My evening essentials for the first few blurry weeks of being a new mom have included enormous glasses of water, muslins for midnight burpings, emergency granola bars for marathon nursing sessions, and my smartphone. With a baby inclined toward reflux, I often spend the early hours of the morning holding him upright in one hand and holding my phone in the other. I’ve found particular encouragement in a handful of Instagram accounts that provide a sense of community for new moms.
Women have always needed other women for support surrounding babies, and when we can’t get out of the house as much, we can find support virtually. Upping the positivity and encouragement in my Instagram feed has helped me to navigate the early days of new motherhood. Below are a few Instagram accounts that have buoyed my spirits–even at 4 a.m.
The content-dense @mother.ly website is a trove of articles covering various facets of life as a new mom. Their team hosts a podcast and online classes, and they recently elected to offer a free, online birthing class during the Covid-19 crisis. Their Instagram posts cover the highs and lows of new motherhood with authentic photos and humorous comments.
The Australian The Natural Parent Magazine offers perspectives on new parenthood. Their Instagram account features vivid illustrations featuring artists like @fromthepine and @m_a_creative that depict the internal monologue of worries and wonder that shapes new motherhood. I sent this video on the difficulties of leaving the house to several mom friends, and it brought knowing laughter, even under a shelter-in-place order. Their editorial team also frequently hosts live chats and Q/A sessions on wide-ranging baby topics.
Anna Lewis, the artist behind @sketchymuma, posts heart-warming sketches of mothers and their babies from her home by the Cornish seaside. Her images capture the daily moments of motherhood like watching clouds with a child or spontaneously bonding with a new friend over the trials of motherhood. Anna responded to the Covid-19 crisis by creating a print specifically to benefit National Health Service workers in the UK.
The New York Times parenting Instagram account features content from their column, but it’s worth following for the added bonuses of the interactions with their diverse community. The series Tiny Victories celebrates the ingenious parenting hacks (like telling a toddler that Chuck-e-Cheese is “only for members”) and tiny wins (like coaxing a child to eat chicken–not in the form of a nugget.) The series of “kid burns” is especially hilarious, crowd-sourcing funny moments from parents in the trenches.
Liturgies for Parents offers prayers for parents, encouraging them to stop and be present with their children. Account creator Kayla Craig pens prayers like “Prayer for Dirty Hands” and “Prayer for a Weekend at Home” that usher intentionality into the sometimes harried moments of parenthood. Her recent litanies for parenting during the pandemic are especially poignant.
The Instagram account for Mother Honestly offers a combination of practical resources and newsy tidbits peppered with comics. Their links tend to have an economic focus, like this article from the Harvard Business School about dual-career couples during the coronavirus pandemic. Celebrity quotes, like this portrait of a regal, pregnant Anne Hathaway also feature occasionally. This interview with a child of another pandemic imparts a certain solidarity to women parenting during the coronavirus pandemic.
Motherhood Understood’s Instagram cultivates an online community to address mental health during pregnancy and postpartum. Besides the quippy memes, founder Jen hosts online community meetings as well as one-on-one support. The account feature stories of women combating anxiety and depression during pregnancy, as well as postpartum depression and anxiety, and it also posts resources for partners.
The Babyation Instagram promises non-judgmental conversations around motherhood. Cute pictures like these side-by-side photos of baby and pug rolls abound. If you’re looking for a repository of relatable quotes, encouraging illustrations, and thoughtful link round-ups, check it out.
The Instagram account of the Expectful app invites a moment of pause while scrolling through your Instagram feed. The app itself offers guided meditations tailored to pregnant and postpartum women. Putting a deliberate pause in your Instagram feed can help to foster gratitude, and draw you into the wonder of special moments with your little ones.
Vicki Rivard of Brave New Mama posts poems on her Instagram account about the first year of new motherhood. For the postpartum mother in isolation, her poems can spark appreciation for the twists and turns of each new day with a baby.
The illustrations of Paula Kuka of the Common Wild capture the unique problems of new motherhood, like the worries that come so easily to postpartum mamas. The pandemic illustrations capture the strange sort of community found during this time in isolation.
The Milking Mommas account helped me through five weeks of a baby with a truly terrible latch. When a new mom friend had trouble latching, we started a Whatsapp thread of breastfeeding humor that made the uphill work of feeding our babies a bit lighter.
The Instagram community of new moms is full of humor, poetry, art, and informative articles. Whether you’re looking for some late-night encouragement, or the perfect meme to send to a friend, there’s something to be found for everyone in the virtual community of mothers. Particularly in a time of isolation, engaging with the community of moms online via Instagram can be an important part of a postpartum mom’s vital support system.