Social Media Changing What Motherhood Looks Like- the 411

Source: Parent Magazine

Five years ago I remember scrolling through my Instagram newsfeed full of artsy, overly filtered posts. Even the non-celebrities I followed looked so #blessed with their designer clothes, perfectly uniform families, lux vacations, and toned bikini bods. It was rare to see a caption longer than a sentence, and that sentence was typically a well-played pun. I saw children smiling on Santa’s lap, perfectly coiffed mamas at theme parks with three kids, and delivery room photos that made labor look like a breeze—

Five years ago I remember scrolling through my Instagram newsfeed full of artsy, overly filtered posts. Even the non-celebrities I followed looked so #blessed with their designer clothes, perfectly uniform families, lux vacations, and toned bikini bods. It was rare to see a caption longer than a sentence, and that sentence was typically a well-played pun. I saw children smiling on Santa’s lap, perfectly coiffed mamas at theme parks with three kids, and delivery room photos that made labor look like a breeze—in retrospect, it all seemed a bit unnatural and dare I say staged. And then something changed—parents started breaking the mold.

And then something changed—parents started breaking the mold.
Fast forward to today and I’m sitting on my couch nursing my four-month-old daughter while rocking heavy bags under my eyes and hair that hasn’t been washed in, oh, maybe a week. As I scroll through my Instagram, the posts are looking a whole lot like I do—real and unfiltered. I see a new mom of twins sharing her 2-week postpartum belly in all its glory, a second-time mom sharing an unfiltered image of her simultaneously breastfeeding her 3-year-old and 3-month-old, and raw footage of a water birth showing a mother hand-delivering her own child.
Even celebrity moms are sharing more honest moments. Chrissy Teigen posted photos of her son miles wearing a head-shaping helmet that treats flat head syndrome, a condition that affects up to 50 percent of babies, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Amy Schumer shared a pic of her half-asleep pumping in bed the morning after doing standup.


It’s especially during sleep-deprived and wildly frazzled moments like these that I’m eternally grateful for the fact that Instagram as well as social media as a whole, has shifted its view towards those real, hard-hitting moments of parenting. Those filters are being pulled back to reveal what life is really like for a new mom—and the stories of influencers and celebrities alike are transcending toward a narrative that feels familiar. In fact, the goal of the modern-day influencer now seems to be an effort to make new moms feel less alone in their struggles.
“Instagram, more so than the other social media sites, has transformed into a platform where moms feel comfortable sharing their ups and downs,” “Instagram, more so than the other social media sites, has transformed into a platform where moms feel comfortable sharing their ups and downs,” Ilyse DiMarco, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of No Drama Mama, says. “As more and more ‘mom voices’ are being added to the community every day, they’re painting a wider variety of pictures about what everyday ‘mom life’ really looks like.”, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of No Drama Mama, says.

We’re tired of that pretend world

The old view of social media putting insane pressure on moms to be “perfect” certainly still exists, but a revolution against it—one of honest mothering—has also risen. More and more women and moms especially are growing tired of pretending that life is all sunshine and roses. This very notion is what inspired Brenda Stearns, a mom of five who runs the Instagram account @she_plusfive, to start posting real-as-it-gets images of her day-to-day life. “People need to understand that we don’t have it all together—our kids cry, the house is a mess sometimes, we are all human, we feel sadness, and anger, and disappointment,” she says. “We can establish a healthy relationship with social media and realize that there’s so much life happening behind the screen.” On her feed, she shares posts and stories showing what it’s like to be a mother of five and the reality of the chaos that it can bring. She also shares several images of her postpartum body—stretch marks and all. “Abs and flat tummies are great! …but have you ever considered that your body literally rearranged its organs to bring another life into the world?? So yeah! Your stretched out, scarred, jiggly tummy is pretty impressive too!” she quipped on one recent post.


