The internet can be a cesspool of negativity, horrific local and national news, and lingering political commentary from all opinionated sides. It's a lot to take in. I have to limit how much I'm "browsing" on a typical day, because all the above can really take a toll on my mental health or even how I feel about myself. However, despite the cringe-worthy parts of the web, there have been a few standout times when a mom on the internet made me feel less alone.
Along with having a "traditional" job here and there, I've been working and writing freelance from home (on the internet) for the more than a decade. It wasn't until I gave birth to my daughter in 2006 that I decided to stay home full-time, knowing I'd have to pick up every job I could to stay afloat. Financially, it was a difficult decision, but I knew I could make it work. After awhile, I realized how lonely working from home can be. With little interaction with other adult humans, I rarely had to leave the house at all (this is still true) which made detaching that much easier. In fact, until my daughter was old enough for preschool, it was just she and I while my partner worked long hours outside the home. All of this meant finding new ways to connect with people through long days and nights that, seemingly, ran together into one endless blur.
All the time home alone with my daughter, and fives years later, my son, meant getting used to feeling lonely. Even still, with jobs I love that keep me working full-time hours from the comfort of my couch or home-office, I have to be OK with knowing I may not see another person on any given day. However, I take comfort in the times people online were there for me, particularly moms who've reached out to make me feel less alone. Here are some of those times that, honestly, I'm so grateful for.
When I Gave Birth The First Time
Being in my early 20s, my first pregnancy wasn't exactly planned. Even still, I was happy to be finished with the difficult pregnancy and to finally meet my little angel. Afterwards, when I was home and settled into the new title of "motherhood," I started blogging as a way to connect with others and to share stories of my new journey. As a result of my candid writing, people, and especially mothers, would reach out to comment with congratulations, reminding me there are others out there feeling the same way.
Not only did it inspire me to keep writing even when I didn't feel like it, but it helped me make some of the supportive, encouraging friends I still keep in touch with today.
When I Suffered Through Postpartum Depression
My postpartum depression (PPD) was severe enough that I isolated myself from the rest of the outside world. Throughout this long bout of darkness, I did continue blogging and writing about what I was going through. Maybe my friends and family couldn't understand, but there were countless times a stranger from the internet would reach out with exactly the right words I needed to hear.
When I Miscarried
The excitement of pregnancy, only to be followed with the extreme grief of losing that baby, is difficult to explain. Although I tried, mercilessly, to write about all the feelings I had at the time, I know I failed to convey how tragic and upsetting this situation was. Even still, there were many, may people who emailed me to simply offer their condolences; people I didn't know, people who'd gone through something similar, and people who offered sympathy when I struggled to find it in real life.
When I Struggled With Infertility
After my 2009 pregnancy loss, I struggled for some time with becoming pregnant again. My partner and I were on the verge of looking into fertility treatments and exploring how difficult the whole process might be, both emotionally and financially. I often whined about it online, hoping there'd be one person who understood so that I didn't have to go through the rollercoaster of feelings alone. Thankfully, there were a lot of women, and other moms, who did just that. Those women assured me that everything would be OK. And, eventually, it was.
When I Got Pregnant Again
In 2011, I did become pregnant again with a healthy baby boy. There's no one I wanted to share the news with more than all those who I'd come to lean on virtually (aside from my partner, of course), because up to this point,they'd been there for me. I continued writing through every outlet possible, sharing my stories, and every now and then would receive a message from another mother who also felt alone but decided to reach out.
When I Spoke About My Biological Father
I've written a lot about my lifelong struggle with identity and the search for my biological father over the years. Out of everyone I know, the sentiments that've meant the most have come from those I don't know but who read something I wrote online. Whether it's women like me who went on similar journeys, or mothers in similar situations with their children, all of those words are stowed away in my hear. They've helped me heal a little, and definitely reminded me I'm not so alone.
When I Struggled With Mental Health
In 2014, I had an actual mental health breakdown that shook up my entire world. The only reason I'm here and on the other side of it, is because I remained honest about what I was going through by blogging and posting. Because of all those brave souls who reached out to tell their own metal health tales, I was able to make it through. Those individuals reminded me that we're in this life thing, together.
When I Lost My Grandmother
My grandmother was everything. When she passed, the only thing I knew to do was capture my grieving period through photos and writing. Those things struck a chord with others who've felt the same when they lost someone close to them and, thankfully, a lot of them reached out to tell me so. It didn't bring my grandmother back, but it did bring some comfort I couldn't find elsewhere.
When I'm Having A Low Day
Even now and then, I will wake and I won't feel like myself. I still work from home, I still rarely make contact with another human through any given day, and I still care for my two children while my partner works the same long days. When I post or tweet or blog about what I'm feeling, bless each and every one of you who takes the time to reply in some way. You have no idea of knowing how it affects my view on life.
Like I said, the internet isn't always the best space for positivity, but there have been many times when it's literally saved me from falling into a pit of despair. Sometimes it just takes one person's words to remind me I'm not alone.
Actually, if you're reading this, this is your reminder you're not alone, either.