Adorable pregnancy announcements, ultrasound pictures, monthly baby bump updates — for many, pregnancy is a blissful journey that they can’t wait to share with family, friends, and followers across all social media platforms. For some expecting mothers, however, pregnancy is nine months they would rather keep private. It might not have raised any eyebrows 10 years ago, but today, the choice to keep your pregnancy off social media is important to a range of women.
Makeup mastermind and reality TV star Kylie Jenner caused quite a stir when she announced on February 4 that she had given birth to daughter Stormi Webster. Rumors had been circulating since September of last year when TMZ reported that Jenner and her beau Travis Scott were expecting. Yet, the rumors were never confirmed.
That is, not until Super Bowl Sunday when Jenner posted on Instagram that she had given birth on February 1. Explaining why she made the choice to not post about her pregnancy, Jenner wrote, “I knew for myself I needed to prepare for this role of a lifetime in the most positive, stress free, and healthy way I knew how.”
Pregnancy is an incredibly difficult journey that can cause much distress on expecting mothers. There’s a lot to worry about during this nine-month period, and so, understandably, some mothers prefer to keep this time off social media as to prevent others from prying into their personal lives.
Cici Lobatos is one of these mothers.
“Not putting it on social media kind of erases that part of where you have to pretend you’re always happy. You care more about yourself and not about what other people think of you,” Lobatos tells Romper.
It doesn’t mean you have to, like, put on this facade [that] everything’s amazing.
Lobatos found out she was unexpectedly pregnant at the age of 20. Having been “conditioned to think that getting pregnant young and getting pregnant outside of marriage were frowned upon,” she found herself in a very negative mindset, unsure of what her life would look like as a single mother.
On top of that, Lobatos began to suffer from depression and fluctuating hormone levels, requiring that she be put on a handful of medications and, as to not strain or exhaust her body, be partially bedridden.
“I never had anxiety or depression before, but then, when I got pregnant, I had to go through that,” she explained. “It was really hard because I never knew much about mental illness and it was even worse because I was pregnant and the hormones were making it worse.”
Due to everything she was experiencing, Lobatos made the choice of refraining from posting about her pregnancy on social media.
Those “who mattered” to Lobatos — her close friends and family — knew she was expecting, but that was it. For six and a half months, she was able to keep her pregnancy offline, allowing her to focus on her health — both mental and physical — and to figure out how life would be once she gave birth.
“Don’t feel like you have to pretend to be happy about your pregnancy,” she advises other expectant mothers. “If you’re not happy, you’re not happy. But if you made that choice to keep going forward with it, then you made that choice. But it doesn’t mean you have to, like, put on this facade [that] everything’s amazing.”
Eventually, during her third trimester, Lobatos began running into people in public, resulting in many learning about her pregnancy. She posted a sonogram picture to calm the rumors and then refrained from doing so again until she gave birth.
It kind of felt like there wasn’t any safe time to announce it.
Tina Donvito, mother to four-year-old Sam, also made the choice to remain off social media during her pregnancy, although her decision was for different reasons.
“I had five miscarriages before I was successfully pregnant and one of my miscarriages was very late — it was 17 weeks — so it was quite devastating,” Donvito said. “It kind of felt like there wasn’t any safe time to announce it. Most people wait until they’re past their first trimester and then they think they’re in the clear. But for me, that kind of wasn’t necessarily the case.”
Donvito was living life on the mantra many women who experience miscarriages are told: “OK, today I’m pregnant.” And so, to stay focused on herself and her pregnancy, she refrained from posting.
“It never really felt like the right time and also I think, just in my own day-to-day life, I was still trying to come to terms with the fact that this was really happening. It was almost like I kind of didn’t believe it and that was what I needed to do to get through the day.”
Donvito explains that staying off social media allowed her to be in the right mindset to prepare for the arrival of her son and to fight through the trauma from her past miscarriages. Although she “would have liked to have celebrated it in the way” many others do by sharing daily updates online, her break from social media was a fantastic choice.
“I really think I needed to focus on myself and what I needed to do mentally to try to prepare because it was very difficult for me to imagine that I was going to have a baby at the end of this,” she tells me.
Following her baby shower during her third trimester, friends posted pictures of Donvito and her baby bump online and suddenly, the news was out. Although she was treated with warm congratulatory remarks, she herself continued to stay offline.
“Every reaction I got once it was on social media was positive,” she recalled. “I wasn’t like with Kylie Jenner where I was worried people were going to be criticizing me for one reason or another for being pregnant. But I understand in her statement what she’s saying, needing to be in that positive place where you just focus on you and you don’t have these outside influences, and I think that’s what I — obviously for different reasons — needed to do.”
Both Lobatos and Donvito explained that staying off social media during their pregnancies was a great personal choice. It allowed them both to focus on the trails at hand and to begin to adjust to their new lives, without the worry of friends and even strangers prying into their pregnancies.
Both mothers now post about their sons online.
Lobatos adds, “If anything, my life means more now than it did before. I just had to get over… what I thought my life would have been and realize that yeah, my life is different, but it’s for the better, and I like sharing that now because it makes me happy.”
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.