I’ll admit that I’m of a certain age that I remember life without internet. I didn’t get an email address until college. I didn’t get a computer until my Sophomore year. We used long-dead search engines to find things, and even then…it was iffy. And while I use social media regularly personally and professionally, There are some great things about the internet when it comes to birth, but there are some bad things, too.
One thing about the internet: It makes trying to find information completely overwhelming. Ask moms about researching everything from car seats, cloth diapers, strollers….you can research these things for months. No exaggerating. The same is true for birth. You try to search for anything, and you’ll find so many different opinions and varying pieces of information that I know it seems like all of it– ALL of it– is subjective. If you go on message boards, you know that moms are there asking questions and getting very few facts, just opinions and “well, I…..” And again, I may be showing my age, but there are some things that I ask opinions about when it comes to my life, and some things I don’t. I would never post on social media to ask others for their opinion on major medical decisions I have to make. Would I ask for their opinions on where I can find a good plumber? Sure!
Want an example of how the internet can go astray? I love using Pinterest to get info out to moms, but some of the pins I see are simply terrible, dangerous, or silly. Rather than let those pins be, I created a Bad Idea board complete with info on WHY those pins are a bad idea. And I sometimes even have BabyLove families send me pins for my bad idea board.
In classes, I teach guidelines. Guidelines aren’t rigid. Guidelines aren’t laws. They are things to help guide decision making. That’s all. Guidelines are pieces of framework by which we can look at a situation. And the guidelines I teach come from practice bulletins from maternity-care professional organizations like ACOG and ACNM and from public health groups like the CDC and WHO. And yes, when the guidelines get updated, as a professional, my job is to be aware of the changes and how best to help parents understand the new information.
The content of my classes is ever-evolving. And I’m proud of the work that I put into the level of expertise that I have. Even better than the internet? In classes, we can have an actual, interesting discussion. Something doesn’t make sense to you? You can ask your questions and I’ll never make you feel silly. You won’t have to dig through 5 pages of search results, either.
Want to use the internet? I’m saying this slightly tongue in cheek, but use the internet to sign up for classes with me. It’s better than spending the time trying to do all of the research and getting overwhelmed. Oh, and you’ll meet other families IRL (that’s social media speak for “in real life”) too.