I've just become a new mum and its bliss. Days are spent in a love bubble snuggled up on the sofa. There are visitors and presents and flowers filling our house. I'm deliriously happy! I can't quite understand why everyone has been telling me having a baby is hard. I conclude they must be being dramatic...
Two weeks later Andy, my fiancé, goes back to his work abroad. The visitors have stopped, my flowers are wilting and something has changed. My sleepy bundle of joy has become a devil baby that won't sleep. Wanting to be paced around the house for hours on end I'm now obscenely delirious with the lack of sleep. "DEAR GOD THIS IS HARD! They weren't being dramatic" I yell at Andy down the phone! And suddenly I am feeling extremely alone.
When Andy is home I tell him about it. "I'm feeling lonely and I've got no one to talk to who really knows how I feel" I say. Being a man Andy isn't that interested in my dramatic rant and simply says "do something about it, make a website to help you make mummy friends".... the light bulb of inspiration has been turned on!
So during the rare moments that my son napped I set about making a website. "There are so many of us out there it should be easy to make friends, the problem is everyone presumes it's just a case of going to baby groups and saying 'fancy a coffee', but it just isn't that easy to do. We need an easy way to find each other that removes the awkward barriers" I tell Andy.
Six months later the site is done, it's New Year's Day and Andy says "come on, be brave, just launch it!" So I post about it on Facebook, and sit there a bag of nerves with wine in hand. Then something crazy happens, my phone starts to beep with new emails telling me that someone has joined and over the next few days these beeps get more and more frequent!
8 months down the line and mummysocial.com has over 37 THOUSAND members!
The testimonials start coming in and I'm sat there welling up as I read "Mummy social has changed my life!!", "I am no longer feeling so isolated", "I've started getting my confidence back", "Mummy Social has helped me overcome my depression". The mums are making best friends, found friends down the road, they are hosting socials every week, they are getting out and about and everyone is feeling so much better for it.
And that's what makes Mummy Social different. Online support is great, when you are up at 3am knowing that someone else is too makes it better. But does our online world solve isolation and loneliness? No it doesn't. To solve the problem we need a real life support network.
The stresses and joys of having children can both be made better by having friends around you who understand. Having a mum over to chat with while the children play, having someone there to laugh with when are children are funny, having someone to give you a hug when you are struggling and to tell you to your face you are doing a good job. Having real life support builds our confidence, revives our energy levels and de stresses us.
This is what us mums need, real life friends, to make the hard times that bit easier and the good times even better. After all as one mum I've met put it "We need to work in packs to survive!" which is why I am now on a personal mission to make sure that every mums knows about Mummy Social so that no mum has to feel lonely or isolated again.
On a personal note my baby is now a delightful two-year-old and has recently been promoted to big brother to a baby sister who actually sleeps... famous last words?!