It Takes a Village and I Found Mine Online
I knew my entire life was going to change the second I saw those two pink lines on that pregnancy test. I was extremely excited but I was also nervous. I have a few friends that became moms at a young age and we drifted apart when they transitioned into motherhood. I didn’t give much thought to it at the time and thought I was doing my friends a favor by giving them space. What I didn’t understand was how lonely or isolating motherhood can be.
As my pregnancy progressed, I noticed some of my very good friends fade out of the picture because we were on completely different paths. Carrying a child meant I could no longer hit up the bars and pregnancy took a lot out of me – I no longer felt “fun.” I was now going to bed at 8pm and watching documentaries about pregnancy and childbirth in my spare time. It was almost all I could talk about and I’m sure it was a little annoying to my non-pregnant friends.
As I was scouring through online pregnancy forums, I came across a post advertising a secret FaceBook group for first time moms due in June 2018. I kept this in mind but was hesitant after reading a number of articles about how many online mom groups are breeding grounds for mommy-shaming and drama. Despite my reservations, I requested to join the group and haven’t looked back since.
I can honestly say this was one of the best decisions I made during my pregnancy. One member, Johnna, summed it up perfectly when she said, “I like being a part of a group where I recognize everyone. I feel supported and genuinely cared about. My favorite thing by far is that I have made some really deep connections. There are a few ladies I talk to on a weekly basis and one I talk to everyday. It’s amazing to me that I have made some real friendships.”
The friendships forged in this group are unlike any other. The women in this group are completely candid and can talk about issues they may not feel comfortable discussing with family or friends in real life. Another member, Cassie, added, “I love that being part of this group means that I’ve never felt really alone as a mum! Even though I’m a continent away from most of you, I feel like I’ve made real friends here and I always have people to talk to about both the lows and the highs. It’s also been comforting knowing that all of my concerns have been shared by at least a couple of others in the group, which is a relief as a first time mum!”
Katie chimed in and said, “And what I love is that we, generally, have a genuinely supportive group! I almost feel like you are all in my real time personal life. That whatever we are going through or whatever we do as parents we are all here for each other and support each other no matter what. Which is a rare find on the internet. And as a single mom with no friends I rely on you good people for genuine support, care, and connection, even though when life gets busy sometimes I can only pop in.”
A good support system doesn’t have to consist of people you see every day. Sometimes a good support system comes from strangers on the internet. For example, one of our members, Courtney, had a rough start to her pregnancy. She had gotten pregnant again shortly after experiencing a devastating loss. Courtney explained that this group helped her immensely and said, “Throughout all my complaining, sobbing, anger, and anxiety not one of these women ever judged me. They held my hand every step of the way and continue to do so.”
Pregnancy and motherhood is complicated and not everyone shares in the same experience. However, when someone has an issue there is usually at least one or two people who are going through something similar. One member Ellie explained, “I think it’s great how there is always someone that is willing to help you when you have a question and there is always someone there to lift you up and let you know you are doing an awesome job! Being a mum is hard but having a support system makes it a whole lot easier!”
When I decided to write this post, I asked the group for reasons why they appreciate being a member. Janie said, “I love that even after this long I still feel like I can post judgement free and that I have a place where I can vent if needed, I can come to advice if needed no matter if it's about mom life or just life. I love how we are all from all over the world so we get to see all the different ways things are done. As long as you’re open minded you can read about all of our differences and appreciate them.” This mentality is shared by many of our members and is one of the reasons why our group works so well.
Our group consists of almost 300 women from all over the world. We all had different birth plans and now that our babies are born, we all have different parenting strategies or lifestyle choices. We’re obviously not perfect but as Felicia said, “’You don’t like it? Just keep scrolling’ is totally the mantra of the group.” Things have gotten heated and controversial topics come up every once in a while but no matter how different our views may be, we all share in the love we have for our babies and have a mutual respect for one another.