February Mums

8:19 AM

When I was around 16 weeks pregnant I joined a free, online parenting community to receive the email updates telling me about the development of my unborn child ("your baby is now the size of a cantaloupe" etc).  I also browsed the members forum, reading about other mums expecting in February 2012.  Soon I was mildly engrossed in these strangers pregnancies, 'Lazy_Lou's' breach fears, 'Sugarmum's' fury at people commenting on her belly's size, 'Made_in_NZ's' discovery she was carrying a much wanted daughter.

I didn't contribute anything myself until I found out about my low platelet count.  In my concern, I turned to the forum to ask if anyone else was experiencing it. I found a wealth of first hand information from one member, a second-time mum whose platelets also tested dangerously low when pregnant.  The others welcomed me warmly to the forum and at 37 weeks pregnant, I became part of the group.

After Louie was born was when I discovered just how valuable that group of strangers is to me.  We are all going through the same thing, at roughly the same time, we share our experiences; sleep patterns, settling concerns, feeding issues.  We ask highly personal questions about sex, body image and our girlie bits post birth.  We vent; about our partners (not mine!), mother-in-laws (not mine either!) or inconsiderate friends (not mine again I swear!).  There is always somewhere to go, even in the middle of the night with a unsettled baby, to seek advice or just to get (and give) support.  "Aw hun, you're doing amazingly, just take a deep breath and know that he will sleep at some point!"; "Have you tried......." or even just "Hugs xxx".

And there's been support needed for bigger issues than an unsettled baby; a partner battling cancer, a baby boy born with Downs Syndrome, a forum member suffering an undiagnosed illness...we possibly know more about each others fears, worries and concerns than many of our 'real' friends do.

'February Mums 2012' is now meeting up in 'real time' coffee groups all over the country, bringing the babies together and putting faces to the online names.  They are bunch of caring, nonjudgmental, funny, down-to-earth mums and I'm delighted I ditched my solitary ways to join them.

Picture:  Louie (about five weeks, fifth in from the left) and his February Forum friends

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