Why I Never Shared My Pregnancy On Social Media
Disclaimer: Pregnancy, motherhood, and parenthood in general can be rife with judgement, comparison, unsolicited advice, and self-doubt. My goal in this piece is to share my own experience, as it made sense for my own and my family’s situation, culture, and traditions. By no means, do I cast an ounce of judgement for others who choose a different path. Each parent is on their own journey, shaped by their own experiences. It’s hard enough with our own judgements, let alone those of others. I honor the journey each of you is on, and celebrate your decisions and intuition.
In the not-so-distant past, we used to only announce babies, not pregnancies. And before the days of bumpies (bump selfies), and gender reveal parties, I’m told, things were a lot simpler. Social media has shifted centuries-old cultural norms in less than a generation and the way “things were done” in the past has become, well, a relic of the past.
When I announced the birth of my son on social media there were many people who were shocked to find out that I was expecting, because though I share much of my life on social media, I went to great lengths to not share my pregnancy on instagram, unlike so many of my peers. There were no first ultrasound pictures after we passed the 1st trimester milestone, no baby shoes posed with our dog, no growing bump, no nursery reveal.
To be honest, Instagram was the smallest of the ways we were bucking the status quo. We didn’t have a baby shower, we didn’t set up a nursery until the baby came, and my poor mother collected anticipatory presents on her dining room table for months before Baby B’s arrival.
So why share my son and not my pregnancy? Why not prepare in tangible ways for his arrival? This was a question I was asked by so many who encountered me (obviously pregnant) and interacted with my online brand (not obviously pregnant). Was I afraid of the business implications as someone who spent most of her career in male-dominated fields? Maybe at first yes, but ultimately no. Was I scared because my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage? A bit, but ultimately also, no. The answer is simply, tradition.
In Judaism, there is a tradition of not speaking about an impending arrival for fear of bringing the attention of the Evil Eye. It’s a sort of mystical “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” In fact, many religious Jewish people won’t even congratulate a pregnant woman, they’ll instead say, “B’sha’ah Tovah,” a warm wish of good things to come, “All in good time.”
This isn’t to say that Modern Jews who choose not to observe this tradition are any less religious. In fact, it’s not a Jewish law at all, it’s just a tradition. Personally, whenever I felt anxiety in my pregnancy (often) or when I question a decision I make as a parent (also often), I’ve been comforted by tapping into what I call, my ancestral knowledge. Women have been birthing babies since the dawn of time and my mother and my grandmothers and their mothers and their grandmothers did so with a fraction of the knowledge and the technology that I’m doing it with.
My father‘s mother gave birth to 12 (yes, oh my god, 12) children over the course of 25 years which means that for 25 years or maybe more she was pregnant or breast-feeding. This woman had her first baby in the late 1940s in Morocco, was pregnant and simultaneously nursed in a transit camp in Marseilles, and had her next babies while living in a tent in a refugee camp in Israel. Only her eighth through twelfth children were born in the security of a hospital. So when I thought I couldn’t take any more of the morning sickness, or when labor became unruly, or even when now, the nights with a newborn feel impossibly long, I tap into that, “if she could do it like that, I certainly can do it like this,” mentality.
So maybe it’s old-school, maybe it’s tradition, but for me, it’s what worked and continues to work. That’s not to say that I don’t tap into a robust online community of mothers and parents who share their wisdom as well-- I do. I’m queen of Googling rashes to breastfeeding questions, as “bad” as that might be. But Google searches don’t keep me calm. Scrolling through Instagram (although helpful) does not keep me calm. It’s that ancestral knowledge that is helping me to build my motherly intuition and stay calm and rooted in the confidence that I'm doing what's right for my family.
Sometimes it feels like new technology and endless answers to endless questions is actually robbing us of our ability to sharpen our own intuition. It’s robbing us of our ability to sit with our feelings, instead opting for the dopamine high of posts and likes and comments.
So, I challenge you: Where in your life can you simplify? Where can you hone your intuition, trust your instincts, and the ancestral knowledge of those who came before you?