I really had no idea what this whole blogosphere was about before I became a mom. What are all these people doing thinking they are so important that other people want to read about their lives? During my pregnancy, I joined a few Yahoo groups — DC Expectant Moms and a group for BirthCare, the freestanding birth center where I planned to have my son. The idea of sharing with strangers and new friends was appealing, and I sure learned a lot about being a mom in my area.
When we had my son (at the hospital due to his breech position), I craved cyberconnection. Somehow writing everyone to tell them about my overwhelming joy and my beautiful boy was the most compelling craving I’d ever had. Since I had always expected to be home within hours of what was going to be my son’s natural birth at the center, I was pretty clueless about maneuvering the hospital; it never occurred to me that the place would have internet access. My husband went home for a few hours and failed to use the email list I’d diligently set-up. He just put in the few family addresses he happened to know and figured the rest could wait. It made me crazy to think people didn’t know how my life had changed. I came home 46 hours after my c-section and sat at the computer the first chance I got.
A month later, I started a blog for my son — really a photo gallery on Geocities — where I dumped all the daily-life data that was both clogging my brain and fascinating me. But it was really all about him and my life with him. At the same time, I was learning about the world of mom writing and trying prose on for size after having previously focused on poetry, which seemed way too precise and focused for my fuzzy postpartum brain. My sister-in-law got me a subscription to a (paper) zine called Hausfrau. I loved the concept of the zine but still didn’t get her reference to “blogging” as fitting in a piece about finding time for creative endeavors. I understood the desire to get all the cute details about my son down, and I’d spent hours sharing information with other moms via email, but I knew she meant something else by “blogging.” I just didn’t understand it.
Two years later, I get it. I’ve been taking a blogging workshop through MotherVerse magazine, which has inspired me to start up another blog: Inexact Science: Raising Healthy Families and to get more serious about this blog and my other blog, Crunchy-Chewy Mama. The more I try out small ideas in the blogosphere, the more I will make sense of my world and figure out how to focus bigger writing projects. The more I read blogs, the more I learn about parenting, writing, health… it’s astounding.
In her first book, Mothershock, Andrea Buchanan compared the stages of standard culture shock — of living in a foreign country — to the experience of mothering. I think I am in the early stages of Bloggershock — feeling giddy about all the cool things there are out there and overwhelmed. Will I ever be able to make sense of it all?
Once you start taking more risks in a foreign language, you start making more mistakes because you’re trying new things and finding out about all the various possibilities there are beyond the present and past tense of regular -er verbs.
So, too, am I wondering how I can keep track of all the stuff there is out there. From Ann Douglas’ Mother of All Blogs, I just learned about a past call for submissions I would have loved to know about at the Association for Research on Mothering. There’s another, though, for November, on maternal health and well-being. So I’m now inspired to do get moving on the piece I told my writing group I wanted to have drafted by the end of the year anyway! Write on!