Before I get too far into this blog post, let me just reiterate from this post that I think any newly pregnant woman needs to STAY OFF THE INTERNETS during her first trimester. I wasn't able to. I wish I had been. My anxiety was through the ROOF because of the wealth of information (some of it helpful, most of it unnecessarily frightening) available to me. Just...don't do it to yourself.
However, as you (as I have done) progress through your pregnancy and become more comfortable with it (and less afraid that something randomly terrible will happen) (LESS -- not completely unafraid), the Internet can be helpful, sure. But mostly for me? It's just been HIGHLY amusing.
The thing is, if you're a social media addict like I am, you are going to share a lot of your pregnancy. Your Pinterest board will be public. You will post photos of your baby's room fabric on Facebook and Instagram. You'll tweet your #PregnantTweet hashtagged tweets about how you'd seriously pay someone a hundred dollars if they could tell you what could make you have a healthy and non-painful poop.
When you do that, you have to be open to and accepting of the fact that you're going to get reactions. And while most of them are going to be plain old "likes" and "favorites," you're going to get negative reactions and opinions as well. For the most part, I've been able to either avoid or ignore any free advice or "well when I was pregnant..." annoyances, but that could just be because I'm either a) awesome or b) at least awesome at picking friends.
I've also learned to use hashtags such as #PregnantTweet, or repin with the words PINNING NOW WILL READ LATER, which have been pretty good disclaimers for "HEY FOLKS if you don't wanna read this, keep scrolling" and/or "I REALIZE YOU PROBABLY DIDN'T DO IT THIS WAY BUT THIS ARTICLE LOOKS INTERESTING AND I'D LIKE TO READ IT."
But more than anything else online...more than any. other. pregnancy source online....sweet Jesus, the forums/message boards.
I mean. Really.
I know I'm generalizing the women who post on them, but there is enough evidence to support my theory that some of these crazies are spoiled, pretentious and/or downright hateful. First of all, I check my boards (I stick to the "Due in June 2013" boards so that we're all going through the same basic time frame) maybe once a week. Maybe. Secondly, I"m pretty sure I'm on the least crazy board. I've checked out some of the topic-specific ones, and...yikes.
VERY QUICK CAVEAT -- I know they are helpful to some. But really. You HAVE to take them with a grain of salt. There are some nice people on there, and there are those who can answer without being snarky.
So, without any further ado (there is a lot of ado up there) (heh...DOO) (POOP!)...
What I've Learned from Message Boards
- You're a terrible person who is going to make personally sure that the future of the human race dies out if you do anything but follow the CDC-recommended vaccination schedule. Your personal choices do not matter. You are a bad mother, and will be the person cited in history books as the Mother of the Child who Started the Black Death for Babies
- Strollers are the devil. I mean, how DARE you use a stroller in the store where I am shopping?! I am wearing my baby in an ergonomically designed paisley wrap reminiscent of the womb, though my child be 2 years old and punching me in the boobs and squirming, but AT LEAST I am not cluttering up the aisles of Target with my stroller.
- Oh, you're a FTM? That's First Time Mom, darling. Oh, you haven't learned all the acronyms yet? *twittering laugh* Well, you'll be better once you've BTDT a few times like me. My DD and my DS and my DH don't know that I AW via PIP photos of my U/S and the BFP on my urine-soaked pregnancy test.
- You asked the same question as a person did YESTERDAY. You are WASTING space on this board, just scroll through the 5 pages of posts from this morning and see if you can't find the answer to your ANNOYINGLY REPEATED QUESTION that someone else asked yesterday.
- What, you are a FTM and wishing you had more pregnancy symptoms? What are you, stupid? You WISH you had MS (no, not multiple sclerosis, sweetie, it's "morning sickness") or tiredness just so you'd actually feel pregnant? You are so selfish. Don't you know that I can't peel my body off the cold linoleum of my bathroom until 3pm?!
- The best way to find out if you're pregnant is NOT to get a test, or call your doctor, but instead to ask the Message Board community. Let us know when your last period was and how sexually active you are, and we'll tell you if you're pregnant or not. (for this one, I'm laughing at the poster, not the responses...the responses are generally an eye roll and a "pee on a stick, dummy" variety)
- Your husband really should buy you a "Push Present" as a gift for having to go through the hassle of a) getting pregnant, b) bearing the burden for 9 months, c) pushing a baby out of your body/having a baby cut out of your body, or d) all of the above. Diamonds would be nice, but I'll take semi-precious stones as well. I've left a list of my preferences, along with photos and my ring size on top of the copy of "The Bro's Guide to Parenthood" I put on his nightstand.
- You're having a baby shower?! REALLY? Goodness, what a tacky and outdated tradition. The games are stupid, and you just look spoiled and gift-grabby sitting there opening all those gifts like that. At least have the decency to open them after everyone leaves.
Look...I'm obviously exaggerating a tiny bit just for the sake of humor and, like I said, message boards can be helpful sometimes. It is nice to see that someone else is literally peeing every 5 minutes, and would give up their left arm just for one good fart to relieve the gas pain. But really, overall, it's a group of NOT DOCTORS who are giving you their very personal (and sometimes/often misguided) opinions.
Choose your resources carefully. Wondering if your cramped up toes are normal or weird? Ask your friends!! It's hard to ask Moms/Aunts/Grandmas sometimes because they had babies longer ago, and a lot of resources and technologies have changed...but their reassurance can be wonderful, too. But your friends who have very recently had babies can really be a treasure trove of information and help or even just a sympathetic ear.
Better than that? Go to WebMD or a research-based medical website or journal to get the serious questions answered.
Better still and the choice I recommend the most? Turn off the computer and call your OB's office. You won't be the most annoying person that calls their office, I promise. And they know that it's scary and weird and new (especially the first time), and they should be willing to help you come to a solution or an answer. If they don't do so willingly and kindly, find a new doctor. Seriously.
Just know that the Internet is...well, the Internet. It's where we get the EHRMAGERD! girl, Twilight fanfiction, and a dancing Asian man who taught us all to Gangnam Style. Is that really where you want to get your pregnancy advice and information?