During my first pregnancy, I read 70 books about pregnancy and parenting but none of it prepared me for the actual reality of having a newborn and toddler. And it’s not just books that are readily available these days. I steered clear of intense groups full of social media wars to keep my energies positive until I gave birth.

It’s a time for big data even for the parenting journey. Moms today band together, follow the same blogs or Facebook pages, use the same essential oil blends, share the same relatable memes in the wee hours of the morning, check out the same items in online shopping websites while breastfeeding, moan about similar struggles in work and life balance, etc.

Recently, the post about Rica Peralejo’s successful VBAC home birth caught my attention. That was my dream birth for my firstborn, but I ended up having an emergency Caesarian procedure in a high-risk facility of a formidable hospital because of some difficulties during the pushing stage. I personally knew Rica’s doula, Irina. I was supposed to have this lovely Russian woman on my birthing team before the complications prevented my dream water birth. Still, I closely followed her work with various mothers in the country.

In a separate incident, I also saw a storm about breastfeeding advocacy before Mother’s Day. After being known among mommy circles as a natural and breastfeeding advocate, a celebrity mom earned so much flak in the comments section from her fans who were breastfeeding and Tamang Kain advocate moms. They felt used or in some way, duped by this sudden endorsement.

They were calling her a hypocrite, a sell out to corporate who was blinded by the financial rewards given by the milk company. Jennica Uytingco suffered some depression a few days shy of Mother’s Day as a result of this ruckus, according to her husband:

This is the age we now live in, where posting something joyful or positive to one person can still spark a conflagration of negativity and hate in another.

This helps me in a way; I start to see beyond the data points on my screen and I still remember that we are transmitting our energies to people with our posts on social media. I work as a data engineer, but I have to remember that all this data infrastructure means nothing if it does not serve to help the people it’s supposed to assist.

I have personally observed that some overzealous advocates of anything can eventually evolve into harsher human beings. They can be quite nice in person but scarier on social media. Much can be said about this. It’s possible that a Facebook user is more empowered to speak about things in a manner that they cannot say to another person’s face. They suddenly have a microphone where they can be heard.

Having said this, they are not evil. They are in fact quite sincere about their concern and are passionate enough to broadcast or let other people know about the issues that affect them.

They really mean well and are very zealous about the outcomes of their research, their experience, and their cause. But the manner with which people cast their opinions on the internet these days are anywhere between soft to loaded with unnecessary vitriol. When you post anything, you post at your own risk.

You may just be shrugging off your post as something that does not mean harm. Despite that, there is no assurance that you won’t be interpreted otherwise.

Once you send content out in this worldwide digital jungle, your words can and will take a life of its own. You can get a combination of sensation, drama, uncalled for opinions, or a backlash of hormones in case anyone gets triggered by your actions or digital footprints online. Any post or bit of information can become a bomb to another random Joe or Jane browsing his news feed.

Having said that, the benefits still outweigh the risks. It is still a platform of making the world smaller and connecting people who are otherwise unable to meet due to distance or financial constraints. Just as there are more word wars, there are also more synergistic collaborations and positive changes.

We don’t live in a perfect world. There is a challenge to build careers. There is a challenge to raise humans. There is a challenge to establish meaninful relationships.

Ultimately, the challenge is also, as a parent, to look for the beautiful and the good and the loving in the face of all the ugly and painful and evil and uncalled for. We do our best wading this jungle and we hope that we raise kids who will turn out to do the same when they grow up.

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