The (m)others circle really cracked us opened last week. We appreciate everyone who came and held space.
We were so moved to learn that we were not alone in our feelings of not being heard, of feeling overwhelmed, of everything just being too much. Something that most (m)others cannot prepare for is the emotional labor that comes with having children. Even more, it can be difficult for others to understand. So how are we to turn the narrative around? How can we help others better understand what emotional labor is? How can we find our voice as (m)others to convey this?
Emotional labor is "[the] work that has to do with supporting people emotionally — things like allowing people to confide in you, perhaps taking care of other people, giving people advice, listening to people’s problems[.]” Emotional labor is an issue that is larger than just your immediate space. Society in the United States does not value the (m)other. Buckley Friedberg really said it best, "[You] go back to work 6-8 weeks after having the baby. The baby that you spent 9-10 months growing inside of your body. Go back to work before you have finished healing or have had time to bond with your baby. [A]lso breastfeed for at least a year. So take 2-3 pumping breaks a day at work, but don't let it throw you off your game or let you lose your focus. Society tells us to practice self-care and take vacations, but that's hard to do when you've run through all your vacation days because your kids had the flu. We're expected to be all things to everyone, and it can feel impossible." Obviously, we have A LOT of work to do to change these systemic societal issues. So how can we lighten the emotional labor in our space, in our homes?
Whatever your space and (m)others journey looks like, it is important to find support. Support from family, partners, friends, groups, etc. For people who are a part of your immediate support circle, consider discussing what the roles will be like before the baby comes. Consider creating an agreement/contract. Talk with your support circle about how much you're doing, where you feel overwhelmed, etc. Learn how to manage your own feelings before dealing with the feelings of others.
Angela, we'd like to thank you for offering the metaphor of the lotus flower! It was so perfect for the group at that time. For those who want to learn more about what Angela said, read her post on Instagram.
If you're looking for a little more to read about emotional labor, below are some wonderful options.
Our next (m)others circle will be on July 29 at 10 AM PST. RSVP Today As always, this is a free event, however, we are accepting donations. (Suggested donation $5-10) We appreciate those of you who have the means & desire to make a donation to help make this and future circles possible. Donations can be made here.
Wherever you are at in your journey at this time, know what we are here holding space. We are here. Please do not hesitate to reach out.
All our best,
Natalie & Tiphanie
Want to connect with us in between the (m)others circle, please email us or find us on Social Media!