Before I got pregnant, if you’d told me there were communities of women who found out they were pregnant at the same time and formed a group and a friendship on the basis of this, I’d have given you a look like this –
I mean – it’s stupid, right? How can you forge a friendship with women you don’t know, who could be anywhere across the UK or even the world, and you have nothing in common with them other than the fact that you procreated successfully at a similar time? It just doesn’t happen.
Well, then I found out I was pregnant. And shy, scared, little old me poked my head into the ‘Due in May’ group on Mumsnet (Netmums was too glittery and cuddly for my liking, and don’t get me started on Babycentre), and I asked for a little bit of advice.
Almost two years later, I am Facebook friends with most of the women who responded to my terrified posts in the early days. I have met many of them. Our babies have shared an afternoon of playing together, with plans for more playdates in the future. We’ve exchanged Christmas presents, birthday cards for babies, and more advice, laughs and tears than I care to recall.
I can’t describe the comfort I take from knowing that when I’m struggling with anything – whether it’s relationship, work, university, motivation or just plain poo talk – there’s a community of friends who will listen without judging. If I’m excited about something, they’re the first to hear about it after my family. I have no doubt that when D and I try for a second baby, they’ll be the first to hear about it – and when we (fingers crossed!) get that positive test, I’ll be telling them weeks before we announce it to the world!
All through pregnancy, we shared everything. Morning sickness, tiredness, glowing, NOT glowing, cravings, worries, sad times and happy times, scans and stresses and family problems and worries for the future. Some shared with us the moment their waters broke. I kept everyone updated with a minute-by-minute (at times) account of my induction and eventual labour. They were the first people other than myself, D and my mum to see a picture of SB, shared with them in the wee hours of the morning after her birth.
They support me, and I try my hardest to support them. I can’t stress enough how important they’ve been – after SB and D, they’ve been my greatest inspiration, my biggest motivation to finish university. After my mum, they’re my parenting role models – I aspire to be as good a mum to SB as they are to their lovely children.
More than anything, I love that no matter what happens in the future, whether we stay in touch or not, SB will always have fifty virtual cousins, scattered across the UK and the world, and they’ll always have that connection. We have shared in the first years of their lives, and they have shared in ours, and even on a computer screen, that’s a bond that’s pretty difficult to break.