they might have had disco, but they didn’t have you, internet.

Long, long ago in the days of my infancy when people were dancing to disco and wearing platform shoes, the only resources women had to help them navigate through this thing called “motherhood” were their own mothers, their {almost exclusively MALE} doctors, and their friends.

I cannot even imagine.

First, my mom and I have had VERY different pregnancies, birth experiences, and postpartum experiences.  She got pregnant quite easily, never had a miscarriage, popped us all out vaginally (and we were all pretty small), and didn’t experience PPD or anxiety.

It’s been hard for her to relate to all the stuff I’ve gone through, although truth be told, she has been one of my biggest supporters regardless of not being able to know exactly what I’m going through.  But when I thought I had Postpartum Depression, I didn’t go to my mom.

Secondly, my OBGYN, while male, has been extremely proactive and helpful with all the pregnancy stuff.  But when I decided I needed to get help for my PPD, I went to my General Practitioner–a woman.  Dr. W is a successful working mom who I just felt would understand what was going on in my head better.  And I was right.  But doctors are hard to get an appointment with, and you can’t just call them up and chat over coffee about how things are going.

Then there were my friends.

I love my friends.  I totally do.

Most of them live quite far away and the couple who are “local” aren’t really so local.  They live a 30-45 minute drive away.  I am not a phone person (yes, that is my own issue, but still).

So when I had questions or issues or just needed to hear that my kid (and my mothering) were normal, I usually just asked Cort.  Because he was there.  And he was honest with his answer: “I don’t know, Kate.”

If that was it?  If there was no other place to go with my questions and concerns and observations?  I don’t know if I would have made it.

The internet saved me.

With Eddie it was “just” facebook.

I hadn’t fallen into the blogosphere yet (even though I had already been blogging for 2 years), and I hadn’t really gotten then hang of the twitter yet.

But when I posted that Eddie was colicky and I was going crazy?  “Friends” from my past who I had not conversed with on facebook before, suddenly popped up.  They had kids, and some even had degrees in the medical field, and they helped me.

They held my hand through the tumultuous first three months.

They reassured me when I said I felt like a bad mom because I let Eddie take  a short nap on his tummy on the floor by me just because I needed quiet.

They gave me a zillion home remedies for colic…and you better believe we tried each and every one of them!

As Eddie grew, this blog grew.  And that means more help from the internet.

When we decided to try for another baby, the internet was there.  You told me your stories, you reassured me, you prayed for us…even though you didn’t know us.

When I announced that Charlie was coming, you cheered us on.

When my placenta decided not to cooperate, you again shared your stories of hope.

And now, as I inch closer and closer to having two sons, you are still there.  All of you with blogs, facebook, twitter, email.

Shoot, just last night when I was frantic about what to do with Eddie and his case of the scoots, I posted to facebook and twitter.  This is what my facebook looked like (I don’t even have ROOM for all the tweets you all shared):

And it kept on going from there…

This sort of thing amazes me.

We have an army in our corner.  And we don’t have to feel alone.

I wonder all the time how women did this mothering thing before the internet.  How did they rally?  How did they fight to survive?

Or didn’t they?

Did they have to sit at home {or at their jobs} and suffer in silence?  Did they ever get help?  Who could they reach out to?

Who celebrated the simple joys and “wins” of motherhood with them?  They couldn’t post to a picture facebook  of their twin infants FINALLY napping at the same time.  They just had to enjoy that victory alone.

Alone.

That is something we never are now that we have the internet.

For all the negativity that is said about moms on computers and constantly checking facebook and twitter and writing blogs, I always respond with, “but the internet saved my life…and my sanity.”

What great things have come to you because of the internet?  Share with me.  Let’s smile today.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. So so true! I did all my early parenting pre-internet, and thank goodness it existed in time for me to become a stepmom and then the mom of a son with special needs. I can get support anytime, anywhere, from people who care about me from afar. How great is that? Equally great is being able to share the love with other people when they’re struggling.

  2. I did my early parenting years without the internet. And I was the only one of my friends to have kids (it goes with the teenage mom territory) so I felt like I was alone in this world. The only women I had to talk to were family & while they were AMAZING. it is nice this second time around to have a bigger network of support.

  3. What an awesome post about the power we have to connect with one another across space, time and circumstances through the internet. After losing my son, I got so much support through the internet and have been able to work through a lot of painful issues by sharing it with all of the friends/strangers who read my blog. I think, truth be told, a lot of women did suffer in silence back in the day and some didnt’ come out so well. I work with the elderly and can attest to how many women took “nerve pills” to help them cope. I am so grateful to have this outlet instead!

  4. I call them my Posse of Ninja Moms. When I need them, I post it to my facebook status. They know who they are. They rally. They laugh and commiserate as appropriate. Whenever a friend becomes a mom for the first time, I let her know that now she’s in the Posse, and she can raise the alarm whenever she needs it. These women, these moms, these freaking NINJAS have saved my sanity more than once. God bless the Interwebs!

    • I agree – I’ve got my own Posse of Ninja Moms on Facebook AND on twitter. God bless ’em, they’ve saved me on countless occasions from either going insane or going into a dark corner and hiding. I am so thankful for the interwebs and I say “who cares” to those who criticize us for putting ourselves out there online. I have the guts to be honest because other moms have been!

  5. i don’t know what i would have done without the internet while going through infertility and ttc and i am so very thankful to have it while louise grows up!!

  6. word!

  7. You know that the internet saved me right?
    I don’t know what I’d do with out the support and encouragement all of you gave me during the most difficult time of my life.
    I swear, if I didn’t, I’d feel like the only person in the universe going through what I’d gone through.
    I shudder thinking of it.

  8. I’m older than you, so my mom didn’t even have disco. And I know she had some dark, lonely times.

    A wonderful place for people with “mood issues” to go is MOODGARDEN.ORG

    It has offered me much support.

    And, yes, there are blogs.

    And yes, they are private.

    Because sometimes there are things you DON’T want public in the blogosphere, but you still need support. 😉

  9. I love the people who live in my computer. Truly.

  10. Awesome! Just supremely awesome! It’s nice that we gals have so much more resources than we ever did before.

  11. From what I can tell, my own mother had her mother. I do not. I mean, she’s there…but we don’t have THAT kind of relationship. I don’t go to her for anything pregnancy/parenting related.

    She also had neighbors. We lived in farm country and had a few neighbors on the road and many more at church. She had IRL people to count on when my brother and I were very small.

    I have the internet and Peter. I’m not really sure which is better. My friends can be found all over the country and at all times of the day or night. There are a few closer IRL people, but I don’t turn to them with problems (unless I post on FB and they see it). I go to Twitter or my blog. The internet saved me too 🙂

  12. I cannot imagine the days of disco.

    I heart the Internet TOO MUCH. And this is just a small example of how wonderful it can be.

    Hope little E is feeling better. 🙂