The importance of community

Community (noun)

  1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
  2. the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common.

Community is a word that resonates greatly with me these days.  As a mother, as an expat, as a woman.  It’s a concept I didn’t understand when I was younger, although it’s always been something I’ve created.  My high-school girl gang, the field hockey team at university, my social network when I lived in the Amsterdam, London, and Istanbul. As I get older, as my family grows, I have a deeper appreciation for it and a conscious desire to create one, or several.  Some people call it a village. To me, it’s my community.

My saving grace was meeting the seven mothers who attended my antenatal classes with the National Childbirth Trust (NCT).  NCT is famous in the UK for its ability to bring parents together to create a network and support group for birth and life after birth. These women are my lifeline here, and are teaching me the ropes of being a mother in the UK. They are my motherhood community.

But I also have my virtual community.  Friends living far away, friends from the past, and those people I’ve never met in real life. We support each other with messages, comments, and emails. Motherhood is hard, expat life is hard, traveling with a baby is hard, moving house is hard, but we got this.

Then there is my expat community. Mostly Americans, but these people are the ones who make me feel connected to home. People who sound like me, who like baseball, who also voted absentee, and who are also very far from their families.

I can’t wait to see how these communities grow, and what new ones I’ll create.

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