When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I joined my first Facebook mum group: the August 2009 Birth Club. It was so nice to be able to talk to other women going through the exact same thing as me, at practically the same time. I had my "real life" friends, who I loved very much, of course. But although they were super supportive, they weren't able to relate to what I was going through like my Facebook friends. And it felt unfair to bombard them with my overwhelming excitement, fear, worry, and stress about my pregnancy and becoming a mother. But with my Facebook mom group, it was a whole different story.
In my mom Facebook group, I could post a concern I had without having to worry about being judged. And within minutes, I'd have helpful responses from women all over the country who not only made me feel better, but made me feel like I wasn't alone. I worried about being a new mum and how isolating and frustrating it can be to not have anyone in real life to talk to. With my Facebook friends, I had an amazing, quick, and easily accessible way to connect with other women who truly "got me" like no other.
After my baby was born, I stayed in that group for a while and I enjoyed getting to know the other mums, and seeing photos of their children growing up over the years. However, when my then 6-year-old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), my whole world flipped upside down. My daughter's brain worked differently and she behaved differently than neurotypical children. And I found that I had bigger things to worry about than what size of backpack was best. My thoughts were now filled with things like the pros and cons of putting my 6-year-old on medication for her ADHD. I sadly realised that while I loved the group, I could no longer relate to that particular group and I needed something more.
Not only were my real-life friends not able to relate again, but the Facebook group I had counted on for so many years could no longer help me. I was terrified. Being a mum is challenging no matter what, but being a special needs mum introduced a whole new set of challenges that I don't think any mother is really prepared for. I quickly learned that a special needs mum needs all of the support, help, understanding, and acceptance she can get — which is why I decided to start my own ADHD Facebook mom group called My Little Villagers.
For the past four years, I have been running My Little Villagers, a helpful and positive community for mothers of children with ADHD. It has grown to over 25,000 members and I have become friends with many of the other mothers in the group. Although we are thousands of miles apart, we share our struggles and triumphs with one another, support each other, and cheer one another on when we feel like we are failing our children. The Facebook group has become a safe place for me and many other mothers to go to when we need to talk to someone who not only truly understands us, but can lift out spirits in dark times — and trust me, there are many.
The truth is, without my Facebook mum group, I would probably go crazy from the loneliness and frustration, which I imagine is how a lot of other mothers feel, too. Some people may think that I'm being dramatic or I'm giving too much credit to Facebook mom groups, but I swear, if I didn't have my group, I truly believe my mental health would suffer. My Facebook mum group gives me a much-needed outlet and also makes me a better mother — and I'm so grateful for my community.