I’m going to start this post with a bit of a disclaimer. I’ve been trying to write this for… a while. I have a few versions sitting in drafts where I had started and stopped writing it. It’s kind of hard to explain, and I’ll do my best, but I warn that it won’t be super eloquent…. but here we go:

There are plenty of challenging things about social media and documenting my life on the internet. When I first started (almost thirteen years ago!), I never could have imagined that people would read what I was writing…. let alone having it become my career. I love it, but it’s also come with some difficult things to navigate, which could be an entire thesis, honestly. But one particular challenge came to light recently and I felt like it was important enough to bring up.

Can I (or anyone on social media) accurately share what’s going on in real time? While this may seem like I’m talking about geo-tagging a restaurant while you’re still there… but what I really mean to say is if it’s possible to meaningful share what you’re experiencing as you’re experiencing. Particularly tougher times.

When I gave birth to Jack, I was experiencing everything. Overall, it was such a beautiful period of time, but it wasn’t particularly easy. Eventually I was able to share what it felt like and what I went through immediately following giving birth, but I could barely process it while it was happening to me, let alone put what I was feeling into words to share. Plus, there was already an intense vulnerability of just giving birth that further exposing myself before I was ready to would have been even more detrimental.

So I waited. Until I felt like I was out of the thick of it. Until I felt like I could personally process what happened. And until I could articulate it in a way that was meaningful, and hopefully helpful for someone else.

At the time, I actually felt a lot of external pressure from readers, as much as I tried to block it out, to be sharing everything, especially the harder parts. I was getting kind of inundated with DMs from other women telling me they were unfollowing me because my experience wasn’t lining up with their postpartum experience or comments about my unrealistic portrayal of newborn life.

Nothing that I shared was inaccurate– I loved it. I was going for walks and getting out of the house and trying to soak up every minute of that delicious newbornness that I knew wouldn’t last forever. My heart felt so filled to the brim with a kind of love I didn’t know existed. But, as I would imagine any new mom, I was also in a bit of survival mode. Even now, looking back, I have to dig around my memory for the harder parts but they’re definitely there. Being terrified of nighttime, worrying about my own healing, experiencing D-MER without having a word for it yet.

Again though, I was in the thick of it! That survival mode was running in overtime and I knew I wasn’t capable of stopping to reflect yet. I knew I was eventually going to be able to come up for air so to speak and that there would be a point where I could share what I went through.

Personally, I needed to be out of it first.

Even the origin story for my blog is rooted in this idea. When I started my blog in December of 2008, I was still in a pretty horrible time of my life. I had just finished my first semester of college, where I had nearly failed a class (I ultimately got a D) and felt like the world was ending. College was not what I expected and I was, frankly, miserable. My blog became my lifeline. But if you were to go back and read those early posts, you’d have no idea that I was basically at rock bottom. Whenever I have written about a difficult thing I’ve gone through, it’s always when I’m on the other side.

There are still things in my life I’m currently in the middle of, processing, or simply not ready to talk about. Maybe I never will be? I actually think that it’s okay. Sure it’d make for great “content,” but I’ve been doing this far too long to exploit my real life without thinking things through!

No one is owed anything, honestly. And it’s a good reminder (for me, too) that you really don’t know what someone is going through behind the scenes. Even if they’re sharing some things or they share something, you might not know everything or the extent of it. It’s okay if they share down the line. It’s okay if they only share what they’re comfortable sharing, even if that means nothing at all. It’s also okay, as a consumer of content, to unfollow and mute if that is what will serve you best. I think we know that Instagram/social media is a highlight reel, but it’s still hard to constantly remind yourself of that. I have been in this game as a creator for over a decade and I’ve personally not shared hard moments and bad times myself and I still forget that other people are probably doing the same thing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Thanks for your honesty. Postpartum is extremely challenging. Just the overwhelming feelings of responsibility for another person. I hope things are getting easier. Block out the demands of others and focus on your precious family.


Hi Carly,
Ive been reading your blog on and off for a few years now and as a mum of three (my youngest is almost 3 months) I’ve loved reading about your experience into motherhood and am so glad that you are loving being a mum. It can be so tough when you are in the thick of it (recovering from birth and looking after a newborn) and can completely understand how you would need to process what has happened before you could share it with the world. Baby Jack is completely adorable, enjoy all the baby snuggles they grow up too fast!


