Lots to report today.
First, I think I’m going to take a little blog vacay for a week. And I have so many good excuses, and only one of them is that I’d sometimes just rather take a nap.
There are really some other things I should be doing. I’m doing a bunch of volunteer things, because the only thing better than making no money is paying a babysitter so you can leave the house and make no money. But you really can’t put a price tag on mental health. You really can’t, Tedd.
But mainly I am not sure what the blog’s about any more. For a year after I left Capitol Hill, I still read the political rags and blogs every day. I wanted so desperately to be in the know. But now I’m just kinda normal. I think about my kid and TV shows and how I’m fairly convinced the veterinary business is a scam. This morning Tedd and I had an awesome conversation about the political ramifications of Obama’s announcement on gay marriage, but my next deepest thought of the day was, isn’t it awful when you change a diaper and have no idea there is a massive poop blow up inside and you are totally unprepared? This is my new normal. And I like it.
My whole plan for this blog was to write about policy and politics from an outsider’s perspective. But now that I’m there, I realized I don’t want to think about it sometimes. Sometimes when I think about the policies that need changing, it makes me want to go watch reality TV and animal videos on YouTube. At first I was embarrassed, like I lost my politico cred. But now I’m ok with it.
So I’m going to step back and regroup. I will be back soon though.
But before I go…
A while back I said if I wrote 10 posts in 10 days I’d ask you to do something for me. Here it is, just in time for Mother’s Day.
The most shocking part of having a baby for me was how I was completely unprepared for how emotionally miserable I would feel. O – who is a specimen of pure perfection to me now – was faaaaar from an easy baby. In my crazy haze of new motherhood, I thought, I must have it a million times worse than almost any mother in the history of the world. I mean, if it was this bad for everyone, I would have heard about this shit.
Then I came out of my delusion cocoon and realized it was just as hard for a lot of other mothers. Most mothers. At least the honest ones. (And I am specifically excluding you people who write on Facebook how your baby slept through the night since day one. You deserve to know how much you messed with my head.)
And then I took another hard look and realized, it’s HARDER for a lot of moms. A lot of moms don’t have health insurance. They don’t have loving partners. They don’t have families and friends to pitch in and listen to you sob. I basically had a cakewalk in comparison and I still wanted to dig a hole and never come out. How could this be?!
This may sound silly to some, but this was a straight up revelation to me. I am a person of great privilege compared to so many, but there’s just something about spending hours trying to attach a little mouth to your boob or crying because the crying just won’t stop that made me feel connected to every mother who ever struggled. Every mother who wished just for the tiniest second that they could just walk away and let this be someone else’s problem. Every mother who felt so alone.
Unless you’re rocking three nannies, it really doesn’t matter how much or how little you have – we’re all connected by the understanding of how tough it can be at the beginning. We’ve all felt like we’re crumbling inside or one more bad night away from falling over the edge. In the dark of 3 AM, when the baby won’t stop crying, we’re all the same mom.
A few months ago, I crossed paths with an organization called HealthConnect One, and suddenly I had a chance to really make that connection with other moms. Especially the moms who truly do need help in those early days. HealthConnect One creates community-based, peer-to-peer support for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and early parenting. That’s what their Website says. My personal translation – when a woman is struggling to prepare for childbirth and parenting, they give her a best friend from her community – one who has been there before and knows about labor and breastfeeding and baby puking and poop and, most important, how babies aren’t the only ones who need some special love in order to get through those first few years. They are there for the moms, which means better outcomes for the babies.
HealthConnect One was nice enough to let me join up with them. And let me tear up when talking about how hard it was to breastfeed. And let me stare at the ground when I talked about how sad I once was. Because that’s what they’re there to do, to not make those things go away, but be there for moms who don’t have other resources and make sure they can give their babies what they need.
If you are a mom or love a mom (so all y’alls), I think this is an organization that you might like to support. If you’ve ever cried with a baby at 3 AM or if you’ve ever thought, I never possibly thought it could be this hard, here is a chance to help a mom who is struggling just like you did.
Instead of flowers or brunch this Mother’s Day, you could give a new mom a virtual hand squeeze and little hug that says, you’ll get through this, you really will. We just have to stick together.
Please make a donation to celebrate Mother’s Day. Thank you so much.