The dictionary defines FOMO as “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media”, or its the “Fear of Missing Out”. You can read all about FOMO in Stella Hudgen’s recent blog post, which I encountered over Instagram and its what inspired me to write about the subject from a pregnant woman’s point of view.
I have had FOMO, my friends have had FOMO, your Granny’s Granny probably had FOMO at some point in her life. Babies get it too! You tend to see that they won’t sleep when there is lots going on around them. My nephew was adorably guilty of this when he was just a few weeks old; we would head over to their house, hang out for the day and as soon as Riley was put to his crib, he would cry for fear of being left out.
My point is that everybody experiences FOMO at some point in their life (unless you are a person who is involved in EVERYTHING you could possibly ever want to be involved in, and in that case then you might have FOMO of the concept of FOMO, so technically, you might still get FOMO) and its perfectly normal!
Even though its normal, FOMO can suck!
FOMO only becomes a real problem when it is recurring for a person. Of course, people can combat it by making themselves more available for friends and social invitations, or by saving up enough money to buy those concert tickets that they know they would miss out on otherwise. But what if a person has less of a chance to combat it though?
I’m thinking about Mums, Dads and expecting Mums and Dads.
Pregnant Lady FOMO
I was watching “The Let Down” on Netflix recently (a Netflix original show), which is pretty hilarious but it also induced a whole set of nerves, fear and realism to me as a pregnant woman of what to expect when my gorgeous wee Squish is born. The show follows Audrey, a Mother of 1 new-born baby, Stevie, who is going through the adjustment period of having just given birth to getting used to being responsible for a new human being, struggling with the support available from her friends, family and her work-obsessed boyfriend. She joins a group of new Mothers in an AA-like meeting each week and shares her battles with them all. Its a pretty good show and worth a shout!
I think I have been under a false illusion of what maternity leave will be like because this show has suggested to me the realities of a being a brand new Mum, even with a partner present. I can’t decide if I should recommend this show to the pregnant ladies that I know, for fear of freaking them out, but I also don’t want them to be blind sided with how strenuous and emotionally turbulent the experience seems to be with being a brand new parent. I definitely feel like its a good suggestion to a new Mum to prove that the struggles she might be experiencing are not out of the norm and that no matter how bad it can get, she is truly never alone.
ANYWAYS, the show sort of highlighted my growing suspicions of FOMO being a bit of a problem when a baby is born.
I don’t enjoy the feeling of missing out on things, but being an introvert, I have come to terms with the fact that FOMO might be a common theme in my life throughout. What worries me is that it WILL become more prevalent when friends are celebrating their life accomplishments and don’t have as much time to spend with the new Mum of the group. Or not being able to go to as many concerts or seeing couples heading out for a last minute holiday that they booked.
I find that it has always been a bit of a burden on expecting Mothers of not being able to complain about anything like this because outsiders tend to make them feel bad about it by saying things like “Well, you are the one that got pregnant”, or that “their needs come after the baby’s”. I feel that expecting Mothers are made to feel a gut wrenching guilt if they share their complaints out loud and I have to say that its complete nonsense.
Its natural to feel like independence, freedom, self-identity is sailing away during pregnancy, because when the baby is here, that’s it. The baby comes first and foremost all the time, and for some Mothers I think this must be really difficult to deal with. I think that all Mothers (expecting included) should be given the chance to have a whine every now and then about how things are going without being made to feel the guilt that is imparted on them as soon as something negative exits their lips. Stifling these feelings up can not be healthy and could even lead to eventual resentment towards to the situation.
FOMO for pregnant ladies
FOMO might occur for pregnant ladies when her friends are going out to celebrate birthdays at clubs. They might not want to join in because they feel judged of being in a drinking atmosphere when heavily pregnant, even if no alcohol was consumed by the pregnant lady.
FOMO might occur for pregnant ladies when her partner is taking part in an activity that she would love to do but can’t because she is keeping the foetus safe.
FOMO might occur for pregnant ladies when she is prohibited to leaving the house because of round ligament pain or exhaustion.
The Flip-side of FOMO when pregnant
BUT…. “missing out” doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Staying in while pregnant can allow pregnant ladies to bond with their bump. It can allow them the chance to prepare by shopping online for the nursery décor. It could allow them to feel better for the weekend coming so that she can leave the house at some point. She can organise nights in with her friends with snacks and movies and have a right good old catch up! She can convince her partner to stay at home with her and create psychic predictions of what their baby will look like or what they will do when they are older, or come up with plans about how to make the incoming life the best thing possible.
My point is that FOMO, while it can suck at the time, is not the end of the world. The great thing about FOMO is that it might not last long at all; just the length of the activity that the person is missing out on, and then, life goes on.
Remembering that everybody gets the fear of missing out and that soon enough you will be having FOMO relating to the baby about missing first smiles or first steps… not so much the importance of keeping up appearances at nights out etc, makes FOMO slightly more easy to deal with. Babies make everything worth it; not just the labour and the stretch marks, but even the emotional turbulence that you experience as a mother (expecting included).
Do you get FOMO as a pregnant woman or Mother? What are some ways that you combatted the feeling?