Social media gets a bad rep at times. Fake friends, peer pressure, trolling, these are all things that have damaging effects on people’s mental health, and degrade the value of relationships we forge. We stop relying on the quality of the people in our real lives and start judging ourselves based on the value strangers see in us online. It is not healthy and it is not helpful.
However, there are upsides to this massive online network of humans we have access to. People spread around the globe that we can connect with and learn from. None so true is that than the community of women I am involved with in a really deep way, and yet have never met. The Pudding Mummies.
When I was pregnant I joined BabyCentre and the forum for women all due in December 2012. In that group we experienced one another’s losses, divorces, marriages, pains, joys and ultimately births. We shared everything. We cried together, laughed together, celebrated, mourned and lived together. These were women I allowed into my home and my life via my computer, and in some ways shared more with about myself and my life than anyone else. The anonymity of those relationships was freeing.
After a while it moved onto Facebook and the anonymity was lost but the relationships were solidified. Via a private group we continue to share more details than most people need to know, and in our public pages we learn about one another’s lives and enjoy one another’s children.
If you’re pregnant, or have a young child, I would recommend finding one of these communities and harvesting it for everything you can. I have, in my phone, on my computer, I have a world I can turn to for anything at anytime. If I’m worried about something with my body, I log on and post. If I’m amused by something silly, I log on and share. I get responded to, day and night, by women around the world who genuinely care. They offer opinions with respect, they offer advice with experience, and they counsel me through anything I need them to, and I hope I am able to offer a similar experience in return.
Don’t get me wrong, my online friendships will never replace the women I am connected to in real life. I have so much love for my real life friends, and rely on them far more than I should in some ways, but that doesn’t mean having access to 200 other women is irrelevant. There is beauty in diversity.
Knowing there are people going through the same thing as you is invaluable. Having a network of people who can be there for you in any situation is incredible. So ignore the negativity about social media, ignore the suggestion that relationships forged online are somehow worth less than those formed in real life, and find yourself some Pudding Mummies, because those women mean more to me than they know, and I wouldn’t be who I am now without them.
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!