The internet gets a lot of flack these days. And why shouldn’t it? It’s destroying the fabric of modern society. I know it to be true, because some very important people have blogged about it and I have watched some of their news reports on YouTube. It’s always tough to stay current with these issues when you have a social media addiction. I’m trying to not let it stress me out though. 🙂
Seriously internet and social media haters. You’d be at least half as popular as you are now if it wasn’t for that massive exposure the internet gives your un-researched and unsubstantiated nonsense. You can be addicted to a lot of things, some are far worse than others. And “Experts” are always worried about addiction in kids. Music, video games, drugs, sex, violence, texting, etc. Right now my kid is pretty addicted to breast milk. It’s ALL he eats. I’m a bit worried. I figure with enough things out there to get addicted to, at least there is choice. At least theirs diversification in the things they are addicted to. 😉
Of course, I don’t think the internet is a bad thing, and to be quite honest it has been the greatest companion through this whole baby thing. I want to of course make it clear before I say anymore that I am not suggesting the internet is any kind of substitute for a doctor in any way, shape or form, but let’s face it, there is a lot of stress to this process, and as a whole the information that is available on-line helps. A lot.
In an effort to confuse you I’ll start of negating my previous statement, by saying that I was a bit annoyed at the internet at the beginning of the
pregnancy. A lot of information out there seems focused on worst-case-scenario things without giving you any sense for what type of probabilities we are talking about. For instance when my wife was feeling incredibly thirsty in her first trimester, several sites said “this is normal” (good), “not getting enough water can cause deformation in your babies limbs” (scary). I mean what the hell people? How often does this happen? How little water was the person getting? I’m yelling at my wife “Drink water woman…limbs are deforming!!”.
Okay so it takes a little time to get used to the tone of information on the internet. Once you get used to it, you realize that it is really just trying to help you. “Here’s what you should do take care of yourself, and here is what CAN happen if you don’t”. When it comes to having a baby, erring on the side of
caution isn’t a bad thing, and I had to remind myself how inaccessible such nutritional and pre-natal care information would have been 30 years ago compared to now. Of course back then they would have given you a pamphlet. Does anybody seriously read pamphlets though? They are small, recyclable, and look so much better folded then unfolded. Unfolding something is messy. Nobody wants that. What people want is a search engine where you can just type in “I’m pregnant. Why am I so thirsty?” Web pages don’t fold. They have links. “Yes Mr. Internet (or Ms. Internet) I would like to know more about the importance of water to the build up of blood, amniotic fluid, and nutrient flow to the baby”. Click. Brilliant.
Baby merchandise. You need to get stuff for your baby. But what stuff? What’s really important? In a consumer driven society there is no question companies prey on our fear of ruining our babies lives and thus convince us to buy the most ridiculous things and pay a lot of money for them. The internet can save you money. It’s a huge marketplace, and thus competition drives prices down. It also allows you to read a large quantity of customer reviews. It appears that a lot of people have babies. It tells you if you really need something, or if you don’t. If you want to go green, organic or whatever you can find it on the internet. If you suddenly become concerned because you never took a baby CPR training class, you can find a YouTube video on it. How do I swaddle my baby? How do I burp it? What are some good songs that I can sing to it? Can I hire someone to sing them for me, because I can’t sing? The answers are on the internet. All of these things can be easily ordered on the internet with a click of the mouse as you quickly vomit into the pail next to you because of your morning sickness. Wandering around department stores, or Wal-mart can make you nauseous enough, and they typically don’t put reviews next to the items you are looking at on the shelf. Only the price. Thank you consumer friendly internet!
The internet is also your friend in other ways. Let’s say you are just walking along, you’re pregnant, and all of a sudden your wrist hurts like a bitch. So you think to yourself well I’ve known a lot of pregnant people in my time and their wrists seemed fine. I must be defective and I’m going to bring doom to my baby somehow. You get a bit anxious. So you go on-line and you find a forum where it’s a whole bunch of women talking about their hurt wrists being pregnant. Bam! Instant group therapy session. You are not alone. Others have had the problem. This is what they did. This is something you can try. This is something to talk to your doctor about. Again, the internet doesn’t replace your doctor, but there can be a big delay between you experience something or having a question, and calling your doctor and waiting for someone to get back to you. It can be stressful wondering if something is really wrong? Should my baby be sneezing? Why is his eye crusting up? Is this normal? Is it the plague? OMG please don’t let it be the plague? I thought the plague was over. But there was that rat yesterday…it’s the plague. It’s got to be the plague. Tell me internet is it the plague? It’s not the plague? This is common? Happens in 20% of newborns? Clogged tear duct? Oh that doesn’t sound so bad. Panic attack quelled. It can be easy to think that any little thing is not common or that it’s a sign of something serious. You will be hard pressed as a parent to find a question that hasn’t already been asked. A million times. And you will be comforted just because at the very least you will know how much you should actually worry. or how aggressively you need to try and contact your doctor, or whether you should go to the emergency room. I would say that if the question you have hasn’t been asked before you probably need to go to the ER, or run a spell check on your question., or check your internet connection. Most people out there are just like you. They get a bit worried over small things, and even that you are not alone. And they are responded to by well meaning, experienced parents who politely share their experience with you. Sure a few people on their blame your baby’s problems on Obama, but those people are few and far between. If you are still confused at the end of the deluge of internet information, the doctor is still there to call. But just knowing other people are experiencing what you are is such a great help.
So we can criticize this culture of instant gratification, but you know what, some things can’t be instant. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking that everything can be instant and you’ll be fine. For instance babies still take about 9 months. So thank you internet! I appreciate you. You’re not all pornography after all. Who knows what else might be contained within your four walls…hmmm…that doesn’t sound right. Actually what is the internet contained in? Hmmm…question for another blog. 🙂