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Yana, Mum of two, Australia
"I live interstate, so social media has always been a way for me to stay connected with friends and family back home. I started a public account four years ago so I could share and document my experience with IVF with the hope that those embarking on a similar journey - and especially those in same-sex relationships - could benefit from my ���non-traditional��� path to parenthood.
Through my account @yana_said_so I met so many incredible people and learned so much from the community I was building. It meant a lot to be able to support other same-sex couples curious about IVF.
But as my following grew, so did the unsolicited advice from parents who didn���t think that people like me should have children. My inbox became inundated with messages that left me feeling isolated and disempowered. You name it, I���ve been sent it.
The truth is, what started as a supportive network, soon became a money making machine and with it a place where keyboard warriors felt they could say anything they pleased without repercussions. Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt. Whoever came up with that has clearly never been berated by a homophobic human.
Then there were the ���influencers���. The ones that would plagiarise content ideas from the smaller accounts and make money off it. Influencers with larger followings copying reels and post concepts which landed them paid collaborations with big brands. They say imitation is the best form of flattery but I disagree - it���s not fun to see someone else get credit for your ideas.
After a few incidents which saw my mental health plummet, I decided to shut down my account. I took a hiatus to re-evaluate what value it was adding to my life and whether or not social media needed to be a part of it.
Taking some time out gave me clarity and a chance to assess what really mattered most to me. Having the time back I would have otherwise spent posting or creating content meant I was able to spend it on some much needed self-care; something I had neglected between brand partnerships, full time work and being a mum to two children.
It wasn���t until I rediscovered my ���why��� that I felt comfortable to come back, but it was terrifying to say the least! I took baby steps, keeping my account private for a few days. I then deleted any accounts I felt didn���t align with my values. Anyone who didn���t want me to be me, or who didn���t share my passion for human rights, feminism, activism or parenting your way, was shown the door.
I���m passionate about normalising and supporting same-sex couples especially those trying to navigate the complex world of parenting which, let���s face it, no matter who you are, finds it complicated. I want to encourage people to think and look inward and to consider their choices and how those choices not only affect others, but themselves too. Becoming clear on my north star really helped give me purpose and remind me why I started out on social media in the first place.
While there���s a lot to celebrate about social media, there is also a toxic culture of judgement that no one should have to put up with. By exposing it, and talking about it and how it impacts our mental health, we can stand up against it and say ���enough is enough���.
The truth is, there are infinite truths when it comes to parenting. Regardless of our lifestyle or sexual preferences, the emotional journey of parenthood is something powerful that we all share. By encouraging open, honest sharing on social media and celebrating our differences, we can change the conversation from critical to compassionate, making the online world a better place for all of us parents, whatever our truths may be."
If this content reminds you of your own experiences or makes you think of someone you know and you feel concerned or uncomfortable, please head to our support page for information about perinatal mental health resources that may be able to help.