It’s been a while since I posted. Almost a year. Partially because life got busy and partially because I’m not a very good blogger. I think out a lot more posts than I write. However, it was a pretty busy year and we added to our family for the final time. Our daughter, Elizabeth, was born in July.
She’s the reason for this post. She was born 6.5 weeks early and spent twenty-two days in the NICU at two different hospitals. It was one of the hardest things I have ever been through in my life. Not only was I physically recovering from her birth (I had to have a c-section), but it was emotionally draining. I felt torn between my children, because I wanted to be with her and I wanted to be with the boys plus there was fear and guilt and exhaustion to contend with as well. Thankfully, I didn’t have to deal with it alone.
I’ve read articles about how we no longer have a “village” to lean on and I agree that things have changed. We don’t have the same circle of neighbourhood moms that existed in the past. I know very few of Alex’s friends’ parents. However, I do have a village, just not the same way my mother or grandmother might have.
Within hours of Elizabeth’s birth, my village was there for me. In the weeks that followed, they brought me food and offered to watch the boys. Members of my village visited me or called me on the telephone or chatted with me for hours. They gave me hugs, but also let me cry and scream and rant. They talked me down during the scary moments and gave me hope. I was able to call on their experiences and find comfort in them. They made me realize that I was not alone.
My village was not made up of neighbours, but of friends I’ve made from a variety of places. The biggest difference between my village and the traditional one? Mine is a virtual village. A lot of these women I met online. Through message boards or mommy groups. We came together through shared interests and built deep friendships because of it. There are also people who I met through more traditional means (such as mutual friends), but connect with online more than in person because of distance. They are all part of my wonderful, loving village.
One of the nice things about a virtual village is that it allows for a wide variety of experiences. Ones that you might not be exposed to when you’re limited by variety. Elizabeth has a minor heart issues, but that was okay because I knew another mother who had been through something similar and she could answer my questions. I also knew other mothers of preemies, who could share their experiences and help me know what to expect.
It was a rough few weeks, but we made it through it, mostly because I knew I was never alone. My village was there. They had my back and I know they always will.