Mums Need Other Mums: A Case Study
When my son was four months old, I made a nice visit to a doctor who practices about an hour’s drive from home.
She had become my friend during my visits and I wanted someone I could trust to check out my new(ish)born son and give me the lowdown on his health without all of the unnecessary medical mumbo jumbo.
So picture this: I’ve just been in the car for an hour. My son has had a nap in that time, but is also going through a temperamental stage with how he feels about being in the car. Current mood: Nah.
But, against all odds, we’ve made it to the appointment. I pop on the baby carrier, get my beautiful baby out of the car-seat (which is acrobatic in itself) and slide him into the carrier. The sun blinds him, naturally. Which makes him want to look at it more, naturally. I shield him as best as I can while I lug my over-filled nappy bag out of the back seat and lock the door. Phew. We got this.
I had promised my doctor friend I would pick her up a coffee on the way through and, as I spot a coffee stand just inside the shopping centre, I make a beeline for the counter. I fumble through my Mary Poppins-esque, over-filled nappy bag until I find my wallet, pay for a cuppa and stand to the side. I chat to my son mindlessly while we look at our surroundings, until suddenly, I hear a noise.
It’s the all-familiar noise of a baby who suffers with silent reflux – although, this time, it’s not silent. Half-digested formula pours out of him like a beautiful porcelain fountain. Did I mention he is currently facing me in his carrier? Of course he is. The more intimate the vomit, the better.
It was quick, but brutal.
It was all over him, my shirt, the carrier, a bit of the tiled floor and a splash or two on the now stained, Mary Poppins-esque, over-filled nappy bag. I looked down. Zipper on bag: not closed. Okay. Excellent. Very good.
At times like this, I don’t feel upset, or angry, or embarrassed, or even at a loss at what to do. This was our current reflux life, and I just did one of those casual, “of course” faces that people do when they’re trying to be cool about something gross while also recognising that all of the non-parental humans around me were gagging into their stale muffins.
But, before I could even reach into my twenty-seven pocketed, stained, Mary Poppins-esque, over-filled nappy bag, (where I would literally just be throwing my hand into the abyss and hoping something resembling a tissue came out) a lady holding a slightly older child dove forward like a superhero, baby wipes already in hand, attempting to soak up any of the goodness that my son had so kindly shared with us.
I stuttered a little and thanked her for helping me when I had clearly forgotten how to function. While casually attempting to soak up pools of upchuck in the crevices of the baby carrier, she cheerfully replied, “Oh please, it’s no problem. I have two little ones and to have the help of other mums was a lifesaver…us mums truly have to stick together!”
When people ask what the community of motherhood looks like, I like to remember this story.
It is the unashamed, ‘leap before you look’, others-first, like-minded group of women who have all gone through the same, absolutely insane, life-changing event.
Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the logistics of parenting that the gap between me and the next mother becomes so enormous that we forget that there is one strong, unifying element tying us all together.
So, mummas, don’t be afraid to step up and help out another mother! Forget political correctness, forget parenting differences and forget social expectations; grab that baby wipe and go to town on that spewy baby carrier, while imparting a reassuring word or two. Because you are a superhero, you are greatly appreciated and you are an encouragement to be remembered on what can seem like a very long day.
You might also like: We’re All In This Together – The Value Of Mum-Friends.
Kat lives in Perth, Western Australia and is pretty happy with her dandy life of 30 years. She is married to Andrew, who is a freelance graphic designer, all-around cool guy and now dad to their ridiculously adorable little boy.
Kat is a manager of a cafe, with a background that looks like a bag of assorted mixed lollies – administration, finance, selling yoghurt, image consulting, making coffee, and account managing. She loves Jesus, reading, drinking a decent cup of coffee, writing and cooking.