So I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a while but have been struggling to find the right words to get it going. It’s something that is so close to me I really don’t want to do it a disservice by messing this up.
Being pregnant these days is a completely different experience to what it was for our parents. They started solids early – farex of course, now we know it’s best to start at around 6 months and we know that farex is as nutritious as cardboard. We know that rear facing is the safest way for our babes to ride. We jump online and ask ‘what is this rash? Can you see two lines? Is this a bite mark?’.
It’s totally different. We spend so much time asking other mothers for advice that I do sometimes wonder if we’ve quashed the ability to trust our own intuition. On the plus side of course, you have many different women who have been through things similar to yourself, who can offer advice, and comfort, experience and support.
It is the latter thought that brings me to the whole point of this post. When I fell pregnant with my first in 2012 I scoured the internet for any sort of advice about breastfeeding, gender specific symptoms, morning sickness and everything else that you question when your womb has been invaded. I found a lot of answers, but what I really wanted was conversation about all these things. I wanted to be able to talk to other women who were feeling the same things that I was. The doubt, anxiety, nervousness, excitement, joy and pure fear that I was feeling. I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone. That’s when I found my due group.
Due in December 2012 (now fondly known as DID) was my home. The women in this Facebook group quickly became my friends. We would speak about everything pregnancy related with no judgement (and I mean everything). We would support each other through things completely unrelated to pregnancy. We would have huge conversations about absolutely nothing at all.
When I was 30 weeks pregnant bub decided he would try to escape early and I was transferred from my small country hospital in Bega, NSW to Canberra. Thankfully my labour was stopped, but I had to remain in Canberra, staying with my parents and hubby had to continue working at home three hours away, until the little ratbag arrived nearly nine weeks later.
It was an extremely scary and stressful time and those beautiful, beautiful ladies were there for me, reassuring me, keeping me positive and distracted the whole time. Not only that, they all pitched in to send me a gorgeous bunch of flowers and a hamper full of goodies. That was the moment they transformed from ‘imaginary’ online friends, to family. These women, scattered around Australia, cared for me as I cared for them. It was almost unfathomable to me that people who didn’t even ‘know’ me, could be so completely and utterly selfless.
I’m still in DID. Our conversations have changed over the years from ‘how do I know if my waters have broken or if I just wet myself?’, to ‘my baby won’t stop chucking and screaming, help!’, to ‘any toilet training tips?’, and now ‘when should I be starting the school enrollment process?’.
People have come and gone and come back again, we’ve shared laughs, we’ve shared advice, we’ve shared our lives. We’ve supported each other’s businesses and career choices. We’ve sent gifts and received gifts. We’ve kept each other sane and sent love when people felt as though they’d lost their sanity.
I think we have all met at least one other group member now and are hoping to organise a whole group catch-up one day.
I have new due groups from each of my other children and I love them all, there is something extra special about your very first one though. There is a bond formed when you band together and support each other through a truly life changing experience. Genuine, lifelong friendships are made.
I will never be able to express just how special these women are to me. They have pulled me up so many times when I’ve fallen and I’m sure they’ll pull me up again.
They say it takes a village to raise a child.
I say it takes a due group.