6-7 months; some are now sort of sitting up, but falling to the side when attempting to perform, some are now latching on better, some are holding up their head in tummy time, Evan likes his pacy upside down. His mother showed us, we all laughed appropriately.

I shared, “I’m Rachel. This is Annie. She’s 10 months old. She’s great at sleeping and really likes to lick the spoon of mashed bananas and to do baby pushups.” Everyone cooed as I looked up, and immediately lock eyes with a woman I recognize.

We continue going around the circle.

Then it’s her turn, “I’m Caroline. This is Reid. He’s 2 months old. He really just sleeps.” Everyone laughs. I blush.

The group continues sharing, but I am not listening. I am 100000% sure I have just heard my high school sophomore English teacher share her baby in the same group I’ve been coming to. I feel incredibly embarrassed. I’m 19 for God’s sake! My ENGLISH TEACHER is sitting across from me in MOMMY GROUP. My friends are all at school, whining about professors and what to wear to parties and whether their boyfriends will like their skimpy dresses. I am worrying about diapers and what my husband and I are going to eat for dinner…

After everyone finishes introducing themselves, we watch a video about breastfeeding and Cathy and Kathy offer to help everyone who is interested or wanting help. A few moms pull back from the circle into their own little mini circles. A few of us make eye contact and start preparing to head to baby weight watchers. I’m hoping we can sort of sneak out, undetected. I feel like I’m back in high school trying to sneak out of class. Cathy announces that we are heading to baby weight watchers and encourages moms to join us, I cringe inwardly, I’ve been caught. I smile at the other moms and wave them on to join us. (I may not want them to come, but I was raised in the South and I have manners.) A few come.

As we are walking down the hall and I am hoping that she won’t talk to me, “maybe I can disappear in the group” I think, she walks up.
“Rachel”, she says. I recognize the lilt in her voice.
I turn around, “Oh hey, Mrs Goodman! I didn’t know you had a baby! Congrats!”
“I could say the same thing about you!”
“Yeah” I feel sheepish. I probably look sheepish. ‘I look stupid. Why is she here? Why did I come today? I should have stayed home and watched Judge Judy or something. Where is that hole that’s supposed to be opening up in the floor?!?!?’, I think. “Her name is Annie”, I said.
“She’s beautiful.”
“He’s darling”
Annie began wiggling in my arms. Yes! An excuse!
I fumbled through words to make an exit and Caroline’s friend called out.
We said our goodbyes and she moved on.

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