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it takes a village – a virtual village?

With motherhood literally moments away, I’ve been lost in thought – a privilege I am enjoying while it lasts. Days have been spent gazing down over my big belly, feeling the wriggles and squirms of my child and wondering – what sort of parent will I be? We are not your conventional couple my husband and I. We are embarking on this whole experience with a rushed breath and a solemn prayer – we have no home, in fact we don’t even know what country we will call home in a months time – our cards are all face up on the table and we don’t know what comes next.

We don’t have the mini van, the appropriate sized car, the job, the finances or the nursery set up with all the lovely trinkets. We don’t have family gathered around us day and night, we don’t have weekend social events planned or long lists of people who will visit us at the hospital. But what we do have is a temporary little room in the back of my mothers house, a second hand cot that we picked up for free and a whole lot of love for our little bundle who has very affectionately been called Howie for the past nine months.

As much as I love the lifestyle that I have chosen for myself and as often as I have preached about the freedom of living without ties – I can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t just be easier if we were more conventional. I can’t help but wish some days that things were simpler. I can’t help wish some days that I had all those things, that I had that stability, that I had somewhere to hang my hat… it can get awfully lonely out here in freedom land.

It takes a village to raise a child, I firmly believe this. But what if you don’t have a village? What if all you have is fragmented pieces scattered around the globe, and fragmented ideas scattered around your mind? How do you assemble all of this and build the foundation you need on which to raise an independent, confident, kind and compassionate young person?

I have a virtual village – something I never really would have imagined. But I have a group of 100+ women who are all sharing the same journey – the journey of motherhood. We shared the trials and tribulations of pregnancy, the loss of friends, the fears attached to premature babies, a hundred plus wonderful births… we have shared husband troubles, teary nights, friendship breakdowns and real world financial woes, deaths and heartaches. These women have sent real world gifts monetary and other to each other in times of need… these women as virtual as they may be are 100% real. I consider these women my friends, my comrades in this crazy roller coaster journey and I wonder – is this virtual village just as good as a real one? Or is it an escape from reality?

It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a village to nurture a woman on her journey through pregnancy and into the beginning of motherhood – it’s a bloody hard journey, and I’m only just starting to realise this now. I’m eternally grateful for my virtual village and for the empathy in their sighs and the honesty in their stories… and I know that myself, my husband and my child will have gained so much from the relationships that I have forged over this invisible plain. I am more patient, I am kinder and I am more generous with myself because I have a safe place to vent and a large group of women standing behind me, next to me, holding my hand when I need them to and drying my tears when I cry.

Is virtual reality the new reality? I don’t think it’s a substitute for face to face friendships, but I don’t have those close to me right now – but it certainly comes in a pretty satisfying second place.

Barefoot and pregnant (yes, I’m STILL pregnant)…

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Comments
5 Responses to “it takes a village – a virtual village?”
  1. Kath SJ says:

    This is so beautiful, Sash. You ask so many questions here that all pregnant women and new Mums ask. The answers are, unfortunately, not clear-cut – something that I struggled with at the start and still niggles me from time to time.
    What are the answers? Breast or bottle? Dummy or no dummy? To co-sleep or not? To use a sling or not? Believe me, all of these questions have volatile sides… and no-one is 100% right.
    But you will know the answers. You will, just like any other Mum. You’ll know them when you slow down, take a breath, and go with your gentle instinct.
    That’s the right answer.
    You’ll be wonderful.

  2. Oh Sash, I just read this and have goosebumps! I have wondered the exact same thing about our little invisible ‘village’, and come to the only conclusion that I can… It is wonderful. If unexpected, unconventional, unreal – it is still so wonderful. I can’t have imagined my pregnancy without our village, and glad I didn’t have to. 🙂

  3. Charlene hayes says:

    Love your guts lady!! Xoxo

  4. This is beautiful – made me teary. Thank you.

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