Pregnancy and Social Media
Being pregnant in the early 21st century has some added bells and whistles that our maternal ancestors never had to contend with, things like the jogging stroller, baby wipe warmers, and gender reveal parties. And while most new inventions related to pregnancy and parenthood are relatively benign and of no real consequence, there is one that has the potential to make a negative impact: social media.
Ah yes, our good old frenemy, social media. Most of us have a love-hate relationship with our feeds in normal circumstances. We tend to fall into the traps of measuring ourselves against the warped realities that social platforms are so adept at presenting us. The perfectly curated lifestyle of a minor celebrity or, better yet, a person you know in real life, can send you down a rabbit hole of feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. This is never a good thing, but it’s especially true when you’re pregnant.
Understanding Things are Different Now
Since pregnancy is not a normal circumstance, you need to acknowledge this significant transition you’re in physically, mentally, and spiritually when you expose yourself to social media. When you’re pregnant, you’re in a heightened state of awareness and sensitivity, so it’s of critical importance to your mental health that your consumption of social media is done deliberately and carefully. The impressions made on you can have a deeper impact than they would normally, so before you jump on Instagram or Facebook, consider what’s in your feed first.
Finding the Good
I think we can all agree that social media isn’t inherently bad, but in order for it to deliver positive benefits, you need to make sure it’s pulling in what you want. There’s a lot of wonderful support groups, evidence-based resources, and inspirational feeds to be found surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. But being aware of the type of imagery you’re looking at is important because it can make an impression on your super sensitive brain. Looking at touched-up photos of supermodels before and after pregnancy for example should be avoided at all costs. These are merely fantasies geared toward the male gaze and do nothing more than make the average pregnant person feel bad about themselves.
Avoiding the Bad
Social media is also steeped in a great deal of fear-based content that should be sidestepped. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself reading a thread recounting a heartbreaking outcome that starts out with a statement like, “Everything was perfectly fine with my pregnancy until one day…”. If you stumble on anything like this, stop right there. There’s no need to feed that story to your psyche; it doesn’t serve you or your baby. You owe it to your baby to bake them in love, not fear. You do that by finding the imagery and words that cultivate feelings of love, safety, and confidence in yourself and your body.
When you’re seeking out Instagram feeds, look for ones that share what a normal pregnant body looks like, what an unmedicated birth looks like, what a medicated birth looks like, what a cesarean birth looks like, what a postpartum body looks like. Look for feeds that balance uplifting affirmations and evidence-based information with accurate descriptions of pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. It’s probably a good idea to skip anything that is sugar-coated and polished. There are amazing platforms to be found, but making sure you’re following the ones that give you confidence and a sense of reassurance are the ones that will provide you the most benefit.
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