Family

Libby Matthews’ pregnancy page: Should parents post photos of their kids online?

Libby Matthews discusses sharing photos of your child on social media, before they even have a say in the matter.

mum taking photo of baby
mum taking photo of baby

Libby Matthews is a first-time mum-to-be, who along with sister Julia, has inspired Kiwis with the popular lifestyle blog, Julia & Libby. Over the last few months, Libby has shared the highs and lows of her pregnancy with us here at the Weekly. In her final column, she addresses the issue of sharing your new arrival with your social media world.

Another week has gone by, and I can’t believe that in less than 10 days I will have a baby.

This week I am feeling HUGE. The baby has settled in my lower belly, I can breathe easier but having the baby lower does make walking a bit more interesting. It feels like I’m walking around with a bowling ball hanging out in there, and I now know the true meaning of the term ‘waddling.’

Braxton Hicks are strong this week, especially at night time when they take my breath away. No clothes fit me and almost everything I own is showing midriff, which isn’t the best look.

I tell you what, though - I am very excited about being able to eat sushi again, go for a run and wear clothes that aren’t just for yoga. Not long now.

I’ve cut right back on gym work-outs, as it takes me a long time to recover and there’s not much I can do now with a big, heavy belly getting in the way.

WATCH: Libby Matthews' pregnancy. Story continues after the video

I’m sad that my pregnancy is coming to an end, but really can't wait to meet my baby boy or girl. I’m also getting anxious for labour and sometimes wake during the night thinking about it. I’ll blame that on all the episodes I’ve watched of ER and One Born Every Minute.

And as I approach the end of my pregnancy, something I've been asked a lot is whether I will include my baby in my social media posts - where I have built a loyal following by sharing what's going on in my life.

Many of us share our whole lives on social networks, and I think there are plenty of positives about this. I love being able to stay in touch with people living on the other side of the world, especially now I am living here in South Africa.

Often, when a baby arrives, we post pictures for the whole world to see. In fact, this generation of kids are the first in history to have their lives shared on social media before they're old enough to even have a say. Parents create accounts for their kids before they can speak or walk - or even born!

And while I get the reasoning behind it, there are questions around whether or not this is the right thing to do.

On the one hand, sharing photos of your little ones can be a really rewarding experience and a great way, especially for mums, to feel connected to a wider mothering community.

It's great to know how other parents have tackled certain issues and get advice and support from people who might not be in the immediate vicinity.

But there are issues around sharing these photos too. Is it right to share photos, some of which could potentially be embarrassing to them when they grow up, before they even have a say? Is it right to create their online presence without their consent?

I'm still very much in two minds about this. I have always loved the online community and happily shared photos with my networks. But when it comes to my child, there's so much more to consider.

I often read really negative comments on Instagram feeds of other mums, and it can get really nasty. Some people disagree so deeply with other parents' child-rearing tactics, they feel the need to publicly shame them.

Mothers are blasted for posting a breast-feeding snap - or not. For not gaining enough weight - or for struggling to lose it. We're chastised for feeding our kids the wrong food, or for exercising with our children in the same room.

Social media has made it easy for people to share their opinions on topics, which is usually great. But sometimes it can have ramifications.

This is the last of my pregnancy columns. Thank you so much for reading and sharing in my journey to motherhood. I'm so excited to see what the next chapter holds.

L x