Since the pandemic started, I’ve relied heavily on my phone as a means of connecting to the people in my life I love the most. Text messages have helped me stay in touch with my mom friends for questions about breastfeeding and pumping and meal prep and just about anything baby related you could think of under the sun (you know what they say about it taking a village? That part). I’ve called on friends when I just can’t take it anymore, when every decision feels wrong and life is exhausting. I’m a part of text chains where we discuss the mundane (dinner inspiration and latest toddler tantrums) but also Big Picture stuff, like will our marriages survive, and what if we’re simply ill equipped for all of this? I’ve FaceTimed with my girls who wanted to meet Mila in the middle of it all, to see her little face in person. It wasn’t perfect, but it meant something. It meant everything, actually.
And when I would get the notices about how much time I spent on my phone each week I laughed it off, but really it upset me. I hate that I’m connecting to the world in this way but I’m so fucking grateful for it because how do parents get through that first year without a support system?
I can’t remember if I discussed this here or not (because hello, my brain is a bit mushy these days), but in the early days of the pandemic, when Mila was just weeks old, I joined new mothers in New Jersey for a zoom call about the struggles of breastfeeding/pumping and I’ve never felt more like a fish out of water than I did on that call. I was lucky if I had a few hours of sleep, am fairly certain I had spit up in my hair, and the lactation consultant who made an appearance told us whatever we were pumping we needed to do more! And she admitted she didn’t pump during her pregnancy and seriously who TF is this woman?? It was the first and last time I participated in something like that.
I didn’t need that kind of lifeline in my life.
I’ve largely been quiet on this blog and on social media lately and truthfully I’ve been sorting through my own feelings about it all. I knew year one would pose challenges. I didn’t know what I didn’t know which is what caught me off guard. I was prepared for fights about child rearing, but they were few and far between. To our credit, Bryan and I have more or less gracefully maneuvered parenting and we are in lockstep about most things where raising Mila is concerned. What I wasn’t prepared for was how shitty I would feel about every decision I had to navigate and I have (in truth) felt largely unsupported with many of them. And family complicates everything. I love mine. I love his. But it gets to be too much.
I miss my friends. My real lifeline.
I’m so happy we are rounding the end of this thing (we are, aren’t we?). In happier news, this will likely be me in every social situation moving forward.
What does your lifeline look like for you?