A Note to My Mama Friends

It’s ok to find parenthood challenging. It’s ok to post your public displays of affection with your children on Instagram. And it’s ok to have confusing, mixed feelings about the simultaneous joy and difficulty entailed in raising a child. Especially when I have lost mine.

I sense your unease when you tell me about your long days and the sleepless nights. Every complaint is milder now, and often followed by a statement of gratitude for what you have. I so appreciate your caution with my feelings. I know my pain has touched you and I am glad you see how lucky you are.

At the same time, I want you to know that your frustrations are valid, because it’s true that parenting is hard. It’s also true that you are grateful for your children and wish I didn’t have to lose my child. Both are true without negating the other.

This is uncharted territory, at least for me. But I invite you to keep inviting me into your life, and together we will figure out what works. Know that I love you and your children and coming over to your house for dinner will likely be both hard and enjoyable. Know that watching them play with toys and laugh and grow will make me both smile and long for Jackson. Know that the joy in remaining connected to your family is worth whatever difficulty we may experience in being around you. My ability to cope with this tragedy involves and requires feeling close to you, my mama friend. And ever since you became a mama, it became impossible to share “yourself” without your child.

I love you and am grateful for your willingness to navigate this painful obstacle, one we never expected to impede our friendship, along with me. Know that sometimes you may accidentally cause my heart to sting. Know that sometimes my ability to be your best support may fall short of what you need. Please know you have my permission to share and post and call. And I’m giving myself permission to occasionally unfollow, not hit “like”, or let your call go to voicemail, if that’s what I need in that moment. Tell me about your children, and also know that I may choose to skip their birthday party. I’ll know you understand. Please know, above all else, that I am willing to try and risk taking some missteps here or there, if you are.