Recently the Today show did a segment on sharenting, or using the internet to share the highs and lows of parenting. Despite the completely ridiculous name, I am 100% on board.
Over a year ago I joined a group of first time moms on Facebook. It’s a private group, there are only about 20 of us. I actually joined the group during my first pregnancy. We were all expecting in September 2014. When I miscarried I almost left the group because it was so hard, but something told me to stay.
Fast forward to today and these ladies are now some of my dearest friends. I am still in awe of how much we have grown together. When I found out I was pregnant again, my mom group was amongst the first to know. When I found out it was twins I posted while I was still in the doctors office. We have shared incredibly high highs with each other and many of us have gone through great losses over the past year. The sense of support and camaraderie is unlike anything I have ever experienced.
It was such a gift to have a group of women all going through pregnancy together. Whether we were sharing tips on how to deal with the less fun parts of pregnancy (morning sickness, exhaustion, constipation) or discussing our plans and hopes for labor, we were there for each other. A fair few of us ended up with complications and having someone else to go through it with was priceless. Having 20 or so women to talk to while I was on bedrest did a great deal for keeping me sane.
And now here we are, all with babies between 5-10 months old, all figuring out parenting together. We all have different approaches and are doing things our own way, but what has kept our group together and thriving is it is judgement free. The pervasiveness of judgment amongst parents, especially online, is one of the huge pitfalls of “sharenting.” People get all riled up because parents make decisions on either end of the spectrum. It can be so easy to fall into that trap. Someone is parenting differently than I am, clearly they are doing it wrong. I know it can happen to me. Parents, especially moms, can turn into schoolyard bullies and I am certain this is one of the reasons people have negative feelings about discussing parenting and motherhood on the internet.
But I wouldn’t be sane or have the amount of confidence I have in my parenting decisions if it weren’t for my mom group. Because we are spread across the country and all have small babies, someone is always awake to offer advice or support. Further, these women have made me laugh until I cried on numerous occasions. To be really cheesy, laughter is the best medicine when you think your children may have actually driven you insane.
It really does take a village, my village just happens to span the US.