I am in a "First Time Mommy" group online with thousands of moms from across the country. Mostly we post questions about potty training, formula use or not, breastfeeding tips and first words of our children. A lot of times it is a place for a parent to vent or reach out for help. Turns out parenting is tough for everyone who tries to raise a person! The mommy group is a pretty diverse group of people. Many of us have strong opinions on a host of parenting issues. Occasionally the group breaks out of our ground rules and we begin to debate each other. This is remarkably rare given that the group has over 34,000 members. Yup, 34,000 members!
Sometimes a mom will post a photo of her LO (little one) and invite other moms to do the same. One mom might say, "my lo just loves our dog Samson! <insert photo> Any of your los feel the same?" Then the cutest photos will follow of infants and toddlers with the whole kingdom of animals. It does the heart good.
Most of the times the group is what you would expect from a First Time Mommy group with a mixture of excitement and anxiety threaded throughout the posts. But sometimes it's not at all what you would expect.
Today, a mom posted a photo of her daughter explaining that she loves her daughter. Her lo is the light of her and her husband's life. And her daughter has Down Syndrome. Any other special needs babies out there she asked?
And the photos flowed in. Some with adult family members with special holding the first time mom's child and some photos of children with special needs. This was remarkable, but the responses were even better. Each affirming the beauty of the child and the gift of the photo being shared. Imagine receiving a diagnosis for your child even 15 years ago and what it would have meant to have literally thousands of people within an hour responding, affirming your child's beauty and holding you?
Y'all if 34,000 + women who have never met in public can figure out how to utilize Facebook to create a community of affirmation, celebration and support for one of the most challenging things- parenting- then surely there is some hope here.
If you need me, I will be rediscovering my faith in humanity while clicking like on cute photos of babies.