A Tribe is defined as:
“A group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest”
“A large family”
These are definitions found on the Merriam-Webster online dictionary.
“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea….A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
We all have several tribes we belong to; family, work, social. For this post, I am going to focus on a specific tribe of mine. The Mothering Tree Mamas.
We all found ourselves in the same position 11 years ago; we were all pregnant and due in the same month. None of us knew each other prior to when we all joined a due date group on the MotheringDotCommunity forums. I cannot remember the exact number of people in that group at the time, there were quite a few from all over the world, but we all had a common interest in natural parenting.
Within the forum, we all discussed the normal growths and fears that pregnancy brought to us. For some this was their first. For some of us this was our last. We spanned 20 year age gaps (yes, I was close to 40 at this point) and had different plans on where and how we were giving birth. Out of all these women, a few of us began banding together more and more. Our discussions started growing from the obvious pregnancy commiserating to more personal topics. One of these beautiful women, my dear friend Amanda emerged as our leader and started a website forum just for us, a way to communicate. We became known collectively at that point as The Mothering Tree….we were the Tree Mamas!
Our group spoke almost everyday at some point or another. We all exchanged gifts to each other (we had a monthly exchange for awhile recycling items we no longer used but wanted to gift to the next mama), listened to our problems together, we fought, we cried and we cheered each other on. We had become a family…a sisterhood. We had never met each other in person at this point, but we knew we could rely on each other. When one member was sick or in a dire situation, we all banded together sending care packages, financial help when we could, even phone calls of support. We had a bead exchange and all made nursing necklaces for our babies, knowing we were all using the same beads. We all knew each others secrets and fears, and still do. We had a commonality of all wanting the most natural births and lives possible. We never judged each other on our decisions. I remember a particular phone call the day my dear friend Michelle gave birth to her super huge baby boy by c-section. I cried with happiness that he was healthy and she was fine! We cried together about miscarriages, last babies, fertility problems and relationship issues. We laughed about our own short comings, our children’s antics, our own private jokes. And in all those 11 years, not a day has gone by that one or more of us hasn’t checked in with someone in the group.
Over the years we have had the privilege to meet several of each other in person. And many of us speak on the phone regularly. The beautiful thing about meeting is it’s like this enormous gift because we finally get to hug each other in real life. I nearly broke down the hotel room door when Jill showed up to the convention we were both attending for our oils business. Our other team mates just laughed and laughed at our sheer joy of finally getting that hug! And spending several days at a knitting retreat with Michelle will still be one of my most favorite journeys. I can’t imagine my life without these strong, beautiful mamas walking beside me.
Mothering magazine started back in 1976. Peggy O’Mara became editor in 1980. The magazine’s web forum, MotheringDotCommunity or “MDC” began in the 90’s and has 160,000 registered members as of February 2011. Peggy’s goal was to bring a natural, alternative and beautiful rhythm of ideas and support to mothers and fathers within the pages of the magazine. The forums provided a place where people could discuss these ideas, for many it was the only place to do this. The magazine’s last print issue was the November-December 2010 edition. The magazine announced it would end online publication with it’s March-April 2011 edition and become solely the Mothering website. By this time Peggy had moved on but her legacy remains within the tone and strings of lives brought together during her years with the magazine. The forums are still the meeting place for women looking for their tribe and support. I don’t know if Peggy realized she was creating amazing, life long sisterhoods when she first sanctioned having an online presence, but this is the most beautiful part to come out of Mothering, in my opinion anyway. I gained a whole new group of sisters.
All of us Tree Mamas are getting older, and I am so looking forward to one day all of us getting together and dancing in unison that we have each other. We may be super old ladies by then, but it won’t matter. We are strong! We are loved! We are a tribe! We are the Tree Mamas! And I love them all!
The mamas, well a few of them anyway: