Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Back Up

A is away - he took the Newark to San Francisco flight on September 11. Anyone who read my "Blues Traveler" entry can only imagine how well I did with that.

Anyway, I collapsed last night caked in Yo Baby yogurt (Chloe only wants to feed herself), damp from bathwater (hers, not mine) wondering how the hell single parents do what they do. They should get medals, I swear to god. I am sure most of them work, which makes it all the more unimaginable. And some have more than one baby at home?! I know we all find a way to work with the hand we are dealt, but I really have so much appreciation for that extra set of hands. Even when they are grasping the remote, watching SpongeBob Squarepants when he should be helping me with dinner, it is so comforting to know that there is another adult around for back up. Not to mention one who gives the bath every single night and tells me that it's all going to work out when I send him profanity laced emails about the panic of the moment.

There was a single mother in one of the new mother groups that I went to. I expected that she would slink in with hair matted and head down, the picture of depression. Instead, she bounced in with a Bugaboo and perfect curls. I was hyper aware of her during all of the husband banter which ensued and wondered if she felt left out. She would pepper the conversations with remarks like "it's just me, so I do what I can". She was so...together. I was never sure of the story behind her son, whether she chose a sperm donor or broke up with the father or something else. At a lunch that she was absent from, the other girls would speak of pity for her, shaking their impeccably smooth hair from side to side in sympathy. But I only had reverence for this woman, who exuded confidence - at least on the outside.

I think that as new mothers, there are always those moments of feeling totally alone. But for those of us who are lacking a partner, or an extended family, or friends - those moments must be pretty damn scary. Because it really does take a village.


At 7:49 PM PDT, Anonymous Leigh said...

I was raised my single mother, albeit with a loving father outside the home, and it has taken me years to realize that men can be more than just an extra pair of hands. I'm so used to my mom doing it all that to me a husband was just gravy, but more likely to be a pain in the ass. As we all know, I am slowly changing my tune. :)

But I learned the lesson you describe when I took Tracey to the hospital and demanded that we override her shitty, dismissive midwives and see a doctor about her discomfort, high blood pressure, numb feet, and general sense of panic that her kid was not ok, two weeks prior to her due date. She didn't have the emotional strength to push back on the midwives, who were going to send her home yet again despite all the warning signs that something was wrong. I got to be the bad guy, we saw a doc and learned that the baby was a) breached and that b) the fluid was low, and that c) she needed a c-section that night. She was sort of stunned by the day's chain of events, while I was secretly thrilled since I'd now get to be there for the birth. But more than that, I thought to myself, how do women go through this alone? Whether it's a husband or a mother or sister or best friend, you need someone stalwartly in your corner during the whole thing - not just pregnancy, but life!

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