It's been a big week in our house. I turned older than forty. My baby girl turned 12. And I celebrated my anniversary at a place that has been there for my whole parenting journey.
A long, long time ago (in a galaxy far away... ok not really) I was pregnant with my first baby. I knew no one on this side of the country that had children. My only friend that had a child was on the other side of this wonderful country. As fate would have it, one of my cousins was expecting her first baby at the same time. She was also on the other side of Australia. We were speaking on the phone one day and she told me she had found an online pregnancy forum that was very new. She told me to go and have a look at it. When I signed up for this new forum I had no idea that 15 years later I would still be posting there.
I joined up and went into the due-in groups. I was due in early June and there were two other members who were due in June too. These days there are so many members of due-in groups. Back then, it was the three of us. One of those other people is still one of my dearest friends. We have never lived near each other. I think the closest we have been is right now and there is over 600kms between us. She and her husband and baby boy drove from the Central Coast of NSW up to our house on the Far North Coast for the baptism of my oldest child. We had spoken on the phone before but we had not seen photos of each other. (this was pre Facebook )
Over time I made a few other friends. I didn't post much, but I read a lot. I did meet one of my other soul mate friends when my youngest was little. We met over a thread about smacking babies and disciplining toddlers. We were both very vocal supporters of not using physical discipline. Back then it wasn't a popular viewpoint. So I had my dear friend with daughter number one, and another dear friend with daughter number two. I was doing pretty well I thought.
And then it all changed again. We were now parents of a child with severe and life threatening allergies. Where did I turn? To EB of course. And again I got support when I needed it. We then added a few other issues in and again I got support. I was asked to consider joining the moderation team as a volunteer. I didn't know that I was the right person for that, but I was not going to be able to go back to work, I was at home with two little girls and I thought it sounded like a good idea. It was me giving back to the community that had given me so much.
Life has a funny way of giving you what you need when you need it the most and when I reflect on things, I see that EB gave me what I needed the most. My new friends from the moderation team became a big part of my life. Some of these people I would never have spoken to if we weren't members of the same team. They are amazing women who give simply because they can and who love our community as much as I do. I started posting more once I was a moderator and then a small group of other women also entered my world. They are smart, funny, feisty and have challenged me and supported me. Some of them have moved on from EB. Thankfully they haven't moved on from my life.
Then a paid job on the forums came up. I applied and was lucky enough to get it. And I love that job (most of the time). It is never dull, often hilarious and I get to see the best and worst of people (sometimes all in one thread). We have an awesome community and I feel honoured to be a part of it.
Fifteen years ago, if you had told me that Essential Baby would be a big part of my life still, I would have laughed at you. But here I am and here it is as well. In January 2000, I signed up to a forum. That forum has shaped my parenting journey and also my life. Happy EB versary to me!
This post was published with permission from Therese's blog Magic Through the Madness.