Saw one of those motivational quotes that said, “Sometimes asking for help is the bravest move you can make. You don’t have to go it alone”.
After Genevieve was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, I did what I do well. I researched non-stop. I learned all I could about her particular defect, I studied her doctors, different treatment options . . . and I entered the “heart community”. Both our local It’s My Heart – New England group and many online communities. Over time, I became a moderator for an online group and found myself as the “experienced” parent that many new parents turned to for advice on preparing for their child’s first surgery. Repeatedly, I would say, build your support network.
Overtime, I realized that I was really bad at taking my own advice. My parents and my husband’s family has been amazing. Without asking, they have offered their support and have been present whenever we needed them. My mom probably has a bag packed next to her bed ready to grab along with her keys to make the drive from Newington, CT to Boston, MA at any time. I have the best parents.
Asking for help beyond that has been a struggle. I have frequently found myself alone and disconnected. Not because my friends did not care – it was because I could not find the words to tell them what I needed and instead opted to go it alone. Over the past few years, I have reconnected with many friends thanks to social media and smart phones. Friends from high school still in my hometown and others that have also migrated to Boston. I have made new friends at work – people that I can talk to and actually want to spend time with outside of the work day. Then there is my online community, it has expanded over the years beyond the heart community to moms of multiples and moms in general. One of my best friends came into my life when I needed someone. She didn’t judge me and I could tell her anything.
The outpouring of support as we prepare for Genevieve’s surgery in January is incredible. My friends have built me playlists so that I can find peace in music, care packages come in the mail, all the people that follow and comment on this blog, regular text messages so that I know someone is thinking of me. While some messages are completely inappropriate, you know that I am laughing. There are people praying for my daughter all over the world.
For those that are struggling with anything in life, my advice continues to be to ask for help, tell people what you need, build your support network. My commitment to myself, my friends and my family is to try to do the same. This goes both ways, tell me what you need. I am here. Just know that I am always a work in progress. So call me out on it if you see me disconnecting from the world as none of us have to go it alone.