Ok, I don’t think postpartum moms ACTUALLY need to avoid social media, but I do think there are some things that new moms should avoid and often, those things are easy to find on social media.
Let me Explain…
A newly postpartum mom, having just given birth, goes through the biggest transition of her whole life. She transformed physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Her body is physically open and vulnerable as it tries to return everything to it’s natural position like her hips coming back together, and her uterus shrinking. In that same way, her emotional self is open and vulnerable and trying to piece itself back together.
This new mother is a mix of emotions not only from the hormones surging through her, but also from the love she has for her new baby that multiplies daily. She is in flux, she is vulnerable, and she is open. Because of this, she is highly susceptible to outside influence, especially influences that are emotionally suggestive.
It is during this time that a new mother needs to guard and protect herself from the influence of outside drama and negative or heightened emotions. All of which are too easy to find on social media.
Here is an example…
When I was newly postpartum with my third baby less than two years ago, I was also very active on Instagram. My audience was very invested in my rainbow baby pregnancy and our story. Of course I wanted to involve them in these beautiful moments. Of course, I wanted to share my birth story and photos and continue sharing my message of life after pregnancy loss on my platform. And I did. I did not avoid social media all together. For me, like for so many, it is my only connection to the outside world and far-away friends and family.
I just started to use it differently. I became hyper aware of what types of things on social media might make me feel emotionally heightened – angry, sad, scared, or even excited – and I avoided them knowing my emotions would do enough of their own surging. I didn’t need someone else to influence them more.
I decided to only spend my time and energy on light-hearted interactions and positive experiences for the first fourteen days after birth.
And it worked!
I did not have any postpartum depression like I did with my other two babies. I did not even have much of what they call “the baby blues” this time around. When I did find myself feeling more down or emotionally exhausted, I would take stock of what I had been involved in that day and more often than not, I could point to an online interaction that was negatively impactful on my emotional state! Maybe I got into an argument with an online troll or maybe I read a news story about something tragic. Perhaps I read some opinion on motherhood that triggered feelings of anger inside me.
Whatever it was, I was giving people who didn’t matter (strangers on the internet) the opportunity to come into my postpartum nest, stir up my emotions and negatively impact my mood, my time with my baby, and my whole postpartum experience all for the sake of some entertainment and a few minutes on social media.
It was not worth the risk
This thought process and protection can be applied to anything that affects your emotions. Social media is just one place. Others could be the TV you watch, the books you read, and even the conversations you have with those around you. Now is not the time to get lost in an episode of Law and Order SVU. Opt for something lighter. Don’t read a novel full of heartbreak. Choose something uplifting. Don’t spend time in conversations that make you feel inadequate in anyway. Surround yourself with people who value the sanctity of your postpartum energy.
Protect your emotions in those early postpartum days.