By Leah Campbell
Originally published on Babble
Becoming a mother didn’t happen in the usual way for me. There was a lot of heartache in getting here, fueled first by years of infertility and failed IVF cycles, and then by a sense of not knowing whether I would ever get to be a mother at all — a fear that genuinely crushed me as I tried to figure out what the next step might be.
So when I was randomly introduced to a woman who was a week out from giving birth, and when she randomly asked me if I would be willing to adopt her baby, it all seemed a bit like a dream.
This kind of thing doesn’t happen in real life. It doesn’t happen to real people. It certainly wasn’t the kind of thing I ever thought would happen to me.
But it did.
As it turned out, the woman was sincere in her request, and very adamant that I was the mother her daughter was meant to have.
And so, I said, “yes.” Because even when you think a dream can’t possibly be real, you allow yourself to enjoy it while it lasts.
The next week was a whirlwind. I was in shock, to be completely honest. I didn’t even know where to start. But my friends rallied in the most amazing ways. For days, my doorbell was constantly ringing. Packages were being delivered, a never-ending supply of hand-me-downs (both clothes and baby gear) were shuffled through, and extra hands were always available to help me accomplish in days what most people have a whole 9 months to do: preparing for a baby.
When I panicked, questioning what the heck I had gotten myself into, my friends were there to lift me up. To point me in the direction of the couch, to make me tea, and to force me to sit as they went back to work. When I worried that maybe I wasn’t up for this challenge, my friends were there to reassure me, to remind me of how much I wanted this, and to point out how adored I already was by their children. And when the call came that my daughter’s other mother was in labor, my friends were there, in the middle of the night, leaving their own families to come sit in the hospital with me as I waited.
They were the first people to meet my little girl. The ones who first gushed over she and I together. And the women who had my back when I didn’t know which way was up. It was actually a close friend of mine who lobbied for my daughter and I to have our own room at the hospital, a need she recognized before I had even figured out how to articulate it myself.
Those first months of motherhood were a blur. I’m sure that’s true for all mothers, but I tend to think it was especially true for me — again mostly just because I hadn’t really had any time to prepare. So when my little girl slept, I was busy building her crib and painting her nursery. In the lulls between feedings, I was on my computer trying to get work done — as there had been no time to build up any kind of paid leave. And every new phase that came along found me furiously Googling in search of answers I hadn’t yet known to look for.
Googling, and calling my friends.
Even as I found my footing, it was still my friends that I relied on most. That might simply be a factor of being a single mother, but my friends were who I called whenever my daughter was sick, or tantruming, or just acting off. They were the people I turned to when I had parenting issues I couldn’t seem to solve, when my little girl finally hit the milestones she had been taking her time on, and when I simply needed a place to go where my kiddo could run around and I could talk to another adult for an hour or two.
My friends were, and continue to be, my greatest outlet and source of support in motherhood.
I honestly don’t think I could have done it without my mom tribe.
So here’s to the moms who carried me through my chaotic intro to motherhood, and who continue to stand by my side today.
The moms I know I can count on to share a babysitter for a night out, or to pick up my girl from preschool in a jam, or to just be there when I need a shoulder to cry on or someone else to laugh with about my daughter’s latest antics.
Motherhood, for me, has been so much more enjoyable because of the women I’m walking alongside on that journey. I don’t know what I would have done without them, but I’m thankful I’ll never have to figure that out.