If I’d only known you all then…

I wish I had the internet when my first child was born.

I mean, I HAD the internet but not the way I do now. I didn’t have it as a friend. As a support group. As a place for respite in hard times and celebration in the good times.

Like I do now.

If I had known this community when my son was born in 2004 I think things would have been somewhat different for me. I don’t think I would have felt so alone in my feelings of anxiety and borderline depression. After Ben was born I wanted to rewind. I wanted to go back to the way my life had been before. I did not want to hurt my son, I just wanted to drop him off at someone else’s door and have my life return to “normal”.

With his delivery came some complications, mostly for me, both physically and emotionally. And even though I had heard of the “baby blues” no one elaborated on that too much. I pictured myself just crying more than usual, or having feelings like I did with PMS. Normal stuff. But now, I believe that it is not something that people can really describe to someone else. I know that you truly have to live through it yourself to know exactly what it feels like and even then, it is still different for everyone.

I had many reasons to want to go back, including my own damaged body (and I don’t just mean because I had borne baby now my body wasn’t “perfect”, it was different than that…). I also could not get the child to breastfeed to save his life (literally) and I felt like the worst mother on the planet for it. I’d read SO much telling me that “breast was best” and how wonderful it was for bonding. And because I felt about as “bonded” to him as one stranger does to another, I wanted that so badly.

It took several weeks and a lot of “bonding” with my hospital grade pump before my dear husband looked me in the eye and told me he felt it was time to take another approach. I’m sure he had no idea who I had become and I know I did not either. We agreed that it was time to realize that my fight to feed him from the breast was not won. And that my internal struggle was worse than giving in to formula.

My doctor also noticed a difference in me and we all agreed that an anti-depressant was also in order. So here I was, depressed, sad, lonely and scarred. And now a mother.

I SO wish I would have had more people to talk to about it all in those first crazy weeks. I wish I’d had this community, that I know (because I’ve seen it first hand) can wrap its virtual arms around a mother who is going through these things. Who just needs someone to tell her that it’s alright and that they’ve been there and that she’ll get through it and that they are there to listen while she vents.

I got through it.  Or I guess I should say, we got through it. Me, my husband and our baby boy… but I’m guessing it could have been at least a little easier if I would have had you all then.

Just a guess.

Comments

  1. Aw, I wish you had had this too. I didn’t in the early days, but it sure helped in the more recent struggles.

  2. All of my friends worked when I had my first so I remember feeling like I had no one to talk to during the day. Oh how times have changed with friends online. :)

  3. Awww I totally agree. Would have made a huge difference with my first too. I had the blues worse with Max, though. Seems like I am just now getting over the hump. It has been easier having a very supportive community around though. In that way, the internet is a great thing.

  4. I agree with all of this. I have an online group of mommy friends that bonded over our first babies. When we all started having seconds we noticed the change in one of our friends and acted on it. Had she been “alone” I’m not sure she would have acted as soon as she did it. This is one of the reasons that I always say that online friends are real.

  5. I guess the same thing. I had such deep depression after my daughter was born, and no one to reach out to during that time for help or hope. I think that first year (and the second) would have been much better if I had had the support of the internet the way I do now.

  6. I feel the same way, Elaine. My anxiety went through the roof after I had my first son (due to postpartum depression)and I didn’t get the help I needed because I thought that the only symptoms were that of depression. It wasn’t until I felt like I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown did I get help. My friends didn’t understand. I wonder if I had online friendships then, that community might see something that no one else could.

    But you made it through. And I made it through. We can be the community that supports others with our hearts and words.

    Alita

  7. Yes totally agree and disagree :). Totally agree that it is wondeful and the support and everything there is… But then at the same time I struggle with how much this all pulls me and I think of how much I was so absorbed in my son’s life because that is all there was and sometimes I wish for that– really it just comes down to me finding a good balance. But yes, the love and friendships and support can be life saving

  8. My first was born in 2009 and by god, I struggled for the first few months. I wish I’d had known this amazing blogging community then too. Now with my 2nd coming, I feel so much confident that things will be better (not just because I’ve done this before and know what to expect. To an extent), but that I can reach out anytime of the day to people who understand, who’ve been there too.

    But you’re here now and so are we. :)

  9. In think about this all the time. I really wish I’d had blogging back then, too. It would have made things so much easier- or at least made me feel less alone.

  10. I know exactly what you mean, I could have used it to! But we have it now and it’s that just the best thing?

    This was beautifully heart wrenching Elaine, I am so glad you made it through the other side. You are strong and Tim is your one and only – it sounds like he knew just what to do!

  11. I didn’t have any complications like you did with your first born, but i was the first of my friends to have a baby and was living without any family close by. It was very isolating.

    My bloggy friends would have been so welcome back then.

  12. I had so many of the same feelings when I had my first. No physical issues for me outside or usual surgery recovery, but so much mental struggle. I pulled out of it without meds, but just barely I think. Giving up nursing was huge for me too–I resisted but it was definitely what was best. I think knowing that I wasn’t going to be the worst mother ever if I didn’t nurse really helped me do it with later kids. Anyway, you are so right. I’m so grateful for this virtual community.

  13. Yes, this. Exactly this.

    xo

  14. Gorgeous post, and I agree so very much. I am so new to this blogging world, but I already wish that I had decided to be a part of it sooner. You wrote the words in my mind.

  15. I really related to this, after my son was born I was desperate for a sense of community, for people that could relate to what I was going through. I’m glad I found so many of these wonderful mom blogs.