In the Middle of the Night: Two Friends, Two Babies, Two Phones
(Graphic: Kat Borosky/TueNight.com)
Christina and I had babies two days apart, and we went through the exact same thing at the exact same time. Even when babies are a just month apart, there are already variances—especially when they are newborns. There is not a shared sensitivity of what is happening right now. Christina shared everything I was feeling, especially in the wee hours of the night.
I don’t think anyone ever impressed upon me just how lonely and long nights can be when you’re the only one up, nursing and bouncing and rocking your fussy, lovely, crying, wonderful baby back down.
When most of the world was sleeping and our men were snoring beside us, Christina and I had our babies in one hand and our iPhones in the other.
And because we were bent on breastfeeding on demand in the beginning, this meant we were up 2-3 times a night. l was so bleary eyed, crazy tired, falling asleep while sitting up in bed holding on to my blob of a newborn.
I am not sure how it started really, but one of us reached out tentatively at 1 a.m. in the first week with a “You up?”
Immediately there was a response, and such a sigh of relief! There was someone else blurry eyed, dealing with a squirmy baby, our healing bodies, and our freaked out new mommy minds.
Ericka’s texts were the tiny buoys I could hang onto in the middle of a dark sea of exhaustion and cluelessness.
We texted all night long. I remember my feedings were usually connected with hers: at 1 a.m., 3 a.m., 6 a.m. When one mom was ready to fall asleep, the other would continue to write a bit and wait an hour or so for the next round of correspondence. We texted about everything and anything. There was safety in the night air, and pure trust. I was so vulnerable at the time and I didn’t hold back.
I would look forward to my iPhone screen lighting up, so I could read whatever funny or frustrated comments would come my way, and sometimes answers to my long parade of questions.
What’s happening “down there”? Do your boobs hurt? Are you crying all the time? I am. Do you feel connected with your baby? Do you feel connected with your partner? Is this what you expected from motherhood? Will we ever have sex again?
I remember being STUCK to my phone those first four months. I actually picked it up before I picked up my baby. (I remember thinking, “Will my son remember this? The light of the iPhone in his face in the middle of the night?”) But the relief, the exhale, and the excitement I got from seeing my home screen filled with correspondence from my friend: “You up? You there? Oh, you’re probably sleeping, lucky you…Well, when you’re up, this is what happened today…”
Ericka was my lifeline, my sanity, as I sat next to my snoring, well-rested hubby. Someone that I looked forward to being up with, so I could immediately share the fact that my daughter just had a big blow out. And did I have to change her diaper again, or I could I let this one slide?
She wouldn’t judge my questions or make me feel weird for wondering anything. And to be honest, we didn’t know each other that well to begin with… Maybe it was the darkness.
I remember too, we both dealt with some pretty difficult stuff early on. When Christina’s baby was admitted to the hospital and she was up all night so scared, I hope that I was there for her, texting away. And when I dealt with tragedy, she was there for me, reading and responding with tenderness and sympathy. I told her my fears, my grief, my worries…
It got me through the night, through the trenches of early motherhood. How thankful I am to have had that confidant in Christina.
I felt very connected to Ericka, this woman who was all the way on the other side of this big city. I absolutely could not have done those nights without her.
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