As I was doing this, aside from the nostalgia for pregnancy, I was overcome with gratitude in the memories of the friends and family members who loaned or gave me maternity clothes.
I had one friend in particular who gave birth to her youngest son about six months before I got pregnant. After him, she was "done" and so, offered me all her maternity clothes. Just gave them to me. The only request was that I not give them back to her if they didn't fit, I was to pass them along to someone else. I was beside myself. It was in this gifting that I found that her favorite Pea in the Pod dress would soon become my favorite dress as well... and how wonderful that this dress came to me with a story, worn through four beautiful pregnancies before mine.
Later I would start to understand that this sort of extraordinary generosity is evidence of a greater trend in womanhood. A movement.
Thus was my initiation into the Universal Underground Sharing and Caring Club of Mommies. This club has no leader, no meetings, no website, no official rules. Its existence is fueled by the human race's natural propensity for community, and the kinship that connects all women who have participated in motherhood.
You can find its members bringing meals to one another's houses. Trading, lending, giving; accessories, gear, advice. Sending gifts. Hanging out in breastfeeding support groups. Or babywearing groups. Commenting on blog posts written by someone they barely know, or don't know at all. Grandmothering children that are not even related to them. Babysitting on short notice. Sharing a laugh, relating -- truly relating -- to life anecdotes. The good stuff. And the unspoken ritual that starts it all for many is the sharing of maternity clothes.
I have been overwhelmed with support in my pregnancy, birth, parenthood, and blog. One of my greatest joys comes in hearing from other women that they read a blog post and had a "me too!" moment, or want to hear more of what I have to share.
I feel so blessed and fulfilled in my new role as a mom, and that goes even beyond my role in my family.
My identity in the world has been transformed.
In a month when many folks are sharing the things they are thankful for, this club that I totally made up is mine.