Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Social Media: That Selfish Bitch

Facebook. Everyone has it. Everyone uses it. Everyone (ok, most) shares every detail of their life, including the life changing moment of when they birth a child. Immediately their page is filled with pictures (yes, I am guilty of this) and captions that read "so blessed to be this little girl/boy's parents," or "we are so in love and couldn't be happier." Then come the statuses....almost daily of how happy they are, how perfect their baby is, how they can't believe their baby is already one week old....yadda yadda yadda.

Adorable. I love baby pictures. I am truly happy for my Facebook friends when they become a mommy or daddy. But there was something different about when my own baby was born. I didn't post captions about how in love with her I was, or how blessed I felt to be her mommy. I posted the occasional picture of her, but I didn't flaunt my lovey dovey feelings all over social media for the world to see. It wasn't that I didn't want to, it's that I honestly did not have those feelings.

But social media is a bitch. It's a cruel, heartless, selfish bitch. Social media lies. Approximately 10-15% of women in the United States suffer from post-partum depression, so of the oodles of friends I have on Facebook that have become parents, it would appear that I am the only one that has suffered. This can just not be true. I refuse to accept that. Scrolling through my news feed only added to my depression as I saw other friends that had babies around the same time as me beaming with pride. Just like most people my age, I couldn't resist checking Facebook multiple times a day, but every time I did I sunk deeper into this hole that something was wrong with me and that I was a bad mom, yet I couldn't stop obsessing over how happy everyone else was and how unhappy I was. Why didn't I want to gloat about my baby? Why didn't I feel blessed to be P's mommy? Why didn't I want to rub in everyone's face that I just had a baby and look how adorable she is in this onesie?

Social media lies. Social media allows us to portray a life that we might not necessarily have as a reality, but wish we had. So why are women so afraid to admit they aren't head over heals, can't stop staring in love with their new baby? I couldn't bring myself to lie on social media and continue making posts about how happy I was because I wasn't. Instead, I distanced myself from updating my page at all. I feared that if I did post anything, that eventually people would catch on that my feelings weren't genuine and call me out. And of course, being the only person that has ever felt depressed after having their baby, I couldn't bear the humiliation and guilt of that happening.

It was recently brought to my attention that postpartum depression can start as early as when you first become pregnant. Had I begun to have these feelings while I was still pregnant, I may have been able to prevent it from exploding into this full blown, paralyzing depression. But I didn't. I was happy being pregnant. I loved talking about my baby and planning everything out for when she arrived. I felt unbelievable happiness every time I felt her move in my belly and fell asleep every night with my hand on my stomach. Her kicks soothed me to sleep; I had never been happier. I naturally assumed this happiness would continue, especially considering that everyone else I knew was when they brought baby home. How can a place filled with thousands of people make us feel so alone?

Social media is wonderful. We can keep in contact with more people than we ever thought possible, and it is now made convenient by being everywhere we are. Social media is a bitch. It can also make us believe that everyone is living a perfect life, which can be far from the reality that we're living. It makes us think we're alone, even when we're connecting with others, and it can make us feel so isolated that we are ashamed to admit to ourselves our own true feelings. I can't say for sure if literally no one else on my friends list has never suffered from PPD, but if they did, I hope they were also able to seek help and know that not everything we see online is real. I hope that anyone reading this that thinks they might also be suffering from PPD/PPA/OCD is able to find the courage to seek help and know that you are not alone.

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