Whilst pregnant I became slightly obsessed with research about pregnancy (for those who know me you will appreciate that this was to be expected), books, DVDs, internet, daily emails, apps…and it was my discovery of forums. I always thought that forums were a bit sad, I mean really, who sits around all day waiting for other people to type to you…anyway.
I started following my birth club on Babycentre, and whilst bits were useful once people started having all their babies I felt a little left out (I was due on 21 April but didn’t end up having my baby until 3 May…that’s a whole different month so birth club didn’t work for me so much…)
After I had my baby is when my serious forum addiction started. I was obsessed, I was a member of several different forums, I consulted them on EVERYTHING, every little panic or niggle. I got loads of breastfeeding support from them (I needed it, bf didn’t get any easier for us until after 4 months), and just knowing that someone else was in the same position (well a similar position) was incredibly useful. I had email notifications every time something new was posted, you name it, traumatic birth, bf, rhesus negative mums…I was into them all. As time passed I became slightly less obsessed, and stopped checking the forums, I think it tied in with becoming slightly more relaxed about having to look after a baby in general, and when I realised that they are in fact all so different that it’s hard to apply someone else’s situation to your own baby. In fact when for some unknown reason my update emails stopped coming through I didn’t even notice. In fairness I was always more of a lurker than a poster, I found some of the interactions a bit uncomfortable and needy (apart from my own of course…) Even now I look back and think, how did I manage to spend so many hours on the internet looking at forum posts. Of course the answer is easy, I had a tiny baby who fed for 45 minutes every 2 hours and in between slept in 30 minute bursts but only if he was sleeping on me. I was rooted to the sofa, I couldn’t move, and quite frankly (apart from watching Gems TV #guiltypleasure…) I had nothing else to do. I really had little other support, my parents live quite far and have a “different parenting approach”, and the Turk is a ‘hands off’ parent/husband (this will be interesting when he becomes a stay at home dad in June…) who was trying to renovate our house so I barely saw him (heard him a lot…regularly he would shout up the stairs and ask why the baby was still crying…I didn’t know why…I was still crying too but I don’t think that bothered him as much…) so my forums became a surrogate family along with my fabulous NCT group (with thanks to Whatsapp).
From the time I lost interest in the forums at around 4/5 months I haven’t really had much online interaction (apart from Facebook obviously!) but as my friends return to work I find myself more and more alone and have issues such as returning to work on my mind.
Forums didn’t really do it this time, what I needed now was less reassurance and more of an opportunity to talk (hence blogging) so I gave twitter another go. I’ve had a couple of twitter accounts over the years, the first my own and I used it in the run up to our wedding, my mum didn’t use Facebook so it was a nice way of communicating for us as a family. Then I had an account for entering competitions (this didn’t last long!) but I thought I’d give it another go.
I’ve since discovered the joy of interacting in 160 characters. When using it previously I thought it was a bit pointless, what can you say in such a short space? I hadn’t realised you could get such an impression of someone through their tweets. Admittedly it’s led me towards a number of cathartic blogs too, but I have loved the immediate interaction of Twitter and am amazed and overwhelmed at the proliferation of parent-tweeters and #pbloggers (yes I know what it means thanks to helpful twitterers!!!) I’ve heard a lot about the unpleasantness that can be found in social networks, which I can imagine is terrible for those affected, but I have been truly heartened by the loveliness and support that can be found in Twitterees.
In short, for me Twitter wins hands down…until the next pregnancy perhaps…!?