Mummy Confession: I am making things up as I go with this whole parenting thing. Yes, even after three kids.
Pregnancy is hard. Post partum is hard. Parenting is hard. Once you start on the whole journey, there is no pause button. You run on food fumes and next to no sleep (if your babies are anything like mine) all while trying to keep this precious baby sustained (and other children if you have more than one). I’ve read all the advice of “put yourself first”, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, and “a little crying won’t hurt them,” but sometimes, even when you take some time for yourself, you do just need to keep going without reprieve because you have no one there to physically support your role in parenting at the time. For this reason, I am thankful for the parenting and pregnancy communities and forums.
My pregnancy journey began years ago, but I am still in touch with some lovely ladies from those first months before babies. Blissfully unaware of the task before us, a majority were first time mothers. This place was for asking the questions that were too embarrassing to ask someone face to face, creating woeful posts about symptoms, and enquiring about which names sound better alongside another. Those insomnia-laden nights gave all of our words and audience and a kind ear (or eye, rather). Yes, there was some drama which can’t be avoided (honestly, those nights were more exciting that way), but all in all, we dove into the journey together. We had our ups and downs, and I cherish those times as we were all oblivious and overjoyed for the memories to follow.
Now we share moments as our families grow and our questions change, but our desire for support from women on the same journey, and even just a virtual shoulder to lean on for a moment, remains the same. And I’m sure our husbands appreciate the fact that we don’t have to chat their ears off (as much) once they walk through the door, too!
If you are struggling, or even just looking for some people to connect with, find yourself some of these ladies, these men (for you fathers and fathers to be, there are forums for you, too)! There is something about the anonymity in a forum that helps us to not feel any question is too stupid. Everyone refers you to whyyeswebreedlikerabbits and has a laugh at your screen name. They will be up at obscure hours just like you, fighting off the boredom or nursing a sick child. You can ask almost anything, get answers, and hear experiences from others who have been there before or are going through the same now.
A couple of the forums I have been blessed to be a part of are the What to Expect Community and the Baby Bump App. Search for your “birth group” (the month of your due date, usually) to find others who are due around the same time, and are experiencing the same hopes and woes. If you do a quick Google search for mother’s groups or even birth groups in your area, you should be able to find a good in-person connection!
Pregnancy, Birth, and Baby Website– Website with articles, resources and HOTLINE to call and ask questions. What a great thing for us mums!
theBump– Forum, Website and helpful articles and updates for parents (along with an email signup for baby’s development)!
WhattoExpect– Forum, Website and helpful articles for parents (and get an email weekly about your baby’s development)!
MumCentral, BabyCentre (Aus)/ Baby Center (US), Kidspot, Essential Baby…the list is endless for forums and resources for mums and their little ones. Check some of these out and sign up for their newsletters! You can also follow them on various social media sites!