New Mom? Tell Us All About It!

Motherhood stresses and isolation lessened with blogging

(RxWiki News) Becoming a mom brings along all kinds of new responsibilities, emotions and stresses. Sharing these experiences with others can be one way to cope with the changes.

A recent study has found that new moms who blog about their experiences actually tend to experience a lower level of stress and have a higher sense of well being.

These positive emotions spill over into their marriage and parenting as well.

"Blogging about motherhood experiences may help reduce stress."

Brandon McDaniel, a graduate student in human development and family studies at Penn State, and colleagues surveyed 157 first-time moms about their feelings of well being and how they used media.

All the moms had children under 18 months old, and most of the moms' babies were still infants. The average age of the children was 8 months old, and the average age of the mothers was 27.

In the online survey that each mom completed, the mothers ranked their feelings on scales and estimated the time they spent each day on sleep, housework, childcare and the computer.

The average time spent using the Internet was three hours a day, following childcare at nine hours a day and sleeping at about seven hours a day.

Among the moms, 61 percent wrote their own blogs, and 89 percent of these mommy bloggers said they blogged to "document personal experiences or share them with others."

Another reason for blogging, cited by 86 percent of them, was to stay in touch with family and friends. Another 76 percent of all the new moms read blogs regularly.

McDaniel's research also revealed that the mommy bloggers had stronger connections to their friends and family.

Those stronger connections were linked to feeling more socially supported and therefore having a higher level of satisfaction with their marriage and less marital stress. They also tended to have less stress related to parenting, which was linked to fewer depressed emotions.

"It looks like blogging might be helping these women as they transition into motherhood because they may begin to feel more connected to their extended family and friends, which leads them to feel more supported," McDaniel said.

"We're not saying that those who end up feeling more supported all of a sudden no longer have stresses," he said. "They're still going to have those stressful moments you have as a parent. But because they're feeling more supported, their thoughts and their feelings about that stress might change, and they begin to feel less stressed about those things."

LuAnn Pierce, a licensed clinical social worker in Colorado, is not surprised to hear that moms and even dads who would participate in blogging communities would have higher feelings of well being.

"We know from personal experiences and similar studies that being part of a community increases feelings of support and offers great opportunities to learn, share and support others," Pierce said. "Giving to others and getting outside of ourselves frequently decreases depressive feelings which results in improved relationships and less stress."

The important thing, Pierce said, it to find the right fit for you.

"The key is to find an online community where you feel accepted, become an active participant, such as commenting on posts and posting experiences or questions for others, and remember that everyone's experiences are different," Pierce said. "There is no right or wrong, and be careful not to allow the time online to interfere with in-person relationships and responsibilities."

McDaniel's research did not find a correlation between using social networking sites, such as Facebook, and a greater or lesser sense of well being. There appeared to be no impact at all, though McDaniel said they had not collected enough data to determine why blogging and Facebook were different experiences for new moms.

The study was published online June 19 in the journal Maternal and Child Health Journal. Information regarding funding and possible conflicts of interest was unavailable.

Review Date: 
June 22, 2012