Today while my co-facilitator and I were refereeing about 15 new parents and their babies, all in assorted stages of undress and adorableness--babies and mothers--and stress and wails (babies and mothers), Boobs aflutter (one of the new fathers said, somewhat pompously that "we are having problems with breast feeding" and everyone just cracked up. But he was very good about sitting there while milk was literally jetting from everyone else so yay him!
Meanwhile, a mother of a toddler who had been in the group two years ago came back to see us. She walked in with her toddler, pregnant with her next child, and burst into tears. Her own mother had just died two days ago, she'd come back from that deathbed, and she just didn't know where to turn for comfort. We took turns just sitting with her and talking about the toddler, the baby, her mother, and her grief. First me, and then my partner who is more familiar with local therapeutic options. Our returned mother apologized for coming to us for help, she cried while telling me that she had tried to write us an email to ask for help but that she had been so ashamed she had never sent it, and then became so desperate that she just turned up at the group. I told her "It would have been an honor to have received that email." I feel very lucky that she felt she could come to us and I was there to see something truly beautiful--her little toddler, who had had some fairly serious developmental delays when she was coming as a new mother, is walking and talking now. When he saw that she was crying he said "Mamma sad? I give hug" and came over to her and gave her a big hug. She's such a perfectionist, and she's so upset that she is upset, that she didn't even give herself enough credit for having been the mother her son has needed, all this time, bringing him along to this stage of empathy and generosity. She's a very determined and skillful parent, who is grieving the loss of her own parent while trying to be completely perfect with her own child. Its difficult enough for these new parents to find the time and emotional strength to be the best parent they can be to their own babies. Its even harder when they are wrestling with needing to give themselves compassion and care as well. We are talking about trying to set up a drop in group for mothers who are also caregiving their own parents, or grieving for their own parents. At least four women in our current group are simultaneously juggling new babies, work, and dying parents or in-laws. There's no money, of course, but if we could find a time to do it I think the city would let us use the space and we would just do it for free.