I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for the Internet. There, I said it.
And no, I’m not talking about my work – that’s obvious. I’m talking about where I am as a person – a woman, a mother, a wife, a mindful being of sorts.
In the modern-day discourse on mindfulness, technology gets a bad rap – but it’s not that simple. With skillful use, I find the Internet can be an invaluable tool for growth, research, connection and healing. It’s gotta be used in moderation – like anything else – but seriously, the Internet is my best friend.
The Internet started making its way into this special place in my heart around the time I found out I was pregnant with GG. It was then, among fits of obsessive googling, that I began to connect with my tribe. On forums and blogs and Facebook groups I found women saying things that made sense to me. As I researched natural birth and delayed cord clamping and hypnobirthing and breastfeeding, I started to find my place in this jungle of information. I found trusted sources and voices. I came across points of view that challenged me to my core, opinions that aligned with my own and everything in between. I prepared for what was to come.
And then when GG was born, and I became couch-bound for hours at a time while breastfeeding – the Internet was always there for me. Whether it was texting with two close friends who also had babes in arms, sending photos to my family and friends back in Australia or continuing with the new mother version of the previously mentioned obsessive googling – again, this technology was a lifesaver.
The relationship developed in the months that followed – I shared video clips of first foods and first steps and first words, researched imagined diseases then calmed myself, and found resources for sleep training and night weaning. The Internet was a library that was always open and accessible.
But it was when things got rough that the Internet was really there for me. When I was diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse, when I miscarried and most recently when I had to terminate a pregnancy for medical reasons – those were the times when the true healing power of this medium were became apparent to me. When Facebook groups and blogs took on the role of therapist and support group rather than just a friend with all the info.
One by one, often as I shared my experiences, friends and friends of friends introduced me to the most amazing support groups on Facebook – most notably one for pelvic organ prolapse and another for trying to conceive and pregnancy after loss. Whether I’m asking questions and hearing back from other members or passively following threads, these groups make me realize that I’m not alone – on a daily basis. I feel instantly supported just knowing that there are women going through similar things to me – all over the world. At all different stages in their lives and journeys.
And in the blog world too, brave women sharing their beautifully written stories have sent out a virtual embrace. Whether its reading about their losses – some similar to mine, some different, all painful and real and raw – or stages that are yet to come for me, there’s a bond of womankind that flows through these digital pages. I’m so thankful for it, and proud to be a part of it.
This online community also reminds me of the importance of my ties with real-life women offline. From reading stranger’s stories I’ve come to understand my friends better – a miscarriage is not a miscarriage; there are many different ways that these stories can play out. I’ve also learned how telling my story can encourage others to tell theirs – and the beautiful connections and conversations that flow from there.
So I guess really it’s these women who leave traces of themselves out there on the Internet for others to find – they’re my real best friends. The words of women who have grown from grief and adversity give me the strength to look forward to the path ahead – to keep a positive outlook and find happiness in the here and now.
The Internet is just a brilliant vehicle.