self-care advocates who direct me to adjust my own air mask before caring for another…are not moms.
moms have an other-centered logic of being. it’s not a logical choice they make to put the one air mask on baby– it is not a choice at all. it is, instead, an involuntary gush towards a need, a flow toward another that is so closely related to them that they don’t distinguish between me and you. it would require a special choice to block or re-route the pulse to give.
in a closed dyad, the mom will necessarily hold her breath. she will develop superhuman lung capacity. she will develop coping strategies to not black out. but if she is not provided air from outside the dyad, she will suffer physical, emotional, spiritual pain and then die.
most single moms i know are only half-alive. it is not their responsibility to leave baby and get a second air mask. it is the responsibility of their family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to find one and give it immediately.
moms do not want a trophy for surviving what they should not have to endure. moms do not want arms-length sympathy. moms do not want questions–that’s air they have to use that they don’t have in the first place. mom’s don’t want statistics about how many other moms are suffocating. moms don’t want to see the exasperated eyes and shrugs of people breathing easy around us telling us how much they love us and how inspiring we are and how lucky our babies are to have us. how it will all work out.
we want air.
we are standing purple in front of you.