Many thanks to Dell and Babble for providing me with this awesome Dell Inspiron computer + another to give away to a reader! This post is part four of my four-part series sponsored by Dell. You can read my other posts, and posts from other writers, at the Dell Family Tech page.
The other night while up at all-hours, I picked up the phone that had wedged itself in the couch cushions between myself, Boheme (who was asleep on my chest) and Reverie, who was gazing at the wall in her Boppy pillow. I was feeling a little on the lonely side in the way new moms feel lonely – isolated and angsty. In love with my babies, sure, but also craving some adult companionship outside of our cocoon of boppys and bottles. So? I dialed up twitter.
One of the first tweets to appear on the screen of my cell was tagged #zombiemoms and mentioned something about 3am feedings which I had just, moments before, survived. Bo and Rev were awake and STARVING at the same time which made for a very chaotic experience of nursing one babe with my left arm and bottle feeding the other with my right. (I’m still doing solo night shifts so Hal can get enough sleep to function at work. In the mornings, after my mom takes the kids to school, she takes the babies so I can sleep a few hours.)
with Reverie, one of my two napping buddies
…Anyway, I had just come off my 3am feeding, desperate to hear from my fellow night-feeders, when I first saw the #zombiemoms tag. I searched “zombiemoms” and pulled up dozens (hundreds?) of other tweets, all from moms from every which where, up at all hours of the night with newborns like mine. I scrolled through… read about how one mom hadn’t slept in two days, another mom whose baby was so colicky she had to bounce on a yoga ball just to keep him quiet as not to wake the toddler she had sleeping in the other room. I read endless tweets about exhaustion and anger and guilt. About joy and love and happiness. About loneliness and postpartum depression, about breastfeeding pain and bottle-feeding guilt and, peppered throughout, the loving responses of other moms in the same exact boat.
Incredible, I thought. And it was. It is.
When I first started Girl’s Gone Child it was because I was desperate to trade stories with my peers, other mothers, parents. None of my friends had children and mom groups intimidated me. I was dying to communicate with someone, anyone, dealing with the same sleeplessness and frustration and joy. Someone my age. Or older. Or younger. someone willing to share honestly and openly. Strangers willing to become friends: moms with dot coms, dads with .typepads.
In 2005 when Archer was born, there was no twitter. But there were bloggers, like me, writing about the experience of new parenthood and the challenges therin. And it meant everything to me. People like Dutch and Wood of Sweet Sweet Juniper, Stefania of CityMama, Heather of Dooce, Pierre Kim of Metrodad, The WeirdGirl… Their stories were there for me when a so-called “
mom parent group” wasn’t. Their voices carried and carried me through…
I like to think that, in a way, I am returning the favor. That we all are and that’s why we’re here. We blog and tweet and write on each other’s facebook walls as reminders to ourselves and each other that we’re not alone. We post at all hours of the night so that other parents and peers can find us flashing away like lighthouse towers, and sail toward shore.
I didn’t participate in any dialogues that night. I didn’t lend advice nor did I seek it… I just scrolled and read and nodded and cried and smiled. I sat in the darkness and felt for the first time that night an incredible light. And I realized that after six and a half years of motherhood THIS was my mom group. A group of strangers from around the world who somehow, thanks to social media have become mentors, sisters, friends… even if they themselves don’t know it.
We’re connected. Love connects us. And pain. And sleeplessness… That’s the beauty of humanity. We all have the same moving parts. That’s the beauty of technology. Someone is always there.
I scrolled and read and scrolled and read until Reverie finally fell asleep and then I put down my phone, grateful there was a party I could crash with merely a # symbol and feel less alone. Without walking into a room. Or shaking a hand. Or saying a thing. Because sometimes I just wants to listen. Sometimes I just want to read without sharing, listen without talking back, be without explanation.
Sometimes I strive to be the lighthouse. Sometimes I can’t help but be the boat.
Leave a comment below for a chance to win an Inspiron One 2320 Touch computer, This giveaway will run until Friday, October 28th at 11:59 p.m. EDT and is open to all U.S. residents. A winner will be chosen at random using Random.org from all eligible entries. Each reader has FOUR chances to win by leaving a separate comment on each of my Dell posts, and Dell posts by other bloggers participating in this campaign (you can find those posts at the Family Tech topics page). The chosen winner must respond within 48 hours of notification to claim their prize. Good luck!
UPDATED: Congratulations to commenter #641/1298 total comments, Amy! And thank you all for participating! (ED: Amy has since been contacted and will be receiving her computer momentarily!)