I had my first child back in 2009.
Social media was basically MySpace at that point and Facebook if you were enrolled in college. There wasn’t Instagram or the influx of mommy blogs that there are today. I was exhausted and overwhelmed with having my first baby, but I relied on family and friends for advice and the classic “What to Expect” book.
Fast forward to my next child in 2014…and holy different!
I was inundated with social media everywhere. Everywhere I looked, there was a post or a photo or a video telling me what I should do to make sure my baby was the healthiest, smartest, happiest and how not to fail as a mother. I took some of it seriously, laughed at some of it, and went with what I knew. I assumed everyone was like me and didn’t take all of this too seriously.
My Friend: The New Mom
I watched a friend go through her pregnancy the following year and welcome her daughter after struggling to conceive for three years. She was so excited to finally be a mama and wanted to make sure she did everything she could to give her, her best life. She reached out here and there for new mom advice, but slowly started to cut back on her communication. I still checked in, but assumed she was exhausted so didn’t dig further when she gave me short one word answers.
I flew down to see her 3 months later for a weekend trip. I discovered, after I got there, that she was battling postpartum anxiety. The biggest trigger? Social media. She was convinced she wasn’t breastfeeding enough, buying the safest baby shampoo, and she still hadn’t lost all the baby weight. I tried to tell her that she was doing great, but all the new mommies on Instagram were “telling” her she was doing everything wrong and she was believing it. She was letting these edited squares convince her that she was failing her daughter and doing everything wrong. Her daughter is now 2.5 and she is still triggered by social media—specifically Facebook and Instagram.
As a new mom or even a third time new mom, you have the greatest gift of all: instincts. You will know what your baby needs to thrive and you should never allow social media to take that away from you and allow you to doubt yourself. Behind those perfect photos lie mothers struggling with depression, exhaustion, and navigating the newborn stage. These mothers didn’t just snap back into shape, they’ve made plenty of mistakes, and are probably battling insecurities as well.
If your friend is expecting a little one or just have one—whether it’s their first or fifth—check in on her.