25 Sep BUBBED.. IS THIS THE SOCIAL MEDIA APP THAT WILL CHANGE MUMS LIVES?
This year I reconnected with a friend who I met doing pre natal yoga while I was pregnant with my first daughter, Avalon. That was back in a time before children took up every waking and non-waking hour, and I could afford the luxury of a weekly yoga class.
Liz and I were both first time older mums and really connected. We would sporadically meet for coffee and managed to maintain this for a around a year after the birth of our babies.
Then, as it does, life gets in the way, and while we never really lost contact, thanks to social media, we weren’t an active part of each other’s lives. I do feel though that I could have called Liz to catch up and vented on the trials and tribulations of #mumlife whenever I wanted to.
That’s because mum friends are different to other friends. They understand the feeling of hopelessness and being on edge from your fourth night of no sleep because of any number of reasons with a new baby, they can truly empathise with you when you are banging your head against the wall trying to encourage a child to toilet train. They do not judge you that your dishes haven’t been washed in two days or there are toys from one end of your house to the other.
Mum friends are integral to survival through the first five years of your journey as a mum. Whether you are a stay at home or working mum; a first time mum or veteran fourth time mum; or have the luxury of a large supportive family or are struggling as a single mum with no one around, mum friends are a lifeline.
My experience as a first time new mum was probably the most isolated I had ever felt in my life. Being an older first time mum meant that none of my friends were in the same stage of life. Most of my closest friends lived interstate or overseas, already had kids who were older, or they were on the path that I thought I was also on – being child free. I was actually ok with this and it was only that I fell in love with my now husband and changed my life style that kids even came into the picture.
The group of friends that I spent the most time with at the time that I fell pregnant with Avalon were on a very different life path, so apart from a small number of friends, none of whom actually lived in the same city as me, I felt pretty lonely. Add to this, the trauma of a complicated birth where my baby was delivered early, requiring surgery and a four week stay in the NICU, followed by another six weeks of not being able to leave the house once we got her home, I was left feeling like I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I couldn’t understand how you could feel so much joy and so much pain simultaneously. I desperately wanted someone to talk to.
By the time I attended my first ‘mother’s group meeting’ run by the local community health nurses I was feeling pretty desolate. I needed to connect with other women who understood, someone who I could share the highs and lows with. I am still friends with a small number of the women who I met that first day, we have shared so much growth, both with our children, and as mums. A few of us also went on the have second babies all around the same time, so our second children are also close in age.
Our story started to take a significantly different path in December 2015. Marla was just 18months old and Avalon only 3 years. We left South Australia with a loose plan to travel around Australia. This means we no longer have any physical contact with our friends, we rely on social media to maintain contact.
When we are travelling and exploring this lifestyle is amazing, and while I realise how incredibly lucky we are to be living this adventure, we do however spend extended periods in places to work and Dave generally goes off to work each day while I am with the girls in towns where I don’t know anyone.
This has meant there are once again times when the isolation can be all encompassing.
Especially those days when the girls are having tantrums or when its raining and we are all stuck inside the van, or just those days when you would really just love to have a coffee with a friendly face.
In December 2016, we returned to South Australia for a bit and Liz happened to be holidaying close to where we were so we organised to catch up. She was telling me about a new app she was developing for mums and I honestly thought this could be something quite amazing.
I thought how different could things have been if I had access to something like bubbed when I was trying to figure the way through the emotional roller coaster of a baby in NICU, or when I was house bound with a baby that was being fed through a tube. If I could have connected with someone else who had been through something similar, I may not have felt so isolated and scared.
Now, as a travelling family, I see enormous potential for bubbed to become the lifeline for me and the kids to connect with a community when we stop for our extended work stops. We are often in a place for up to three months and if we were able to already put out the feelers for other mums and kids to connect with and to find out what was available locally it could provide a fantastic social network, which I’ve found can take the entire length of time we are in a place to put in place.
Bubbed, which is now available in the Apple App Store, will offer mums something on so many different levels. It will have such an important role in being an online meeting place when mums are finding it hard to physically leave the house, it will provide the mechanism to connect with other mums, it will provide a central place for finding information on issues, milestones and products, through experience of other mums and through expert opinion, and it will provide a way for mums to find information about products in a central location, and most importantly it will help mums find other mums just like them.
About the Author
I am a mum of 2 girls aged 2 and 4 years. As a family we have been travelling around Australia in a tiny pop up caravan, navigating the country, while navigating the early years. We are currently managing a caravan park on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.