“There is nothing like walking into a room of women where you feel completely safe and loved.”
After a day of being bombarded by global problems and being inspired by some of the solutions at last week’s Social Good Summit for United Nations Week, I popped by my old church congregation to a lovely gathering of the women’s group. A couple of years ago I moved up the road to Connecticut after nine years in New York City. I have some wonderful women around me in my new town and am part of a beautiful community. They have brought me meals when I couldn’t walk after falling down stairs, helped with sick children. They have proffered support during some substantial life changes. But those women in New York rallied around me at some of the most crushing moments in my life.
They mothered me in my mothering.
They rushed to the hospital for that first birth and reminded you of your strength, and that your body was built for this. They understood the quantum physics required to stack three children, one business and two adults in a 1.5 bedroom pre-war apartment of less than 800 sq feet (but it was on E. 57th!). They didn’t blink when you showed up sweaty and gross in 22 degrees F (-5 C) because you’d just pushed two kids in a stroller for 5 miles uptown to get to playgroup. In the snow. They appreciated the badge of pride (or stupidity) you wore in getting the stroller folded with one hand, slung on your back, the baby in the carrier on your chest, toddlers one and two holding on to your diaper bag as you hauled everyone up the stairs of the bus. They winced with you when the finely dressed upper east side lady screamed at you in the middle of the street in full hearing of your children, “When are you going to STOP having kids?” And they teared up at the story of the lady wrapped in her mink at the bus stop weeping as she recalled not being allowed to breast feed her child 50 years ago because it “wasn’t done.”
They did the daycare run to pick up your toddler when you were nine months pregnant and had passed out at the office. They grieved with you over your two miscarriages, especially when the second one had you bleeding for four months and gave you your first experience of debilitating depression. They empathized with the husband gone for 65% of the year for work, and going solo on Sundays with squirming little ones in the back pew.
They loved me, and taught me, and were both my sisters and my mothers when my own were so very far away.
We have this gift of being able to go deep, to trust swiftly and to extend compassion to each other. Our developing world sisters experience far more crushing moments than I can possibly imagine. And they deal with them daily. I ache to create a sense of that enveloping love my church group women gave me throughout my early mothering years amidst the craziness of Manhattan, and somehow extend it beyond the borders of class and race and country.
I felt so instantly at peace, so understood, and so loved the other evening. So in my own skin. There has to be a way we can connect the experiences that we have in common with mothers all over the world. When we strip away the politics and the heat and the differing solutions, aren’t we all just trying to keep our families together, our kids safe and healthy? Clean and healthy resources, safe roads, good medicine, pleasant and peaceful living conditions? Take two minutes to watch the story of Maya. You will find elements that resonate with your desires for your own community.
It’s a system wide solution for very human results. Here’s just one of the ways I have found to connect in a global sisterhood. Sign up for the Million Moms Challenge to learn more about keeping mothers and children healthy throughout the world. We are in this together. Because there is nothing like walking in to a room of women where you feel completely safe and loved. The web can be that room.
Photo credit: iStockphoto.com