Oh, social media: What a love-hate relationship we have with you. We adore you when our “friends” are liking our pics and eating up what we have to say. But those feelings can turn, and when they do… well, it’s kind of like falling out of love. Hard. Add pregnant hormones to the mix, and you have a recipe for a total social media meltdown. Whether the trolls are at it again or an IRL BFF innocently made a comment that brings you to tears, here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all your other accounts over the next nine months.
1. Remember they don’t know. You post a pic of your belly bump, and the comments pour in. Your friends and family are oohing and ahhing over that sweet little bulge of yours. Then you see it: the ever-present, “Wow, you’re about to pop any day now, right?” Wrong. Very wrong. You’re still in your second trimester. Before you start questioning your current size, remember — they don’t know. The commenters don’t know how far along you are (unless you add that detail), and some of them don’t know what a full-term pregnancy might actually look like.
2. Don’t feed the trolls. When not-so-nice comments pop up on your FB or IG page, there’s a reason. Maybe the commenter doesn’t like you (but seriously, who couldn’t like you?) or maybe they’re just trying to get a rise. In any case, don’t feed into their need to hide behind the anonymity of the internet. Their malicious comments are bait — so don’t take it. Stop and don’t engage. The less attention you give them, the more likely they are to go away.
3. Watch out for “like” obsession. You’re posting pregnancy pics daily, and the likes are raining down on you like a mid-April thunderstorm… that is, until your coworker, former college roommate, and sister’s best friend don’t react to one of your belly bump posts. Whoa! Your brain is working on overdrive, and the only thing that’s moving through it is, “How could they not like my pic? Is there something wrong with me? Do they hate me?” No, there is nothing wrong with you — aside from being like-obsessed. Facebook may have buried your post in their newsfeed, or they may have turned off their phone during a day-long meeting. There are plenty of reasons why people don’t “like” posts, and most of them aren’t negative.
4. Decide you don’t really care. Hey, it’s certainly a possibility. When your second cousin twice removed or your former BFF from third grade comments that you look tired or your belly is soooooooooo big, think about who’s making the statement. Unless it’s someone who you hold in high regard or deeply love (and chances are those people aren’t trolling you on social media), don’t waste your precious pre-baby time getting teary over the comments. These aren’t people who are central to your life, and you don’t need to worry about what these almost-strangers think.
5. Recognize pregnancy makes you extra-emotional. Those roller coastering hormones aren’t treating you well. What would seem like a perfectly innocent comment during your pre-preggo days suddenly sets you off. If you cry when you see a puppy because it’s just too cute for words, rage-text your S.O. because they forget the mint chocolate chip ice cream, or freak out when the day just doesn’t go entirely your way, it’s definitely time to stop reading the social media comments: The slightest hint of negativity might just set you off.
6. Keep in mind there are better things to do. Let’s revise that statement — there are a zillion better things to do. At some point in your pregnancy, someone will either intentionally or unintentionally upset you on social media. You could spend hours worrying about what they said and why. Or you could start setting up the nursery, fold the mountain of onesies that are waiting for you, go to your baby shower… (you get the picture).
7. Stop the stress. Right now there are plenty of real issues that are stressing you out. You’re anxious about the whole labor and delivery thing, and you aren’t entirely sure how you’ll make it through a few more months of work with the megadose of morning sickness you’re experiencing. With all the IRL stressors that pregnant people feel, adding the not-so-real world of social media (with all of its pressures) isn’t something that should be making you worry. Consider stepping away for a few days (or weeks… or months).
Has your social media use changed during pregnancy? Tell us why or why not @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)