parent opinion

We need to talk about the peculiar world of performative Instagram parenting.

Listen to this story being read by Gemma Bath, here. 

I am approximately two months shy of becoming a mum, and as a newbie to this world, I've noticed something peculiar. Instagram 'staging' has taken over the world of pregnancy. 

There's no denying we live our lives on social media, and I've entered the parenting sphere at a time when that reality has been well and truly ingrained. In 2022, it runs like clockwork.

First, it's the pregnancy announcement. 

The trends right now appear to be Instagram compilation videos of people telling their loved ones, posing with the ultrasound pic (this was me), or staging a cute photo 'scene' - think a toddler in a 'promoted to big brother' shirt, or a lineup of shoes featuring some itty-bitty baby booties. 

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They're all carefully thought out and curated for the feed, and that's only the start. 

This idea of parenting for the gram became more obvious to me when the women in the Facebook group I joined for other mums due around the same time as me started posting about their baby showers. 

Suddenly, pictures of women posing under balloon arches with a beautiful cake on one side and stacked blocks on the other spelling out 'baby' filled my feed. The pictures were gorgeous, of course, but looked like mirror images of each other; all designed to create the perfect snap. The same snap. 


That's when I realised. 

That set up - the balloons, the cake, and the blocks - that was purely for Instagram. 

Sure, the food, the table decorations, and even those monogrammed cookies with 'Baby *insert last name*' are for loved ones on the day. But the staged (and expensive) Instagram-friendly corner? That's for social media. 

As the home stretch to pushing out this baby nears, I've noticed it happening again. The women in my Facebook group are discussing 'coming home' outfits.

What they're talking about is the outfit they are going to dress their baby in for their 'announcement' pic. 

For many, it'll be paired with their baby's name printed in advance on a light wooden background. 

I am not poo poo'ing these women. In fact, the posts have had me thinking to myself, 'Oh sh*t, do I need to get a super cute outfit?!' I didn't have a baby shower, but I do plan on posting a pic of my newborn for my friends and family. I hadn't considered that was an outfit I should plan in advance...

Having a front-row seat to 800 plus Australian women moving through the stages of pregnancy together has opened my eyes to the reality of the world we've found ourselves in.

We have our real families - and our Instagram families - regardless of whether we're influencers or celebrities. 

Everyone is curating and planning and thinking about the content they're sharing. It might not be for paid partnerships, or to impress tens of thousands of followers, but make no mistake - it's still about building their online 'brand'.


It's just that the audience is aunties, high school mates, and work colleagues. And the motive is likes, not money. 

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It becomes even more obvious when you look at first birthday parties. Even at my own first birthday in the 90s, the cake was next level. But it was me + cake + a cute outfit + the park in the background. 

In 2022, there's a trend towards having an aesthetic 'background' behind the cake. Think more balloon arches, or picture walls, or the kid's name in neon lights. It's all about more, more, more. Because more... looks better in pictures. 

It's just so peculiar, don't you think? What we've become. 

I already know how I'll probably post about my kid for the first time. I will do something casual and 'in the moment'. It's the fact that I've even considered that fact, that blows my mind. 

We're well and truly in a world where it's no longer just about the celebration. It's about how we will present that celebration on the 'shop window' of our lives: our Instagram feeds. 

All that thought, for acquaintances on the internet. 

Feature Image: Getty.

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