Years later, I joined FaceBook and my social network expanded past my in-real-life support network. It was amazing to share the important moments with my friends and family (and let's face it, acquaintances). Clicking "Like" communicated to others that I was present, aware. And each time I saw someone comment or "Like" something I posted, I felt this invisible thread connect me to the outside world.
Instead of picking up the phone or writing a letter, I connected to my community via the computer and eventually my phone. This gave me a feeling of support and community, because here at my fingertips was the ability to share, ask questions, and celebrate the joys. It also gave me the chance to complain and admit my shortcomings.
I continued to make connections outside of social media, however I spent a lot of time growing my online relationships. Some of those friendships flourished and grew into in-real-life support, where we'd actually spend time together. Other friendships remained online, offering me an almost constant source of support at any given time.
I value online support. It serves me well and I appreciate the connections to people with whom I wouldn't otherwise interact. But I've grown to understand in-real-life connections are valuable beyond words. You can't replicate the connection that is made, sitting across from someone and sharing a deep conversation, over the Internet. Can those virtual conversations be fulfilling? Yes. But can they replace in-real-life relationships? No, I don't believe so.
Here in Bloomington, there will be a free group happening three times before the end of the year. New Moms' (Again) Group takes place at Bloomington Area Birth Services. It's facilitated by someone trained to listen and support groups, without judgement. This group meets Sunday, November 16 from 4-5:15pm, Monday, December 1 from 5:30-7pm and again Sunday, December 14, 4-5:15pm.
Here is a place where you can come with your new(er) baby and meet other moms who have also recently welcomed their second (or third...) baby. Here is a place where you can sit down with other women and help guide the conversations to both support and find support. You can share how amazing it is to see your children interact or you may feel completely overwhelmed and learn ways to make it more managable. Or maybe, you'll simply sit and hear someone say, "I know how you feel," without trying to make it better. Because sometimes we don't need someone to make it better or take away the hard stuff; sometimes we just need to be heard.
I hope you can find the in-real-life support that will lift you up during the rough times and cheer you on during the good times. Because that, my friends, is what makes this journey more enjoyable, more managable.