One afternoon, looong ago, I was shopping with my sister and my newborn. My first born. He was all of about three weeks old and I just had to get out of my frickin’ house. We loaded up the diaper bag and the stroller and set off for some walking/shopping. Naturally after about twenty minutes he is hungry and starting to fuss. Oh crap. This is a first for me. I chose this particular mall because it was new and equipped with a fancy new nursing room. A comfortable private place to feed your little ones. We speed walk to the family restroom and are relieved to see the sign “nursing lounge”. With my huge stroller *blush* I bust open the door to find another mother, her new baby, and her friend. “Oh, I am so sorry” I say as I am about to slink back out the door. She replies ”there’s plenty of room if it doesn’t bother you, we are fine”. Saved. We stuff ourselves in, all four of us ladies and our two tiny hungry babies. Awkward…
After a few polite minutes we start to warm up. She is from my part of town and her baby girl is a few weeks older than my baby. We start to chat about being new moms and all the unexpected things come with choosing to nurse exclusively. Then she tells me of this wonderful nursing support group she attends. Okay, I’m all ears! Other people just like me who are dedicated to doing what is natural and right by their children? Super. She tells me they meet once a week and where to find it. It is located in a resale shop with a little coffee shop in the front. The bummer was that it was 40 minutes away from where we live. My sister recognizes the name of the place because one of the women she works with mentioned she bought a baby wearing sling there and just loved it. My sister had every intention of gifting me one of these slings so she made me promise to take her. I think secretly, though it was no secret, she knew I would not have gone alone.
Kangaroo Kids is the the name. They are like a thrift store that specializes in maternity support. We walk in and the place is packed! We are also just a minute or two late and everyone is staring. Poop. What looked at first glance as a feminist rally complete with topless protesting turned out to be one of the most wonderful decisions I ever made. These ladies were just like me! A good majority of these women were first time mothers, a lot were using cloth diapers, A good number of them were skilled in baby wearing (which I did not get at the time), we had relatively the same issues and views on parenting and I left with a very good feeling about this place.
I returned for these meetings every week for the next two years. We were a support system, we shared advice, talked with no end, we became friends. These women came from all walks of life with all different incomes, different cultures, religions, values, colors, styles, and countries. Outside of this circle we really had very little in common but here we were the same. Not even all of these moms nursed their babies and even though it was started as a nursing group, one thing was sure: we needed each other.
When our babies started getting bigger we would meet at each other’s homes for “play dates” and we would spend time together outside of the group meetings. A monthly “Mom’s Night Out” worked its way in along with holiday parties and babysitting swaps. I would say there were about a dozen of us who kept touch regularly. We had all watched our first babies grow and together we started having seconds or thirds. Life was changing fast for us crunchy stay-at-homes. Some in the group stayed closer than others and some had to move away. One thing has never changed though, even though we never find ourselves in Kangaroo Kids the doors are always open. It does not matter how long you have been away these Moms are happy to see you back.
This morning I had breakfast with a group of my KK Mommies. My “Mommy’s Group” I call them. It was so comfortable to just sit and visit with these women. Just like the old days. I have not been around in a while, lives get busy, I think it has been since the holidays since I have seen most of this group but it never feels weird. It always feels like I am welcome. These are all great people who are stronger for all of their differences.
It was a little bittersweet this morning since all of our “first babies” for without whom we would surely have not met have gone off to school. Only a few of our younger kiddos came along today. We laughed, we grieved, we did what we do best and ate!
Not everyone I wanted to see could make it this morning so… Can’t wait till next time!
Thanks KK Moms!