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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46 Responses to Pregnant ladies: Avoid the message boards!

  1. Marcie B says:

    I TOTALLY agree with this post. I’ve spent the past few months on some TTC message boards, and while I’ve found a couple of girls who are not actually crazy and I like DMing with, the rest of it makes me batty. And anxious… especially when it seems like everyone who actually gets pregnant comes back the next month saying that they had a miscarriage.

    While it’s nice to be able to talk with some people who are at the same stage as you, it’s not always the best for your mental state!!

  2. YES! I haven’t looked at the message boards in months, but at the beginning I devoured them on a daily basis. Pregnant women are a special brand of crazy. That’s why I appreciate non-psycho bloggers who share their pregnancy experiences and now have an absolutely precious baby girl 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      Hahaha I agree with you! I really don’t know why it seems like most of the women I know in real life are so normal, but the message boards attract a different level of crazy!

  3. Thank you for telling me this! I’ll be sure to stay away from the message boards when that time comes:)

  4. Serena says:

    I find this so interesting because I LOVE the message boards – but I’ve found a pretty good one – HelloBee. I agree that the bump and babycenter are terrible and full of a lot of judgmental women, but I haven’t had that experience at all with hellobee. It’s actually been a huge help and support as I don’t have any pregnant friends.

    However, I am also in the percentage of women that truly does not enjoy being pregnant. When I hear about people like you that enjoyed it and/or miss it, I am baffled! I wish I felt that way, but I’ve been extremely sick for months and so far pregnancy has felt more like an exercise in suffering. You are so lucky to have had such a great experience 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      Ohhhh I wish I had known about that baby board! I’ll pass it along to friends who are knocked up, thanks for sharing! I’m sorry you aren’t having a good experience, it is all worth it – I promise!

  5. Kaitlyn says:

    I obviously have a weird perspective as someone who’s had awful things happen to me and who talks to people every day about the awful things that have happened to them… but I really think that this is just the age of life when shit starts going down. I personally know people – in real life, outside of work & the internet – who have lost kids or relatively young siblings to childhood cancer, a stupid accident, a car accident, an unintentional drug overdose. And if I think about people I’ve met online or through work, oh my gosh. This is just the age when things go down. Family members are going to get sick and die and it is going to suck in a thousand unpredictable ways, that suddenly becomes real in a thousand ways that it wasn’t before. The unluckiest among us truly start grappling with these issues in their teens or 20s, while the luckiest among us don’t face them until our 40s or 50s… but no one escapes it!

    And that was my lovely ray of sunshine for the day 😀

    • Kaitlyn says:

      My very poorly articulated (and maybe kind of mean? sorry!!!) point being that everyone’s anxiety is up and down, but I know that it doesn’t end once pregnancy does, because the risk doesn’t end… but I think the same lessons apply so I think you’ve learned a lot of important stuff re: life in general, not just potential future pregnancy.
      “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”

      • Lisa says:

        I would never in a million years think of you as mean, Kait 🙂 My anxiety has DEFINITELY increased since Clara was born. But, it’s because of my own world view and not necessarily because of the world view of strangers on message boards… if that makes sense! I definitely know/realize that horrible things happen and there’s nothing (usually) we can do to protect ourselves from them. But, I also don’t think it’s necessarily useful for pregnant (or any) women to be on boards filled with bad pregnancy news from strangers, because extra anxiety isn’t good for anyone. This is also why I avoid the evening news… It’s not that I avoid all negativity, but I try to focus on the happenings that actually affect myself and my loved ones, or our world as a whole. I guess I think there’s a difference between seeking out truth, (potentially sensitive) stories and facts vs spending a lot of time in an online and almost completely anonymous community where people post heartbreaking news almost hourly, and without any background.

        • Kaitlyn says:

          Uff, yes, that is a very good point! There is a huge difference between being able to do something abut a situation, or at least accompany someone as they go through it, versus sort of watching a train wreck from the distance.

  6. Katherine Lacabe says:

    Wow. I can see how all that would be pretty scary to read while pregnant. I also see how it can be a good outlet for people. Thanks for the heads up!

    • Lisa says:

      I’ve heard some can be better than others, so maybe I just found the wrong one, but I’m staying away from all parenting message boards now too, and am happy with the decision 🙂

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  8. Amen! I’m so glad I found your blog through The Peony Project! Knowing what I know now, being in my 3rd trimester, I almost laugh at my 1st trimester self. I wish I had found this post sooner in my pregnancy because you hit everything right on the nail. I’ve since stayed away from those pregnancy boards because it just makes you stress out more and your right about the judgement from other women. Such a great read 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      Awww I’m glad you found me, too, Kelly! Definitely stay off the pregnancy boards as you get closer to your due date because the things people say will drive you NUTS. Everyone wants to induce at like 34 weeks! (And people keep confusing castrol oil with castor oil and it’s all just disaster.)

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