Just kidding, I don’t see myself as a prophet at all, far from it. But you’ll have to agree that this is rather prescient:
The first anniversary of my first blog, PPDtoJoy.com, was on my 40th birthday.
On September 24 2011, I wrote something that now gives me chills up and down my spine, because it foretold the Mama’s Comfort Camp to a T:
When I was younger, I really wanted people to think I was beautiful, then I wanted them to think of me as smart, then I wanted to be funny, now I just want to bring people comfort.
A lot is written and said in praise of stepping outside your comfort zone. And yes, I get why people find the idea attractive.
But I think that as women and mothers, our comfort is not valued enough. Too much of our existence is about providing for others, meeting their needs, and even more often, meeting their expectations. Not enough time and permission are extended towards our own comfort. On this here website, I call for tending our comfort zone as if it were a garden: finding out what it is that comforts and nourishes us, and giving that attention, importance, and power.
The only reason I can talk about depression, anxiety, and even suicide, is not because I am so good at stepping outside of my comfort zone, but because I am good at stretching it: I have enough practice in infusing the scary with the comforting and the nourishing, so I feel supported and safe when I go out on a limb, because my safety net (community + family + self-kindness + trust) is always within reach. (This is not something I was just naturally good at, you know. Thankfully, these are the acquire-able skills for happiness I call Permission-Based Healing.)
When I started the Mama’s Comfort Camp with the Den Mothers a year ago tomorrow, it was important to me that our group become a rare bread in an internet full of mommy wars:
A place free of judgement, with zero unsolicited advice. A respit, a clearing in which we get a little taste of what it’s like to not let guilt run the show.
We were pretty successful about the free of judgment:
I’ve never been prouder of anything in my entire life.
As for the practicing freedom from the clutch of guilt, thats no easy fit. Motherhood has so many guilt-inducing moments (here’s an example) that if we are to start practicing guilt free-ness, we really need to start small.
So how about practicing guilt free participation in this very group?
It is something that I say to every new member: “Come when you want to, stay away when you need to, you don’t need to respond to every post, you don’t even need to read all the posts. Use this group to meet YOUR needs”.
Let this be one space in your life where you don’t need to feel obliged, you just do what you feel called to do. If all you do here is read whenever you feel like it, and your own motherhood doubts are eased because you find out you are not alone, than Mama’s Comfort Camp has accomplished it’s goal: Comfort was provided to a mother on the planet.
Do me a personal favor: never post in Mama’s Comfort Camp out of a sense of obligation.
Whether you are telling your own story or responding to others, please let it be because YOU WANT to do so, and not because you feel a duty or because of the “should” chorus in your head.
Of course we love it when you post and respond, but if all you do is what is called “lurking” on the internet, please know that by your presence alone, by your very own comfort, you are helping me accomplish my goal, and for that I thank you.
660 mamas and growing, the Mama’s Comfort Camp is my life’s work, and I am grateful for your involvement in it.
Tomorrow, March 12, is our first birthday, so I made a little video (gah! video!) to celebrate that:
I would love to hear from you if you are already a camper. New here? You are oh so welcome to join us.
Tomorrow, is our first anniversary. The First Birthday of my non human baby. This is my life’s work, and it is meeting a deep need. Please help me share this group, this amazing comforting resource with mamas in your life tomorrow. Pick any post here, this one, the Mommy-festo, the Sex thread, anything that touches your heart, and post it on any corner of the internet: facebook, twitter, via email, your blog if you have one… Do share.
I will end this post with the greeting I used to conclude PPD to Joy posts with:
Whether you comment, share, or just read, may the joy be with you.
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