Finding a mom tribe or making mom friends can be incredibly difficult. Kids have a way of taking up all of our precious time, which in turn makes socializing ourselves all but impossible. It’s no wonder then that for many mothers (myself included) these tribes exist almost exclusively online where advice, pep talks, venting, sharing, and laughing together can happen 24/7.
For one mom, the magic of a mom tribe was made crystal clear to her earlier this month, when she received an incredible gift from hers that she never expected.
As she shared in a June 9 Instagram post that has since been made private, Laura Brafford has been struggling to conceive for some time, and was recently floored by the cost of the medications she would need to take for her first round of IVF.
“When I got my first IVF prescription quote of $5K I panicked,” she wrote. Little did she know, she needn’t have worried so much about the bill. “What I didn’t see was the community God was preparing to surround me with,” she added.
That community, Brafford explains, is a wide-ranging group of online mom friends — or as she describes them, “an army of infertility warriors that I only know through hashtags and small boxes on Instagram that hold tiny glimpses of our lives.”
That “army” is responsible for banding together and sending Brafford some $3,500 worth of IVF meds last week, in “packages that not only came with no strings attached,” Brafford writes, “but were filled with prayers and encouragement for our journey.”
The card was penned by one of her online mom friends, Rosie, who writes: “These meds got me one on the way and four more frozen babies waiting for me. I hope they bring you even more luck, happiness, and miracles.”
The gesture left Brafford incredibly moved, to say the least. “The overwhelming feeling of experiencing a miracle is something I hope to never take for granted,” she wrote in her Instagram post.
The staggering costs of IVF can often place a couple under extreme financial strain, or worse, plunge them into debt — particularly since the procedure is not always guaranteed to work the first time. As Brafford tells Babble, the looming cost was something that weighed heavily on her mind.
“I was using social media as a means to update friends and family on our journey,” Brafford shares, “but also to crowd fund for monetary donations by opening a YouCaring page, sharing about my second job waitressing on the weekends, hosting a yard sale, and selling homemade candles. It never occurred to me to get medical donations (I honestly didn’t realize that was allowed). That all changed when I met a girl on the ‘Glow’ period tracker app who was offering to donate her unexpired medications. Her act of kindness transcended into a chain reaction of miracles that couldn’t be stopped. I then posted a thank you to her and the chain continued until I ended up with over $3,500 of unopened and unexpired medicine to use for my July IVF cycle.”
Brafford also shed light on just how deeply personal the experience of infertility can be, and how even now in 2017, it still carries a stigma along with it.
“There is still so much shame surrounded by infertility, miscarriages, and loss that it’s not a conversation a lot of people want to have,” Brafford shares. “Plus it is a very long journey — once people on the outside get through the standard questions of why/what/when/how they begin not knowing what to say to you anymore.”
“You become detached from who you were and are in a state of TTC limbo,” she continues. “That is where the TTC sisterhood comes in … a group of girls (and some guys) that are undoubtedly the most selfless, supportive, and fierce group of people I have ever been surrounded by.”
It was this amazing community that came to rescue to help make her dream of motherhood come true. “It is important for us to feel like we aren’t defined by our struggle, and although it is a community based on that struggle they somehow make you feel a sense of normalcy,” she shared.
Brafford’s story is both heartwarming and inspirational, because it illustrates yet again the power online communities can have when members band together for the greater good.
Please note that if you have any unopened medications you would like to donate, you should do so through a reproductive medical office who can safely dispense them.