My Take on New-Mom Wellness Vs What Wellness Looks Like on Instagram
Social media can be a great way to stay connected and inspired, especially during pregnancy and the early days of mom life. On the flip side, it can also fuel some problematic thinking about health and body image. This is a time in your life when you can deepen your connection with your body and your baby—you’re performing a miracle after all.
In order to make this connection though, it’s important to listen to your body and ensure your self love and appreciation practices are in a solid place. If you’re not careful, beliefs about your pregnant and postpartum body can be easily swayed by what other people are posting on their feeds. Here are a few ways to ensure your mind and body are staying healthy throughout pregnancy and beyond.
We’re all on different journeys and it’s important to keep that in mind, especially while scrolling through social media. You might feel a twinge of jealousy watching other people start new jobs, buy houses, or seemingly keep it all together with five kids in tow. But it’s important to remember that there are wonderful aspects of your life right now, right where you are.
People almost always share the good things that are going on in their lives and gloss over the tough stuff (which most of us are going through right now). Plus, who’s to say that you would be happier with the things that someone else has? This is your life! Take a moment to express appreciation for all of the great things in your life. I bet there’s a lot to be thankful for, even if you’re experiencing a challenging time.
The realities of pregnancy and motherhood are often not as pretty as they appear on social media. Make sure you are nourishing a healthy connection with your body and baby, by taking a step back from the social scroll. Tune into how your body is feeling during pregnancy—creating a baby is an incredible feat! The most important thing is that you feel happy, nourished and in awe of this transformation. If you have the strength to work out, great! If your baby and body are just not feeling it, there is no need to shame or guilt yourself. Take this journey day by day. It doesn’t matter if someone you follow on Instagram is getting in two-a-day workouts during their pregnancy. Deep down you know what’s best for you and your growing baby, allow yourself to believe in and trust your body. The same is true of postpartum too—trust your body and believe in yourself.
Even if you see other women on Instagram who seem “super fit” during pregnancy, exercise during this time is not about looks. Fitness during pregnancy is not about losing weight, building muscle groups or having a “belly only” pregnancy. The goal of exercise during this time is to feel good, remain strong, increase circulation, boost your mood and balance out those crazy pregnancy hormones! Staying active can also be a great way to keep your mental health strong and release stress or tension. Every mother carries differently and has different athletic abilities, so listening to your body and modifying when necessary is key. You should never feel strained or uncomfortable—take it slow, but also know when it’s okay to push yourself. Always check in with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Fill your feed with people who make you feel good about your body and who prioritize feeling good over looking a certain way. If you start scrolling and sense feelings of jealousy, competition, or self doubt - unfollow them right now! You want your feed to be filled with positivity and inspiration, especially while you’re pregnant. On the flip side, it’s also super important to spread positivity. When engaging on social media make sure to build up things that you love rather than bashing things down. The energy that you put out in the world is what you’re going to get back, so choose to focus your energy on the joyful.
So much of what is happening on social media is highly curated and showcases only the amazing parts of someone’s life. Pregnancy and motherhood can be really challenging at times. If you’re feeling down, stop scrolling and reach out to someone—your mom, your sister, or a friend. Share how you’re feeling and tell what’s going on with your body and your mind. If you don’t have someone to call, find a local mom group so you can connect with other women who are going through similar circumstances. This real life connection is key to maintaining mental health during pregnancy and beyond.
Social media swings both ways—it can be beneficial or detrimental to your health. It’s all about how you engage with it. Tune into how things are making you feel. If doing something or following someone doesn’t make you feel good, stop immediately! Don’t let someone’s feed negatively affect this special time in your life. Now, more than ever, is the time to nourish your body and soul.
Allie Hiller is a Certified Health Coach and creator of Healthy Alibi. Inspired by her own transformation from unhealthy college student suffering with celiac disease to health nut, Allie helps people of all ages, shapes and genders find their fittest, healthiest self from the inside out. Allie is a new mother and is navigating health and motherhood with refreshing transparency on @healthyalibi.
Published November 2020
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.