Becoming a mom is an exciting, thrilling thing. But after giving birth, it can also be a very isolating and lonely time. As beautiful and precious as babies are, Moms need contact with other adults to keep them tethered to reality. That's what's so great about the internet. It has been very good for creating strong communities of people with common interests. Moms are no exception!
For moms-to-be and new moms
Expectant women want as much information about everything from morning sickness to stretch marks. For new moms, there are other worries as they learn about the new life they've been charged with protecting.
That's why communities like those offered on PregnancyandBaby.com are so popular. Users can find other women with the same due date month, or even similar parenting philosophies, jobs or religions. They can also locate other women who are pregnant and live nearby. Once your child is out of the baby stage and entering the school-age years, sites like GeoParent.com will provide invaluable parenting tips.
Are you wanting to find easy and healthy dinners for your family -- or possibly even share some great recipes of your own? ChefMom.com will help you find meals that everyone (even your picky eaters) will love.
Kate Paixao, who had a daughter last November, says that she's found a lot of good information online. "I go to Kelly Mom when I have questions about [breastfeeding]. I like it because it offers links to journal articles, real moms' experiences and everything in between. My pediatrician/lactation specialist got me started on it," says Kate. You can also check out the PregnancyandBaby.com breastfeeding message boards or the baby feeding boards right here at SheKnows.com to get support and tips from nursing moms.
On many of these sites, members create a de facto sorority, with some groups remaining in contact for years. (In fact, SheKnows' founders, Nancy and Betsy, met via a similar group back in 1995.)
The web is the perfect place to find your niche. Whether you're looking to chat with like-minded others or have a specific issue you want to address in depth, everything you would ever need is online. For instance:
"Crunchy" moms: Women interested in a gentle, natural approach to mamahood -- complete with attachment parenting principles such as co-sleeping, babywearing and exclusive breastfeeding -- may find kinship in the Mothering magazine community.
Help with baby names: Need help on choosing a name for your baby, or just want to brainstorm baby names with other expectant parents? That's what the message boards at Babyhold.com and BabyNameCentral.com are all about.
Fitness-focused: Athletic and energetic moms might want to check out a site like Babyfit to meet moms and moms-to-be who are working to keep fit.
Adoption: Adopting a child can be a long and frustrating process -- with a wonderful reward at the end. Sites like Adoption.com will help parents connect with other adopting parents, as well as get information to guide them through the process of welcoming a child into their home.
The just-launched TwitterMoms is a growing sensation among mom bloggers, business owners and just about every woman whose given birth. Moms join groups, share insights and expand their network. Profiles link to Twitter, websites and more, letting moms share their breadth of experience and knowledge. "I've just gotten started on there, but from what I see, I really, really like it. And the connection I make everyday with other moms on Twitter itself has been fulfilling and fun," says Gina LaGuardia, editorial director and mom of two.
Sarah LeMieux, a musician and mom to a three-year-old, has also frequented TwitterMoms since shortly after it launched in September, but she also has a go-to site for interaction too. "Meetup is good for moms looking to meet other moms in real life," LeMieux says. The SheKnows message boards provide another great spot to connect with moms-to-be and seasoned parents alike.
As far as moms online go, one vastly growing sector is the mom bloggers. From Damomma to Silicon Valley Moms Blog to the outspoken Dooce, there is a blog for every demographic, every corner of the country, every interest. You can find some interesting bloggers at the Parenting Post on Parenting Magazine's website.
For hip, young mamas or moms- to-be, there is Storked! over at Glamour, which is written by writer and single mom Christine Coppa. And I would be remiss to forget the highly addictive and touching Matt Logelin, who lost his wife Liz shortly after their daughter was born.
For pregnant mamas who want to stay looking hip and stylish now that they are expecting, PregnancyFashion.com will give you the inside scoop on how to stay looking as hip as your favorite pregnant celebrity, as well as give you the basic essentials you will need to add to your wardrobe. Speaking of celebrities, CelebrityPregnancy.com is like reading your favorite gossip magazine -- online! You will find out who is expecting, who might be expecting, as well as see those fun first photos of A-list babies.
The right one
Much like anything else, your best bet is to shop around. Check out as many sites as you can and decide which best meet your needs and desires. Don't be afraid to test drive a few before deciding on two or three sites to be your go-to's. If blogs are your thing, then be sure to sign up with a feed reader so that you can read as many as you like without the hassle of visiting dozens of sites.
Mom-oriented sites can be a very useful resource for moms to be and moms.
Get connected now
Pregnancy and Baby message boards
(TTC/fertility clubs, due date clubs, pregnancy clubs, baby boards)
SheKnows parenting and baby message boards
Baby message boards: Get advice and share tips with other parents!
And don't miss out on the reader discussions on articles such as:
Breastfeeding in public: Taboo or not?