I was chatting on my home phone with my friend Emily in Boston while both of our daughters, my toddler and her less than a week-old, were napping yesterday afternoon. Suddenly my iPhone buzzed. I read the NBC Breaking News alert.
“How far away are you from the finish line of the Boston Marathon?” I asked.
“A few miles,” Emily responded. “Why?”
“A bomb supposedly just went off at the finish line,” I said. I read her the alert. Nothing was confirmed yet so we went right on talking.
Ten minutes later she interrupted me mid-sentence. “Stace, I’ve gotta go. Philippe just texted me that two bombs went off at the Marathon. He’s fine, but I have a friend who lives around the corner from the finish line. Let me go.”
“Okay. Stay safe.”
And we hung up.
I turned not the TV instead of turning my attention to the work I should’ve been doing on for upcoming presentation. When the screen came alive I was met with video of the bomb blasts. No one knew what was happening, how many people were injured, or who did this horrendous act.
My mind went back to January 8th, 2011, when my daughter was a few days old. That was the day of the shooting at the Safeway in Tucson where Congresswoman Giffords was holding a meeting with constituents. There I was, hormonal and sleep-deprived, watching the terrible events unfold again and again on CNN. It was tragic. But as I sat in my bedroom, pumping several times a day, I watched the news. I couldn’t seem to turn it off despite the fact that I bawled constantly every time I heard about someone who died or who was injured. What I needed someone to tell me was this: TURN OFF THE TELEVISION. But no one did. So I watched and cried as many times a day as I pumped.
So I dashed a note off to Emily a few hours later. I said this:
I can’t believe we were on the phone when the bombs were exploding in Boston this afternoon. Try to stay away from the news as much as you can. (The Gabby Giffords shooting happened when I was a few days postpartum. I watched way too much of the coverage and was bawling my eyes out since I was so hormonal.) I know it’s happening much closer to home than the Tucson incident, but it’ll probably make you more upset to have the TV on constantly.
I’m not one of those moms who likes to tell other moms how to raise their kids, what to buy, etc. I’m really not simply because I don’t like being intrusive. However, as someone who read too many articles and watched too much television about the shootings in Tucson, I know how helpless it left me. Here I was, a new mom who just brought new life into this scary world. Everything was new to me. Simple things like diapering and feeding my newborn felt complex back in those days. Adding a national tragedy into the mix made being a mom of a newborn harder.
So, my advice to any mom of a newborn who is sleep-deprived and healing from birth is to turn off the television. If you must watch, limit yourself to 30 minutes away from that precious baby of yours. And then, turn off the news and shut out the rest of the world. Smell his/her heavenly scent. Feel their soft skin. Give your child lots of kisses. And that’s it. Just go and be a mom.
17 thoughts on “My Advice to New Moms in the Wake of the Terror in Boston.”
Such smart and loving advice, Stacey. I’m going to send your post to my colleague who is at home with her 5 day old son. Thanks.
We really have to savor the beautiful, honest, loving things we have in our lives – every day – but today for sure! I love your last 6 lines. Gave me chills.
Advice like this should be welcome in every mother’s world, Stacey. With the exception of extra hormones, the grief exists for me as a parent of older children, as well. I worry about the world that our children will grow up in and to so much, and the invasion and elimination of our right to feel safe is real for me. Martin Richard’s shining face will haunt me, as do the toothless smiles of the Sandy Hook children. Yes, I hug my children and tell them I love them even when I am angry with them, but I wish that I felt safer in my world and that they would grow up in a place where their right to feel safe was intact.
Such great advice. It is hard enough to process the events from across the country. I can’t imagine being right there.
Thank you for sharing Stacey.
“Smell his/her heavenly scent. Feel their soft skin. Give your child lots of kisses. And that’s it. Just go and be a mom.”
My daughter just turned 18 last Saturday. I want to go in her room and touch her skin, and shower her with kisses. She is planning on moving to California at the end of this year. We live in Pennsylvania. I wonder what world she is venturing into. I pray she will be safe.
Good advice for all of us. Like you, I sometimes find it hard to turn away from tragedy when it happens, but obsessing over it won’t make anything better. Reaching out to show our love to those around us, though, can make the world a little bit better.
Awesome advice Stacey . . . I’m not a new mom and I get upset each time I see and hear about this tragedy! I wish I could close myself up away from the world right now too…and how wonderful if it was with a child that you love so so much!
Some advice floats away in the air like a helium balloon, but sometimes it sticks in a tree and settles there to be noticed. I think your advice has done the latter. Oh, to be back with my first newborn son right now. it would be the greatest gift in the world to me. I allowed myself to bathe in the wonder of my darling babies when they were young instead of rushing and hurrying and scurrying to do other things. I am so glad.
That is advice that we all can take…the 24 hour news can be so damaging. I forced myself to turn off the television. I am sure your friend welcomes such advice.
I agree with you totally. Love this – “turn off the news and shut out the rest of the world. Smell his/her heavenly scent. Feel their soft skin. Give your child lots of kisses. And that’s it.” Thank you!
My son called to check on his cousin who was running in the marathon and his cousin’s kids who were at the finish line….yet I was so glad to hear his voice and savor the sound of his love and concern..even from afar. Yet long ago, when he was a toddler, and on a snowy morning at home a rocket carrying a teacher into space exploded, I did just as you said, turned off the TV and held him close.
I agree with everyone else who’s commented. Watching the endless loop of these horrific events helps no one. I was home yesterday and chose to keep updated through the NYTimes website. Thank you for sharing your wise advice.
This is great advice, Stacey! I’m sure there are so many new moms who need to hear it, and I hope they find their way to your post. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
I was up until four in the morning trying to soothe my twelve year old to sleep. A friend of ours was burned at the finish line–she is okay and home now–but just hearing this news, on top of learning all about North Korea at school, sent her reeling. Technology has made our world so much smaller. It’s wonderful. And so overwhelming. This advice was perfect for a new mom…for any mom.
Great advice at a very sad time for many. I hope we can all find a little slice of peace in our day.
This is advice for everyone, not just new moms. I can’t believe how sucked in I get to the SAME few pieces of information over and OVER! When I know the new information will be available the next morning, why isn’t that soon enough? Why do I keep putting my mind through the same senseless horror?!?! Thanks for a great reminder…