10 amazing stories from our MadeForMums Chat forum
We've picked out 10 of the stories posted on our forum that, over the past 10 years, have made us gasp, made us cry and made us smile...
Here at MadeForMums we're super proud of our Chat forum, which, like our website, is 10 years old this year.
It's an incredibly warm, caring and supportive place.
It's a place where would-be parents, parents-to-be, new parents and parents of older babies, toddler and preschoolers can go to share the ups and downs of pregnancy, parenting and trying to get pregnant – asking questions, getting and giving advice, making friends, venting about the things that aren't going great and celebrate the things that are.
And, over the years, there have been some amazing stories: some heartwarming; some showing great courage and strength in adversity, and some just really fun and sweet.
Here, we've picked out 10 stories that we've found particularly inspirational. Some are about the big things, some about the little things but all have stood out and make us so proud of our brilliant community. Take a look...
10 inspiring stories from the MadeForMums forum...
1. The mums who 'met' in our Birth Clubs a decade ago – and still meet IRL
Every 4 weeks, we set up a new Birth Club in our forum, for mums-to-be who's are all due in a particular month.
Last year, we received a message from a mum who had joined one of our Birth Club 10 years ago, telling us how her decade-long online friendship of mums would soon become an IRL (in real life) situation.
"We are a group of 30ish mums who met online on the "Due in January 2010" forum," she said in her message. "Many of us have never met each other but, to this day, we are in constant contact and have supported each another through some of the most difficult times of our lives.
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"We vary hugely in age (late 20s to late 40s) and backgrounds (cleaner, teacher, GP, lawyer, carer, midwife, expat nurse etc) but we have this amazing chemistry and have shared an incredible journey since 2009 – helping each other (often in real time) through miscarriage, diagnosis of autism and other disabilities, domestic abuse, cancer, and already a number of cases of adultery and divorce.
"This summer we are all meeting, many for the first time, for a camping weekend to mark and celebrate so many years in this unique group."
2. The mum who has a child with Down's Syndrome – and is fighting to beat the misconceptions
Rachel Lowder was told her baby daughter Eloise (pictured above) had Down's Syndrome when she was 10 days old.
"The shock was enormous," she said. "I just cried and cried. I cried for the baby I felt I lost. I cried for her future, our future. I was scared of the unknown, and what life would now be like."
But, as the years have gone by, Rachel's tears have turned to smiles, as you can tell from her posts on our forum (which include the most gorgeous pics of Eloise): "Trust me," she says, "the happiness Eloise has brought to us is massive...
"I really do feel the perception of people with Down’s Syndrome has such an out-of-date view now. Times are changing – and thankfully for the better.
"Eloise will now have the same opportunities as her siblings. She can live alone, get a job, and why shouldn’t she? I merely look at Down’s Syndrome as a learning difficulty.
"Some people think it’s a catastrophe but, believe me, it really is not. Now I’m on the other side, I really don’t understand why people are made to fear it so much."
- Read more of Rachel's story
- Talk to Rachel on the forum thread she's created for anyone who has questions about having a baby with Down's syndrome
3. The new mum who died – and is still remembered 10 years on
'Dylansmummy' or 'Em', joined the forum in 2009, but sadly passed away in 2010. She shared the ups and downs of her cancer treatment on a thread called Always look on the bright side of life and had lots of chats with other mums who posted on our forum.
Years and years on, Em's mum still posts on the thread to let everyone know how Em's boy Dylan, now 8, is doing.
"We miss [Em] every single day," she wrote in one recent post. "Dylan is doing really well at school. He has a 1-year-old brother. Em never wanted him to be an only child, so would be pleased for his new family."
4. The mum-to-be who did the most stunning 'overdue' pregnancy shoot
We've all seen glam pregnancy bump shots before – often done by celebs or 'grammars – but we think these 'overdue pregnancy' bump shots are just incredible. They were posted by Cheekymonkeys in our Due in June 2018 Birth Club – taken, by her eldest daughter, when she was well past her due date.
