The Birth of the Blog: This Postpartum Life
I sat in the exam room at my primary care doctor’s office, waiting, my almost 3 month old asleep in the car seat beside me. I was here to follow up with her regarding my diagnosis of postpartum depression. I had been diagnosed six weeks earlier. She is a family doctor and sees all of us; we have a great relationship with her. She is excellent. We have known her for a long time and I trust her. When she came in, she greeted me warmly and cooed over baby who, in the course of waiting, had woken up, nursed, and had a diaper change. Then she sat down and asked me, with such compassion:
“So, how are you doing?”
I will pause here to say that this question is worthy of a whole other post. Not for what the answer is, but for what the question is.
I don’t know if it is because I have a great relationship with my doctor - we’ve known each other for so long and she is familiar with the general adventures of my life for about the last 8 years- or whether I can’t recall a time in recent weeks, maybe even since my last visit with my midwife, that I had been asked that question. Like really asked that question, the way she was asking me now. Not in an obligatory polite kind of way that gets you a wide-eyed look of surprise and horror when the question is answered honestly. But in a sincere way, patiently waiting for the real answer, whatever it may be. And the words just poured out of me. The litany of stressors and emotions and feelings marched out of my mouth. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I gave my report on the last six weeks, and then the six weeks before that. I joked around in my usual semi-sarcastic, self-deprecating way and I laughingly told her about how I’d been saying in recent days that I felt compelled to start a blog or something. I had awoken to this call to starting talking about what it is to be a woman, a professional, a wife, a mother- to hold all these things in tension; about how we manage to get through the day, how we are finding the solutions, and what those solutions are. I had felt that there must be some answer to these challenges, even the small daily challenges, some ancient wisdom that had been lost to the advent of the working woman, the working mother, and the shift in how our society, our culture is (not) equipped to support the new mom, or the new family for that matter. And then I quipped,
“But, surely, the last thing the world needs is another mom blog.”
“I don’t know”, she said. “Sometimes I think there aren’t enough!”
I mulled over this seemingly pretentious idea that I, who am not a teacher or picture-perfect Instagram mom or a labor and delivery nurse, was worthy to write a blog about this. But this compulsion to do something nagged at me: to start a conversation, to get out my story in the hopes that it could help one mom, or dad, or grandparent, or sister, or friend, or heck: me.
My plan is for this to function mainly as a therapeutic exercise for myself. This is mostly to curb any self-consciousness I have about starting this blog. But I have found in the last 3 months through conversations with myself, family, friends, new acquaintances, random women I have met walking in the park, that we – the ubiquitous “we”, friend of the ubiquitous “they” that seems to plague these kinds of conversations – we are not talking about the real day to day adventures that face new moms and new dads and their families.
In addition to sharing my journey, I will be putting out there the tips and tricks that I have found helpful, the research I have done, the parenting philosophies I have amalgamated to one that works for my family. I just want to put it out there. In case it’s helpful. So some other person isn’t recreating any wheels. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
So, I would like to invite you to join me in starting the conversation, asking the questions, exploring the vast ocean of advice and research, and observing with curiosity the complexity of the joys and challenges that make up this postpartum life.