For those of you who don’t yet know, my husband and I are expecting our first child. We could not be more excited and are extremely anxious for our child’s arrival in May of 2016. If you have been connected with me for a while, you already know that I’m obsessed with pregnancy and have been ever since I took a labour support provider course. I love learning, sharing, and chatting about everything related to carrying and delivering a child. When it comes to prenatal care, I feel pretty confident. However, when it comes to that moment when your child enters the world-I am lost. I am not comfortable around newborns. They are fragile, hard to read, and hard to entertain. I do know that even if I did love holding and smothering newborns it is never the same as having your own.
I do endless reading on life before the baby but I have so far steered clear on reading about life after baby. It’s all overwhelming and it seems as though there are at least four different methods on how to do just one thing-like changing a diaper. Speaking of diapers, which of the seven kinds available are you going to pursue for the cleanliness of your child’s parts? Oh, and then there’s co-sleeping versus not and breastfeeding, pumping, and formula and setting routines, and so on.
What I do know about motherhood with a newborn is only what I have been told. And oddly enough, most of what has been revealed to me is far from the message that most of Instagram delivers.
The following is what Instagram has taught me about life with a newborn:
You wake up from a peaceful night’s rest looking flawless and you breastfeed your sweet little bundle of joy. You feel the warmth and comfort of your perfect white duvet blanket caressing your body that has magically shrunken back into its pre-pregnancy size.
Next you two peas in a pod are off for an adventure outdoors. Of course, you have the utmost trendiest outfit on and you are decked out in brand names from your head to your toes. Your hair looks effortlessly curled in large waves and you have yet again mastered adding the perfect amount of volume to said mane. Your makeup is on fleek and your brows make every passer-by green with envy. Your new babe is either sporting an outfit that matches yours or is at least decked out in the latest micro fashion trends.
Lunchtime means you prepare yourself the healthiest meal around full of bright vegetables that make your complexion glow. You thank your clean diet for the way it makes the bags under your eyes disappear in seconds. It also gives you the energy to thoroughly love life all day long. Hell, you are so energized you don’t even need coffee. Before the prep of your gourmet lunch from your backyard organic garden, you have fed your baby and he or she is napping like a little angel surrounded by roses and delicate vintage coloured baby blankets. He or she has been changed into light and breathable pyjamas that you hand dyed yourself to match the tones in the nursery.
Fortunately, your baby naps for a long time over lunch so you are also able to fit in a gruelling workout. Today you focus on abs and cardio because of course; you are trying to rid of that baby fat that is still hovering around your midsection. You can see your upper abs though and feel blessed that your progress is coming along. This inspires you to post a selfie and enter a motivational quote into the caption space. If you can do it, anybody can right?
A few hours later, dad comes home. You enjoy a home cooked dinner together and coo over the new addition to your family. It has made you fall deeper in love with each other and somehow you never disagree over parenting methods or strategies. You are truly soul mates who see eye to eye on everything and just both instinctively know what is right for your child.
Okay I’m sure you’ve read enough. So now, mothers of the earth, it is time to ask you-is this bullshit or is this bullshit? Where is the talk of your hormones so out whack that you sit and cry several times a day? Has post-partum depression vanished off the face of the earth? I have been told over and over that breastfeeding comes with its many challenges (especially in the beginning). What about the parents who struggle to even feel connected to their newborn? A bond must be created, it is not always instant. I have been told that life as a new mother is truly indescribable. You feel blessed and joyous but also robbed and helpless. You feel inadequate but trust that your best will be ok. I have been told that colic babies are a nightmare and that setting a routine for your new addition is easier said than done. There is no such thing as sleep, time for showers, time for your husband, or time for yourself.
Of course, every child is different. The realities in which I have been told all sound so negative but in some cases things aren’t so bad. In others, it is. And of course in between all the chaos there are the moments of love, adoration, trust, and appreciation. There are those underlying emotions that change your life. “Becoming a mother, a father, is the best thing that will ever happen to you,” so I’ve been promised. And although I’m only 14 weeks along right now, I know that what I see on Instagram is a pile of crock. Like anything else posted on social media, it’s the highlight reel or even in some cases, an exaggerated and twisted take on reality. If nothing in life is a fairy-tale, why make it seem like one of the hardest moments (becoming a parent) is? Why are we so obsessed with living a lie? When will we realize the impact these corruptions have on others? Why are we so gaddamn afraid of telling it like it is?
I have been on Instagram for about 4 years now. The first two were fun and innocent. Everybody joined just to share what their real lives were. Communities were built around interest, support, and genuine passion. Over the past two years, it has become a deep, dark and sinister place. It is now a popularity contest and most accounts are run by sponsorships and contracts. It is still a platform to share and connect with inspiring people which is why I stay but most of it is all about making money and making vulnerable people believe in fairy tales. Our teenagers of the world are growing up with harsh delusions and it will impact their lives. I am thankful I can now see through the bullshit. I can see a post for what it really is but it hasn’t always been that way. I struggled between the pressures of perfection but never followed through. To be honest, it was way too exhausting. Pretending I lived a life that I didn’t was tiresome and wishing to be who I wasn’t made me miserable. I caught on to the sick addiction, the unrealistic measures of social media but not everyone will. If you participate in sharing your life with the world via social media and can find it somewhere within you to just tell it like it is, please do. We need more truth, more bravery, and more reality.
Let's join forces and recognize that not everything we see is at it appears to be. Now that I'm expecting I am constantly getting tagged in accounts to follow on Instagram and unfortunately, most of them sing this same unrealistic tune. I decline and stick to reading my books. If anyone does have any honest and helpful blogs or accounts please tag them below as I would love to be part of a real-mom community. I will also tag a few of my personal favourites.