Shanon is a mother of a 2 year old. Being a working professional, she was not much active on social media earlier, but the last phase of pregnancy made her addicted to it. She had not much to do and hence, most of her time was spent either on Facebook or Instagram. Earlier, she used to stalk new mothers and how they were spending their time. However, gradually stalking became a habit. The situation aggravated when she delivered. The more she checked out other people having fun on Facebook, the more she felt bad about her situation. She started thinking that she would be left out of fun if she is not able to match her steps with the world. This made her a prey of postpartum depression. Not only she, but also her daughter faced the consequences.
Earlier, pregnancy and delivery was not quite taxing. With many families staying together, new mothers had lots of mental support. They could vent their feelings to other mothers, who in turn explained their phase and the hardships they faced during motherhood. Moreover, new mothers did not even get much time to rest due to the burden of work. This made pregnancy and delivery just a part and parcel of regular life. The most required thing that new mothers need is attention, not just physically but even socially. This thing is missing in today’s life, when most of the people get busy with social media, the moment they have some time in hand. Hence, postpartum depression has become a reality.
In this world of social media, how can a new mother stay away from negativity and hurt? Here are some revelations and ways that will help you cope better.
1. Think About the ‘Real Picture’
If you are asked to post a picture of your baby on ‘Facebook’, what would be the post about? Probably, it would be about her ‘first smile’, her ‘first step’ or how she winks. Will you post the pictures wherein she pooped while you held the camera? Without a second thought, no. Then, how can you expect other mothers to post about sad things. Social media has the idealized versions of real people. There is nothing bad it seems when we see their pictures. They are roaming around the world with the baby; their baby seems to be eating everything that the hotel has to offer and many such good things. However, while scrolling the accounts of these ‘happy mothers’, new mothers are not aware about their lives and the hardships they might have faced. Here, I do not mean that you start finding faults in their lifestyles. It is just a reminder that life is not perfect and comparison steals away precious moments of the present.
2. Too Much Exposure is a Bad Thing Too
Do you know everyone personally on your social media account? Most probably, you do not. However, you are aware of everything that is happening in their lives. You might have just bumped into that pregnant lady while travelling in a train. You befriended her on Facebook because you two had something in common. After this, you ‘friends’ never met again. In spite of this, you know everything that she does or eats or watches. At times, too much information about somebody too poses a problem. You should not delve deeper into the lives of others. Keep your scrolling to minimum. But the main advice is ‘not’ to befriend anyone or everyone you know, on Facebook. The limited friends will not fill your life with extra information, giving you extra time with your baby.
3. Expectations is the Root Cause of Misery
Your best friend is a new mother, just like you. The other day she posted a pic of the celebrations of first monthly birthday of her baby. Her husband surprised her with cake and they all had fun (or that’s what it seemed from the pictures). This incident made you expect the same from your husband. On your son’s first ‘monthly’ birthday, you waited for your husband to surprise you with a cake. Nothing of this happened. And this was the root cause of misery and sadness. Such incidents could lead you to postpartum depression. I know the other side of the story. The friend who shared a picture of cake with her one-month old daughter had herself ordered a cake, but described the picture as a ‘surprise’. What say? I remember the climax of ‘The Necklace’ story by Guy de Maupassant. Do not go by the ‘descriptions’ or the ‘happy pictures’ on the social media. You are not aware of the other side of their lives.
4. ‘Unfriend’ those Who Demean You
‘You look so fat in the pictures with your baby’ or ‘Ah! You got acne post-delivery!’ or ‘Your baby doesn’t look as beautiful as you’. Such comments are so common when you post pictures of your baby. While your ‘friends’ will say good things in the comments below the picture, they will personally message you to give you ‘honest’ reviews. Firstly, it is common that mothers put on weight post pregnancy. Many celebrity mothers have too. Do not feel bogged down by weight issues. When you deliver a baby, your skin, hair, nails, and overall health face issues on one level or the other. And initially babies do not look picture perfect. They are like a bud that is blossoming at its own pace. A bud cannot be termed ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’. So, do not pay heed to what other people have to say about you or your baby. All this is a trap to make you fall into postpartum depression.
5. Self-care is More ‘Important’ Now
This precious time will never return. You will not be able to hug your baby as much as you do now. Indulging too much social media drains away your time and energy. Invest this time instead in your baby and self-care. Social media is quite addictive. If you plan to spend just 15 minutes, it turns into a pretty half an hour, without you realizing it. Stop staring at that small screen and grab some essential oils and massage your hair. Next day, warm some water and soak your feet. You could do so many things if you chuck social media on some days. If you do not want to indulge in taking care of your beauty, just sleep close to your baby. You will love this time. It even minimizes your anxiety and keeps you miles away from depression.
In the end
I am not asking you to chuck social media all together. But, I am advising you to do it consciously. Keep a tap on your feelings. Do not get over-excited or over-hurt by others’ posts. Remember that social media is ephemeral. If you really like the picture of your friend’s baby, call her and enquire about her health. Plan a rendezvous and talk about your babies. There is nothing like face-to-face chats. Happiness is just a call away. You can be the support system you expect from others. Be the ‘happy mother’ you always desired to be.
What are your thoughts on this? Let’s discuss it on the comments section.