This article is dedicated to one of my many revolutionary friends – we’ll call her “NP” (short for “Ninja Parent”). We had a conversation about naming articles and she basically dared me to write an article and call it “This is an awesome article” or something…throughout that conversation this is the article that jumped into my mind. Thanks NP and ALL my amazing revolutionary friends – You have helped to make me who I am today and help me to continue to grow and become who I need to be tomorrow. xx
Can you remember how you made friends before the internet and facebook? You met people at school and maybe they introduced you to their cousins / friends / neighbours and you sort of picked who you liked and hung out with them. Or you met someone through work and felt a connection that was more than just a shared love of requisitions. Or you went to parties and mingled. In other words making friends involved a bloody lot of effort! At the very least you had to get dressed. These days you can make awesome friends, in the comfort of your own home, while not wearing any pants…true story!
When Facebook first came along the only people on your friends list were people you already knew. After all, that was the whole point of it. Keeping in touch with people who you were already friends with. And reconnecting with people you were friends with in the past. All of a sudden you were able to find out what you old primary school buddies are up to these days. You could “stalk” your ex and see who he ended up marrying. Share photos of yourself with relatives living interstate. It was wonderful!
Facebook is a great way to catch up with what your old girlfriends are doing these days. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
And then they invented groups and pages. The very first group I joined was a vbac oriented group. And I met a woman in there who lived in my area and I am still friends with (although we don’t chat as much as we used to now that we live in different states and she has 3 children and I have 2!). I continued to join groups – VBAC, general birth, birth trauma, parenting groups. I love being involved and chatting to other women about all the issues facing women and mothers today – especially in the area of birthing rights. And slowly but surely some of these women starting making their way onto my friends list. I now find that about half of my facebook friends list are women I have met on the internet. Sounds kinky, hey?!
Now, I’ve heard other people (dad…) express concern about this phenomenon of friending people you’ve never met and letting them see photos of yourself and giving out personal details. But guess what? It’s NOT actually a new phenomenon. Seriously – pen pals were the facebook of the 80’s and 90’s! You used to be able to submit your details to a kids magazine (Family Circle maybe, can anyone remember?! I think there were a few with a pen pals section.) and people would write to you, via the magazine. If you liked someone you could write back and give them your home address so that you could continue writing to each other. I had several pen pals, some found through this magazine and some were friends of a friend. We would even send each other photos! Facebook is rather a similar concept, except that you don’t have to wait 2 weeks for a reply!
Facebook is like pen pals...without the paper, stamps and snail mail! Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
But how can you really consider yourself to be friends with someone you never met? I’ll tell you how. The women who came to my friends list via facebook groups are women I have bonded with over pregnancy, birth, trauma and grief and the challenges that these pose. They are women who have cried with me and triumphed with me. Women who have offered me non-judgemental information and encouraged me to follow my heart every step of the way. One of them (NP!) even had the same due date as me when I was pregnant with Sprouty. Together we navigated the emotional complexities of going “overdue” with a vbac bub in a less than supportive environment and we supported each other through the recovery from our CBACs. So when NP made an off hand “we need a revolution” comment in a birthing forum I thought…She’s bloody well right. Followed by: “This is going to be fun!!! Let’s go!” We are total opposites – She’s a ninja parent who loves rap and crochet…I’m a non ninja parent who loves country music and couldn’t craft anything if my life depended on it. But we work well together and as saddened as I am by the traumas we have both suffered, I am exceptionally pleased about the twist of fate that threw us together.
So here’s to all the revolutionary friendships that have been made possible because of Facebook. You all know who you are – the amazing women that I am so happy to be able to call my friends. I look forward to sharing many more journeys with you in future.