Discovering I was pregnant in March 2011 came as a bit of a shock. We’d only decided to start trying for a baby four weeks earlier so when the pregnancy test came up as positive, it took us both by surprise. Apart from telling my best friend we decided to keep it to ourselves, until we’d had our 12 week scan.
In those worrying first weeks of pregnancy, I needed someone to talk to and signed up for Baby Expert and joined the Due In November forum group for other mums-to-be who would be due at the same time as me.
I didn’t know back then how important this group of ladies would become in my life. Chatting on a forum page is quite difficult so we moved to a Facebook group. Not everybody migrated across and some dropped off from chatting but there remained a core group of us who “spoke” pretty much everyday.
A few of us were first time mums, but there were also more experienced mums in board, and there was always someone on hand to calm any worries, or offer advice. In the later stages of pregnancy, when I’d be up at 4am unable to sleep, there was usually one or two of the girls online as well, so I never felt alone.
One by one we had our babies and as we were all on maternity leave we kept in regular contact. As a first time mum it was so helpful to be able to post a question or concern and someone would be there to answer. I feel I know some of these girls a lot better than I do my “real-life” friends. It’s possibly because we don’t see each other that we feel we can be more honest.
As our kids have grown older we maybe don’t speak as often as we used to, but there’s still very much a feeling that we are all there for each other. We’ve shared good news and bad together and last summer arranged a central meet up which was fantastic. A lovely chance to actually meet the girls I’d been “talking” to for over 2 years and a wonderful opportunity to see all the November babies together.
Within the group there is another girl who is also struggling to conceive her second and we often chat and it is such a comfort to talk to someone who can understand what I’m going through and doesn’t feel the need to tip toe around the subject. On Friday she sent me this message: “One thing positive to come out of this .. is you. I’m so glad ive met you.” After several Proseccos to celebrate Valentines Day, this was enough to bring a few tears to my eyes.
If you’d asked me a few years ago if you could make friends online, I’d have been a little bit dubious to say the least, but over the past 3 years these women have been better friends to me, and shown much more thought and concern, than many of my oldest friends. I count myself very lucky that they are in my life, and hope they will be for a long time to come.