Monday, June 6, 2016

How Facebook Helped Me Find My Tribe

As I dropped the last of the bags from Davy's 9 day hospital stay in the middle of the living room, I paused to look around.  So much had changed since I was there last, in more ways than one.  

We had recently moved into our new house, and I hadn't had a chance to unpack or rearrange furniture since my time was consumed with trying to get 2 month old Davy to eat and running him to doctors' appointments.  So, during Davy's most recent hospital stay, during which he had surgery to place a G Tube, my in-laws had spent several long days putting my house together.  I had left a house full of boxes and come back to a home.

My family and friends had all pitched in to take care of the 3 older kids while I was at the hospital with Davy and Hubby was at work.  Before being discharged, one of our doctors quizzed us to make sure we had a support system in place since he knew we weren't in for an easy ride.  He was impressed with how everyone came together to help us.  My family definitely wasn't in this alone.

How Facebook Helped Me Find My Tribe

And yet, we still were.  No one I knew had ever had a feeding tube.  I didn't know anyone else who was going through an experience similar to our situation with a medically complex baby.  People were so caring and empathetic and yet, no matter how hard they tried, there was no way that they could truly know how I felt.  So while we had an amazing support system in place, it wasn't the only support system I needed right then.  I needed a tribe.

A few weeks later, I was up at 2 am rocking Davy because he screamed and turned blue if I laid him down.  In an effort to stay awake, I grabbed my tablet and started browsing Facebook.  It turned out that everyone on my friends list was sleeping, and it only took me about 3 minutes to scroll through my whole newsfeed.  So on a whim, I typed "feeding tube" into the search bar at the top of my feed.

How Facebook Helped Me Find My Tribe

I was blown away at the results.  I had no idea that there were entire pages and groups devoted to "tubies."  I ended up joining a worldwide group called Pediatric Feeding Disorders/FTT/GERD/and Kiddos with Feeding Tubes.

Facebook isn't just for connecting with friends & family-it's a place to find your tribe.

How Facebook Helped Me Find My TribeAt that moment I didn't know it, but I had found my tribe.

No matter what I posted, be it a question about Davy's care or a vent about how hard it was to be a medical mom, they got it.  They encouraged, empathized, advised, and gave virtual hugs.  Some of the members and I are now Facebook friends and, although we are miles apart, we are in this together.  
Before I joined the feeding tube group, I thought Facebook was just a place to like pages and keep up with friends and family.  I had no idea that Facebook would become my lifeline.

Davy had his feeding tube removed on September 29, 2015, but I can't bring myself to leave the group.  These are my people, my fellow tubie and medical moms.  They are my tribe, and I need my tribe.

Check out this list from Singing Through the Rain with over 60 Facebook groups for special needs families to find your tribe.   

60+ Groups for Special Needs Families

This post is linked up at: 1. Marilyn's Treats 2. The Zippy Zebra 3. Mom's Small Victories 4. Missional Women 5. Being Fibro Mom 6. Love That Max 7. Comfort In the Midst of Chaos 8. The SITS Girls 9. Called to Mothering 10. The Zippy Zebra