Last Valentine’s Day, New York mom Megan Harper was one month postpartum with her third child in five years and was jealous of watching everyone’s romantic Instagram posts all day. “I was home covered in breast milk and wrangling two kids inside a small apartment all day because it was freezing out,” she says. “Instead of telling everyone how much I loved my husband, I decided to share a picture of what was really going down in my home—me eating Pho takeout and drinking canned wine while nursing my one-month-old sitting next to my 2-year-old who was passed out on the couch.” She received more positive feedback than she could have anticipated—mostly from other moms thanking her for keeping it real.
“From a psychological standpoint, social media has moved from being a platform in which to prove something to one in which you express something,” says“From a psychological standpoint, social media has moved from being a platform in which to prove something to one in which you express something,” says Laura F. Dabney, M.D., a relationship psychiatrist. “You either had to prove you had the best product, the best ideas, the best relationships, or the best life, but now with the popularity of short live clips on platforms like Instagram, expressing yourself in real-time has become not only easier but more popular or trendy.” This shift is helping social media become more of a place to turn to for support than ever before., M.D., a relationship psychiatrist. “You either had to prove you had the best product, the best ideas, the best relationships, or the best life, but now with the popularity of short live clips on platforms like Instagram, expressing yourself in real-time has become not only easier but more popular or trendy.” This shift is helping social media become more of a place to turn to for support than ever before.

“From a psychological standpoint, social media has moved from being a platform in which to prove something to one in which you express something,” says Laura F. Dabney, M.D., a relationship psychiatrist. “You either had to prove you had the best product, the best ideas, the best relationships, or the best life, but now with the popularity of short live clips on platforms like Instagram, expressing yourself in real-time has become not only easier but more popular or trendy.” This shift is helping social media become more of a place to turn to for support than ever before.
Sanam Hafeez, Psy.D., a New York-based neuropsychologist and faculty member at Columbia University, attributes this shift towards unveiling those real and difficult moments of parenting to the rise of body positivity. “The body positive movement opened up this discussion about not just feeling shame about our bodies, but a lot of other things the media can make us feel guilty about—like being a new mom!” she says. “Celebrating our bodies soon melded into celebrating our mommy bodies, our ups and downs, and accepting our flaws.” This, she explains, is where this trend really began to shift, and people began to question the negative impacts social media has on our mental health. “Social media can be extremely intrusive, but it’s the growing acceptance of ‘no filter’ that allows new moms to feel comfortable in this space.”

A new network of motivation, camaraderie, and support

Facebook and Twitter have become a go-to source of support for new moms, particularly for those living in more rural areas where an in-person support group is few and far between. “A simple search on Facebook will help you find pages and groups dedicated to providing news, tips, and support to moms by region, ideology, and even age,” says Dr. Hafeez. “On Instagram, you will find moms sharing their experiences on the comments of tip-driven, motivational post geared to inspiring parents to take time to care for themselves, or stop and smell the roses from time to time.”

Layla Lisiewski and Megan Sullivan co-founded The Local Moms Network in an effort to deliver local resources and community connections to moms in suburbs across the country. “We know that being a mom is hard work, but felt strongly that finding resources in your town shouldn’t be,” Lisiewski says. Within a few months of launching in 2017, women from other suburbs were reaching out and wondering how they can bring this amazing platform to their community. There’s now a Local Moms Network in over 90 suburbs across the country. “As moms, we would be doing our communities a disservice if we weren’t raw and real on social media and including the everyday struggles that come with having children—eating, sleeping, organizing schedules, finding the right resources, all the while making sure we take care of ourselves and our house and our job and our mental and physical well being,” Lisiewski adds. “There’s something comforting knowing that we’re all in this parenthood thing together.”

How to use social media as a parenting support system

Don’t get me wrong, I still follow quite a few perfect-appearing social media moms—they certainly still exist, particularly on Instagram. Sometimes their posts make me feel jealous, anxious, guilty (or all of the above—particularly at 3 a.m. when I’m awake with my baby, again). “There are always going to be those super-toned moms who post pictures of themselves and their gorgeous, seemingly well-behaved children,” says Dr. DiMarco. “They’re usually displaying the killer healthy salad they made or reminding you about how important self-care is, especially for successful entrepreneurs like themselves—and by the way, their 4-year-old is doing well with her Mandarin lessons, thank you very much for asking.”

When a new mom sees a social media post that’s inspiring mom guilt, shame, anxiety, or anger, Dr. DiMarco suggests that they consider the messenger. “Is this a person with whom you have a lot in common? If you don’t respect the messenger, it doesn’t make sense to aspire to be like them, or follow their lead in any way.”

She also suggests asking yourself how much you really know about the person to whom you’re comparing yourself. “Oftentimes, you simply don’t have enough information to make a fair comparison,” she says. “If you’re comparing your life, about which you are an expert, to the life of a friend you haven’t seen face-to-face for many years, you’re simply not making a reasonable comparison.” In other words, you don’t have enough information about this friend to evaluate how her life truly compares with yours.

