Being a first time mom, Sonya Gavankar, is thinking about how her journey is different than her mother’s generation.
Well into my second trimester I posted on social media that I was pregnant. A few weeks later I posted about feeling my uterus. My mother’s head exploded! She previously had chided me for not referring to myself as “with child” and this post seemed too far.
My older friends recommended I started journaling the next 9 months, but that seemed redundant of what I was already doing. Whether you use pen and paper or blog, the process of recording the moment doesn’t change. Social media has changed how my generation will document and process their pregnancies. By making these entries public it creates an instant community of like minded parents to share the journey with. Now that my eyes are open to this subset of my age group I see how social media gives mothers with special needs children an instant support system. No longer do they need to leave the comfort of home to feel connected in a struggle that used to be one that happened only in specialized physical therapy offices.
I was shopping for nursery bedding at one of the luxury malls in my area and the sales person openly told me of her 40 year old daughter who had conceived with medical help. I don’t believe that social networks have greatly affected how we talk about fertility. The success of treatments are shared with more frequency but women still chose to share these conversations in person. We are more free to discuss treatments in public but I believe most women still chose to discuss fertility issues with a smaller group of friends. My peers are older and have a higher level of education and in general, have waited longer to start a family. We know the risks in delaying starting a family, but we still hope it will be easy. Perhaps that known difficulty makes us more comfortable discussing the process.
While you may not consider it flaming when a woman with no children comes up to me in the dog food aisle to tell me how to properly prepare my dog for the baby’s arrival... that is what she is doing. With openness, comes more viewpoints and the unsolicited comments of strangers. It doesn’t matter the technology or the medium, total strangers have found me out to impart their advice. There seems to be something about that big belly that makes people experts on my experience. Putting my bump out on the internet brings these same advisors out. I thought because I have been judicious in selecting my virtual friends I was sub selecting a type of person. But like I found with the last presidential election, I am always surprised who has the crazy view in the group. I have started to think of my real life as the comment section of a blog or online mommy group. A simple request for informed advice empowers people with no filter. They may be writing it under a chat room handle or they could be the woman in the baby food aisle, either way, there have always been women (and men) who feel they have every right to tell you and your belly what they think.
Pregnancy and the internet both feed into that part of our egos we hate to admit we have. I love the positive attention to a picture of my growing waistline or sonogram. The instant gratification of the comment bell going off is intoxicating. Getting hundreds of likes makes me want to post more. I need to remind myself while I am months away from the birth that it is much easier to get that instant reaction from a glowing screen than it will be to impact the new life and to focus on reality.