Back in the old days, preggies were surrounded by their sisters, mothers, aunts, grannies, and other women who had been pregnant before. These women could share their experience, guiding the young preggies into the pre-natal world of so many before them. But today, many of us are alone. Either our families live far away, we are the first of our friends to have a baby, or we are still seeking more camaraderie for this difficult and wonderful time. Enter the Internet! Hooray for the Internet! It has solved all of our problems, answered all of our questions, and offered us hours of procrastination. The Internet is also a great resource for preggies to learn about their bodies, their soon-to-be babies, and commiserate about everything in between. Or is it? Who are these people from who we’re learning everything we need to know about pregnancy? Are these new cyber-friendships good for us, or eeeeevil?
If you go onto any pregnancy forum right now, you’ll find one woman asking “if it’s normal if…”, while another woman demands everyone share their “belly pics”, and another titles her post, “My Worst Nightmare Come True”. Here’s where the forum can be helpful – the “Is It Normal” woman is probably asking a serious question, like “is it normal if I’m bleeding out my ears”, or “is it normal if my butt fell off?” All is probably well and good if every woman responds with “yes, my butt falls off every day!” If every woman is not experiencing this, perhaps our ab-normal woman should call the doc.
What’s wrong with the belly pics? Not much – except sometimes they’re not terribly flattering photos, but that’s neither here, nor there. However, women go onto these forums are there to be one of the following:
Altruistic (there to help)
Pros: they’re helpful!
Cons: they sometimes do it to feel better about themselves by being superior
Selfish (there to get help)
Pros: they post questions that end up being helpful to others
Cons: they frequently sit on the sidelines, feeling less-than
If you’re the altruist, you might post your pic, because it’s fun. If you’re the selfish type, you’ll probably just check to see what other people post, so you can feel bad about how big, or small, your belly looks. So if you’re in love with your belly, no matter how it looks, you’ll be happy to see all the other bellies. But if you’re worried that you’re too big, or too small, you may feel worse after checking out everyone else’s.
And what’s wrong with the “My Worst Nightmare” woman? Oh, everything. If you’re the altruist, it’s a perfect opportunity for you to feel proud of yourself and how you don’t have the same terrible problem “Nightmare” lady has. But worse, if you’re the selfish type, you’ll use this post as the perfect opportunity to freak out about something that’ll probably never happen to you. After all, pregnancy is an excellent time to contract hypochondria.
So what’s good about a Pregnancy forum? It’ll give you a bunch of ladies you can talk about the nitty-gritty with, the yucky-mucky with, and the sticky-icky with. You can ask questions for your own wonderfully selfish reasons, or be a supporter for those who are dealing with the ups, or the downs.
But if you end up feeling like your days aren’t fulfilled, unless you receive a cyber hug from “Mama-to-Be from Mississippi”, then it’s probably time to sign off.