On Wednesday my wife and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary. As I look back over the past year, thinking about the highs and lows, rereading old posts, one really jumped out at me.
I wrote it shortly after the birth of Bean, during a time when things felt a little overwhelming. We haven’t lived in this city very long, leaving family and friends behind just over a year previously to move across the country. So we didn’t have much of a support network setup here, and I found that really difficult during those early days. It’s funny how much that network has grown in the months since then, but those first few weeks were really rough. It helped that my parents surprised us a couple of days after he was born, and my inlaws came a couple of weeks later, but during that time I really learned the importance of having a strong support network. Especially during a time like the birth of a first child.
Originally posted October 29,2009. Support is Important.
Having a baby is challenging. It’s hard work, but it’s not the physical work that’s tough (at least not yet), but it’s the emotional side of things. The frustration of not knowing if you are doing something right, of not being able to tell what he wants when he fusses or cries. My respect for single parents has increased one hundred fold since becoming a dad. It’s a tough job, and going at it alone is just unfathomable to me.
Our biggest challenge has been not having much in the way of a support network around us. At least not in the immediate vicinity. Both of our immediate families live multiple provinces away, and while we do have extended family in the city, I find it really difficult to ask for help.
I thought we were developing a decent support network here. Going to church, having a small group, making friends… but it has all seemed so distant these past two weeks. Bean was born two weeks ago today, and we’ve haven’t had much in the way of visitors. I mean my parents surprised us with a visit the weekend after he was born, and what a HUGE blessing that was, and a couple of friends from out of town who just happened to be in town that weekend dropped in, but other than that, we’ve had no one.
I dunno, I guess I just expected more, which maybe I shouldn’t, but I thought at times when there’s a birth or death that the community comes together and helps those people out. I mean we’ve missed the last two Sundays at church and haven’t heard a peep from anyone. That’s not true, one person gave us a phone call and congratulated us which was really nice.
Maybe technology is getting in the way? When Bean was born I let everyone know on facebook, and posted a couple of pictures, and the messages and comments on my status poured in. It was really nice, but that’s where it stopped. Other than from a couple of really close friends, nobody even called. Nobody offered to drop by with dinner or to visit (things i thought just happened, especially in churches). Maybe I’m being a little old fashioned, but commenting on someone’s status is nowhere near the same as calling them on the phone, or dropping in to see them. But I think people have gotten comfortable sending greetings and congratulations from afar and the personal interaction has been left behind. It’s so much easier to type “Congrats!” than to pick up the phone and call, or drop by and see how things are going.
Now, I know I’m just having a little pity party for myself over here, I just expected more. And maybe I shouldn’t have. Maybe the relationships that we have cultivated just aren’t at that point yet. Or maybe I just need to learn to ask…There was just so much love and support prior to the birth, I thought it would continue. I think it’s the fact that the extent of most people’s comments were a reply to a status update. That’s not enough.
It’ll get better though. Hopefully we’ll make it to church on Sunday and reconnect with people there, and Jo’s parents are coming in Sunday afternoon for a couple of weeks. It’ll be a good thing, though I’m sure trying at times. I love my inlaws, they just drive me nuts sometimes. But then most people do, and living with them for a couple of weeks just amplifies things. lol It’ll be great for the love and support though, just what we need right now.