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The moment I found out I was pregnant, my relationship with social media shifted. I thought “maybe taking a break from social media may not be a bad idea”. I’m a marketing professional and entrepreneur building multiple brands, so it’s a major part of my life. However, knowing that a baby was inside of me changed the way I see social media and more importantly, how I interact with it and let it into my life. While social media can be an important outlet for support—44 percent of women report using social media and blogs as a way to communicate with other mothers—it can also be an added burden.
If you’re struggling with social media in pregnancy, you may find some solace in my experiences and taking a break from social media. I’m also sharing some tips and ideas for how you can turn it from a stressful part of your life into something that’s welcome and supportive. At the end of the day, however, your body may already be guiding you to take some time away or lean into that online support. All we have to do is listen.
I’ve Stopped Caring So Much
This was the first change and it happened almost immediately after finding out that I was pregnant. All of a sudden, the idea of checking my phone to look for notifications felt so meaningless—like knowing there’s a baby inside of me put it all into perspective in an instant. Interestingly, this seems to follow suit with what’s happening in a woman’s brain when pregnant. A recent study found that pregnant women lose gray matter in their brains and this may affect the desire to interact on social media. Instead, she may decide that taking a break from social media is what is in her best interest. Healthline explains:
“The biggest loss of gray matter was in the front and temporal lobe regions. These areas of the brain are responsible for a variety of tasks, including social cognition. That’s the ability to interact with others.”
In my first trimester, I found this to be true. I was seeking quiet, alone, and stillness, rather than wanting to interact online or with my friends socially. More importantly, I embraced shifting from a “productive” way of living to one where I was focused on myself and my baby without all the distractions. It’s what my body wanted, so instead of fighting it, I leaned in and decided that taking a break from social media was the right choice.
Shift your relationship: When guilt comes creeping in, as it often does, use a mantra to anchor yourself in your body and with your baby, like: “My body wants stillness, so I choose stillness.”
Read More: Why You Should Delete Your Social Media
I Recognize It as a Source of Stress
As a marketing coach and consultant, and someone building a brand for her podcast and books, social media is a regular part of my life. While I tend to have a healthy relationship with social media, it naturally drives stress and anxiety—and the last thing I want is for my baby to feel any stress. When experienced chronically, it’s not only bad for the baby but for me too. So the thought, “should I consider taking a break from social media”, crossed my mind more than once.
In How to Free Yourself From Stress, experts at HealthMarkets explain that chronic stress leads to a variety of risks that are only more dangerous when pregnant: “The constant physiological response wears us down, affecting several major biological systems. Our stores of energy drain. Our bodies produce fewer infection-fighting T-cells, so our immune systems become weak, making it easy for illnesses and diseases to push their way into our lives.”
Now that I’m pregnant, instead of reaching for my phone between commercials or whenever I have a minute of downtime, I get clear on whether it feels supportive or not. If it feels stressful, my phone stays put, and I draw energy by taking a break from social media.
Shift your relationship: Start to recognize your body’s signs of stress around social media. For me, I feel my chest tighten and that sense of dread looms over me. When you start to notice that feeling, you’ll know it’s not the time to log onto social media, and instead, taking a break from social media will allow you to concentrate on stress-relieving activities that are best for you and your baby.
I Use it to Connect With a Strong Mom Community
I’ve always been an independent person, rarely seeking online communities for support. Now that I’m pregnant, however, I find social media has become a supportive outlet to connect with other moms and moms-to-be. This is especially helpful for me when sharing about the vulnerable parts of the journey—the fears and uncertainties—because that’s when the community reaches out the most. In good times and bad, I’ve come to see my social media communities as a constant source of encouragement. People I don’t know cheer me on and good friends who have already gone through pregnancy remind me to enjoy every step of the process.
As it turns out, this social support is necessary during pregnancy and can lead to reduced anxiety, according to a 2020 study. The study authors explain that digital communities play a significant role in finding that support, especially if you can’t connect in certain ways with your family and friends: “By connecting with other expecting and new mothers through online forums, there is the opportunity to discuss topics that a woman may not feel comfortable sharing with their family and friends or with others in face-to-face settings.” The good news is, whether you turn to your current Facebook or Instagram friends or seek out groups for pregnant women, you can find the community you need on social media.
Shift your relationship: Seek out the support you need and don’t be afraid to share your vulnerabilities. People want to support you, but sometimes, you have to ask for it.
Pregnancy Changed My Social Media Outlook
I didn’t think my views and use of social media would change during pregnancy, but I continually see these shifts happen as I progress further. Ultimately I’m reminded that we get to decide how we allow social media into our lives, while pregnant and otherwise, and this has been a powerful lesson. If you struggle with social media impacting your stress or anxiety, or simply need more support, allow yourself to turn these platforms into outlets that are supportive—even if that means taking a break from social media altogether. I’m sure when my baby comes, it will change again, so as always, I’ll continue to let the journey guide me.
At the end of the day, you need to do whatever is right for you and your baby. You may avoid the online negativity to reduce stress or you may rely on the motherhood stories and discussions to find support. Don’t be surprised if you alternate between taking a break from social media and vegging out with scrolling online. Read your mind and body and what it needs at that moment to be the best woman and mom you can be.
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