Tips and Treats

Know when to step away from the forums…

The internet is a wondrous thing. No matter what we need to find out, day or night, drunk or sober, single or married, funny or sad, there’s a plethora of pages crammed full of information & facts, speculation & opinion, all waiting for us to sift through.

It’s a god-send and a curse all in one though, isn’t it? Because whilst it can help us find passages from famous novels, birth dates of kings and queens, and the instruction manual to help solve the mystery of our temperamental boiler, it also bombards us with ‘people’ and their tuppence worth. Pretty much like me here now (cough).

Forums are one such place to navigate to when you’re going through anything baby or pregnancy related, and they can be a great source of comfort, information and support. There are some terrific sites out there, with so many specialist sub-forums that you can actually pinpoint your exact situation 9 times out of 10, and guide you to other women and their partners who are going through almost the exact same as you. It’s very comforting.

So why am I telling myself (and you) to ‘step away from the forums’. Well, I am and I’m not. I’m saying we should know when to step away and when to stop searching for answers to questions we kinda already know the answer to. Like what?…

Say you’re 6 weeks pregnant and you’ve had a miscarriage before at 10 weeks. You’ve been feeling nauseous up til now, but all of a sudden yesterday the feeling stopped. So you trawl through forum upon forum searching for success stories where other women have had nausea and then lost it, only to go on and have a healthy pregnancy. What’s wrong with that, I hear you ask? Well, nothing. But for every story of success, you’re going to hear one of failure. For every women who lost her nausea and had a baby, there’s one who lost it and had a miscarriage. For every women who had sore boobs for the 1st trimester and had a miscarriage, you’ll hear of another women whose sore boobs were happily justified 9 months later. And the main problem with forum searching like this is that we’re all often just grasping at straws. Looking for stories of success to keep our hopes alive, or stories of failure to prepare ourselves in case of the worst. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just stop and realise you’re doing it, because it can become exhausting if we blindly carry on this way. And worse still, we often do it in the middle of the night, on our mobile phones, when we can’t sleep! I know you do, there’s no point denying it, we’re all secret under-the-duvet Googlers!

And what makes me angry with some forum contributors is their complete lack of tact. Some poor woman, let’s call her Sally, has posted about her IVF concerns and just wants a few comments of reassurance and support. She gets it from some lovely women – several have had success, a few offer advice, some just offer their love and luck – all great. Yet some idiot (let’s say Idiot A) goes on and spouts negativity saying the likes of  ‘Ah, so sorry, but this doesn’t sound good, this happened to me/my sister/my friend, and it all ended badly, the experience was horrendous….’  Or, equally bad etiquette, Idiot B completely ignores the original problem & subsequent responses and just writes something like ‘I had my baby 3 months ago and he’s the best thing ever…’ People can be wonderful, and people can be morons. And when you’re going through this crazy, emotional, roller-coaster journey of trying to get pregnant, we need to safeguard ourselves from the latter.

So, for those 3am sleepless moments, download some podcasts, get a funny e-book on standby, or head to Youtube and watch videos of cats giving piggyback rides to little chicks – 3am is not gonna solve anything for anyone, so take a look at forums in the clear light of day when you can rationally ignore the idiots and the noise

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