By Erin Erenberg
What was the last Instagram post that left you feeling bad? Do you remember the photo? The caption? How long did it take before you realized that your bad mood was tied back to something nagging from your scroll?
These were the first questions asked to a circle of 20 women on Wednesday night at the Lunya Bedroom in NoLita, NYC. Together with Alexis Barad-Cutler (nsfmg), Elyse Fox (Sad Girls Club), and Jen Schwartz (Motherhood-Understood), I learned from an amazing group of women who showed up without the gloss of social media pretense and shared openly about what it means to be a woman and mother heading into 2020. Even better, it all went down plopped on mattresses, some of us in Lunya PJs.
Women shared their mixed feelings about working outside the home after having babies, feeling lonely and overwhelmed without the village of support experienced in other cultures, battling undiagnosed postpartum anxiety, body confidence and strength postpartum, depression and OCD, raising a child with special needs, and feeling guilty about wanting to run back to the office after going through IVF to have a first baby.
A few women in attendance aren't mothers but came with curiosity about what it means to be a mother and woman heading into 2020.
One woman had recently moved to the US from Germany. After listening to the other women share for over an hour, she revealed that the lack of systematic support in the US compared to what she's experienced in Europe is shockingly stark. She confirmed what we know in our gut: that we're mothering in isolation and it's not working.
The perspectives, backgrounds and concerns ranged wide, but what I heard beneath all of the words was this: we each yearn to be clear about who we are and where we belong, and to live from the place that makes us tick. Moreover, that's only possible when we're supporting each other, helping one another see our worth, linking arms and sharing the load of what it means to be the default caregiver in our relationships.
I left the event hopeful for all of us as women, as mothers. We're talking about what's not working. And we're smart as hell. If we keep it up, look out. We're going to make the waves we need to ride.