There's an old African proverb that says 'it takes a village to raise a child'. Hillary Clinton might on occasion get the credit for it, but it's older than that bird.
I've been thinking hard about this saying. But in a general sense - not just for myself, but in this day and age where it's more like com-mutiny than community. I'm not feeling particularly morose, I just wondered, what DOES ONE do when you have no one?
What happens if you don't have actually have a 'village' to help you raise your child?
Or, what if your village doesn't want to help you raise your child? What if your village is too busy with their own life to help? What if helping you raise your children is just not your village people's thing?
I remember in the early days, after the birth of the Doctor, the nurses, midwives, Early Childhood nurses all implored how important it is to let people help. But what happens when no one offers to help? Or there's no one to ask/beg for help?
We struggled in the early days, particularly after the birth of the Doctor. I had mastitis just 10 days after giving birth. I wasn't sleeping well. It was a steep learning curve. Whenever I'd hear a peep from my wee babe I would scuttle over. I was a wreck. Couple that with not feeling confident (I remember my first thoughts when carrying the Doctor through the front door for the first time were 'Oh my goodness, we are responsible for this wee darling baby's survival'.)
I didn't have a Mother's Group because I dropped out after just a couple of weeks. Attending was angsty and tedious (not to say I felt confident by myself, but it was all about competing, who knew the most, and the fact that I never really clicked with anyone. I just dreaded it).
To be completely honest, I didn't want to leave the Doctor when I first had him. I hated leaving him. I wanted to be with him. But if I had a village to help me raise my children - then life would have been a whole lot peachier. But I didn't even know my neighbours. And society has evolved in that way so I can pass through weeks, months, years without even saying as much as 'hello' to them.
I often think about my friends who are single parents. I wonder how do they cope when they are exhausted. When they are so fatigued they're snappy and can't swap with someone for a quick cat nap? Parenting is a big enough gig that is sometimes difficult even for two people, let alone winging it solo. This weekend has certainly confirmed that for me. I'm still bone achingly tired and so darn cross. I can't shake it.
So tell me - how do you gather 'round ye olde village people when you need to raise some helpers?