I hung up the phone with the nurse and walked out of the room, numbness spreading out from my heart to my fingers. I wasn’t pregnant, and this was the end of the line. There would be no more chances, no more options, no more needles. It was over.
A few hours and a few hundred bottles of tears later, I called my friend to tell her my bad news. She offered to help, but I assured her I was fine and I tried to mean it.
I could handle this, suck it up, heal, and move on. But as the numbness started to wear off and the throbbing pain squirmed its way to the surface of my wounded heart, I realized I could not handle it. There was no straw in the world big enough to suck up my anguish.
I called back my friend. Sometimes the bravest, most terrifying thing we can do is admit we need help.
“I’m not okay.” It takes courage to admit this in a culture of “How-are-you-I’m-fine.”
She organized meal deliveries to my house, found me a counselor, and listened as I fell apart and reassembled like a jumbled pile of multicolored Legos.
I got healthy…er. And then when another friend hit a major bump in her marriage, I climbed down in that dark cellar with her and held her hand through the storm.
We do this for each other. Good friends are our storm troopers, and we walk with each other through the darkest of times.
We are better together. I say this a lot, maybe so much that it starts to drain of its power like an old cell phone with a worn out battery. But seriously, it’s true. We are better together. We need each other. Because mothering, and living, is so darn hard. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.
Hanging out with other moms passes the time when our kids are little and we need adult company when soccer games stretch across whole Saturdays. But those deep friendships, the ones we cultivate and tend to and grow, those are the ones that are there when our lives fall apart and we hit bottom and we aren’t sure if we’ll make it till next weekend. We take each others’ kids and we cook double portions of meals and we organize our communities to rally.
“I’m not okay. I need help.” These are scary words to speak out loud and we need our safe people to hear them and know what to do with them.
I shudder to think about when I used to go it alone. Someday when my kids are grown, they’ll thank Mommy’s friends for keeping her sane, for talking some sense into her, for developing a community of eyeballs to see what’s really going on and hands to juggle all the balls in the air.
We are better together. So start with a conversation. If you don’t know what to say, say something encouraging, because as moms, we need exactly 5,287 times more encouragement than we get from the people around us. And encouragement from another mom who understands and is going through the same thing is precisely 349 times more meaningful than from anyone else in the world. These are facts I just made up but they are 512 percent true. Look it up.
Amazing relationships don’t just happen effortlessly, but anything worth having takes work. It starts small, these connections with other moms. It starts with shin guards or tutus or carpool. It doesn’t feel like much at first. But over time, it’s everything. It’s a lifeline when you’re drowning.
For more about finding mom friends and how we’re better together, check out my book, Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends, at WomenAreScary.com.