As a new mom there’s only so many answers I can gather on the internet before WebMD leads me to some fatal disease, and only so many questions I can ask my doctor before I am awarded the “crazy new mom” crown…permanently.
Aside from my burning desire to not royally screw up my kid in his first 6 months, we’re also bored. We want to interact with other new moms and babies. My little guy is so very interested in the world around him and trips to HomeGoods is getting old fast. Not to mention it’s totally destroying my wallet.
Unfortunately for us, I’m the only new mom in my small circle of close friends and the memberships in my area are outrageously expensive to join. I also live in a very commercialized town..as in there’s no culture, just lots of shopping centers. And with winter’s resting bitch face staring me down, road trips to anywhere fun is going to be limited, or cease all together for awhile.
Once again, I turn to social media outlets for ideas to find the friends and groups I need.
Side bar – back in 2009 I was in a very similar situation. I was desperately seeking other ladies that I could talk to about video games and computers and comics and finally found that they were all hanging out on Twitter! I had been feeling so alone for so long, and suddenly had tons of besties that I talked to everyday, and eventually got to meet in real life. Many of those ladies are still my great friends today! I was a big advocate for using social sites to start and maintain real friendships back then!
I don’t know why it took me so long to remember that the internet could once again help me to connect in ways I am physically unable to. But it finally clicked.
I had been using the What to Expect app on my phone which gave detailed information throughout my pregnancy which I relied on often to ensure what I was going through at each stage was normal, before rushing to call my doctor. Also, don’t read the book if you’re prego now. It’s seriously awful.
Although the forums in the app did not have great functionality, I decided to join the “June 2014 Babies” group. It was a great way to read what other women were going throughout their pregnancies. I ended up learning so much more about my own pregnancy through this forum than any of the 15 books I had bought… and read… and highlighted. And these women were very candid about the changes with their bodies, emotions, and babies. After my son was born, I joined the Facebook group “June 2014 Mammas” which was linked from the app. It was just a few women who wanted to continue their conversations through a better vehicle.
At first I just read quietly in the background, feeling a bit like the new kid at school. But fairly quickly I realized that these women were not only very knowledgeable about their babies and mothering, but also caring and supportive and hilarious! I finally felt connected and safe and was able to ask, without any judgement received, every question I could think of. These women made me feel like I was a part of something again. Being a stay at home mom without in-person adult connections after a few months can become very frustrating and these women saved me from my loneliness.
Once again, a social site has brought together over 400 women to the same place and allowed them to offer and receive the most important gift of all; friendship.
I’ve learned so much from these women like how to baby wear, what toys are the most fun at each age, how to soothe my little one going through his leaps, and the best relief for teething, and so much more! We share pictures of everything from silly milk drunk babies to our new not-mommy hairdo’s to comically high piles of laundry. We talk about our crazy in-laws, our good and bad husband days, and our deep desire for intravenous caffeine fixes. Some ladies even make videos just for our group to show us how to tie different baby wraps or how to sign the word for milk. And this year they organized a holiday gift exchange!
In a time when the internet is used to fuel anger and hatred, where unverified stories go viral, where marketers obnoxiously abuse their space, groups like this prove that real connections can and are still occurring.
I’ve found a safe place to share, vent, cry, laugh, support, and be supported with other mamas. Most of us have not met in person (yet), but we’ve done more and on a more regular basis than any geographically available mommy group I know of! And these women have become my life line and my best friends.