As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, the questions, concerns, excitement, and complete overwhelming emotion sets in. “What the f*ck do I do? Where do I go? What do I need to buy? Who should I call? Am I ready for this sh*t? LOL I have NO idea what I’m doing.” Because being pregnant is a highly hormonal and emotional rollercoaster (and I can say that, because I’m pregnant and my life is an emotional fairground atm), expectant women can often fall into the trap of reading the work of mommy and pregnancy bloggers. If you live in a hole, bloggers are people who sit behind computers telling you which products you can’t live without, the birth route you MUST go, and how you should start saving up for a team of doulas / the dolphin water birth you have to have the second you see a positive on your pregnancy test. They also tend to overshare in hopes of “inspiring” other moms and moms-to-be to take their advice since, after all, they’re now experts on pregnancy and parenting.
Bring on the mommy blog hate in the comments. Go ahead and @ me from the safety of your computer. I’ll be drinking this virgin martini and laughing. Here are all the reasons you need to turn off your phone/computer and stop reading pregnancy blogs.
They Have No Medical Background
I am sure there are some mommy/pregnancy bloggers who went to med school or have some form of medical degree. However, the vast majority of people sitting behind their computers advising you on what drugs to take and how to approach your pregnancy and labor have no medical training or health background whatsoever. They have their own experience to lean on and, more than likely, not much else. Listening to a non-medical professional preach about how Pitocin will kill you or how an epidural will cause your baby to go into seizure mode is basically the same as listening to someone yell at you from a street corner. It’s the same as any unsolicited advice you’d get from someone face-to-face. Spouting your opinions is all fine and well, except the scary part about bloggers is that they present themselves as some kind of expert, which they’re not. If your doctor talks to you about medications, pregnancy complications, concerns, and other legitimate issues, then, yes, ask questions and listen, because your doctor IS an actual expert. But taking the advice of an internet stranger as truth isn’t doing you (or your baby) any favors.
Bottom line: Do any of these bloggers have a distinct knowledge of your particular pregnancy? Your body? Your soon-to-be born baby? That’s a no, buddy.
Is This An Ad?
Some bloggers are better these days about coming clean in regards to which posts are ads and which are not. The key word there is “some”. You will never know 100% what a blogger has been paid to promote. It could be something as “basic” as a $1,300 SNOO which they’ll INSIST you need for your sanity and to put your baby to sleep for you. It could be doula services because you NEED a friend and advocate in the delivery room. It could be a particular brand of vitamin that claims to up your milk production because it contains a miraculous plant that our evil federal government has banned. I could go on, but I’m tired and my feet are swollen.
Unless you’re BFFs with said blogger, how do you know you aren’t just reading an advertisement? How do you think bloggers make money? Trust no one. On top of not knowing what’s being sponsored and what isn’t, many bloggers are timid about being truly honest regarding product reviews because they want to continue working with companies that pay them. I can’t blame a sister for gettin’ that money, honey, but I can blame them for not being fully transparent about any kickbacks they might be getting from a product or brand.
The takeaway: Do your own research and stop relying on Mindy and her amazing pregnancy adventure blog to tell you all about the bottles, pacifiers, and crib sheets you can’t live without.
You’re Missing Out On Your Own Pregnancy
When you’re constantly scrolling through pregnancy and mommy blogs looking for information, you’re probably going to start playing the comparison game.
“This says my boobs should be up to a C by now and they’re only an A.”
“OMG apparently I’m supposed to have the nursery built by now.”
“Oh sh*t, I guess I need to sign up for that mommy yoga class.”
“This says my dog will bite the baby if I don’t introduce him in the northwest corner of the backyard during a full moon!”
A quick Google search of mommy blogs is f*cking frightening. Look what comes up as soon as you start peeking around into the dark corners of the internet:
That’s a ton of sh*t about what not to do, what you’re potentially doing wrong, and fear-mongering language that can send an already emotional person into a tailspin. Imagine the anxiety reading “100 things about pregnancy.” Imagine how inadequate you could feel reading about someone’s rainbow and butterflies pregnancy while you’re throwing up every three hours. My sister-in-law told me at one point that she thought she had to go to the hospital because her anxiety got so bad from falling into a pregnancy blog hole. Take some advice from Kris Jenner: “You’re doing amazing, sweetie.” Try to sit back and enjoy your own pregnancy and first few weeks postpartum instead of insanely consuming strangers’ anecdotes about their own experiences.
It’s Your Body And Baby
Being pregnant myself, I can’t even count how many times I’ve been asked if I’m going to breastfeed, if I’m going to go all natural, if I’m going to get an epidural, or if I’m going to hire a midwife or doula. Those are all really personal decisions, yet everyone has an opinion about how I should go about my particular labor and pregnancy. Mommy and pregnancy bloggers do the exact same sh*t on an insane level. They can spin situations and personal anecdotes to ridiculous proportions. Take this excerpt from a blogger’s labor story. I’m not going to share the name of the blogger or blog because I refuse to give these people more readers. First, she talks about how she felt relief from the pressure of pushing, then says, “I was filled with the most intense surge of emotion. I can personally attest to the fact that this emotion is much stronger and more instant with an unmedicated birth than even one with an epidural. I instantly bonded…”
Imagine reading that and either having already given birth using an epidural, having a C-section, or being unsure how your birth will go. It sits a bit heavy, doesn’t it? Like, of course you want to instantly bond with your baby. But now it sounds like if I choose to have an epidural, I’ll lose that chance. See what you’re doing? Now you’re going to read up on epidurals and how bad they are. Or how natural birth is the ONLY way to go. Or how there’s fluoride in the water and it’s hurting your baby’s chances of getting into an Ivy League school later.
None of these bloggers know you or your personal medical history. Maybe you were “cursed” with narrow hips, and a C-section is the only way to go. Maybe you’re all about that formula life. Whatever it is, the most important part of pregnancy and birth is listening to yourself and your doctor. At the end of the day, you two (or three) know your body and pregnancy better than any internet rando.
All in all, however you choose to approach your pregnancy—do you. Don’t give in to pressure from friends, family, or bloggers about how you “should” deliver or how your baby “should” be developing. That’s for you and your doctor to discuss. Pregnancy is a super neat and sometimes scary time. Try to put down the phone (or laptop), relax, and enjoy being punched and kicked from the inside out.
Images: Kaitlyn Baker, Unsplash;