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How connecting with other mums online helped me get through the loneliness of a global pandemic

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If you are following The Swan Effect Mum on Instagram then you will know that I recently took part in a Q&A with the new and amazing She Spoke Back account. This is one of the many perks of creating a mum account… You get the to find some amazing accounts as well as connecting with other mums online.

I came across this account a few months back and immediately offered to be involved.  The lady behind the account is shedding light on the issues that women face every day and I am always all for that fight. 

Her posts are visually effective, she shares amazing content regarding women’s issues such as; Body positivity, sexual positivity, mental health and so much more.

The account asks followers to message in their confessions which are then placed on the grid for ‘Confessional Tuesdays’. I have also taken part in this (anonymously) and I will leave it to you to take a look and guess which is mine as I couldn’t possibly reveal.

There is also a Back Chat weekly feature which is a Q&A with women on a whole range of topics.  Here are a few that have been published so far:

  1. Why is talking about your sexual interests so taboo in today’s society?
  2. How does negative body image have an impact on sexual experiences for women?
  3. Is it possible to be a strong independent woman and still need love and attention?
  4. Slut shaming and its effects on women

I found these so interesting to read as a blogger.  I love that this is giving women, everywhere a platform to discuss the issues that affect them and also explain how these stigmas can be changed.

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Why I volunteered…

When I raised my virtual hand in eagerness to She Spoke Back she was at first, a little apprehensive as she didn’t want to become too linked with ‘mum’ accounts and wished to stay focussed on these strong, women’s issues. I completely understood but I also wanted to explain something to her about mums. Which was;

Mums are women too! We love our bodies, we hate our bodies, if we wear sexy clothing we’re mum shamed. We are strong independent women who also wish to be loved by someone other than her kids and believe it or not, even though it doesn’t happen as often when you have little kids around… We have sexual interests and yes, it’s a taboo in today’s society to talk about them.  We should be head down, obsessed with our kids. Not window shopping on the Ann Summers website (apparently).

So I managed to persuade her to let me get involved. Yay! The topic I discussed was my experiences of having a pandemic baby and how connecting with other mums online was the link I needed to the outside world when I couldn’t leave my home. Especially with 2 children under 3 years of age.

Here is the interview below. I hope you enjoy reading it and please do give this lovely lady’s account a follow on Instagram (oh and mine too if you’re there. Thanks). 

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https://www.instagram.com/shespokeback/

Q&A for She Spoke Back Instagram Account – 22/2/2021

What are some of the struggles and hardships that you have been through in the last year?

In February 2020 we found out we were expecting our second child and couldn’t wait to share our news with our family and friends. But March 16th changed the way of life for the whole country as Boris Johnson declared that the COVID-19 virus was spreading and a lockdown was inevitable.

I was 8 weeks gone and facing my pregnancy during a pandemic! My partner was furloughed so he embraced the time he had off with our eldest daughter whilst I wrapped my head around my new work from home life.  We actually enjoyed Lockdown 1.0 as the sun was shining, Daddy Day Care was going well, BBQ’s were a regular occurrence and we just treated it like a paid holiday.  

However, once the 6 week lockdown was lifted I found the whole pregnancy experience quite isolating.  I was home alone every day, not seeing work colleagues, family or friends and my pregnancy was very rarely spoken about as COVID-19 was always the topic of conversation.  

During this time my dad who had Parkinson’s Disease was deteriorating with every passing month and July saw us saying our Goodbyes to the main man of the family.  I was 26 weeks pregnant, grieving and heartbroken. He was my hero.  We called our daughter Veronica (Ronnie) after him as a tribute.  

In August I started having problems with bleeding and was in and out of hospital for the remainder of my third trimester. Anyone who has stayed in hospital in the last year will know how lonely it can be.  Patients are emotionally and physically drained and longing for visitors, who are never coming due to the restrictions.  Thank god for phones!

Fast forward to October 1st and the first day of the next lockdown in Wales and the day we finally brought some happiness into the world. Our baby girl Ronnie.   

Connecting With Other Mums Online

How did connecting with other mums online help get you through this experience?

Maternity leave has been so tough this time round and that is mostly down to having a toddler to look after as well as a new born baby and of course, lockdown. 

I started The Swan Effect Mum account in January 2020 as a way of keeping an online journal for my eldest daughter to look at when she is older.  I have met some amazing women, who have saved me (many times) from falling down that black hole that I have looked down more than I care to admit.

Connecting with other mums online that comment or message me when I share a story about how my daughter is testing me that day is a god send and reminds me I’m not alone.  Mums respond with comments such as “So hard at the minute isn’t it?”, “Have you tried time out/naughty step?” and my favourite “you’re not alone. Mine is the same today”.

These women have changed my life in more ways than I could ever explain with their words of support and kindness.  There is a really strong online mum community on Instagram and I really feel like I have found friends for life. Together we get each other through the chaos, one day at a time.  

Connecting With Other Mums Online.. Just be yourself.

The best thing to do if you are feeling lonely or overwhelmed with motherhood (at any stage) is to go and set up an Instagram account and dedicate it to your life as a mum. You can use a quirky name, you don’t have to use images of yourself or children if you don’t wish and it’s free!!

One big tip that I will recommend at this point is that it is better for your mindset and mental health if you choose who you follow wisely, from the start! This was my mistake. I followed so many mum accounts and I’m sure you will have seen the ‘Instagram vs Reality’ memes and trust me… There are so many Instagram posts that show perfect families, with their perfect children and lives and when you are having a really tough day at home it doesn’t do your confidence any good. Just remember, these accounts are set up to only show the good sides of parenting. Follow mine! I show every aspect of it… Especially on my stories haha. Connecting with other mums online is great, but choose who you connect with and find like minded parents.

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https://www.instagram.com/theswaneffectmum/

I started this blog as a way of connecting with other mums online… It’s been great!

You can read all about my Covid-19 pregnancy, birth and post partum journey in my previous blogs. I suggest you begin with my pregnancy announcement post below… It was definitely a rocky journey (but luckily, with a happy ending)

Join my parenting community by subscribing to my Coffee and Chat podcast

I decided earlier this year to start a podcast. I wanted to chat to parents from all walks of life about their personal experiences of being a parent and how they coped, dealt with it and give advice to any listeners in the same situation. It’s been a great success so far and I am always looking for new guests, so have a listen and if you would like to share your story then please let me know via my website. It’s good to talk and it’s even better to share your stories.

https://www.podpage.com/TheSwanEffectMumsCoffeeandChat/

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