There’s loads of baby websites out there…some are great, some are ok and others are shockingly set up and hard to use. One pregnancy and parenting forum I randomly found when I first found out I was pregnant is www.babycentre.co.uk, and I was still using it for a few months after N was born.
If you join Babycentre, you get weekly update emails explaining ‘your week’ during pregnancy or your baby’s week once he arrives. There’re lots of articles, support from professionals, and if you’re a fan of forums, lots of groups you can join. The best thing I did was to join my birth club month/year. It’s a chance to chat to lots of people in the same situation as you, some first time mums, some 6th time, all due a baby the same month! There are opportunities to ask questions, answer and give advice, and just generally give and get support throughout and post pregnancy.
After our babies arrived, some of our birth club moved over to a Facebook group. 6.5 years later around 60 of us are are still there, and while we don’t always chat daily any longer, it’s great to know we can meet up with them while on holiday, or just generally chat when needed through facebook. Plus it’s lovely to see how the ‘babies’ have grown and how differently they’re all getting on at school. It’s also reassuring to be able to see that your child is normal, because there’s always someone else with a child in the group, who does things, or acts in exactly the same way.
In the first year while on maternity leave, several small groups met up and have been plenty of other people. We’ve even had meet ups in local areas…it’s lovely having an online support network as well as a real life one.
Some people may pour scorn on online parenting forums (my OH being one of them), but it makes life easier than trying to get out with a family isn’t always he easiest experience. I think as long as you recognise that there will be arguments, bitchiness and an awful lot of support, then you can get a lot out of forums. And that when you’re writing on them remember that it’s hard to get across tonality of a phrase in writing, so some people might get offended about a sentence that might not have intended to be offensive.
Did you use online pregnancy forums when you were pregnant or a new mum? What are your watch outs or encouragement points?