Please contribute to THE MOMMY GROUP!
As many of you know, Atria Books will publish my nonfiction book, The Mommy Group: Freaking Out, F**king Up, and the First Two Years, in early 2016.
The Mommy Group is a true story. Before I had my daughter, Clara (now almost 4), I joined a "pregnancy support group" in my Brooklyn neighborhood. Anna, Keiko, Antonia, Ellie, Margaret, Heidi, and I were all in our mid- to late thirties, with established professional lives and settled marriages (names have been changed). From our first meeting, we shared a sensibility: supportive, sardonic, and terrified. Then we had our babies, and the real drama began.
Strangers when we met, we were soon a community of women helping one another through the greatest and most difficult change of our lives. As time passed and our babies grew into little people, we became integrated, whole, human beings with beautiful, powerful families—and each other.
As part of my research for the book, I am seeking stories—both of organized mommy groups, and finding (or not finding) community as mothers. If you are or were in a mommy group and/or know people who might be in one please (please!) pass this call along.
I’m looking for women to interview about their own groups for the book, as well as individual contributions to the site. I would be so grateful if you would post this to your facebook or twitter (or whatever social media I don’t know about yet!), forward to friends, clergy, community leaders, grandmothers, etc. I’m looking for diverse women to contribute to an illuminating, real conversation.
If you would like to write your own story: it doesn’t have to be long -- a few paragraphs, perhaps an anecdote. What do we have in common? What makes mothering different outside of my little corner of the world? You can choose to use your name or not. I will post your stories on my site, at www.elizabethisadoragold.com, under the Mommy Group section. My hope is that eventually we will form a network of mothers on the site, even inspiring women to organize mommy groups of their own.
Because I'm soliciting your stories, it seems fitting that I share a little of my own. When Clara was four months old, I developed postpartum insomnia and anxiety. It was crippling; I was terrified I wouldn't be able to take care of my baby, I was an inadequate mother, and I'd never be able to think straight—let alone work or write—ever again. But with the support of my husband and family, with medication and therapy, I gradually came back to myself. In the spring of 2012, I wrote "Meltdown in Motherland," an essay for the New York Times about my postpartum anxiety and difficulties with pregnancy.
Since then, many struggling new mothers have reached out to me. Whether close friends, third-degree acquaintances, or even strangers via Facebook, they all say the same things. "No one said it would be this hard. Do you think I’ll be okay? What if I'm never able to be a good mother to my amazing child?" There wasn’t space in my Times piece to discuss what I considered the great secret of my emotional survival (besides my amazing husband, modern medicine, and beautiful Clara): my mommy group, of course.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Please respond to firstname.lastname@example.org. And distribute this widely!
Elizabeth Isadora Gold