No Disclaimer & Full Disclosure
These sage words were shared at a writing group a few years ago, and little did I know what a big impact they would have. When I work with new moms, loneliness is the shared feeling that I encounter most. Ironic indeed, now that new mothers spend 99.9% of their time with another human being. But moms want to connect with others, they want to share the big feelings, the little moments, the questions and not by someone on a phone or computer screen...someone in real life.
When I first became a mom, I found myself longing for heart to heart connection, too. Funny enough, I started making excuses that actually kept me feeling lonely by keeping people away...maybe some of these disclaimers sound familiar to you, too.
“The house is a mess.”
“My baby is really cranky
“I'm a wreck.”
“I haven't showered in days.”
“My baby is having an off day.”
“I don't have any food to offer you.”
All of these disclaimers are really barriers to connection.
If I committed to Full Disclosure, it may have sounded more like this:
“I feel ashamed that I can't manage to keep my house tidy and care for myself and my baby. I don't want you to see my imperfection.”
“I have no idea why my baby is crying so much, shouldn't I know why? I don't want you to see my imperfection.”
“All of my clothes are covered in spit up, poop, blood or sweat and I don't know how to get my laundry done and care for my baby. I don't want you to see my imperfection.”
“How the hell do women find time to take a shower when my baby needs me to hold him, feed him and comfort him 24 hours a day. I don't want you to see my imperfection.”
“I have changed the baby's diaper, fed him, rocked and cuddled him but still he cries. What am I doing wrong? I don't want you to see my imperfection.”
“If you come over, I will not offer you a cup of hot tea or fresh baked gluten free muffins today. I actually thought I would be "that mom" who could. I don't want you to see my imperfection.P.S. maybe you could make me a cup of tea.”
If a friend said any of the above vulnerable statements, we would be over with an open heart in a flash. But it is so tender and hard to be seen for what we feel is "imperfect”.
I also want to be clear that I don't think that inviting in friends and supportive community is the responsibility of a new mama, it is the task of her community offer care, acknowledgement and resources.
I do, however, encourage new moms to practice the art of No Disclaimer & Full Disclosure. The ripple of heart connection and truly being seen serves the well-being of the parents, the families and the community as a whole.
If you want to learn more ways of nurturing community in the postpartum year, sign up to receive our monthly muse letter. Do you feel called to create a group for moms and babies in your neighborhood? Check out our Group Facilitator Training.