The Wonders of the Mum Community on Instagramby Jodie Keith
No matter how many NCT courses you take, books you read or One Born Every Minute episodes you watch, NOTHING prepares you for motherhood. It hits you full throttle: you go through one of the most traumatic experiences a human being can encounter, and you’re then left to look after a tiny baby. If you’re lucky, you’ll be surrounded by friends and family to support you every step of the way. If you’re not as lucky? Well, let me tell you: there’s a whole community full of supportive mums just like you on Instagram. You just have to know where to find them!
We were the first of all our friends to have a baby, and our baby was the first grandchild for both our parents. This was great in some respects – our little baby boy was, and still is, completely and utterly spoiled. Family have been great, a real lifeline of support and understanding, however, I really craved support from an intimate friend. You know, the ‘grew up with them, laugh so hard your belly hurts, drinking wine on your sofa and crying over ex boyfriends’ kind of friend. Don’t get me wrong – I have a few select friends who were bloody amazing, but they just didn’t get it. They hadn’t wiped a meconium nappy. They hadn’t forcibly held a baby crying in pain getting vaccinations. They hadn’t rocked a baby for 4 hours straight, wondering why they just won’t bloody sleep. They tried their best to understand, and for that I am so entirely grateful, but it’s just not the same.
Wallowing in my loneliness during those first few difficult newborn weeks, I thought that this was just how my life was going to be: lonely. Nevertheless, something amazing happened: I found a whole community of mums who were at the tip of my fingers without me even realising. Having always dipped my toes in and out of blogging, I had a network of other bloggers that I followed. I noticed that some of them too had babies – how did I never notice that before? I saw the hashtags they used, the people they tagged, the small businesses they purchased from. Soon enough, with a little bit of light stalking, I started discovering hundreds and thousands of other mums. Something was different about these mums, too. They weren’t like the judgemental, face-like-a-slapped-arse mums I’d met at baby groups – they were all so open, honest, and judgement free. I’d found my people.
Discovering this entire mum community now means that my phone gives me access to a movement thriving on understanding, compassion and honesty. Someone, somewhere, will have experienced similar woes to you and be willing to share their views or let you rant away in their private messages. I always thought social media was about sharing the shiny, flawless, picture perfect parts of your life, but the mum community is completely different. Sure, they share the good bits, but so many of them don’t shy away from the cold, hard, truth too. The sore nipples. The poo. The tears. The tantrums. The loneliness. Nothing is off limits.
There’s also the resources and information available from experts. I no longer had to trawl through Google to find a reputable article to answer my baby queries. From discovering and gaining access to free resources from sleep counsellors to finding thousands of #babyledweaning recipes to relieve the difficulties of weaning, the resources available within the mum community on Instagram has been unparalleled.
The most surprising thing about the mum community on Instagram? I’ve formed genuine friendships with some of the amazing women I’ve met. Friendships stronger than some of my IRL friendships. Friendships with women who share the same strong beliefs I hold, who are raising their children with similar morals, using similar parenting techniques. We swap everything from book recommendations to skincare tips. We voice note when we’re having a tough parenting day and share pictures of achievements on the best of days. We post each other clothes or little gifts. We swap telephone numbers and chat about animal crossing.
So if you’re feeling lonely, need advice or need someone to talk to who just gets it: my DM’s are always open, as are the DM’s of thousands of other likeminded mums on Instagram. I promise you - you’re not alone.