When I was pregnant with my youngest child, I joined an online parenting forum, just so I could chat and compare experiences with other pregnant mums to be. It was great being able to chat about the highs and lows of pregnancy to those who were going through the same thing. Particularly as I didn’t really know anyone else in real life who was pregnant at the time.
A few months in, one of the other mums suggested we set up a private group on a well known social media site, as it would be even easier to chat and interact than on this parenting forum. Initially I was quite hesitate about joining, as was unsure about the fact it would be less anonymous as on the forum, I was just a faceless individual using a username. However with some encouragement from others who joined the group, I made the decision to make the switch and meet with them as me.
Over time our little group changed from that of being pregnant women politely swapping updates on our growing bumps, to that of a close knitted bunch of women who share the ups and downs of our lives, knowing that we can rely on the others to give honest advice and support as needed.
You can guarantee that no matter what day or time it is, there will always be someone there when you need to sound off, or just need a virtual hug.
But the greatest thing I’ve found about my little group is that we don’t just exist in a virtual land, we exist for real. People have met up (me included), and cards/gifts have been sent to celebrate occasions such as Birthdays or weddings, or even to offer support when it is needed, such as in time of illness or difficulties.
Our bumps may long be gone, replaced by a bunch of feisty toddlers but this hasn’t stopped us from talking online, because we still need each other. We are the modern day version of a tribe. You hear folk bemoaning how society has changed for the worst, because people don’t have a network of people around them to support, love, encourage or to offer advice as they go through life. I count myself blessed because I have this, not only in real life, but also via my little online group.
I’d be lying if I said it was all harmonious, and there was never any conflict. After all we are talking about a bunch of feisty hormonal women here! Yet at the end of the day we all have one thing in common, and that is we are all mothers who love our families dearly, and want the best for them.
For me personally I never expected that day when I joined the parenting forum, that I would find other people on there, whom I would come to class as my friends, nor did I expect that we would still be in contact all these years on. But I am so glad I did, for my life has been made so much the richer for having these fantastic women, and their families in it.