Live in the now

Before you know it, your colicky, fussy-feeding newborn will be taking her first steps on the grass in your backyard. “Life tends to pass you by when you’re living behind a phone screen, even if it’s to take videos of your baby, so take a moment to breathe it all in and appreciate the little moments rather than going straight to social media,” advises Dr. Hafeez.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice

Too often, the advice we receive as parents is of the unsolicited variety and it’s often laced with anxiety and self-doubt. But, as new parents, it’s essential that we feel encouraged, uplifted, and inspired in positive ways to make the best decisions when it comes to raising our children. “You’re going to learn something new every day, but you don’t have to figure everything out on your own,” says Dr. Hafeez. For this reason, she encourages new moms to reach out to other moms on social media for advice—other new moms who might be going through the very same fussy stages or potty-training tribulations.

Remember that you’re a role model, too

“Being a real new mom, (#notsponsored) is being who you are and sharing the good, the bad, the successes, and failures,” Sullivan says. “It’s hard to put yourself out there day in and day out, but it’s important to relate to your audience. We are not perfect and we don’t intend for our Instagrams to look perfect either. We want to be your perfectly imperfect village.”

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The Google Mother’s Day Commercial – the 411

I forgot to post the link for the national Google commercial I was asked to participate in regarding Becoming a Mom ! Please watch and share on your blogs and with others.

 

Ten Companies Which Cover IVF – the 411

https://www.whattoexpect.com/news/preconception/companies-impressive-ivf-fertility-treatments-benefits/?xid=nl_YourDailyNewsletterfromWhattoExpect_20180107

1. Bank of America


Bank of America


Coverage: Unlimited


Bank of America is a winner when it comes to fertility benefits, providing unlimited services and no dollar limit on employees seeking fertility treatments. In all, around 2,500 employees, spouses or partners received coverage under the plan in 2016 alone. They were also one of the first to do so — all limits were removed from plans in 2011.


2. KKR


KKR


Coverage: Unlimited


Global investment firm KKR provides employees with unlimited benefits for fertility treatments. One note: In order to be eligible for the benefit, employees must have a consultation with an infertility support provider first.


3. Starbucks


Starbucks


Coverage: $20,000


Employees are limited to $15,000 medical, and $5,000 for fertility drugs. The neat thing about Starbucks is not necessarily how large the benefit is, but how widespread it’s distributed. In fact, all employees, including those who work part-time (at least 20 hours per week) are covered under the plan. According to company spokesmen Reggie Borges, Starbucks takes a lot of pride in providing its employees with fertility benefits.


4. Spotify


Spotify


Coverage: Unlimited


The Swedish music streaming service is known for its great benefits and its fertility coverage is no exception. The company offers unlimited coverage of IVF, as long as patients can prove medical need.


5. Bain & Company


Bain & Company


Coverage: Unlimited


Bain & Company was called one of the best places to work by Glassdoor, and this may be why. The global management consulting firm provides unlimited IVF for females with male partners with medical necessity, reciprocal IVF for women without a male partner (When one woman undergoes treatment to create the embryos, while the other receives the embryo transfer) and donor sperm for women without a male partner, as well as coverage for egg freezing.


6. Facebook


Facebook


Coverage: 4 cycles of IVF


The social media giant provides coverage for four cycles of IVF which covers both fresh or frozen cycles. They also cover pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGS testing) to genetically test embryos prior to implantation with IVF. The benefit is open to all employees (no pre-authorization required).


7. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation  


The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

 


Coverage: 4 cycles of IVF


In January 2017, the foundation began offering employees infertility treatment coverage. The company covers four cycles, and by the end of the third quarter more than three dozen employees had already taken advantage of the benefits at an average cost of $55,600.


8. Pinterest


Pinterest


Coverage: 4 rounds of IVF


Starting this year, Pinterest will offer its employees four rounds of IVF with no cap on amount, meaning each cycle is covered regardless of cost. The company will also cover the cost of egg freezing, and provide $5,000 for coverage of adoption and $20,000 in net benefits for surrogacy coverage.


9. Salesforce


Salesforce


Coverage: 3 cycles of IVF


Cloud computing company Salesforce provides three cycles of IVF to their employees with no maximum cost limit. They also provide coverage for PGS testing. Salesforce waives pre-authorizations and makes IVF benefits available to any employee, meaning it doesn’t have to be medically necessary for employees to be eligible.


