by Laura Allmayer who has 3 kids, a fiance, a dog, a hamster, a bird & a swimming pool. When she’s not trying to make sure they all remain alive, fed, clothed and loved she’s baking, writing, reading or pampering a bunch of over excited little girls for their birthday!
Nothing prepares you for becoming a parent. No one, even a parent, can explain the love you feel for your child. More importantly no one can explain the anxiety and guilt and confusion that you experience when you become a parent.
You can cross the items off your layette list. You can stock up on formula and dummies and slings. You can read all the books available and subscribe to every magazine there is. Still nothing really prepares you.
The only thing to do is get as much support as you can. Those first few weeks and months with a new baby are often the loneliest but the wonderful World Wide Web does offer a world of support, comfort and advice.
There are countless parenting forums, blogs, facebook groups and websites offering support for moms, moms to be, moms of multiples, moms with PND and so on.
The biggest advantage of these groups is that you don’t have to leave the comfort of your bed to join in. You don’t have to venture out with a baby or sleeping toddler; you don’t have to bath or put on make up. You can read a blog whenever and wherever you want. As much as I love meeting new people, this is one of the things about online life that I enjoy the most because I can be a part of a community without being physically present. There is no pressure on me to attend a meeting or plan an event.
Another plus point is you are totally in control of what you read, what you are a part of and what you share. You can choose the blogs you read, the forums you become a part of ,the groups you join and if at any time you don’t enjoy it any more you can leave without feeling guilty or having a confrontation with the people/person involved. This is not to say that bloggers don’t feel the loss of a reader or commentator because we do but I certainly don’t take it personally or feel the need to demand an explanation when I notice someone seems to have stopped being a part of my community.
But there are also down sides to seeking support online. There will always be people who compete, people who say hurtful things, and people who feel they are better than you. It is so easy to get caught up in the drama of a heated debate in a parenting forum about whether you are a bad parent for giving your child solids at 3 months. It is also so easy to get hurt when comments get thrown around judging the decisions and choices you have made. Being online gives anonymity and people tend to feel that anonymity gives them free reign to say hurtful things.
Despite that ,my online experience has been more positive than negative. I have found great comfort in the community of online mom’s I have. In the early days with my youngest they are often what got me through the day. When I share my frustrations with my daughter and her learning issues I find such encouragement from the comments I get from mom’s who are dealing with or who have dealt with the same issues.
What have your experiences with finding support online been like? Has it been a positive or negative experience?