The sun is shining. The weather is warm and we have been living outside lately. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of stressful badness going on too, but we are surviving. I don’t want to get into all of that right now. I want to focus on the good, the amazing and the wonderful.
Last night, I was feeling sorry for myself. I started chatting with a couple of my friends. One of them, we will call her Friend B is having a hard time too. Friend A was being awesome, supportive and sweet to both of us. The three of us have known each other for years now, and are aware of the ups and downs we’ve been facing. We commiserated and Friend B suggested running away to get ice cream. I couldn’t, for a number of reasons and so she and Friend A got to plotting and next thing I knew, there was a care package attached to my front door.
Now, what if I told you that I met Friend A years ago, online. She and I have only met in person once (and it was extremely awkward because of me being socially stupid). Friend B is basically her sister, and I came across her on livejournal, through Friend A’s posts. Eventually, I met Friend B because she is a car seat inspector and I wanted our Britax inspected before Liam’s birth. Since then, I had her inspect it again and she has popped by to buy some cloth diapers from me. We three have never hung out (well, they have, what with being sisters of the heart), but I still consider them friends. They know me better than most. Also, this entire conversation that we had? It was on twitter.
My point in all of this is the following:
Hooray for the Internet!
I can honestly tell you that the internet, and the relationships that I’ve formed here, have probably saved my life (and definitely my sanity) on several occasions. I mean that seriously. Today I want to talk about how the Internet is responsible for the happiness in my life now. I will get into my past with the ‘net, but that will be another post for another day.
Hooray for the Internet, Part 1: Friends Today
Almost three years ago, on a hot summer day, after nearly a year of trying, I found out I was pregnant. I did what many moms-to-be do these day and I went straight to the internet. I have long been a fan of community groups and forums, so I did a search for groups that seem to fit. I joined some on Ravelry, BabyCenter and Mothering. I then remembered how helpful Wedding Bells had been to me when I was planning my wedding. I liked that it had so many local resources, so I searched and joined BabyBells there. Within BabyBells, I found a April 2012 Mommies subgroup and immediately joined.
If Heather of 2011, excited and pregnant, sitting in her office chair at Algonquin College, could look forward and see me today, she would be extremely surprised by the changes. With the exception of a specific few, my social group has completely changed since I announced my pregnancy. I am now surrounded and supported by the most incredible community of women. Most of whom, I met thanks to the internet. The rest I’ve grown close with because we decided to reconnect online.
The April Moms
We April 2012 Mommies are the first to admit that we are a unique group. It is extremely rare for a group online, especially a Mommy Due Date Group, to develop as ours did. We are an amazing tribe of women, of all backgrounds, all interests and parenting styles. Despite that, for the most part, we get along and love each other. We have supported each other through difficult pregnancies, losses, death, divorce, job loss, ups and downs in health (both physical and mental), drama, you name it. We’ve celebrated births, new jobs, love, laughter and friendship. I know that I can turn to these women, no matter what. And I have.
As you know, I had a really hard time after Liam’s birth. These are the ladies that helped drag me out of that. They were there at 3am when I was crying in the dark, nursing my child for the hundredth time. They were there on the sunny afternoon when I felt like I would never leave the house again. They were the ones that had my back when I decided it was time to get help. They were the ones that helped me decide that I needed it. One of these Moms, Crystal, was going through sometime similar. She talked to me whenever I needed it, no matter what. She convinced me to leave the house and attend our very first Ottawa April Mommies get together, hosted by Leslie. I was terrified. I’m so so glad I went. It was thanks to this outing that I started getting out of the house and living again. I nursed in “public” for the first time that day, in Leslie’s living room, surrounded by other nursing and bottle feeding mothers. Crystal sat beside me and nursed her little girl.
The group has changed a bit since then. Weddingbells closed down its forums (which have respawned over on Buzzle, kind of. Us April Moms are notorious on Buzzle. Bwahaha). Our posse has a group on facebook now and talk waaaaay more. Within this group, like in any gathering of individuals, smaller groups of friends have formed. For me, this includes My Girls. My Tribe.
We live all over the city, but we make a point to try and see each other at least once a week, at least those of us who are stay at home moms. We keep in touch throughout each day on messenger. They are my people, my kid’s people. Hell, last year they took me out for a surprise birthday celebration, along with my fave lady, Sarah.
Beyond High School
One of the great things about the internet for me has been the ability to keep up with people that I genuinely cared about when I was younger. One of these people was this rad girl, Steph, that was sort of on the periphery of my social group in high school. We met through her boyfriend, who was a friend of mine at the time. We’ve followed each other on facebook over the years, but didn’t do much interaction beyond that. When I was pregnant, I discovered she was as well! We started talking. It was her second, and I definitely felt like I could go to her for advice and knowledge. She invited me to participate in a Blessingway/Mother’s Blessing before Liam’s birth (I couldn’t make it because I got super sick), and visited me once I was well to gift me with some beautiful items the mamas made for everyone involved. She had also made a gorgeous bunny, which quickly became one of Liam’s favourite toys.
She wore her daughter that day, and opened my eyes to the world of non-buckle carriers. She nursed openly, without shame. I remember when she left, I turned to my sister and said “That. That’s what I want to be as a mother. Confident, calm, gentle and still awesome”. After Liam’s birth, she encouraged me to attend the babywearing get together‘s that she attended. There I met some incredible people and fell in love with the world of babywearing.
She lives on the other side of town, so we don’t see each other as much as I would like, but we keep in touch online. She and her family are moving to my neck of the woods soon and I am SO EXCITED. I look forward to seeing way more of this amazing family.
Lazy Stupid Godless
I’ve been a member of Ravelry for a long time. These days, I don’t have much time for the forums or for crafting, so I keep my Rav visits simple. I check my friend feed and check out LSG. LSG is an epic and infamous group on Rav. It stands for Lazy Stupid Godless, and it is full of all sorts. Some of these are totally incredible, brilliant and hilarious individuals. Of these, my favourite is easily Kaitlin. I added her to my friends list ages ago, and eventually started following her twitter account, where we started interacting. (I am a Super Creeper. If I think you are awesome, I will add you everywhere and hope that one day you will talk to me). Have you ever talked to someone, and realized instantly that there was a connection? Some little spark that spoke to you and said “This is one of your people.” Kaitlin is one of those for me. I followed her blog, and she followed mine. A couple years ago, she was looking into some information on Doulas in her area, so I reached out and we talked. We talked about being pen pals and slowly developed a friendship, despite having never met. She lives on the other side of the country, but that doesn’t matter. I feel like I can be completely open and honest with her. She gets me, and I get her.
Anyone who has ever read my blog knows that my sister and I are tight. She’s my best friend, without a doubt. Unfortunately, she also lives on the other side of the country. When she left we were sisters, but not nearly as close as we are today. Huh? How is that possible? Through the magic of the internet, that’s how. It took a while, I’ll admit. For some reason we just didn’t get that we could stay in touch online. One day it clicked, and we started emailing. All the time. The internet turned our relationship into something amazing. We talk constantly, about everything, whenever we need to.
Similarly, my friend Sarah and I have been able to keep in touch. She lives about an hour away, in a beautiful small town. We don’t get to talk as often as we’d like, thanks to children and life. Thankfully, we have facebook, messenger and text messages to keep up on each other’s lives. She is my Sister from Another Mister.
She, Tracy and my friend Leigh (who used to live in Montreal, and now in the US) were able to do all my crazy bridesmaid stuff despite being so far away from each other thanks to facebook and email. My girls. They were the very very best.
So, there you have it. That’s part one of how I’m a massive geek who has had her life enriched my the internet. <3 More to come!