For the first year of my daughter's life, I avoided joining a moms' group. Numerous friends suggested I join one, knowing I didn't have much of a support system in a new city as a new mom. One full year later, and after spending way too much fixating on the reasons I was anxious to go to a mom's group with my kid, I finally joined. It was worth it.
During my ambivalent phase, a friend even brought me to her moms' group. I'm pretty sure she brought me as a buffer; someone to talk to instead of the stereotypical and quintessential "mom group types" at our table, who spent the hour discussing the best extracurricular activities to get their 1-year-old babies into the right preschool three years down the road. Honestly, that initial segue into moms' groups was everything I never wanted in my new mom life.
I did end up joining a moms' group later, and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Still, there were very valid, and not to mention scary, reasons why I was too anxious to join one when I was a very new mom. I didn't want to be judged or made to feel like I wasn't measuring up as a mom. Of course, my mom group eventually did the exact opposite; providing me with a whole layer of extra support from other moms who could relate to my experiences. When I look back at those first few months as a brand new parent, though, I don't blame myself for being anxious and unsure of the whole moms' group thing.
Because I Couldn't Tell My Daughter's Birth Story Without Crying
My daughter was well over 1 year old before I could manage to tell her birth story without crying. I knew someone was going to ask about my daughter and when and where she was born, and that would inevitably land me in the zone of talking about her birth story. At that point I would turn into a puddle, which wasn't exactly the first impression I was trying to make.
Because My Story Took Forever To Explain
In addition to turning into a sobbing mess whenever I talked about my daughter's arrival into our family, our general story of arriving in Houston after spending eight years in Ireland in order to adopt was a little complicated to explain. Sometimes I just wished my daughter and I could enjoy a "normal" story, that at the very least didn't involve having to explain why my partner and I decided to move 4,000 miles away instead of starting fertilities treatments.
Because I Couldn't Put Her In Daycare
For the first six months of my daughter's life, anyone who watched her had to be vetted through our adoption agency. Since she was technically a foster baby until the adoption was finalized, dropping her at daycare would have involved far more steps than I was ready to take on.
Because I Thought I'd Be Judged
After that first painful experience with a mom group, I wasn't eager to launch myself into a new group of women who just weren't like me at all. I didn't have fancy anything, let alone the right bags or shoes or stroller. Of course, this doesn't mean people were automatically going to judge me, but with feeling uncomfortable, on top of feeling exhausted and stressed and sleep deprived, was something I just wasn't willing to put myself through.
Because I Thought I'd Feel Inadequate
I knew I was doing a pretty good job as a mom, when I was in my own personal bubble. Sitting around with a whole bunch of moms who actually grew and gave birth to their children, sometimes made me feel totally inadequate.
Even now, still, I have to remind myself that adopting a baby is hard work (involving a marathon of paperwork, to say the very least) and an adoptive parent experiences a myriad of relentless emotions before their baby is ever placed in their arms.
Because I'm Not Great At Making Friends
I've gotten considerably better at making girl friends (thanks in large part to my decision my first year of college to forego all male companionship until I had figured out how to make close girlfriends), but the thought of having to start from scratch with a bunch of ladies I didn't know, who probably had vastly different experiences than I did, wasn't exactly the most appealing idea.
Because It Meant Leaving My Daughter With Strangers
Until that point, I had never left my daughter with a stranger and I wasn't quite comfortable doing so yet. Even when she was officially adopted, I still wasn't ready to leave her in the church nursery. By the time she turned 1 year old I was ready(ish), but until then it gave me anxiety on top of anxiety to think about leaving her with relative strangers.
Because I Didn't Want To Talk About Breastfeeding
I have absolutely nothing against breastfeeding. I was breastfed, and if I had given birth to my daughter I would have tried to breastfeed her, too. But I imagined there would be some talk about breastfeeding at a mom group and I knew that inevitable conversation would remind me that I couldn't breastfeed my daughter. I'm at a point now where I can talk about breastfeeding without feeling guilty, but when I was a new mom that was too much for me to handle.