10. Chanel


Chanel


Coverage: Unlimited


Fashion mega-company Chanel provides its employees with unlimited access to IVF if employees demonstrate a medical need. Fertility IQ also ranks Chanel as the best within its industry in terms of fertility coverage because while a number of tech companies offer unlimited coverage of IVF, Chanel is one of the only companies in the fashion industry to do so.

Nine Months Old -The 411

My sweet girl is now thirty nine weeks old and officially nine months old !

Where does the time go?

She has gone from this 4 lb 10 oz little being that I was afraid to even change her diaper and dress her in fear of breaking those tiny arms and legs to this fluffy little baby girl who is as strong willed and indepedent as she was when I first brought her home.

It has been an amazing journey watching her grown and develop and watching her personality emerge.

She went from crawling to immediately pulling up and cruising.  I am waiting for her to build up the courage to take steps.  No rush !  She is already into everything she can reach.

This journey has been difficult due to my mother’s illness and recovery.  Of course this illness could not have come at a worse time.  It has robbed me of time I can not get back and at the same time, it has given my siblings, nieces and nephews and her uncles a chance to bond with the baby.

My daughter is talking more and more.  She startes with a simple HI.  Now she says Bye Bye, Bar Bar (my mom’s name is Barbara) and she calls me Val !  Yesterday she said Da da. She understands quite a bit as well.  She lifts her arms and reaches for us when we say Come… she will crawl behind me as well of I tell her to come.  She knows what NO, STOP, BOTTLE and EAT means.

She is very strong willed and has a mind of her own.  In typical kid fashion, she prefers to play with my real keys and remote instead of the toy ones which make noises and are bright and colorful.

She is now in a size 12 and 18 month and a size 3 shoe ! She is 20 lbs and her hair is finally starting to grow. She still has no teeth but is still teething. 

She loves being read to and loves to explore.  We are starting Mommy and Me swim classes.  I am petrified of dry drowning so I will be watching her like a hawk ! 

I am starting to put things together for her Safari themed 1st birthday bash in Orlando. We are going to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  

Well, I will update more later.  We are currently in Charlotte NC for my nephew’s graduation and we are about to head home. I dread the 6hr drive with this girl because she hates her carseat and cries bloody murder. Benedryl is our friend lol.

Fifteen Weeks Post Partum- The 411

Today, my little angel is now 15 weeks old ! 
She is growing , learning, and expressing herself.  She is responsive when she is talked too.She flashes a big toothless grin and she cooes, often emulating the sounds we make  make.   

She is now trying to stand up when on my lap.  She is quite independent too. The baby no longer likes lying down, she prefers to be sitting upright where she can survey her surroundings. A few weeks ago, I noticed that she tantrums and stretches out when she wants something and you are not moving fast enough and her little temper is becoming more apparent !  Yep, my child is definitely MY child ! Spoiled already ! She now has a preference and makes it known that she wants me and not whoever is holding her when she gets tired.  She will stop whatever she is doing when she hears my voice.  She also now prefers breastmilk over formula and will sometimes refuse the formula.

The baby and I spent the past few days baking Christmas cookies.  My sisters and their families arrived this evening for the holiday.  The baby chilled in her bouncer while I rolled out cookies and started the next batch. 

We baked Rice Krispie Cheese Wafers ,  Sausage Balls, Snowflake Imprinted Shortbread Cookies , Chocolate Chip English Toffee Cookies ,  Jack Daniel’s Holiday Fudge and my mom’s recipe Holiday Fudge . I ordered a large box of Snowballs from my friend’s bakery in LA. 

My family arrived last night so the annual pjs and dessert party on Christmas Eve will take place !

Since my brother in law has to fly back to CA on Sunday morning, we are having Christmas dinner tomorrow instead of Sunday.

I am livid that two gifts I ordered for my mom and my Godmother are not here ! One order is personalized, wooden tea storage boxes and they should have been here by Christmas and the other order was a new 12 inch IPad Pro for my mom.  I am hoping the IPad gets delivered today, but it’s not likely.  I don’t think Fedex nor UPS are delivering on Christmas Eve. I now have to go out to the mall to get a gift to put under the tree for  my mom.

I am super excited to be spending my first Christmas as a Mommy! Putting up two trees, baking cookies with the baby, and putting on her Christmas outfits have been a blast. My mom ordered her monogrammed pjs for Christmas Eve !