A video from the BBC of online mom friends meeting for the first time is pulling the heartstrings of moms everywhere. This group of British mothers has been online friends for seven years but never actually met. They connected through an online moms forum and became close, but only communicated through the forum and other forms of social media. But, when they did finally meet, BBC Like That was there to capture the moment.
This is the moment a group of online friends met for the first time! 👭 Sometimes the people who are thousands of miles away from you can make you feel better than the people right beside you 👭
Posted by BBC Like That on Thursday, April 6, 2017
The most compelling (and heartbreaking) story from the video is about Gina and Jem, two moms from the forum who had their babies on the exact same day. Jem’s daughter, Francesca, was born healthy, but Gina’s son, Lewis, was not. Lewis passed away less than a month later. But Jem, who’d never meet Gina in person, puts a blue candle on her daughter’s birthday cake each year in honor of Lewis. “The fact that she talks to Francesca about Lewis and why they have the blue candle on the cake just makes her even more phenomenal than she already is,” says Gina.
The group also pooled their money to buy Gina a headstone for Lewis when she confided that she couldn’t afford one. They created a book of inspiring messages and sent it to Gina along with a check to cover the cost of the headstone. “I just think she’s incredible,” says Jem of why she feels so connected to Gina, “I’ve never met this woman in real life, and yet I consider her one of my closest friends.”
Often, it’s hard to know, when meeting people online, what you’re going to get. There are so many horror stories out there these days about people who weren’t who they appeared to be, or were connecting with others for some nefarious purpose. But, for these moms, this group was exactly what they needed: a circle of friends who understood their experience.
Becoming a mother is life-changing. Maintaining friendships with people who don’t have kids of their own can be complicated, for a variety of reasons. But, even if you do maintain those friendships, having people who understand what you’re going through is key. But, what if no one you know has kids? As Gina says in the video, “I joined because I was excited and I didn’t really know what to expect and I had no friends that were pregnant or had children.”
The internet allows us to cast a wider net when looking for like-minded people. But, as this video clearly shows, there’s still no substitute for meeting in person. “You’re not in a little box in a profile picture!” Gina says excitedly, after hugging Jem. “You do actually exist!” jokes, Jem.
The video highlights something all moms know. Motherhood can be isolating. It can feel like you’re the only one who feels a certain way or struggles with a certain thing. And, from the outside, it often looks like other moms have got it all together. Being a part of a community of people who are willing to be honest and share the ups and downs of motherhood is a gift. And there’s nothing wrong with using the internet to find it. If only we all might be so lucky.