Please tell me I'm not the only one struggling with this.
A few months ago, my very first friend had a baby. By that I mean that none of my other friends have babies yet (half are just getting engaged, and the other half are too drunk to find their phones). She was the first to become a mom.
Throughout her pregnancy we talked about how she wanted a natural birth and how excited I was for her to be going through a midwifery group and to birth in their birth center. She went late, which is normal for first time moms (or, if you're like me, going two weeks late is my due date), and we talked about natural ways to induce labor.
When she finally had her precious baby, I went to visit her. We chit-chatted, and she told me her epic (and I mean epic) birth story.
Then somewhere, somehow, I became one of those moms.
The know-it-all, too-smart-for-their-own-good, didn't-need-to-be-asked-to-volunteer-information, always-talking-about-their-perfect-kid moms.
And I didn't even realize it until I went home that day.
Did she even ask how long my babies slept when they were six weeks old? No. But I told her ... along with a painfully long story about how my kids are the best sleepers in the world.
Did she ask if we co-slept and for how long? No. But I told her, along with my thoughts on those commercials telling you to never co-sleep because you'll roll over on top of your baby.
Did I once just ask her to honestly tell me how motherhood was? Or if she needed help? Or if I could hold the baby so she could shower or nap? Or if she was feeling depressed or upset about her birth plan not working out the way she'd hoped? How about asking if I could bring over more than coffee and a cookie (in my defense, it was a Nutella cookie sandwich that was the size of my face. And it was incredible.)?
I did all of the things that I remember hating when I had my first son: the truck loads of advice that may have actually been helpful if I wasn't a zombie and could actually hear them; the "Wow, you look tired" comment without the offer to help me get some sleep; how people always wanted to talk to me instead of holding my baby so I could shower; how I should just be happy that I had a healthy baby even though I had a terrible birth that was the opposite of my birth plan.
I left her house that day and felt so ashamed of myself. How could I be one of those moms? Could it just have been the result of months with limited social contact (yes, but that's not the big reason)? Or that no one else I know is having children yet? Or that I finally found someone who shared the same philosophy on natural birth and parenting?
Pure and simple, it was selfish of me.
I had the opportunity to be there for someone who may have really needed a friend's ear to bend, and I wasn't there for her.
At no point did she ever say anything like that to me! But my guilt was there nonetheless.
It may not come naturally to put other people first, but it's something I truly need to work on. God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason: to speak half as much as we listen. That truth has been hard for me to take on, but I'm working on it!
I'm truly working on being aware of the talking too much and not listening. Or even being aware of if the person actually needs something but doesn't want to ask for it.
Please tell me I'm not the only one struggling with this, right?
This article was originally published at BlogHer. Reprinted with permission from the author.