She Just Did It

One of my favorite stories is the one about when I was born. My parents don’t tell a lot of stories from when we were little, but the details I have pulled out of them about my birth are some of my favorites.

About by birth I know this:

I was two weeks late.

My mom was in labor for about ever.

When I was finally born, my dad went home and sat on the stoop with his black lab and had a beer because he was exhausted and overwhelmed.

When my dad brought my mom and I home from the hospital, he had to go back to work, but he made sure to ask my mom if she could do laundry because he was out of clean underwear.  And she did it without even thinking anything about it.

Being a new mom in our small town in 1978 was so different than it was for me, in the same town, in 2009. I can’t even imagine what those early days home alone with me were like.

My mom didn’t have the internet or the Google if she had a question about what was going on with me or with her. When Eddie wouldn’t stop crying, I turned to Twitter, Facebook, Google, BabyCenter, my blog…looking for answers and suggestions for calming a colicky baby.

What did my mom do?

When Eddie spiked his first fever, I looked to my nurse friends in my computer to find out at what point I should worry and bring him in.

What did my mom do?

When I felt lonely and separated from the world, I looked to my computer to find moms who felt like I did.

What did my mom do?

A blog comment on someone else’s blog is what prompted me to realize I might have postpartum depression.

How did mom’s know they needed help back then?

Whenever I ask my mom, she says, “I don’t know. We just did it. I’m sure there were moms who had depression, but we just didn’t know about it, so we got through it.”

I know she doesn’t mean that as a slam on me for not just getting through it. She is just simply shrugging her shoulders at what her reality was.

But did she cry when I cried?  Did she wonder if she was enough? Did she tell my dad she was scared? Did she wonder what in the hell she had gotten herself into?

I”m not sure I could have done this motherhood thing without the moms in my computer. I had plenty of support in “real life” from friends and family, but the moms in my computer were there 24/7 and there was always someone who experienced what I had.

Over the course of the past five years I have wondered at how moms did this thing alone before. All those moms without a tribe around them…how did they survive those first years?

When I ask my mom  these things, she waves me off  and says, “pfft. I don’t know, Kate. We just did.” My mom even claims to not remember. Is that possible? Maybe. I do find it harder and harder to remember Eddie and Charlie as tiny. And it has been 36 years since I was a tiny infant in my mom’s arms.

But then I see her throw her head back and laugh when she is with Eddie and exclaim, “Oh Kate! He is SO YOU!”

And I wish I could see what her mind sees. I wish I could remember being four-almost-five.

How did she do it?

I guess in the end it wasn’t too different than how I do it, really.

One moment at a time, doing the best I know how by my boys.

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Thanks, mom, for “just doing it.”

And I totally know what you mean all those times you said, “you’ll understand when you’re a mom.” I thought you were just crazy and dumb.  Turns out I was the dumb one.

Love you, mom.