So I think I might owe all of you an apology.
Do you remember how, with perhaps not a small amount of self-righteousness, I spent a fair amount of time talking in the past about my aversion to new technology? In one post, I even wrote:
And it’s not as though I oppose technology in general. I acknowledge the ways in which these devices and services enhance many people’s lives.
It’s just that I don’t think they’d enhance mine.
Well, I was wrong. Dead wrong. At least as far as the Smartphone is concerned.
A few weeks after Baby Sister was born, my cell phone carrier welcomed the iPhone and, for reasons that I’m still not sure of – perhaps a commercial cocktail of sleep deprivation and saavy Apple advertising? – I welcomed Smartphone technology into the Motherese household.
And I haven’t looked back.
I love having a camera at the ready. I love the apps (a favorite being the potentially hypochondria-inducing WebMD Symptom Checker, through which I accurately diagnosed my own case of shingles and Big Brother’s pink eye). I love having instant access to the weather forecast. I love reading the paper and listening to NPR podcasts while nursing Baby Sister.
But most of all I love the way the iPhone has eased my feelings of isolation in these early months with a new baby at home. And rainy and cold months they have been. Months in the house, in the glider, looking out at the slowly greening trees.
And perhaps you’d say I should have spent those months – should be spending them – gazing into Baby Sister’s eyes while she eats or reading to the Brothers while feeding their sister. And believe me: I have done a lot of those things too. And those moments have been gorgeous and good.
But there have also been moments of laughter that come from reading a funny remark from a friend on Twitter, moments of support that come from a kind e-mail from a fellow new mom, moments of camaraderie that come from checking in with a favorite writer’s blog.
And I’ve been grateful for these moments of connection. Because it’s really all about connection, isn’t it? As much as I’ve loved the moments of bonding with our new baby and our new family, sometimes a woman wants to connect with other women, with other grown-ups, with current events and the world outside the literal and proverbial crib.
E.M. Forster famously wrote about the centrality of connection in (what I think is his masterwork) Howard’s End:
Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.
I have had few experiences more isolating than the sleepless first few months with a new baby (and the irony, of course, is that you feel alone when you are never, in fact, alone). But my third time through that fourth trimester period has felt far less lonesome thanks, yes, to my bigger kids – and thanks to my iPhone.
So call me a contrite convert. A late but happy adopter.
Are you shocked by my conversion? What is your favorite way to connect?
Howard’s End is E.M. Forster’s greatest novel. Discuss.