As the African saying goes “It takes a village to raise a child.” If one goes by the meaning of the proverb it implies that the right way of bringing up children is to let them grow amongst the community, let them interact with society and learn from its experiences. But in today’s pandemic era of all the restrictions and lockdown, the proverb takes a whole new meaning. The only meaning which resonates with me right now is that motherhood and parenting is not easy and not a one-person or one family’s job. It takes all of your family, friends and colleagues to raise your baby and trying to do this alone is hell difficult.So, it may not be completely wrong to say that, “It takes a village to raise a parent.”
Let’s be real, motherhood is the most beautiful yet can be the most trying time in a woman’s life. Postpartum depression, hormonal changes, body issues, and the overwhelming needs of a newborn takes a huge toll on both the physical and mental health of new mothers. Every day comes with the need of some new parenting wisdom which can be taxing for new parents especially mothers when she doesn’t have her tribe to rely on.
I remember when my aunts were pregnant and when their due date approached near, how my mom and grandmother used to begin making preparations with the postnatal traditional ‘laddoos’, a masseuse was hired for both the babies and new mothers and they made sure they new mother get required time off from the kitchen and other chores and gets ample rest. Their ancient wisdom worked wonders while treating minor problems in kids like colic, latching issues and breastfeeding.
But this pandemic has disintegrated the village for the new mothers. They can’t travel to their families and vice versa as well as can’t get to the vicinity of even their neighbours.
How has virtual village emerged as the biggest strength of new moms?
“Years back, as a new mom, having an uncontrollable toddler, I even found myself helpless sometimes. That’s when the community, the sisterhood made me understand that I was not alone and it’s going to be alright. Women are emotional beings, we just want to be heard. We need a safe space where we can vent out our feelings, where we can seek answers, where we can talk about our issues. Where we do not feel judged or harassed. Where we do not feel discriminated against. This is where the community and sisterhood plays a big role. It is where it’s so important to have a tribe around.”, says Preetha Nagarajan, founder of an exclusive women’s community, ‘Wonder Moms’.
Virtual villages or tribes are online groups on social media platforms or apps of mothers who share their experiences and worries about parenting and even personal care or professional demands. Sometimes, it’s easier to share your concerns with stranger women who are connected to you through the common bond of motherhood than the ones near to you as there is no fear of judgement or bias. Moreover, all the moms going through a particular phase in parenting, get a platform to come under one umbrella. It not only comforts them with various solutions but also instils an emotion of solidarity, the reassurance of not being alone.
There are online communities for almost every phase of motherhood from breastfeeding to traditional weaning to a healthy diet for kids to mothers resuming their careers after a gap.I have found comfort in some of the toughest days of early parenting through the online community, most of the time just by reading the various comments on the relevant topic. Although, there is no one formula for raising a child and each situation and each child needs a different routine of care, so it will be wiser to carefully implement the internet wisdom.
Create your village.
Being connected with women who share with you common roles, responsibilities, goals and purpose be it concerned only with motherhood is empowering and motivating. I have found wonderful suggestions on buying stainless steel milk bottles, reusable cloth diapers for my toddler to planning easy healthy meals for her to dealing with the struggles of the weaning phase to easily potty train her and that too backed by the amazing amount of research put by other moms.
The wonderful aspect of an online community is that sometimes a panel of moderators or members also have experts, gynaecologists, child psychologists, lactation consultants and paediatricians who offer suggestions based on scientific findings and rationale.
Some of the wonderful groups for mothers on Facebook are –
Wondermoms, Brown Mommies Unite, Breastfeeding Support For Indian Mothers, Traditional Weaning (Introducing Solids) India and Fittr Moms.There are also, communities for kids born in a particular month, e.g. October Moms 2015, July Mom’s, 2017.
Infano Care is one such platform that stays with you throughout your journey of periods, pregnancy and parenting. It gives a platform to various subjects which are significant but are either ignored, hushed or are considered taboo. It’s a comfort zone for women across the ages to read and get knowledge on subjects of their interest , be it menstural cycle, irregular period,early pregnancy, women’s health issue, femisim and women empowerment.
Internet boom has brought your tribe to your screen gateway. Build your own village. Choose your team. Empower each other. Our children deserve their own villages.