New mom and writer, radio producer and Montclair resident, Hillary Frank, is calling on other mothers (and dads) for her newly launched blog and podcast, The Longest Shortest Time. Her site vows to tell “the truth about early motherhood,” and, Frank hopes, to create a space for new mothers and those about to become new mothers to find support and help through those first long days of motherhood.
Frank became a new mother herself about a year ago when her daughter, Sasha, was born on a snowy winter day in February. At the time Frank had been a freelancing radio producer for such national shows as This American Life, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Studio 360 and Marketplace. She was used to hustling for work, but her pace slowed as her belly grew.
“As I became more and more pregnant, I started to shave off more work,” Frank said. “When I came back I shaved off more and more until I had none.”
The frenetic life quieted to long hours with a tiny infant.
“There was a long time after Sasha’s birth that I was struggling with identity,” Frank said. “The only person I interacted with was my baby.”
Frank was a woman who was used to doing and creating, and she found the abrupt transition to her new life to be a little overwhelming and isolating.
She started to ask her friends to share their early experiences with motherhood, and when she did a new world opened up to her. “It was like the women who were willing to share were inviting me into a secret club.”
This experience encouraged her to share her own early motherhood moments with others. “It was hard for me to write about my earliest experiences,” Frank said. But in doing so she found people who made her feel like she was part of a community. She discovered “the experience I had is actually a universal experience.”
Then came the day at the ob/gyn office when Frank was reading Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions, and a woman with a newborn leaned over and said that book was the only one she could relate to as a mother.
“Why is this the only book women can relate to with all of the shelves of parenting books?” Frank questioned. “Why is this the only one that can resonate?”
And with her urge to “expend energy on something other than being a mom,” Frank embarked on her blog/podcast project. “What I’ve created is a way of connecting with other moms.” Connecting in a way that is honest, meaningful and hopefully helpful to other first time moms who are struggling to attain their equilibrium.
“I think there are a lot of positive aspects to being new mothers, but I also wanted to acknowledge that it’s complex.”
After nearly a year, Frank’s getting the hang of motherhood, but she admits she’s still relatively new at it. “There are many, many days where I ask my husband who am I? What do I do?”
If you have a story you’d like to share about the surprises or struggles in your longest shortest time, Frank wants to know. Share your story with her here, and you just may be on her next podcast.