The Power Of CommunityJuly 11, 2016
By Melissa Bertling, VP Account Services
In March I gave birth to a sweet baby boy. He is my second son, which means I just returned to work from my second maternity leave.
I loved this maternity leave. I hated my first one. Why? Because this time, I came to understand the power of community.
In the days after you give birth, the whole world is there to support you. Your husband takes time off of work. Your parents visit. Your partner’s parents visit. Your friends swing by with a meal.
And then all of a sudden…there is quiet. Deafening quiet.
The doorbell stops ringing. The phone doesn’t vibrate. It’s just you and this brand-new human being alone on the couch. You enjoy the peace of the first few days alone. You memorize every inch of their face. You binge-watch some Netflix. You sleep when they sleep. But then there’s nothing. Pure nothingness. The house is just so damn quiet. You look at the clock. Four more hours ’til 5:00 p.m. But right now, everyone is at work. Your husband. Your friends. And you are not. You are at home. And the quiet is excruciating.
But this time was different. I knew how much that loneliness hurt my soul, so I did this maternity leave differently. I created community.
I reached out to seven other girls who just so happened to have spring chickens, just like me. I was friends with them all on Facebook. We weren’t best friends — just acquaintance friends. Friends from work, my yoga teacher, an ex-client. And I invited them all to my house on a Tuesday. We all had new babies and all relished in the connection.
That Tuesday we ate quiche, swapped stories and became fast friends. We also decided that we should meet up the following Tuesday.
As I said good-bye to them that day and called out, “See you next Tuesday,” a new group of friends was born.
We met up every Tuesday until we slowly got gobbled back up into the working world. We walked the lakes, drank wine at noon in each other’s homes and just passed time together. It was so nice to know that no matter what, there was a group of women who got it. Who I would get to see once a week and reach out to any time I needed an ear, a shoulder or a whole-body hug. The group turned my maternity leave from lonely to lovely.
There is incredible power in community. The ability to connect with others is everything. So reach out. Meet up. Create connection. On a Tuesday, or maybe even a Wednesday.