Why I Broke Up with a Mommy Support Group

As a new parent, I absorbed helpful tidbits and practical solutions as much as a sleep-deprived person could. When it came time for questions like, “Can I give my baby Tylenol?” and “What’s the best cream for eczema?” I did what most people do: I turned to the internet and strangers for advice.

Except these people weren’t really strangers. They were moms, part of a Facebook group another new mom had invited me to. Women posted comments and questions about parenting and I mostly just read, never posting a comment myself, although I did post an occasional question. And it was helpful and great!

Of course, there were the usual online group weirdos, the ones who posted about their family problems all the time, the ones who talked about sex way too much, etc. There were also some moms whose parenting choices were so different than mine that I would read their posts and comments with a mixture of shock and academic interest.

And then one day a mom posted about depression, about the “baby blues”. Should she go see a doctor? Should she take medication? She was still nursing, so she was concerned about her baby, too.

I commented that yes, postpartum depression is no joke, that medicine had helped me and I had continued nursing while taking my prescription, after of course discussing my options with my doctor. Depression is not something to take lightly. It’s serious.

So then another mom posted a comment about prayer. That praying would work just as well as medicine. And to really think twice about medicine because how could you think about endangering your baby! Pray! Pray! Nurse! Baby! But nothing about the mental health of the mother.

I think I commented again. I can’t remember. I was so enraged. This mother had been seeking advice and had opened herself up to comments dealing with mental health. In my opinion, depression and postpartum depression will not be cured by prayer. Some women need medication. And it’s okay. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.

So I quit the Facebook group before I did something rash. I miss a small forum of moms that can answer questions, provide links to interesting articles and have compelling parenting conversations. Thankfully I know enough women in real life who are also new moms, so I turn to them on Twitter and Facebook for advice.

Are you part of a support group? I wish I had a real-life, in-person mommy group to turn to, but I fear we are all too busy vacuuming fish cracker crumbs and trying to stay awake past 9.

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2 thoughts on “Why I Broke Up with a Mommy Support Group

  1. I haven’t broken up with the group yet–I think I have a sick fascination with what will be said next–but I do get frustrated with the way that moms (there and everywhere) judge each other and offer advice that is at best way off base and at worst, as with your experience, harmful and cruel. I am still recovering from a mom who told another mom that she should not circumcise her son because he would “never look her in the eyes again.” I am part of a parents’ group, also via FB, started by a couple of dads that we know and I really enjoy it. People post articles and behave themselves.

    As always, I love reading your blog.

    • I think there are many factors that bring out the worst in women in that post-childbirth phase. For many of us, it’s a terrible loss of our old identity as workmate, manager, general pursuer of success, and the new interaction is an opportunity to try to regain some of that.

      For some of us it’s such a new experience we feel insecure and want our experience to be the right one.

      I was guilty of both the above. It doesn’t seem to affect dads and men in the same way.

      I hope the mum in question managed to get the help she needed and saw through the advice just to pray.

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