The perfectly lit pregnancy bump reveal. The glamorous post labour shot. The headlines ‘How she lost the baby weight in 8 weeks’. Welcome to the media version of motherhood! Instagram Mum vs Real Mum is so much different than what people think! Motherhood is not easy and Motherhood Expectations vs Reality can be shocking new Mums thanks to the media turning Motherhood into an illusion.
‘As women, I feel we are all too aware of the pressures put upon us by the media- how to dress, how to do our hair and makeup and how to act. Once you’re pregnant and a mum the ante is upped and you are expected to walk a very fine tightrope.
Be pregnant but not too pregnant. Gain weight but not to much. Do you remember how vilified Kim Kardashian was for being pregnant and looking bloated thanks to pre-eclampsia? Look pretty but not sexy; dress your bump beautifully but don’t you dare actually show it a la Madonna…Motherhood Expectations vs Reality
Kate Middleton stood outside the hospital on three occasions mere hours post-partum in full hair and makeup. I like to think that as soon as they got home off came the dress and on went leggings and a baggy t-shirt! Motherhood Expectations vs Reality
Though to give Kate her due when she debuted Prince George it was the very first time I realized mums still look about 5 months pregnant after giving birth. All the images I had seen until then didn’t show anything other than pregnant or ‘back to normal’. Motherhood Expectations vs Reality
Instagram Mum vs Real Mum – Look Perfect:
When I was up all hours of the night with the baby, scrolling through Instagram helped keep me awake. Some of the styled photos- ones of a mum on a casual Tuesday with perfectly curled hair, eyelashes to the heavens, dressed in gorgeous lounge wear with a gourmet breakfast on the counter – would make me cry thinking why couldn’t I get it together to be just like other mums? After a while I realized those images are unobtainable for me but that’s OK, as it appears everyone is doing their own version of motherhood.
With the increase in social media use there has been a domino effect from celebrities to us. On Instagram there are some very stylized mum accounts, where everyday looks like a magazine shoot or pampers advert. Honestly I don’t know where some of them get the energy from in the early days! I think the only ‘styled’ photos I have are my daughters monthly milestone pictures -when I would make sure she had a cute outfit on and her hair was brushed. Motherhood Expectations vs Reality
Instagram Mum vs Real Mum – The baby weight:
Post-partum we’re also under huge pressure to lose the baby weight quickly and it can lead to injury and other problems as women try exercising to a high intensity for their body. The celebrity on the magazine cover has a very different lifestyle than real, everyday mums, and access to personal trainers, chefs, dietitians that help her maintain this lifestyle and image. When they say of parenting ‘it takes a village’ I don’t think they meant glam squads!
Poor body image during pregnancy and post-partum has a connection with depression and there are studies looking at the impact of social media exposure on new mothers. As almost a backlash to the over stylized and curated motherhood we’ve been shown, there’s a growing trend for real, raw motherhood photos which will, I think, help shift the conversation. Motherhood Expectations vs Reality
As perfect as they look remember this: they’ve dealt with the same explosive nappies, leaking boobs, up all night with teething and toddler tantrums as the rest of us.
There is so so much to be said on this topic. It’s part of a wider conversation on how we are expected to live up to media standards. The take away is that all you see online or in a magazine is only a snap-shot, so take it all with a pinch of salt.
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So what do you think about Motherhood Expectations vs Reality? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.