Has social media improved your parenting experience?

Anchel discusses how connecting with other parents online has changed her life.

Syona is jumping on the social media bandwagon early.

I’m a late bloomer when it comes to social media. I didn’t join Facebook until it became part of the mainstream, and I’m relatively new to Twitter (@AnchelK). But social media has become my lifeline as a parent.

Quite a few of my friends had babies within a few months of Syona being born. Most of them had very eventful birth stories (I wonder if anyone doesn’t?) and fortunately had healthy, happy and extremely cute kiddos. As they progressed over the course of the year, achieving milestone after milestone, Syona didn’t (at least not in the traditional sense). I was so happy to celebrate all their achievements and it warmed my heart. But I also felt alone. I didn’t know a single parent that was going through anything similar to my experience.

So I finally started to explore the social media world and began following some great special needs parenting blogs and other resource organizations. I have some amazing tweeps (Twitter friends) that help me out on a regular basis, either by sharing information or helping to share our story. In fact, one of my speech pathologist tweeps was the one who confirmed that Syona saying “ba”  was something to get really excited about.

In addition to sharing our Syona-related updates and pictures on Facebook, I also joined a couple of groups. One focuses on cerebral palsy (CP) and is made up of an incredible bunch of people whose lives have been impacted by CP (including parents of those with the condition, as well as folks who have CP themselves). The second is THREE TO BE’s Parent Advocacy link. THREE TO BE’s mission is to advocate and raise funds to support and advance the development of innovative research, education and therapies for children with neurological disorders. As part of their efforts, they are passionate about helping parents of special needs children — whether it is through sharing information about resources and treatments, or connecting them with other parents.

My online support community has proved invaluable in so many ways. They share products and tips that make life easier. They also provide an incredibly strong emotional support system. We share the joy when someone’s child achieves a major milestone, like standing independently, or the bittersweet feelings that come with your kid’s first piece of equipment, like a walker or a wheelchair.

These online friends are actually so much more than the little avatars beside their name. They are my friends. They are a support system. And often, they are an inspiration.

Do you use social media? How has social media impacted your parenting experience?

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