Pregnant guest blogger – social media

Sometimes, when I’m experiencing a challenging day or struggling with all things pregnancy/parenthood and work, I try to imagine what being a mother 30 years ago might have been like. What it might have looked and felt like for my own mama who would have been pregnant, running her own business and taking care of a wild 3 year old (me).

I know she attended a local toddler group and made mama friends through my playgroup. She also had a keen interest in horses, riding and running a stable-yard. I sometimes wonder if life was simpler or harder back then? I wonder if she still felt the same pressures that I sometimes feel when trying to raise a happy, healthy little girl (and baby), do well in my job, balance home/life/love and still be a good friend to others whilst being ethical in my consumerism and using less plastic!

I guess the biggest difference between our experiences might be social media. It’s interesting to consider whether these mediums have any influence or affect on the way women (in particular) feel about themselves and their parenting choices. 30 years ago Facebook, Instagram, YouTube channels and ‘blogging’ didn’t exist. There were no glossy photos of influencer mamas hitting the gym 6 weeks after labour, wanderlust mamas backpacking with their baby in tow or writing e-books about baby-led weaning or toddler-friendly meal ideas. Equally there might not have been anyone “famous” to compare oneself to, no celebrity mamas promoting slimming teas and leggings, no fitspo mamas to compare post-partum tummies against and no Insta-perfect photos of interiors/tidy kitchens or healthy-looking dinners to wish (just ever so slightly) that you had the time/energy or money to recreate in your own life.I know some of my mama friends have spoken about feeling pressure to “bounce back after baby” etc. My own experiences are slightly different, but not dissimilar. As I have mentioned in my previous blogs I was VERY naive about birth and motherhood during my first pregnancy. This is particularly true when it came to postpartum recovery. My lack of research, understanding and awareness of how the body recovers and the time it takes was limited. I found this challenging during the first 6 weeks after labour as I scrolled through images of mothers running, hiking, shopping, travelling and just generally being able to play with their children without pain and tenderness (I wondered if I might ever feel energised again). But slowly, as my strength and energy returned and I started to get out into the fresh air I realised my body was quite literally amazing and promised myself the next time I started to compare myself to others I would repeat the saying: “comparison is the thief of joy”.

I detoxed my social media accounts shortly after having my first baby, I unfollowed pages that didn’t serve me and removed any accounts that didn’t resonate or fit with my personal interests or ideals. Instead, I started to follow fellow mama accounts – particularly gentle or natural parenting ones that inspired me or gave me ideas for my own family, home, lifestyle.

 

 

 

I personally think social media can be brilliant! Sure it has its weak points, but if you only follow accounts that bring you joy and inspiration – it can open so many new doors. I try to limit my own screen time and unplug regularly. I have a set timer on my phone which only allows 40mins of online “time”. I also place my phone away in the kitchen when Eden is with me so I can ensure I am not on my phone in her presence. I tend to reply to emails or non-urgent messages once she is in bed.

Social media has actually benefitted me! I have learnt so much from fellow mamas, local support networks and local group/pages that run children’s activities or events nearby. I have also made a large network of online followers who share the same ideas and passion about health, pregnancy, motherhood, local business, sustainability, nature, forest schooling and parenting. I also feel less “alone” with some of my parenting challenges (toddler emotions, pregnancy-related health issues, general mama-guilt and ulcerative colitis).

pregnant mother
Norfolk newborn photographer

It is said that “social media and technology can make your world smaller” (and to an extent I agree – it can take you away from the here and now if the “real world” if used inappropriately), BUT I would also argue that for some (particularly new parents) it can quite literally be a lifeline. There are so many wonderful accounts parents can turn to for advice and support, a friendly face, a cup of tea or extra help. I have listed some which my friends and I have found especially helpful;

Local charities supporting families/mothers;

Get Me Out Of These Four Walls (@gmotfw)
• Breastfeeding Norfolk (@breastfeedingnorfolk)
• Breastfeeding Mum Meets (@breastfeeding_mum_meets)
• Friend In Deed (@friendindeedinsta)
• Maddison’s Movement (@maddisonsmovement)

Days out/groups/family

• Routes For Little Boots (@routesforlittleboots)
Norwich Mumbler(@norwich_mumbler)
• Norfolk Playparks (@norfolkplayparks)
• Mama Plays (@thismamaplays)
• Mummandmore (@mamandmore)
• In The Day Feed (@thedayfeed)
• Mini Me Yoga Norfolk (@minime.yoganorfolk)
• Spinning Tots (@spinningtots)
• Roots and Wings Forest School (@rootsanswingsforestschool)

Pregnancy Health

Baby Fit Norwich (@babyfitnorwich)
• Pelvic Flaw Fairy (pelvic_flaw_fairy)
• Wellfit Mama Physio (wellfitmama_physio)
• Mama Me Time (@mamametime)
• Rowan House (@rowanhouse)
• Cherished Placentas (@cherished_placentas)
• Motherly Love UK (motherlylove.uk)

Local Birth/Pregnancy/Babies

Jess Wilkins Photography (@jess_wilkins_photography)
• Positive Birth Movement Norwich (@positivebirthmovementnorwich)
• Bloom Hypnobirthing (@bloom_hypnobirthing)
• Love Hypnobirthing (@lovehypnobirthing)
• MLBUH (NNUH) official (@mlbunnuh)
• Your Happiest Day (@yourhappiestday_hypnobirthing)
• About Birth And Babies (@aboutbirthandbabies)
• No Milk Like Mamas (@nomilklikemamas)
• Lactation Motivation (@lactation_motivation)
• Hey Wolf Mama (@heywolfmama)
• The Family Sleep Coach (@thefamilysleepcoach)
• Blossom and Breathe (blossom_breathe)

• Mini First Aid (@mfanorfolk)
• Yoga With Lucya (@yogawithlucya)
Mama Well-Being / Movement / Fitness
• BabyFit Norwich (@babyfitnorwich)
• Grow Her Wild (@growherwild)
• ZenMuma (@zenmuma)
• Synergy Health & Fitness (@synergyhealthandfitnesspt)
• Mamas_Mind_Menu (@mamas_mind_menu)
• Sam James Mama Coach (@samjames.themumcoach)
I have possibly missed a few as I follow so many amazing local businesses, inspiring mama’s and pregnancy/parenting accounts. There is a wealth of knowledge, support and expertise out there and so much of it is in our doorstep. I never even knew so many local mama businesses existed.
So whilst the debate on social media as a good or bad entity exists, I would say it is as positive and as helpful as you make it. Streamline the accounts you follow, detox yourself from unnecessary content that doesn’t fit your life or makes you feel pressured, focus on pages that mean something to you or inspire you, look in to local groups, research local events, support local mama business and reach out for support (if you need it).
To read Cristi other blogs click here.