How to use a forum for new mums and maintain your mental sanity

Because I’m a foreigner living abroad, I used Internet and Google a lot when I discovered I was pregnant to understand better what I was going to face and what to expect from the health care system here in England, as everything was so different from what I knew.

That’s how I found this baby group online that offered practical information and advices together with a mum’s forum. It was indeed helpful for me as there were loads of new and not new mums sharing their experience and what would happen at every midwife appointment at the same time as me. At the beginning I was logging in daily and reading all the posts, until I noticed a few behaviours that, in my opinion, almost ruined the whole experience.

1. Be aware of the Nazi Mums! These are the mums that always know best and they are not afraid to tell you. It’s easy to spot one. When someone writes a controversial post, the nazi mum will shout her  opinion (often a copy and paste from the first google entry) and will make you feel bad about your choice. I saw it happening also when we all had a baby and some mums were discussing the option of early weaning. I was against weaning my child before 6 months and I preferred to wait as the NHS also recommends, but as long as you do not harm your baby I don’t see why some people need to shame others for their decisions. Same happened with breastfeeding, immunisations and other topics, just to name a few. I might disagree with the way other mums chose to behave with their children but aside from immunisation (where not doing it harm your baby and those around) I just think common sense and understanding is necessary. Specially when disagreeing is borderline with bullying.

2. Be aware of the copycats (and mass hysteria)! This happened all the time. I remember when we were told to count the baby’s movement in the middle of our pregnancy. There wasn’t a day where someone would post about not feeling the baby moving and called the midwife emergency number (but only after writing about it on the forum). This I find particularly disturbing, specially when your hormones are way crazy and you are already worried about everything that might go wrong. I can’t stress enough about counting the movement as it’s a good indicator about the baby’s health in the belly, but also remember that some days the baby might be quieter or you can feel him less. All this mass hysteria about not feeling the baby was, though, quite distressing for me and I’m sure half of the posts were made by attention seekers.

It’s reassuring to know someone else is having the same issues or the same experience as you are, and often they can help you by sharing their knowledge. But I found it these forums a bit overwhelming  at times, so the best thing to do in these cases is to have a good laugh and switch off the phone!

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