An emotional video shows the women finally meeting in person for the first time
Back in the day, our moms sat on the porch chatting, smoking and sipping coffee with other moms on the block. Now? The block is inside our phones in the form of online forums and social media. Yes, it’s anxiety-inducing trying to meet real-life mom friends, but thankfully, it’s pretty easy finding them online.
And sometimes, you’re lucky enough to meet your phone friends in real life, like this group of women who met after years of online friendship.
The BBC was there to chronicle the moment a group of moms, who had been part of the same online forum for seven years, finally met face-to-face.
If you have a group of friends like this, the video is hard to watch without tearing up. The women talk about the various trials they’ve helped each other through including buying one mom a dishwasher when she couldn’t afford it and even a headstone for another’s infant who passed away shortly after birth.
Their closeness is obvious and the moment they all finally meet for the first time is nothing short of breathtaking. These women have been there for each other through everything and as someone who has had relationships like this since my first child was born, I can safely say they know more about one another than their “real-life” friends do.
There are pros and cons to social media and some would say it makes us less, well, social. That it causes us to retreat and live behind a screen instead of getting out there and meeting people. But for me and so many other women, online forums are a savior during the transition to parenting, and the bonds you form are lifelong.
After my first child was born, I was lonely, battling postpartum depression and severe anxiety. My husband worked long hours six days a week, so most of the time, it was just me and my daughter. The online parenting forum I joined while pregnant turned into something more than a way to pass the time — it became crucial to my mental health.
These women heard my day-to-day struggles and were there for me in ways no one else could be because I was too afraid to admit I was drowning to anyone I knew in life. But I told these online BFFs everything. They were the ones who encouraged me to seek treatment for my anxiety and supported me through the entire process.
10 years later, several of us are still in touch. We’ve seen each other through child loss, divorce, financial hurdles, illness and everything in between. Right now, one of them is fighting cancer and my Facebook feed is full of posts from members of our group starting fundraisers and cheering her on. We still have each other’s backs, long after our real-life playgroups dissolved.
At the end of the video, one woman says, “When you’re younger, you’re always warned about talking to people online and not knowing who they are. There’s always that risk of not knowing who you’re actually talking to, but they’re my family. They’re like sisters to me.”
We have no doubt that many moms can relate. Here’s to our “online” friends who are real as can be. Even if they’re only ever behind a screen.