Motherhood Through Instagram
Never did I think that two years ago when we posted our baby announcement on instagram that it would be the start of sharing my story of motherhood with the world, or whoever would choose to follow along. Bumpdates, flatlays of outfits we had bought for Jax, and oh those ultrasound photos shot from about with a glimpse of my growing belly and disappearing toes. At the same time I was blogging about our pregnancy journey but something about sharing my thoughts about becoming a mama through an instagram post became a new normal for me.
Once Jax was born there was a whole new realm of content to share. What once was a growing belly was now a curly headed little boy with one dimple who just was so darn cute. How could I not share photos of him? Wrap him up in a baby carrier, post a photo. First bath, post a photo. Cute onesie, post a photo. National breastfeeding day, post a photo but strategically hide my nipple because people from church follow my instagram account. Struggle with sleep training, post a cute photo of Jax in a swaddle. I mean, the content and the conversations were endless.
During my time home on maternity leave the whole world of #motherhoodthroughinstagram was opened up to me. People were reaching out to me to join “pods,” and brands were contacting me to try their products, I was following mama’s that were going through the same journey as me and you know what, somehow we all had a Moses basket for our littles!
To say it’s “trendy” to be a mama is so true and if you dive deep into the #motherhoodthroughinstagram content you will see 2 million posts of mama’s doing their thing. You’ll see letterboards and knit bonnets. You’ll see raw moments like stretchmarks and scars. You’ll see lives that look perfect and photo-shopped and mirror selfies showing pre and post partum bodies. You’ll see bumpdates, baby bottoms, and the occasional Target shopping cart.
This world of using social media as an outlet for your motherhood can either do two things, it can cause you to compare or it can cultivate community. It’s simply up to you. Some may argue that community can’t be built on social media but I strongly disagree. As I have added my voice to this world, I can boldly say that I have met some amazing mamas who have truly helped me through some motherhood moments. I’ve met mama’s that have prayed for me, encouraged me through post partum emotions, made the effort to meet in real life, and even sent me care packages. This little tribe of mother’s that I have chosen to follow brings me such life and a sense of community and reminds me that I am not alone in the journey.
Building community takes intention. It takes exactly what the algorithm is wanting, engagement. I believe that if you want to cultivate a community on social media that gives you life instead of making you feel bad about yours you need to be intentional about a few things. Here are my 3 tips to successfully navigating the world of #motherhoodthroughinstagram.
Be intentional about who you follow. If you find yourself comparing, judging, or even mom shaming someone for what they choose to share on social, you don’t need to be scrolling through and “feeding” on their content. Unfollowing isn’t a bad thing, especially if it’s going to protect your own stinkin’ thinking. (Also, if you didn’t know, IG has a mute button. It means you don’t need to unfollow, simply mute someone temporarily.)
Pay attention to who follows you. Weekly I scroll through people who choose to follow me. Not only is it a way to protect my feed but it also gives me a glimpse at the people who I am impacting with my images and words. And I like to take it a step further and going into my followers feeds to put faces with names. To see their journey of motherhood. comment on their latest posts and follow along with them too.
Establish boundaries in your conversations. Sometimes social media can become a dumping ground for every thought in our thinkers, that is dangerous ground y’all. Yes, we all want to be real and vulnerable but there needs to be boundaries on your conversations in your captions, comments, and DMs. It’s ok to not answer someones question about how much it cost to have your baby. (Yes, I’ve gotten that question before). Think about what you’re willing to talk about and also, what you’re not willing to talk about and once those boundaries are established, don’t allow them to change.
There is so so so much good in the ability to use social media to share your story. It truly is something I love doing but don’t let your community turn into comparison because, with great power comes great responsibility. Let’s use our posting power for good y’all.