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Scary Internet Friends

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The internet used to be a kind of scary place to meet people. I remember going to some bulletin board meetups with my friend Kim, back in the early 90’s, she met her boyfriend online and it was kind of like the weirdest thing ever. You want to date someone you’ve never met?

Now, in 2014, it’s a fairly commonplace occurence – there are a ton of online dating sites and it’s no longer a big deal if you met your significant other on the interwebs.

But what about friends? I know a LOT of women that have made online friendships over the years – we are curious about things we are interested in, we especially like making connections with other people interested in the same things. I’ve made some of the most lasting and truest friendships of my lifetime from the internet. I’ve met a ton of photographers from being involved in online photography forums. Some of them I talk to everyday, and they are most often than not my traveling companions to new places.

But it’s some online friendships that I made almost 12 years ago that still surprise me daily – surprise me because I never imagined for a minute that we would all still be together, all still like each other, after this long. These friendships, will end up lasting longer than my marriage did. These are my GIRLS.

And how did we meet? Online yes. Through a mutual interest? You could say so. We were all pregnant, and due in the same month. LOL. That was our big connection. We procreated at roughly the same time. But it was enough to bond us together for all these years. It’s crazy too, because we are all so different. Geographically yes, a few in Canada, most in the US. We have conservatives and liberals, breast-feeders and bottle-feeders. (if you’ve ever been on a ‘mommy board’, you’ll know that breast-feeding and circumcision are huge hot button topics) There’s a lot that we all don’t agree about, but now that our hormones have settled down (for the most part) we play pretty nicely with each other. We talk about our kids still, but mostly we talk about our lives, our marriages, our fears about life, funny things that have happened in our day. We’ve moved message boards three times and now are in a private group on Facebook. We talk every, single day. We meet up – sometimes a lot of us, sometimes a few. I’m actually flying to Vegas as I write this, and I’m hoping to be able to meet up with the Vegas girls while I’m there!

We’ve seen divorces, new marriages, and lots and lots of babies. What prompted me to write this is the losses that we’re now experiencing. We are growing older – 12 years older and wiser than our baby-faced selves from ePregnancy message boards. Our babies have buck-teeth and boobs. Our bodies are changing too, I laugh now every time I have to pull back my head to read something better. That’s an OLD PERSON THING.

Our losses are becoming the kind you see later in life. When things don’t seem impossible anymore. Not even improbable. When you’ve started to know PEERS who are passing away, not parents. I lost a friend last year to cancer and it was such a difficult time. A couple of our members have lost the fathers of their children, and it’s such a shocking, horrifying loss. Another just lost a friend. Another’s sister has cancer. We ourselves are having surgeries and health scares. It’s frightening and mind-boggling to even comprehend that we aren’t these invincible twenty-somethings anymore.

The biggest thing that gets us through these changes in our lives is each other. Knowing we have this tough as steel support group that will be there if and when we need them. And I definitely need them. How could I not? They are both the sanest and craziest people I know. We have private jokes and tears and starfishes and Kate faces. We’ve fought bitterly and made it through to acceptance and unconditional love. So consider this a love letter to my scary internet friends. I don’t know what I’d do without you.

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  • Allison - One thing never changes – you’re still the most beautiful women on the internet, inside and out! I miss our regular chats (and annual Bronx zoo pilgrimages,) but I love being able to follow everyone’s lives, in any small way possible. Great post, Brandy, and great pictures!

  • Danielle - I met a group of women in April 2002 when we all miscarried at the same time. We all went on to have babies around the same time. We’ve been there for each other through many of life’s ups and downs. When Warren died last year they were a great support to me. I am so blessed to have met them …. even though I’ve only met one of them in person!

  • Georgia - I love this! My “scary online mom-friend” posted your blog article link in OUR private Facebook group and said “This is us”. We are going on our 2nd year (technically almost 3rd year, if you count the time we were all pregnant together) of being online friends. We all met through WhatToExpect.com message boards. A lot of us have met (and I even live only 30 minutes away from a fellow mama). Being all women, as we are, we’ve been through some ups and downs in the past 2-3 years. But, we’re still about 35 of us who still love, care, share, vent, sass, give, and support each other. I’m so glad to read about your long time together. 12 years is such a long time – which, I’m sure, has gone by pretty quickly. Time goes by so quickly… but, it’s nice to have so many people to share it with. <3

  • Shay - You took the words out of my mouth. I found mamas from What to Expect for my Sept 09 baby and my April 2011 baby. We have created FB groups for both of them and I talk to these ladies everyday.

