Celebrating A Year of Love & Community

Originally published on Yahoo! Yodeling Mama’s Blog on November 17th, 2010.

A year ago, during the third day of my unimaginably long labor, I truly wondered whether I would survive to see this day: my daughter’s first birthday.

As the nurse finally wrapped that tiny, helpless newborn in a blanket and handed her off to us, we watched her leave with a sigh, worrying how we were going to help this little creature transition into a moving and exploring person. As if the nurse had read my mind, she turned around to say, “Don’t worry, motherhood is natural. You will figure it out. Human beings have been doing this since the cave ages.”

Yes, true, but didn’t cave people have family around to help? And could we really assume that human beings have been parenting correctly for millions of years? Wouldn’t bad parenting explain a lot of evil behavior in the world? What if we fail in disciplining our child, what if we are not able to serve as good role models, and, worst of all, what if we cannot get this whole breastfeeding thing right and she starves or we manage to overfeed her from the bottle? What if we drop her during her bath? What if…

Before releasing us from the hospital, my OB/GYN stopped by to stress the importance of having my mother around to help when I arrived home. When I told her this was not possible, she replied, “Then find a support system somewhere,” and wrote down the names of several support groups and handed the paper to me. I looked down and saw a bunch of parenting groups, many hosted on Yahoo! Groups and it hit me, my husband and I had access to a resource previous generations did not have access to: online communities, Q&A sites and parenting blogs such as YodelingMamas.

For more than a decade we have benefited from a number of online tools, beginning in 1978 with bulletin board systems (BBSs), with their dial-up modems and flashing lights, evolving into Usenet newsgroups and all of the alt.* discussion forums, then into Majordomo mailing lists, and finally into user-friendly online communities such as Yahoo! Answers, Shine and Yahoo! Groups — full of fun and rich features.

Community development has prevailed on the otherwise “bad reputation” Internet, and we have been able to tap into the kindness of our fellow parents’ knowledge where you can post your questions and receive immediate guidance, support, and, most of all, benevolence.

Did you know that currently there are more than 81,854 groups formed around Parenting on Yahoo! Groups? There is virtually a group to meet any type of need. If you are a Single Parent, you no longer have to feel alone. The same goes if you are having a difficult time becoming a parent and are considering adoption. If you are in a mixed marriage and considering raising your children bilingual, you can find answers to your questions on groups such as multilingualmunchkin.

I would like to take a moment to thank all those parents on online communities that have formed or participated on the numerous online communities out there and shared their wisdom and support.

Have you formed a blog, or belonged to an online community that has made a positive impact on your life? Don’t be shy and share your story with us.

Also feel free to join the conversation on Yahoo! Answers, where our community is answering this question: “What was the most useful piece of Parenting advice you ever received, and would you give that same advice to future parents?”

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