An Instagrammable Pregnancy
Having a pregnancy that is worthy of social media is definitely a thing. A thing you’ve grappled with if you’ve been pregnant in the last 5-10 years. How much do I show? How much do I share? Who gets to announce and when? Personally, I’ve thought about all of these things because social media has a tendency to fuel the comparison cycle in our brains. Since my first pregnancy, I’ve come up with some guidelines for myself around social media during pregnancy and postpartum. In order for me not stress myself over which filter makes my face look slimmer or my postpartum hair look less thinned, here are three things you won’t be seeing during my pregnancy and postpartum time and why.
MY BARE BELLY (PRE- , DURING, OR POST-PREGNANCY):
Just before my first pregnancy, I was on a vacation with my girlfriends in Cuba. I was in great shape and felt really good. If you scroll through my personal account you might see one photo of me in a bikini. There’s no wifi in Cuba and I was thankful to have to opportunity to unplug in a way I hadn’t in years. I’m generally happy and comfortable in my own skin but pregnancy was a whole new experience. After I announced, I started looking at other mamas-to-be, starting with the hashtag #16weekspregnant because that’s when I announced. I compared my pregnancy and pregnant belly to other women. Some women had flatter bellies, some bigger, some were smaller than me pre-pregnancy and looked bigger but had only gained 3 pounds. It was a cluster of comparison and I was caught up in it. I knew my body would change but I didn’t have a point of reference for exactly how - of course, I’d never been pregnant! It made me wonder ad nauseam how much weight I would gain or how many stretch marks I might get. At 19 weeks, I was diagnosed with placenta previa and was told to try to relax and sit down. I had never heard of the condition but I knew that I had to focus on staying healthy, not stressing, and enjoying my pregnancy. When the previa resolved six weeks later, I was doing just that. As relieved as I felt, I had gained more weight than Google said I was “supposed” to gain. What does Google know about my body, though? Concern regarding my weight never came up at any doctor’s appointments so I knew it was OK. That’s all that matters - trust your body and your caregivers to tell you when something is off. Inevitably, people will ask if I gained the same, more, or less during this pregnancy. But really, why does it matter? I was healthy, my baby was healthy, and around 41 weeks I gave birth an amazing baby boy. That was my prayer and goal - make it to term and go home with my baby. I never had a weight goal and I’m trying to keep the same attitude this time around.
I thought worrying about my body pre-pregnancy was bad but let me tell you not to Google the word “postpartum” alone because “postpartum depression” and “postpartum body” are the two prevailing returns. I don’t believe in the “snapback” and the amount of misinformation you can get about postpartum depression is staggering. There’s nothing snappy about pregnancy or birth, including the postpartum period. I want to encourage mamas to take care of themselves and return to activities at their one pace, in a way that best suits their needs. I believe in order to do this, I have to live it.
There aren’t going to be a lot of cute breastfeeding moments in flowy robes or matching bra/legging sets around here. The closest we’ve come to a breastfeeding photo is the one my husband took the day we got home. My boobs were about the size of two small basketballs, I was holding Lucas, and he was staring up at me like “MILK”! It’s a pretty funny one. There are LOTS of online mamas breastfeeding openly, covered, in the park, at the grocery store, and really wherever they need to! And they SHOULD! They are meeting the needs of their baby. But for me, these aren’t photo-op moments (mostly because I don’t know my angles) and I’m constantly wondering, who is walking around with you taking these photos?? I wholeheartedly support mamas breastfeeding their babies. I support babies being fed, period. Breastfeeding with Luke went really well for me and I can only hope for more the same this time around. But who knows?! I’m leaving space for the unknown in all aspects of this pregnancy/postpartum because no two babies or journeys are the same. While I’ll be happy to share my next breastfeeding journey, with a kid currently running circles around me, I’ll take those quiet or not so quiet moments with Baby H2 to myself.
THE VERY FIRST PHOTOS OF BABY H2:
I love that instagram and Facebook give me the opportunity to to share my life with people who aren’t physically nearby. However, I didn’t grow up with social media. I didn’t grow up with so much of my life on public display with commentary included. We cherish those first photos of Lucas and I. The way he opened those giant brown eyes and looked up at me still makes my heart sing. I’m so thankful Tom captured that moment. I believe some of those moments are just for us. It’s perfectly great if you feel differently. Birth isn’t a secret, we all know how children enter the world and I think it’s been helpful for people to see it so openly shared. I follow tons of accounts where I see photos or videos of mamas giving birth and babies taking their first breath. It’s amazing to see women step so courageously into motherhood and an honor to have those moments shared with us. My family doesn’t live close by there are some things I’d prefer to only share with them; I feel like they should get to share those moment with us, even if it’s in a small way.
I say all of this to say I LOVE seeing everyone’s updates and babies. I love following the progress of mamas celebrating their pregnancies and bumps in whatever way they choose.
But know that if you choose not to show any of your pregnancy or all of it, post a picture a day, or none at all, I understand. I’m that mama wondering if it’s too much. Wondering if I’m making him too visible because I only have a finite of time with him as just ours (though I know my friends and family disagree). Choosing to put away my phone to live in the moment with him but wondering if I haven’t taken enough pictures (even though my camera roll is overflowing). It’s the double-edged sword of accessibility and social media. For me, having these simple boundaries in place makes me feel good about sharing what I do. It helps me tune into my own pregnancy and keeps me focused on the ultimate goals, staying healthy and getting to go home with my baby boy.