Research from Ohio State University may make new moms reconsider why they use Social Networks to post about their children – particularly the impact of frequent posting by some and increases in anxiety about motherhood.
The results (the study has some with important limitations) published in Sex Roles,
found that when women felt more societal pressure to be perfect mothers
and viewed motherhood as central to their identity, they were more
likely to share child-related updates and photos. The majority of mums
in the study did use their baby's image as a profile photo at some
The mothers who strove for perfection as parents and
sought external validation for their maternal role also expressed
stronger emotional responses — both positive and negative — to the
frequency and nature of their friends' likes and comments.
relationship with Facebook may have come at a cost. Nine months after
giving birth, those same mothers reported more depressive symptoms like
having a poor appetite, not being able to shake off the blues and
experiencing restless sleep.
The study couldn't pinpoint a
cause-and-effect dynamic between a new mum's desire for validation, her
increased Facebook use and a greater risk for symptoms of depression,
but the researchers believe there could be a direct link.
with any personal social media post, users are trying to carefully craft
their identity. New mothers, in particular, encounter unyielding
expectations about how they should behave, which can feel magnified on a
platform like Facebook. They may feel pressure to adhere to impossibly
high parenting standards, and turn to Facebook for both support in
meeting those expectations and validation that they're fulfilling a
stereotypical maternal role.