Social media is being blamed for heaping pressure on to new mothers, with nine out of 10 admitting to putting their own health at risk to be “super mum”.
A survey, by formula manufacturer Bellamy’s, has found that most mothers feel judged by others over their capabilities as a parent. About two-thirds feel criticised for not losing baby weight fast enough.
Of the 1000 Australian mothers surveyed, three-quarters also said they felt judged about going back to work too soon.
Meanwhile two-thirds of mums feel judged when they spend time away from their child – even to exercise.
Paediatric nutritionist and dietitian Susie Burrell told the Herald Sun that social media and online forums have “opened up a new world of criticism” to new mums.
The survey results come as an Australian families researcher has revealed that there is a chasm between what women think motherhood will be like, and what it is actually like.
Dr Bronwyn Harman told Fairfax media that she has interviewed thousands of women about motherhood as part of a long-term project and that there was a consistent message emerging: “the expectation of motherhood was completely different to the reality of motherhood – and not in a good way. What they thought they were going to get was not what they got”.
Dr Harman said her research had discovered that career women, who had enjoyed professional success before having babies, were particularly hard-hit by the demands of motherhood. This is because they had control and predictability in their working lives, which evaporated when baby arrived.