Tracy’s Dream/Today’s Reality

tracy-hoggIn 2002, long before the invention of social media, Tracy Hogg had a dream: to create a community of “mums” who would help each other get through the fear and confusion of early motherhood. To that end, she launched her message boards, where mothers (and fathers, although they are in the minority) could ask and answer each other’s questions. Tracy herself spent hours there, giving advice, cracking jokes, and talking about her own life. By the time she died in 2004, there were a few thousand registered users.

Today, there are more than 80,000 members on the Baby Whisperer forums! Countless others drop by as “guests.” Many members have been there for over a decade, still sharing their own stories, still helping others. Their conversations have gone beyond babies and toddlers, to include discussions about older kids, school concerns, jobs and relationship problems, illness and disappointments, adoption and special needs. There is also a “Regional/Get Together” thread that encourages members to meet off line as well. The site  is truly a community–an idea captured in this description of one of the boards, called “The Couch”:

A place where you can come visit and just have someone say, “Yes I have been there, you are not alone, I understand, I’m listening.” Debate is forbidden; virtual hugs are mandatory. This is a quiet place to rest your head for a few minutes.

The forums are self-supporting, surviving on members’ donations and the hard work of volunteer “admins” (administrators), many of whom now have children inching toward adolescence! Every year, on Tracy’s birthday and on the anniversary of her death, old-time members pause to write their remembrances of her. Those newer to the site express their gratitude for the Baby Whispering philosophy, which continues to influence their growing families.

Tracy would be proud.