Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The difference a decade makes...

The date: March, 1999
The scene: 3 bedroom Sears kit home in a small suburb of North East Illinois. Snow and ice are in piles around this little house while laundry and dishes are in piles within it...
Justin was about 2 or 3 weeks old. After nursing him round the clock for about 21 days, recovering from a harsh episiotomy, and realizing that I would be leaving him in daycare in about 3 more weeks, I was, to say the least, an emotional wreck. A stinky, weepy, leaky, fleshy mess...

Only one of my friends had had a child, and she worked full-time. None of my neighbors in our newly purchased home had small children. Rather, if they did, I didn't know them. The weather was such that not only was I unable to stroll around and meet other parents, but I was unable to even go to the grocery store to relieve the cabin fever that was setting in, and fast!

It was during this new-mommy crisis that I picked up the phone and dialed 411. (Remember 411? That service that is almost obsolete due to the internet and cell phones?) Shaking with hormones and weeping almost uncontrollably, I asked the operator if she knew of any mother's groups in my area. Anything at all. A play place, a church, ANYthing!! The poor dear on the line had no ability to help me. She didn't have the means to pull up a random organization without a name. Without a name to search for, 9 years ago, one couldn't find a service!

Can you remember that? It wasn't that long ago! Without a name, you couldn't find someone! Our kids will never believe us...

Not even a computer could have helped me. Had we HAD an internet connection, which we didn't (Did I even know what it really was, back then??), online groups were not readily available and especially not in our small town.

Desperate for someone to help me, I scoured through the newspaper and found a Gymboree class. Though it was well beyond our means and way too far away, I called the location to go for a free class. I knew, without a doubt, that I would be attending. I was blessed enough that this particular class led to several friendships which developed into playgroups and outings for myself and Justin. As he and his baby friends grew up, we grew apart due to moves and school hours, but those years were saved by finding a mother's group. Without the support of my fellow mommies, I would have been lost!
When I became pregnant with Corinne, I was a different person. In just 6 years, so much had changed with the world. "Internet" wasn't just a word for computer geeks: it was a household necessity, right up there with television and telephones. Online groups were available at the click of a button and it was through the computer that I met mothers. Message boards, Meetup groups, and my blog have allowed me to have a camaraderie with other mothers that I never dreamed of when pregnant with Justin.

And now, almost 10 years into this parenting gig, I feel confident and surrounded by support. I am envious of new mothers of today! They get to start off with such a stronger security net of answers at their fingertips. Any worry or loneliness that may sound silly in person, can be indulged within the internet world. Blog friends will never compare to a blood and flesh friend who can hug you and bring you a casserole (hey! No one's EVER brought ME a casserole!!). But Blog friends are able to be there for you in the middle of the night for a quick comment, to lift your spirits, and to offer emotional support, nonetheless.

Mu-wah, bloggy friends! And thanks for making this decade easier on me!
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