5. The mum who had a rainbow baby after a stillbirth – and her husband's stroke
'Phillisda' – real name Philippa – has been posting on MadeForMums Chat since 2015, and we've shared her unbelievably emotional journey from 1st pregnancy to stillborn son Huw to rainbow baby Ollie (pictured above).
Philippa had a stillborn son, Huw, in February 2016 and, just 10 weeks later, her husband Jonty had a stroke. She posted movingly about her stillbirth and comforted others whose babies were 'born sleeping'.
After Huw's stillbirth, the couple soon returned to their native Australia, where Philippa became a carer to Jonty and the couple went through a legal battle with the hospital that had delivered Huw.
Then Philippa started trying for another baby, became pregnant and, in April 2018, she and Jonty had a baby son called Ollie.
"I just wanted to give everyone some hope," she posted. "While the loss of our Huw will never go away, we have learnt to live with it and now have happiness and joy, once again, in our life."
She later talked to us for an article we wrote about all about her experience and said, "It’s really made us stop and realise what is important in life: love and family."
6. The brilliant belly cast mum-to-be
Like CheekyMonkeys, who wanted to capture her pregnant belly in all its beauty with those gorgeous beach shots, Michellegixxersmrs from our Due in September 2018 Birth Club wanted to do the same – but in 3D.
She shared some pics of the day she got her very pregnant belly plastered – and then, when her baby was born, she put her in the finished cast.
7. The women who are struggling to conceive – and the amazing support they give each other
As well as all the mums-to-be in our Birth Cubs, we also have lots of forum members sharing their experiences as they TTC (try to conceive). For some, it's all relatively quick; for others, it takes much, much longer.
And there's great comfort and support to be had when you're sharing the ups and downs of thinking you might be pregnant – and then realising that you're not.
One day this year, one regular poster, StillTrying, put it perfectly in a poem, which :
"Another month passes me by
Another period bang on time
"I try to smile and say it's fine
But it's yet more tears that I have cried
"It hurts so much each time I fail
Wonder if there'll ever be a happy ending to my tale
"Two long years I have had to wait
Perhaps being a mummy is not my fate
"Not sure whether just to call it a day
Stop trying, stop hoping, keep the dream at bay
"After all, age is not on my side
But part of me still hopes the odds can be defied
"We can't get free help, my partner already has two
And paying for treatment's not something I can do
"So I will start again and wipe my tears away
Despite the upset it's the only way
"It's another new cycle, another chance to try
Maybe next time it'll be my turn for two lines
"To all those out there who are finding it tough too
I send my thoughts and lots of baby dust to you."
8. The mums who use pets for their pregnancy announcements
Of course, anyone who's been trying for a baby (sometimes for a long time) and finally finds out they're expecting, is usually over the moon and eager to share their news – often in some pretty creative ways.
And one of the themes we've found our forum posters are loving at the moment for their pregnancy news reveal is 'fur babies'.
Cue these gorgeous pregnancy announcements, all of which we think are properly Instagram-worthy!
9. The mum of 10 (with another on the way!)
Some of us are happy with our only child; others think a playmate or 2 for the oldest kid could be nice: forum member Nikki Henkele has, arm, gone a bit further!
She's had 10 children. And not only that: she's decided not to stop at 10 and is currently expecting her 11th!
Nikki says she runs a tight ship, giving all the children chores before they head to school.
Perhaps most surprising is that, when we interviewed Nikki for an article we've written about her, she told us: "I was an only child, and, believe it or not, I never had plans to have children myself!"
10. The mums who share their incredible birth stories (and photos)
For so many women, your birth story becomes a huge part of who you are. Whether it was super-long, super-quick, just what you expected – or not! – every mother has a tale to tell about how her child entered the world.
And while some share it only with close friends and relatives (which we totally get), we do love it when mums on our forum feel they can share their birth experience – including the most amazing pictures.
Our current favourites include SmileLikeYouMeanIt's water birth (above left) at 8.15am in the morning at her home and Fayeuk's emergency C-section (above right), when, she tells us: "After being unsuccessfully induced for 36 hours and only getting to 3cm dilated, the surgeon decided enough was enough and, within an hour, I was holding baby Eli in my arms." ❤️