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Social media fueling mothers’ insecurities

Readers Lounge By Rachel Murugi
Motherhood can be a tough job (Photo: Shutterstock)

Motherhood as is, is a very tough job. During the first year, most mums feel like they are failing because of the criticism and unsolicited advice from the people around them.  Mums are increasingly seeking help from other mums through social media. It has easily been adapted as a parenting tool where mums share their experiences, respond to things they relate to as well as uplift others. Studies have shown that mothers use these platforms more than fathers do. Generally, social media is a resourceful source of information. Some parents have received social and emotional support through their networks. 

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A typical day can be messy. Sometimes it basically means a lot of laundry, changing diapers, or vomit all over. Nursing mums might spend the whole day napping if their babies are the type that nap through the day and stay awake during the night. Some moms are battling with postpartum depression.To add on this pile, are the picture-perfect moms in matching outfits with clean and fed babies posing for photos on social media. This juxtaposition of motherhood, piles a pressure on moms that they are probably not doing enough. 

Moreover, mothers who have had a difficult time breastfeeding struggle a lot especially in public. The general belief in societies that mums must naturally breastfeed their babies demoralizes them. Social media does not help much either as you will find pictures of moms breastfeeding calmly. This is a watered-down version of the process and a great definition of the gap between perception and reality that social media inserts in motherhood. While social media can positively impact motherhood, it can extremely demotivate and feed insecurities. 

The picture-perfect view on motherhood portrayed on social media puts unnecessary pressure on many mothers (Photo: Shutterstock)

Most of these mums who after a long exhausting day of tantrums in pajamas dress up their newborns to pose for a nice photo might be feeling lonely and overwhelmed. They post these images to connect and feel validated. It is mostly common for parents to share these photos harmlessly while some moms post with the sole intention of being validated as a perfect mom. When their expectations are not met, they are likely to feel a huge wave of overwhelming emotions. Some studies have shown that newborn mums with a high Facebook activity within the first month had higher levels of stress. 

From comparing the simple things like getting your baby to sit still for a moment, to your postpartum body, or that picture-perfect mom taking a nap with her newborn you'll be bringing up a flare of insecurities. 'Am I doing enough?' 'Why is my baby not napping?'  These photographs look great, they look amazing even. In truth, they only captured moments, not the whole struggle. It captured the nap, but not the tantrums before the nap. New mothers are most likely to fall victim as their expectations of motherhood might have gone wrong. 

It is hard for a mother not to doubt herself. Throughout motherhood, there are often insecurities that come up. Social media might not be doing much since it only shares the highs and leaves out the lows. Whereas being a mother is beautiful,  it can get tedious, and there are days that you can slack on the job. Sometimes, you can forget to take care of yourself. There are many online uplifting communities for moms that paint different motherhood pictures. These platforms are double-edged swords. They can be used to uplift, encourage and inspire or to demoralize, discourage and flare self-doubt.

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