The Joy of No Judgement
My first event with FIT4MOM was a Mom’s Night Out, before I even became a Mom. We had just moved to Wheaton, and I was 9 months pregnant. I found FIT4MOM on Meetup.com, and decided to try an MNO.
While driving there, I was nervous. If you believe what you read on the Internet, Mom’s groups are havens for cattiness and judgement. (And if it’s on the Internet, it must be true.) Was I wearing the right thing? Would they like me?
We had some drinks and appetizers, played Bocce Ball, and talked. I had a blast. The Moms were friendly, and I felt very welcome (the picture in this post is from that night). But since there were cocktails for everyone else, I wasn’t surprised. Everyone’s friendly when there are cocktails.
Then Things Got Real
My second foray into FIT4MOM came about two months later. I was six weeks postpartum and more tired than I’d ever been in my life. But I wanted to move again, and I wanted contact with the outside world. So I went to Stroller Strides.
I was even more nervous, because I was still horribly afraid of being judged. This time, it was something outside my control: breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding did not work out for me. Even after several lactation consultant visits, near-constant pumping, Fenugreek galore, eating my weight in oatmeal, a prescription, and oh so many tears, my supply was not enough to meet my daughter’s needs.
I was upset—not because I thought formula was bad—but because in my crazy, sleep deprived eyes, I had failed at the first thing I’d ever tried as a Mother. Hormones and irrational guilt are not a good mix.
My husband, family and friends were extremely supportive. But would a group of women who barely knew me be the same?
The Moment of Truth
I prepared myself for the worst. I thought to myself, if I had to feed my daughter during class, I would just withstand any judge-y stares from other women whose boobs were fountains of liquid gold. (I told you hormones and irrational guilt made me crazy.)
We were just rounding the home stretch toward abs and stretching when my daughter started crying. With all the courage I could muster, I reached for my supplies to make her bottle.
And then something happened.
Erica, who is now a FIT4MOM instructor (and who excels at breastfeeding, by the way), offered to push my stroller while I got the bottle ready.
And then I fed my daughter.
And that was it.
No stares. No judgement. Just a friend who helped me when I needed it. And with my FIT4MOM village, it’s been that way ever since.