You haven’t showered in a few days, and you haven’t brushed your teeth yet this morning.
But, your baby is one month old today! You picked out the perfect outfit and made sure the lighting was just right for the perfect photo. You posted the best one on Facebook this morning, and you keep checking to see if anyone has “liked” the picture.
But, after scrolling through the “likes” and comments, you notice that your mother-in-law, who is always online, hasn’t responded to the picture of her darling grandbaby yet.
Why not? What gives? Perhaps she didn’t see it yet…or maybe she doesn’t like the baby’s outfit. Maybe she thinks you’re not a good mother.
And what about that friend of yours from high school? You always “like” and comment on the photos of her kids…why hasn’t she acknowledged your baby’s photo? Perhaps you aren’t such a good mother after all.
To some, this scenario might sound ridiculous, but it is a real and frequent consequence of being a new mother and sharing on Facebook.
So, when one of my graduate students approached me about creating and including a survey about new parents’ social networking in my latest parenting study, the New Parents Project, I jumped at the chance. I was interested in how often new parents used social networking sites, why some used them more than others, and what the impact might be on new parents’ mental health. Here are some things we found.