Raise your hand if you’ve ever googled your way into an obsessive parenting frenzy.
Whether it’s a strange pain during pregnancy or baby’s first fever, today you can access a million answers in mere moments. Some of the answers you find will put your mind instantly at ease. Others might just have you rushing to the ER with your newly acquired fear of flaky red blotches.
If you’re already a bit of a worrier, there’s enough scary stuff on the web to keep your anxiety at threat level midnight (labor horror stories, toxic sushi, murder hornets). Even the most chill mom-to-be can stress out when the nurse take a little longer than usual to find baby’s heartbeat. Combine this with the pregnancy hormones and the overall discomfort, and it’s a wonder any pregnant woman ever got more than 3 consecutive hours of sleep!
While it is common to worry, especially while pregnant, one might wonder if moms worry more today than they did before the rise of the internet. Today’s connected landscape provides an endless stream of unthinkables. Navigating through the slew of information, opinions, and advertising can be a real challenge.
So what’s an expectant mama to do when one of her main source of information may send her down a rabbit hole of surprising fears and unrealistic ideals?
Read on for stress-reducing methods for new mothers.
Stressing about Stress
High amounts of stress can be damaging to new mothers, mentally and emotionally, especially during pregnancy. Doctors tell expecting mothers all the time to relax and manage their stress, but many do not realize the stress they take on when roaming cyberspace. Some women may even find themselves reading an article on the adverse effects of stress on an unborn baby and suddenly become stressed out about stressing out. This is truly a vicious cycle, and one that requires consciously safeguarding oneself as they peruse the web.
Dr. Hobel, an obstetrician that has studied the effects of stress in pregnant mothers, shares that one of the most notable factors in managing stress for pregnant women is a support network and receiving enough information about prenatal care and the pregnancy itself to ward off worries.
On the one hand, there may be a great online community of mothers out there that can offer support and personal experiences. But, it’s important not to rely solely upon your online community because negativity has a way of seeping in and status updates and photos often don’t necessarily portray the truth, and unrealistic comparisons can arise.
In a survey released by Redbook and Huffington Post, mothers revealed that the most judgment in their lives comes from themselves. It’s important to keep in mind that no one is perfect… even if social media posts seem to say something different.
Try mixing in some more relatable sites while you are searching online such as Momastery, Scary Mommy, and the back issues of your favorite natural parenting magazine, Green Child.
It’s important to have realistic expectations of yourself as a mother, which is why having a solid, supportive community offline is so helpful.
With your life and body in transition and everyone busy with their lives, it can be easy to feel isolated. No wonder so many new moms end up online. One great use of the Internet and social media is to use it to strengthen your real world relationships.
Finding Credible Sources of Information
Yes, the internet can provide useful information and right when you truly need it, but it’s important to be sure that the sites are credible. For example, pregnant women hear a lot about what to eat and what not to eat. Some reasons behind the dietary rules are obvious, like adverse effects from alcohol or too much caffeine. Others may be a little more confusing, such as why to avoid soft cheeses and certain types of fish. Ask your midwife or doctor to recommend information sources, and if you come across information that looks valuable, check to see where they got their information.
Sometimes just getting the thought out of your head and down onto paper can provide some relief from worry. Then, the next time you see your doctor, bring your list of questions. Talking to your doctor and having that open communication is key in making your transition into motherhood as smooth as possible.
Trusted Natural Pregnancy Resources (that won’t cause you more anxiety)
- It’s Never Too Early to Start Baby Proofing - March 21, 2016
- Help! The Internet is Giving Me Pregnancy Anxiety! - March 20, 2015