It’s funny how sometimes things just come together in my mind. I’ve been listening to a lot of what I like to call ‘Mall Punk’ music lately. It’s a lot of what I listened to in college: Good Charlotte, New Found Glory, The Ataris and Blink 182. Real deep stuff there, let me tell you. Yesterday I heard a song I remember well – Lifeline by Angels and Airwaves (Mark Hoppus’ side project). The lyrics, obviously about a romantic relationship, don’t really mean much to being a new parent, but the term lifeline really resonated with me.
Days later while watching the news everyone was buzzing about the Momma who drove her children into the waves convinced they were possessed. Now, more than ever, this horrifies me. I won’t go into the details here, but if you aren’t familiar with the story you can see more here. I kept thinking … where was her lifeline?
Who was noticing her Facebook updates? Who checked in with her during her pregnancy? Who saw she was struggling being pregnant with 3 kids? I’m not blaming her friends or family for what COULD have been a horrible tragedy. For those of us who are parents we know how hard and lonely and disorienting it can be the first few weeks or even going through pregnancy.
Look, I get that some people with mental illnesses are not being treated, or getting help or even that they aren’t sure they even HAVE a mental illness. The mom in the van is a very extreme example. But regardless – we need to be a lifeline.
Having this blog and being so open about infertility, my pregnancy and being a new momma has introduced me to a lot of friends of friends and me reconnect with old friends and even acquaintances. In fact, when Mike was just a few days old and I was struggling with breastfeeding, I reached out to my Facebook Mom’s Group and an old coworker (I mean, we worked together in 1998ish) of mine who is also a member, sent me a long note about her experience and gave me a lot of reassurance and support. And while I had a lot of other support, she was my lifeline. That person who told me I wasn’t the only one who struggled and that someone else ‘got it’. That experience has stayed with me and I am paying it forward.
Please keep an eye on your fellow parents and parents to be. You could be the lifeline that makes a difference.