It takes a virtual village to raise a child
- Credit: RUTH LEACH
New mums are using virtual ‘friends’ for support, advice and companionship, it has been revealed.
We teamed up with the Suffolk Babies Facebook group to ask parents about their experiences.
Being a new mum isn’t all cute baby chatter and smiles. Once your partner has gone back to work, and visitors are no longer coming around for cuddles with your newborn, you can begin to feel isolated at an extremely emotional time.
Katie Mackenzie, Operations Director for Suffolk Babies said: “Many of us make our friends at work or move away from where we grew up, so we don’t necessarily have a pre-existing network of other women at the same life stage as us.”
We ran a poll via the Suffolk Babies Facebook page and 155 parents responded, most saying they had welcomed the support of other mums within the group and other similar social media networks.
Others said they had used the groups but had also gained valuable support from existing friends who had shared experiences.
Many mums now use local parenting Facebook groups like Mums of Ipswich Suffolk or Bury St Edmunds Bump Buddies, mums, babies and children to arrange playdates for their little ones. This is a chance for parents who may feel isolated to make friends too.
Katie said: “There’s a very common expression, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’
“Many of us have to find that village in a virtual, rather than physical space as the way our society is structured means that new mums can suddenly find that their ‘real life’ social networks don’t fit very well with having a baby in tow.”
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Katie said: “It’s wonderful to be able to make friends with other mums from anywhere in the world who share the same views as yours.
“However, the internet can be a very polarising place, and we frequently see different groups descend into arguments that would never happen in real life. I actually made a very good friend through a Facebook group, but it was meeting up with her in person over a period of time that made it into a “real” friendship for me.”
She added: “At Suffolk Babies, we feel that virtual friends are great and have their place, but there’s no substitute for having an actual, physical cup of tea with other mums”