Before I had August when people would mention “Mom Groups” I would shudder. Immediately the thoughts that came to mind were hoards of unsolicited advice, alternative remedies, keeping up with the Joneses and a whole lot of “Well I did it that way, and my kid is fine!” but what I came across, during my pregnancy couldn’t have been further from that image.
While I was pregnant, I was a Reddit lurker. I lurked on Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) groups, groups for women (and men!) in various stages of the fertility struggle, there was even a group solely for women with PCOS and trying to conceive. The number one rule there was if you actually did conceive, you weren’t allowed to announce it in the group, for fear of making anyone feel worse than they already did. You were expected to just ghost for a while, if/until the group’s parameters were applicable to you again. It was phenomenally specific and supportive and helpful.
Whilst I lurked, and just after we conceived, I came across the miracle that exists both on Reddit and Facebook: The Birth Month Group. When you get that positive test you can calculate your due date based on your last menstrual period. August’s due date was in July 2018 so therefore all I had to do was a search for July 2018 Birth Groups, I chose Facebook because I tend to frequent it way more than Reddit. I answered a few questions to prove that I was, indeed, expecting, and also, in fact, due July 2018; and BAM, I was in.
The group was created by someone who was due July 2018, and is run/admin-ed by other women with the same due-month. There are no men in the group, and it’s private so nothing that’s shared there goes onto our personal pages. This group has more than 2,500 women from all corners of the earth, and we’ve all gone through this entire process together.
We’ve rallied through each trimester of our pregnancy, commiserated over all the symptoms under the sun, shared excitement over every broken water, dilation, labor & birth experiences & arrival announcements, and suffered through some heartbreak along the way. There have been a few losses and this community rallies together as though we’ve known each other all our lives, as though this loss is, indeed, personal. We cry together, and we laugh together because a lot of us know more personal information (think TMI!) about one another than we would even tell our significant others!
There are women who just had their 10th or 12th child, and women like me having their first. There are women who gave birth to triplets, twins, and singletons. That live in third world countries, women who live in RVs, tiny homes, on farms, in high rises, in cities and suburbs and everything in between. It has been a safe space to ask questions, voice personal experiences, offer advice, and band together in this crazy experience of growing, delivering and raising our babies.
We talk about it all, even stuff we categorize as “NBR” or Not Baby Related, just because this community is one we all trust with our deepest, most intimate secrets. We’ve supported each other when Post Partum Depression or Anxiety has hit HARD. We have advised each other to leave unhealthy and/or abusive relationships. A few Mamas even got together who all live in Texas, and took a stunning photo of Mamas and Babies, and the rest of the group was smitten and jealous all at the same time! When some of us road-trip, we meet up along the way.
It is the most amazing hive-mind, no holds barred group I have ever been a part of, and I don’t know what I would do without them. I encourage any expectant Mama to find your Birth Month Group. The support is something you didn’t even know you needed, but you’ll be ever-so-grateful you have it.
In this day and age, with all the crappy news and political turmoil, I seem to have stumbled upon a community that I know I will be a part of until the end of the internet. I hope someday August and I can meet some of these beautiful Mamas and Babes in real life. It would really fill our hearts! ❤