We’ve heard it a million times before, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and I’m not going to disagree. From relatives to daycare providers, doctors to dance teachers, there are so many people who enter our children’s lives and influence them in some shape or form. Hell, even my actual next door neighbour has taken part, taking Isla for her first trick-or-treating adventure last year.
While many of these villages that we parents are a part of are filled with “real life” people, I’m lucky enough to be a part of a virtual village as well. Call me crazy, but there’s 149 woman whom I’ve gotten to know over the past two years and sometimes I feel closer to them more than my “real life” friends sometimes. We relate to one another on a whole different level, and that’s not something you get every day.
So allow me to backtrack a bit: I was never a part of an online baby group when I was pregnant with Isla. I never thought to join one but after hearing about the support one of my friends found within her own birth group I figured I’d give joining one a try when I learned I was pregnant with Norah.
Finding a group was relatively easy; the pregnancy tracker app I had on my phone had a corresponding website with a message board community. I was able to find a sub-community of moms who were also all due in (or close to) June 2015 and one member was in the midst of creating a Facebook group. I asked to join and before I knew it, there were about 200 Canadian moms in one space of the internet.
I’m not going to lie, I was a bit skeptical of being in this group at first and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I figured that if I didn’t enjoy being in the group I would just leave and keep on my merry way. (I even said to Kyle that I’d probably leave the group after Norah was born, but here I am still, 2 years after joining!) Lets not kid ourselves, 200 women with pregnancy hormones can be a dangerous place to be in the real world, but give them the anonymity of a keyboard and the internet and it can be a whole new level of crazy.
There was all kinds of crazy in the beginning; fake profiles, fake pregnancies, ridiculous debates, etc., but they were all quickly weeded out and the remainder of us began our “bonding” process. The rest, really, is history.
I never would’ve thought that 150 women from all different backgrounds could all get along so well. From morning sickness to our baby’s milestones, we’ve been there to cheer, laugh, and even cry with one another. Our group is our village and it’s a place where there is brutally honesty without it being verbally abusive at the same time, and in a time where the virtual pen is often mightier than the sword and hate flows a little too freely, I’m thankful we have this understanding amongst one another.
Some (or in reality, most) would say I’m crazy for entrusting 149 strangers with the nitty gritty, personal details of my life, but how is it any different than the vast majority of people on Facebook? One person with 1000 Facebook “friends” certainly cannot be honest to God friends with every single one of them, no? Not wanting to go off on a tangent, I’ll just stop there and save that for another post someday…
So here’s to you women. You know who you are. You are my “people” and while I may have only met a couple of you in real life, I don’t think I ever feel more connected to a group of strangers.