“Just come sit at my house,” she said to me.
“Just come sit while I clean today.”
This invitation changed my life. This stranger of a person, whom I just met at a meet-and-greet playdate had just changed my life.
I was deep in the depths of postpartum depression, hanging on for dear life as I simply survived each day from sun-up to sun-down with my 12-week-old baby girl. The simple 6 word invitation from the woman wearing a black shirt and jeans opened up a whole new world outside the four walls of my home in this new city. Relocating across the country while in the midst of postpartum depression threw me into a downward spiral I was scared I would never get out of. The combination of living far away from everyone I knew, my husband working 100+ hours a week at his new job, and my transitioning to stay-at-home mom from full-time teacher almost proved to be fatal for me.
Then one day, I found a mom’s group on MeetUp and walked up to this woman in the black shirt who I was drawn to from across the room. There was just something about her energy that let me know she was open to conversation. And boy, was I right. She invited me to lunch at Chick-Fil-A that day and asked if I’d come over for dinner that night. I was a little freaked out by the intense, seemingly desperate need to fit me into her life, thinking to myself that this chick is in a worse place than I’m in. She’s way more desperate than I am. I accepted the lunch invitation, declined the dinner invite, and then reconnected with her the next day and accepted the “come sit at my house” invitation. That one day of sitting in the recliner in the corner of her living room turned into day after day of rocking my baby girl while I watched my new friend clean her house as I began the ascent out of my pit of postpartum depression.
As I look back on that day in August 2010, I see that I was turning a corner into the light. I mark that playdate, that conversation, that invitation from the woman in the black shirt as the beginning of the end for me. The end of the dark tunnel of misery, tears, and anxiety. The beginning of a friendship that strengthened and grew over the years as we raised our girls together, both gave birth to baby boys, and shared many margaritas as we brainstormed ideas that will change the world. Over time, I realized that she wasn’t desperate on that first day we met, she simply is that welcoming with everyone. Her door is always open and she’s always there with a listening ear.
This woman, who I know call one of my best friends, changed my life by allowing me to just show up as-is to be heard and understood, judgment free. It’s friendships like this one that are the anchors in my life when everything else is quickly changing as my kids grow up, we move cross-country again, and my marriage is in various stages of crumbling and repair on any given day. It’s this type of friendship that is honored in the new book The HerStories Project.
This book is the product of Jessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger, two talented bloggers who have brought together over 50 women to discuss the role of female friendships in their lives. Their book, The HERStories Project: Women Explore the Joy, Pain, and Power of Female Friendship, is now on sale! In fact, the Kindle version is free through Wednesday! The paperback edition is also available on Amazon.
Go check out this amazing book that acknowledges the important, complicated, and joyous relationships of female friendships. I know I can thank my friend, the woman in black, for saving my life and helping me keep my sanity over the past few years. I don’t know where I’d be without her.