Should new parents embark on a 'month of silence' after giving birth?

One A-list couple is shunning social media and visitors for an entire month after the birth of their first child [Photo: Pexels]
One A-list couple is shunning social media and visitors for an entire month after the birth of their first child [Photo: Pexels]

Giving birth can be a traumatic, yet rewarding, experience. And not every new parent feels like socialising straight away.

New, A-list parents Nikki Reed (of ‘Twilight’ fame) and Ian Somerhalder (from hit US show ‘The Vampire Diaries’) revealed that they were embarking on a ‘month of silence’ after the birth of their daughter.

“After the baby arrives, we’re doing one month of silence,” Reed told Fit Pregnancy. “Just the three of us, no visitors, and we’re turning off our phones too, so there’s no expectation for us to communicate.”

“Otherwise, every five minutes it would be: ‘How are you feeling? Can we have a picture?’ You don’t get those first 30 days back, and we want to be fully present.”

Many parents have agreed with the thinking behind the month of silence, saying that “the first few weeks are hard and can be really challenging if there’s too much going on.”

Another wrote on Facebook: “I like the idea. It means they won’t be bombarded with visitors 24/7 and get a chance to spend some time getting to know one another and learning about life with a baby. Its not for everyone, but it’s their choice.”

Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder’s revelation has caused a divide among parents [Photo: Instagram/iansomerhalder]
Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder’s revelation has caused a divide among parents [Photo: Instagram/iansomerhalder]

Some, however, believed that mums should show off their newborn with others commenting that women need all the help they can get after giving birth. In fact, a few parents admitted to relishing the chance to spend time with family and friends instead of just with their partner and baby.

Professionals have also given their opinion on the matter with one psychologist noting that staying away from social media and other people after giving birth is becoming an increasingly common practice.

“Often people will do it for the first couple of days in hospital,” Dr Divna Haslam told The New Daily. “It is really important for parents, especially mothers, and infants to bond well in the first month because we know that developing a strong attachment has a lot of positive effects long-term, like building trust or assisting general coping.”

However, she also stated that a period of post-birth silence could increase the likelihood of postnatal depression, adding: “Somewhere between one in five and one in seven women will experience some level of postpartum depression so that risk is relatively high anyway. Isolating yourself could have the potential to increase that risk but it also depends on what level of support the partner is giving.”

Over 1 in 10 women experience postnatal depression in the UK. It is commonly seen within a year of giving birth and mainly affects mothers – though fathers can also become victims.

It’s different to the ‘baby blues’: the anxious, tearful feelings that women may experience in the week after having a baby. If these feelings last for longer than a couple of weeks and are coupled with a lack of energy, difficulty bonding with a child and social withdrawal, then you may be suffering from postnatal depression.

Psychologists agree that bonding as a family is the most important thing after childbirth [Photo: Pexels]
Psychologists agree that bonding as a family is the most important thing after childbirth [Photo: Pexels]

If one recent study is to be believed, banishing social media (not people) for a short period of time could actually make new mums feel less isolated.

Researchers found that using Facebook and other forms of social media made new mothers more stressed. The reason for this is unclear but it may be because parents compared themselves to others on social media, leading to a greater chance of depression and feelings of incompetence.

The same study also found that social media does have its emotional uses for new parents. It can help mums strengthen and maintain relationships as well as feel connected to the outside world.

Professor Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan had some great advice for post-birth social media use. “If you find you are obsessing over ‘likes’ on your photos, consider turning off notifications on Facebook and logging on only at certain times of the day,” she wrote in The Conversation.

“Or, if time spent on Facebook leaves you feeling blue, you may benefit from taking a ‘break’ from Facebook for weeks or months and instead focus on making phone calls to long-distance friends and meeting local ones face-to-face for coffee.”

So the advice seems to be: surround yourself with people if you feel comfortable but maybe lay off of the Facebook and Instagram for a while.

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