Pregnant ladies: Avoid the message boards!

The title of this post pretty much says it all, but I’ll explain a bit more.

Every once in a while (all of the time) I think back to when I was pregnant (oh how I miss those days!) and feel the need to yell a piece of advice to the entire pregnant population, so the currently-pregnant women out there don’t make the same mistake(s) I did.

I’m just throwing in a picture of the pregnant version of me because I really miss that belly o’ mine!

The one piece of advice that I want to give all pregnant women tonight is to avoid those darn internet message boards.

You know the ones I’m talking about?

As soon as I got pregnant, I sought out other pregnant women. I mean, it’s difficult in the early days of pregnancy because so many things are going on (both physically and mentally) and I chose not to tell anyone I was knocked up, so I had no one to ask my questions to! Of course, I turned to the internet and ended up on Baby Center and before I knew it, I was signed up as a member to the July 2014 message board, for all the moms who were expecting their little ones in July.

Sounds like a great thing, right? Women sharing stories and questions and being supportive of one another… 

Yeah okay, that does sound great, but that’s most likely not what you’re going to get out of a message board comprised of thousands of hormonal ladies.

Of course, I got sucked into the message boards before I could stop myself, so I can tell you with great certainty that you do not want to waste your time with them. This is what I got out of it (I’ll just tell you the main points so you don’t need to waste hours and hours of your days perusing these topics):

  • If the pregnancy test says you’re pregnant, you’re pregnant. The first few weeks it seems like everyone posts pictures of their pregnancy tests asking whether they’re positive. Even a faint line means it’s positive and you’re knocked up! It really isn’t that hard, but evidently women want lots of different opinions about such things!
  • Everyone is groping themselves throughout the entire first trimester to make sure their boobs are still hurting, as a way to reassure themselves that they’re still pregnant, so you’re not crazy if you’re doing it, too. Actually, I can sum up the entire first trimester of posts by saying that everyone is trying to convince themselves they’re still pregnant and if you haven’t miscarried, you’re probably still pregnant and there’s no way to tell for sure until you get an(other) ultrasound.
  • Women will judge each other for absolutely everything and anything. I’m not sure why women can’t seem to support each other, but it doesn’t matter what the topic, women will get mad at each other over it through anonymous message boards.
  • Speaking of which, there are some posts that are sure to cause controversy, these topics include but are not limited to: push presents, baby showers, circumcision, vaccinations, abusive baby daddy’s that women are debating getting back together with, adoption, home births & natural births, what you can and should(n’t) eat, inducing labor, everything about labor, basically absolutely any topic you can think of…
  • You shouldn’t get in a fist fight while pregnant. And if you do, you shouldn’t tell an entire message board because people will say mean things about you. (No, of course I’m not talking about myself, but a few soon-to-be-mamas on my message boards kept finding themselves in fist fights.)
  • Pregnancies (unfortunately) do not all end with happy and healthy babies, which is heartbreaking to read about, and can also make a person really anxious. While I 100% believe that it’s important for moms who are going through a loss to find a group of women going through something similar to grieve and share stories with, it did make me super-paranoid when I was hearing about miscarriage after miscarriage for the first 20 weeks, and then a lot of stillbirths throughout the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. I’m not saying these aren’t stories worth hearing and I felt great pain for the ladies affected, but I also felt like a disproportionate number of women were suffering from devastating losses or complicated pregnancies, because those were the ladies who were posting to the board. It makes sense because women with ‘normal’ pregnancies don’t have as much to post about. The point is, I was more paranoid than I needed to be, which gave me a bit of extra-anxiety that I didn’t need.
  • You should really just call your doctor. There are not moderators or admins on the message boards who are doctors or who are trained to answer medical questions, but that doesn’t stop women from asking them! If you’re bleeding, call your doctor. If you have a lot of pain, call your doctor. If you’re in the late 2nd or 3rd trimesters and haven’t felt the baby move in a while, call your doctor. If you have any question at all, instead of consulting a bunch of anonymous women on the internet, you should probably call your doctor!
  • Almost everything can be considered ‘normal’. If you’re experiencing it, chances are someone else is, too.
  • Pregnancy sucks and everyone claims they’re never going to do it again ever. The one thing that it seems every woman can agree on is that pregnancy sucks and there are a bijillion unpleasant symptoms. However, this wasn’t my experience at all! I loved pregnancy and didn’t suffer from many of the symptoms that other women seemed to experience. It seemed like every woman in the group was hoping to go into labor early so they didn’t have to be pregnant one more day, while I was loving every second of it until the very end. 

So I’m sure you’re wondering why I was a part of this group that I clearly didn’t get much out of. Well, you know those people on social media who are dramatic/’crazy’ so you follow them just to see what they’ll say next? (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this… it’s not something I’m proud of!) Well, the same logic applies here.

I mean, people say some absurd things and then other women get offended and it turns into a giant yelling match online with hundreds of posts and darnit, I was entertained. I never once posted on this board, but I did enjoy reading the posts of others. However, the next time I get pregnant (God willing) I will not allow myself to waste one second on these boards. It’s like watching a marathon of a super crappy reality TV show, once you get sucked in, it’s hard to look away. 

Trust me on this one, spend some money on buying some good pregnancy books, call a friend, call a doctor, talk to someone… but don’t consult strangers on the internet! 

That’s enough unsolicted advice for one day…

* Maybe one of these days I’ll have a post without bullet points! Although, tomorrow will not be that day.


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