As I was warmly welcomed by a mother who was unpacking the library of books for the group while her 2 year old ran circles in the room blabbing a song only he could understand, and as her 4 year old sat quietly at a table coloring, I found a chair, set down my things and asked if one has to be having difficulty with breastfeeding in order to attend.
"Definitely not" was her response with a smile on her face as she lovingly tried to wrangle the crumbling graham crackers from her toddler's hands.
Only 5 other women and myself attended, and as they entered the room one by one with their children, ranging from 6 months, 2 and probably 5 or 6, the room was soon filled with the sounds only a room full of toddlers could make.
And so the meeting began. After introductions, the mother who greeted me lead discussion, with the day's particular topic being "Overcoming/Preventing Difficulties".
I've always been a people watcher, and it is not to judge them in the least. To the contrary, it is really because I genuinely appreciate people... What they're made of as far as personality, their body language, their smiles, their eyes... Especially their eyes. So much can be seen within the eyes. They are truly the gateway to what is underneath.
I was immediately comfortable in that group. Of course I expected to be, but you just never know.. well, the unknown, until you've put yourself out there and try it out.
Discussion was organic and continued seamlessly among the battle cries of the toddlers among us.
Mothers are such amazing beings. It is a beautiful truth that, once you're a mother, you're a mother to all children. It was interesting to notice how we all, at one point or another, had our eye on the children (whether they were our own or not) and occasionally would instinctually "mother" (Yes, it is a verb too!) the closest to us, all while being fully engaged in discussion that was filled with personal experiences, advice based on those experiences, and of course, affirmations.
You can always count on affirmations among women. Well, most women. It is only among those who are comfortable within their own skin, do not pass judgement and are open and receptive to other women. It's unfortunate that some are not. They're missing out on connections that could help them grow in unfathomable ways.
After discussion and toward the end of the meeting, all of us had breastfed at one point or another, with children being breastfed from the ages of 6 months to the age of 2. Seeing toddlers being breastfed reminded me of "Attachment Parenting". This is something I recently read about on a fellow hippie momma's blog, realizing that, although I probably will not breastfeed into toddlerhood (just a personal choice), I have always practiced Attachment Parenting! It's actually the most natural way to parent, essentially following instincts rather than "popular" or societal expectations. Who knew it had a label though! I'm not big on labels, but was pleased to learn more of this AP, and was more pleased to find a book in the LLL library.
Before we changed diapers and headed out, the leader then mentioned the need for volunteers.... UH OH. LOL
I mentioned to my husband a few weeks back that I planned on attending this group at some point, and he said in so many words, that as long as I don't end up planning rallies every weekend, then all should be fine.
What he means is... I tend to gravitate toward organizing things. I'm good at it. I love it. And it is just natural for me.
It was a good point for him to make, because one thing we're focusing on for right now is being home and NOT planning/leading anything, mainly because for an entire year and a half, we helped lead in several ways within and behind the scenes of the Occupy Movement, taking a lot of time and energy and passion. A lot.
So, it was good to have his voice in the back of my head when my "OOoo!! Ooo!! I'll help with publicity, coordinating events, social media, and.. and..!!" urge came on at the first mention of them needing help to grow and get their name out there.
Not being able to completely pass it up, and after brainstorming a bit on some ideas, I did offer my help but mentioned how my 'man hours' must remain low for the time being, receiving chuckles after I shared the reasons why.
Groups like this are very important. This pregnancy and baby (as far as breastfeeding, mothering, etc) has been a piece of cake (knock on wood) with really no difficulties or feats to overcome. But I say that humbly.
With my daughter, postpartum and breastfeeding hell were demons on my shoulders leaving me feeling like a failure, and with hardly a support system or confidence in myself at the time, it honestly scared me to reach out. I know for a fact that if someone would have reached out to me and gotten me to attend just 1 meeting, my life and world probably would have been a whole lot different from that point on.
Women need women. Mothers need mothers.
After what we go through for 9 months and then the birth of our child, no matter how we birth... We're all sisters in a sense. We must reach out to one another.
La Leche League is full of angels who do just that. This is something I could get used to. :)
I'm glad I went. Looking forward to where this takes me. (SLOWLY, of course.) teehee