Navigating social media as a “sharent”

Jourdan shares how she views one of our most modern problems - what to share and how to share it on social media.

One night over dinner during my third trimester, my husband and I had “the talk.” I knew it’d be coming, but I’d been putting it off. We’d read about various childbirth practices, discussed how we thought we might handle sleep training, solid food introduction, and cloth versus disposable diapers. But the topic of social media use as parents had yet to be broached. 

I’m well aware this discussion doesn’t feel necessary for everyone. But when a house is divided on usage, things can get dicey. As the extrovert/connector/media lover of the family, social platforms fulfill something deep within me. I’m not saying that’s always a good thing. Sometimes social media is addictive and confidence-shattering and unhealthy. Over the years I’ve broken up with Facebook, put myself in Instagram rehab, and totally ghosted on Twitter. But I keep coming back and here’s why: I love how connected they make me feel to my people, regardless of where they live. Also, it’s part of my job to stay connected.

But is it fair to thrust my newborn into this world without giving her a choice in the matter? If she could choose, would she share such details of her own life or will she feel like we forced her online existence too soon? Will an entire generation of people resent their parents for this reason?

If it were up to my husband—a person who prefers and practices a much more private existence—I would give birth and we would raise a child without a trace of her online. He acknowledges this is ridiculous and also unrealistic—especially in the days of image tagging—but I get where he’s coming from. Tired of saccharine photos and flawless personas, it can feel as if little is personal or original anymore. And where’s the line between “sharenting” and “oversharenting”?

It’s natural to display the best versions of ourselves for theworld to see, but we agree that what really resonates is when people are honest—tell funny jokes, share less-than-perfect moments, and generally embrace the good with the bad. And in the age of technological excess, I believe less is truly more.

Four months after we first started trying to have a baby, I had a miscarriage. It was every bit as earthshattering as I’d feared, and I felt alone in a space that only I seemed to occupy. In an effort to cope with my feelings and reach other women like myself, I wrote my story and shared it on social media. The response I received blew me away. Women reached out with their own stories of loss, and I immediately felt like part of a community that saw me, understood me, and supported me.

That same virtual community rallied behind me when I shared my excitement and fear of being pregnant again, as well as the impending birth of my daughter. And so I continue to occasionally post the ups and downs of life as a new mother, a working woman, and a human living through these turbulent political times. I still take too many outtakes before landing on a photo and spend too much time writing a caption, but I’m working on it. And the moments I truly cherish happen when my phone’s out of sight and out of mind.