How Technology Gave Me My 'Mom Tribe'

mom on computer with

Mommy Wars. Fighting. Cliques. Cattiness. These are some of the things that come to mind when many think of online mom groups. While I’ve seen my fair share of those things, I have also been left with an overwhelming gratitude that I have been able to join a few of these groups.

It started when I found out I was pregnant. As soon as I saw a faint line on that stick, I went to my phone and downloaded an app that updates you on the progress of the little one growing in your belly. You know the type -- those ones that say something like, “this week your baby is the size of a poppy seed.” While all that information was good to have, what started to fascinate me were the forums.
Thousands of moms and soon-to-be moms were posting about their morning sickness, or the nasty orange drink they had to down for their glucose test. This was my first pregnancy and I had no idea what to expect beyond what I read in a few pregnancy books. But these forums gave me a look into the nitty gritty of pregnancy and motherhood.
Soon I was invited to join a moms group on a social media site that was made up entirely of moms giving birth the same month as me. This group was about 200 moms, and within a month or so, a spinoff group was formed of all the moms who could be called “crunchy” moms. I have to admit… I'm a crunchy mom. This was a group of now about 20 to 30 pregnant moms who never would have met otherwise. But pretty soon we became incredibly invested in each other’s lives.
We shared our birth stories in detail, shared pictures of our new babies, and talked about how little sleep we were all getting. We shared stories about our health, our babies' health, our marriages (or lack thereof), sex life, and family troubles. I know more about many of these women than I do about most of my family, and they in turn know more about me than some of my closest friends do. That’s because through this online group, they really are like family to me now. 
It goes beyond just conversation online. For example, some of us even sharing breast milk with each other when some moms were having trouble with their milk supply. I had an oversupply, and on too many occasions to count, I packed up some frozen breastmilk and shipped it off to another state. We’ve helped each other in more ways too. One time another mom and I drove through one state and halfway across another state to check in on a mom that was having a difficult time. I know that they would do the same for me if I needed them to.
That’s the potential beauty of the online moms group. The opportunity for moms who otherwise would be isolated and terrified of their new role as mother, perhaps struggling to get a baby to latch, or dealing with an abusive marriage, now have an avenue to reach out to others who can offer support. For me, I was the only mom I knew who was breastfeeding. I had no support in my real life, but my moms group helped me through all the trials and tribulations. Because of that support I’ve been able to make it well over a year breastfeeding. I am 100% convinced I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.
Through downloading that initial app and then joining all the groups to follow, I’ve been able to find my tribe. To find like minded moms who can give me the support and advice I need. Yes, there may be conflict. Even in our small group we’ve had a few incidents. But I’ve found not just my small group, but all online groups I’m part of to be overwhelmingly helpful and supportive.
To just take this a bit deeper, I believe this is the real way we can end the “mommy wars.” To continue to build relationships with other moms and share our stories with each other. I may breastfeed and you may bottle-feed, but we are both loving moms doing our best. Online moms groups give us the opportunity to connect and relate, because as moms, there are many more things that unite us than divide us.
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