When I was pregnant, I spent a bit of time online looking at parenting forums. I posted in one for a little while until one day, it was no longer there. To this day, I still don’t know what happened to it and actually, now, I can’t even remember what the name of it was. Once it disappeared, I sort of stopped with all that stuff. Then I found bubhub. And I found bubhub’s “due-in” threads. A section of the site where you could post in threads that were specifically for the month your bub was due. My problem was I had 2 due dates. June 27 and July 1. I think I might have made a couple of posts in July 1 and then forgotten about it. When Nicklas arrived June 30th, I went back to bubhub and started posting in the June thread.
Had Nicklas arrived 10 hours later, I would never have posted in that thread. And I would never have been fortunate enough to have made an online group of friends, some 20-something women strong. We all have kids that are the same age, give or take a few weeks at the most. And it has been so nice to have the support of these amazing women, to know that things we were going through were normal. To know that other kids were doing the same things as my son. In the same breath, it has been great to see just how different kids, even ones the exact same age, can be. They grow and learn and explore at different stages all at the same time.
Long story short, we started a private group on FB as BH was giving some of the girls problems. A lot of these girls were chatting together when they were pregnant, some of us found the group after our bubs were born. One of the mums, S, who chatted before her son was born, was less active after bub came along as he was her second. Life got busy. But a few of us were friends with her on FB. We started seeing some vague but distressed statuses and invited her into the private group. She had miscarried. As this group does, we rallied around her and gave as much positivity and encouragement as we could through a computer.
Someone made a comment about self breast screening, and S got off the computer and did a check. She found a lump. After an MRI and biopsy, she was referred to a surgeon who found several lumps. All cancer. Fast forward 2 weeks and she’s preparing to undergo a double mastectomy. Everything has been such a whirlwind. She has 2 young boys, a loving husband, a family business. And she’s only 35 years old. One could argue that it has all been fate – the miscarriage led her to the group which led her to the exam which led her to the fight of her life. What if she hadn’t joined the group? How much longer would it have been until she found it? What if she hadn’t miscarried, and had found this 4, 5, 6 months pregnant?
The amazing thing about this story isn’t that S joined our group and discovered she had breast cancer. The amazing thing about this story is the group itself. It’s that this group is a place where we can vent, sympathise, empathise, encourage, laugh, cry, and support each other. It’s a place where we have each others backs, where we can talk about anything (and I mean anything, we could make you blush at times!). It’s a place where our feelings and emotions are validated, advice is offered, and no one is judged. Every mother needs a mother’s group like this one.
Some of us have met, some of us have regular play dates with each other. Some of us have traveled to other cities and met group members who live there. None of us have met S yet, but I hope once she is on the other side of this battle, maybe that will be able to happen.
S should be getting a prepaid visa credit card in the mail from the group this week, to help with fuel and accommodation costs in this fight for her life. It’s not a HUGE amount, but it should get a few tanks of petrol and lessen the burden a smidge. Not one woman hesitated to donate money for this card, and some even gave more than the suggested amount.
It can be a bit…weird (?)…to relay stories about any of the mums or bubs to “IRL” friends. I say “A friend of mine in Sydney” and people want to know how I have so many friends in Sydney all of a sudden. But these women ARE my friends, and they know more about me than a lot of people I happen to be friends with “IRL”.
I am so thankful my son arrived a day early and was June bub instead of a July bub.