    Some I have gotten to meet and some I talk and text with everyday. They might not be 5 minutes away, but I know that I can go to these ladies when I need advice, love or to be told to stop being a baby ;).

    Fantastic post!

  • Amy S. - LOVE this- especially since our group (all due january 2010) is going on 5 years & super close & strong. Almost the exact story as yours, just with 4 year olds!! Guessing you’ll be seeing a lot of traffic from our group, as we all keep sharing this on FB 🙂

  • Stacie m. - I love this! But I didn’t know you were going to use that pic of me in my Vegas outfit and plume headdress. 😉

    The thing I love most about our group is that I can tell you all anything. I tell you girls things I don’t share with my family or non-internet friends. It’s weird but I am most myself around this community of women.

  • Chrissy - Amy’s right! You’re getting a lot of traffic from us January 2010 moms! I love my scary internet friends! Your post could have easily been written by any one of us, except it’s 5 years for us, not 12! I love my mommy friends so deeply and we’ve seen so much pain and joy in each other’s lives. I honestly don’t know what I would do without them! I’ve only gotten to physically meet a few, but if all goes according to plan, we should have a really awesome meetup planned for this fall 🙂

  • Brandy - Oh my gosh! I just love how many other groups I’m hearing about. I’m in awe of how awesome woman and mothers are. We can transcend religion, politics and geography to create REAL friendships that matter.

  • JESSI - Count me in with Amy and Chrissy! I don’t think my husband really fully understood until my friend Lauren flew half way across the country to go to a concert with me. Off the bat it was like hanging out was a normal occurrence and we’d known each other all our lives.

  • Melissa - Brandy, you made me CRY!!! Wish I didn’t ditch FB for Lent so I could share this with everyone I know! LOL!! Love you! Love ALL of you ladies!

  • Jen - Love this! My group of crazy internet friends met on BabyCenter, but have since moved to a group texting app. We’re going on 2 years now. We chat every single day and I absolutely consider these girls my best friends! I love reading how many friendships have been made through the mommy boards!

  • Jen - Wow! This is my exact same story with my own online mommy group! We now have a group blog. You should read our about page, the similarities are amazing: http://wp.me/P4cVs5-2

    – Jen of My 30 Best Friends

  • Brandy - Jen, I just checked out your blog – how awesome! I just told all my girls we need a blog, LOL!

  • MC - Wow!! What an awesome blog. I too have a group of scary internet friends. I can NOT imagine my live without them. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Kristen - Hi, Brandy! I am in a group like this also! We are the “May Flowers”, started on babycenter in the fall of 2002, when we were all expecting our first babies in May of 2003. Our babies are all 10 now, and just as you said, our conversations have shifted from sleep-training and carseats to sleepover drama and sassiness, and much much more about marriages and extended families and ourselves. Just as you said, we are very different, but we also have a fiercely protected, unspoken vow of non-judgy support that is rare in mom groups. Anyway, one of my internet-mom-friends posted this link to OUR private group, and I thought I’d reach out and tell you it resonated. Cheers to you all!

  • Susan - I loved reading this! Many of my online friends are from exactly the same place: a ‘mommy board.’ Talking to these ladies has been my lifeline for the past 7 years, and I love many of them just like any of my other friends, even though I have never met any of them in person. God Bless the Mommy Boards!

  • sandra - I could have written this word for word! My mommy group grew out of The Knot/Nest days and we’ve been going strong for 8 years. I can’t imagine going through everything I have without those ladies in my life.

  • allison - Yes!! I have a group just like yours! I was cracking up at all the similarities, and somber in the same tough memories. Nine years next month for us. We are each other’s best friends. 🙂 we’ve been through so much together. We are planning a 10yr anniversary trip next year! Glad to know we are the only weirdos with online besties. 🙂

  • Melissa - Another pregnancy forum-turned best friends mommy here! Ours started on BabyZone in the spring of 2005. We’ve since moved our forum twice and have found a home in a secret Facebook group. I honestly do not know what I would do without my girls!!

  • Jennifer - I don’t know what I’d do without my internet girls. When you said that you knew they’d always be there for you, you hit it right on the head. These are my girls, and I rely on them, and I think they know they can count on me too. Some of us will be meeting at a wedding in May, after 6 years online. I’m beyond excited. Thanks for sharing this.
    jen

  • Missy - Everyone needs a group like this! I’m lucky to have found mine. Love to my Oct 2010 mommies

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