As a self-confessed social media over-sharer, I was a little miffed to read about a new study which suggests that mums who regularly post about their babies on social media might be setting themselves up for difficulty and even depression.
The results, published last week in Sex Roles, may make new moms reconsider why they use Facebook to post about their children. While the social media platform can offer guidance and support from a large community, frequent posting for some users can also amplify their anxiety about motherhood.
Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, professor at Ohio State University, said of her findings:
"A lot of moms may feel pressured to portray this very positive image of motherhood, and if on the inside you're not feeling that good, I think that could be detrimental. If a mother is posting on Facebook to get affirmation that she's doing a good job and doesn't get all the 'likes' and positive comments she expects, that could be a problem. She may end up feeling worse."
I can't do justice to the study here but I can definitely relate to this; when my first child was born over a decade ago I was one of the first among my peer group to become a mum, so I got most of my support and guidance from 'friends' on the internet. And yes, I can remember feeling validated by the response I got - but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.
Hearing from a mum blogger or a commenter on a parenting forum that whatever part of motherhood you're grappling with WILL get easier or that you ARE doing the right thing - whether that's weaning early, experimenting with crying it out, or giving up breastfeeding - can be enormously helpful at what is one of the most vulnerable times in a woman's life.
But of course it's also well documented that over-use of social media can affect our mental health detrimentally, so I can see how posting into the ether and not getting much back could make a new mum feel isolated or low.
But we'd love to hear your views on this topic. Does getting lots of likes and comments when you post online about your baby makes you feel validated? Or do you think we're over-thinking this topic - is sharing baby snaps on social media just the social norm these days, and not some significant indicator of our mental wellbeing? How often, if at all, did you post about your baby on social media when you were a new mum?
Come and join the debate on our Facebook page or add to the comments below.
TOPICS: Parenting Tips