What a great post and thoughts! I’ve always been kind of like you and not really acknowledged hard times or situations in my life on my blog or social media until I feel “on the other side.” I feel like that’s what works for me… but I would be intrigued by anyone who does feel more comfortable sharing in real time before they’re out of a bad situation. So much food for thought here!

xoxo A


Thank you for articulating this! I’m not a blogger or a mom but I’m a big time introvert who often needs a lot of self-reflection time to figure out where I’m at, and like you say, sometimes that happens after the fact, or later. I hope someday we can normalize giving people time to express their feelings. I really appreciate this post, so thanks again.


Everyone sees life through a different filter. If someone chooses to leave, then it’s their choice…not yours. Please don’t feel or accept the pressure of the minority. Your posts are kind, thoughtful and relatable!


I am so sorry that you’ve had to deal with that kind of commentary online, especially during such a hard phase. My post-partum is still such a blur and my son is 6 months old!

I appreciate your blog so much, thank you for the time you put into everything!


Hi Carly: Sorry you are feeling pressured by folks in the social media world, and there is certainly no excuse for people to treat you badly. Sadly, this is one of the reasons that I often don’t read comments. That said, I have followed you since your college days and have always enjoyed “seeing” parts of your life and hearing your views on things. I understand that there is a “business” aspect of the blog, but it’s the chance to hear from you as a person that rings through to me. How you react to life events and what it takes for you to feel ready to share is part of your personality. I don’t see that you need to change aspects of your personality to make readers happy. And you are under no obligation to share more than you want to with us.

We’ve all been through a lot with Covid, and to go through major life experiences at the same time certainly adds to life stress.

Hang in there, we love hearing from you, and want you to feel as good about your blog as we do! Sending you good vibes and best wishes for the holidays!


Blogging/influencing are such interesting careers to me. I am in my late 40s so grew up, got married, was a new mom before blogging and influencing was a thing. I am very happy about that as so much of what I see on blogs/insta I find so unhealthy. From the rosy picture to the over-consumerism it often just makes me wonder how the younger generation must feel about becoming parents/raising kids. I think part of the ‘issue’ is that people see bloggers/influencers as friends not as people who produce content for $ and who make things look better -much better than they really are because let’s face it, that is what sells. When I was a new mom, I went to baby and me classes with other new moms and I could see that they were tired, emotional, unsure of themselves- that the babies were fussy, were spitting up etc. Now, many people, especially through the pandemic, go to blogs and insta for that connection not realizing that what they see is so curated, so filtered that in many cases, there is very little reality to it. I agree that you do not owe anyone to share what you do not want to share but I also understand that women buying the things you are selling and not getting the same ‘results’ feel like they are doing something wrong and that they are just not enough. They see you as a friend who is just not letting them in to see the full picture. In many ways, I hope that blogging/influencing loses some of its popularity so that people can go back to finding in real life community so that they can see life in real time, unedited and unfiltered.


I actually find that this extends offline though too. I share some things with certain friends and therapist in the moment, but I generally wouldn’t share hard things with strangers or people I only slightly knew until I felt okay enough to share it. Of course, to each her own, but that’s my perspective!


I know what you mean but… your real life friends and family most likely know that you are going through something and that you just may not feel up to sharing at the moment. They see you outside of the filtered instagram stories and posts and the edited blog posts. The people who only see you on insta/blog do not see anything outside of what is posted.


Yes! I think this is so true! I think especially because there’s so much about a person’s life that is shared it feels like you actually know that person when in reality you know a tiny portion of who they are…and that is usually curated to fit their “brand.” It’s kind of a false sense of intimacy with a person in a lot of ways that I think some people do better at reminding themselves of than others.

Rebecca HT

Thank you for sharing what you do. But yes, you are not obligated to share anything with us! ESPECIALLY while you’re still processing it, yourself. And anyone who thinks, or makes you feel, otherwise, is not a good person.
And those that unfollow because their experience didn’t precisely align with yours are missing out on the opportunity to gain new perspective, and are very close-minded. I think this wonderful community that you have built is better off without that energy, anyway.
In sum, thank you for all that you do. We know that you could just as easily only share superficial things (i.e. just clothes/shopping information/etc.), and greatly appreciate the personal side of things, too.


I don’t know, as someone who had to temporarily unfollow several bloggers due to having vastly not-aligned experiences, I can say it wasn’t because I was being closed-minded. It is because I also had a young baby and hearing about the great long stretches of sleep other people’s babies were getting, or how easy it was to take them out and about made me feel bad / like a failure for not having the same outcomes despite alllll my efforts. It was demoralizing to feel like I was the only one “failing.” And deep down I know I wasn’t technically failing, but it was extremely detrimental to my mental health to believe that everyone else was having this much easier and more joyful experience than I was. That applies to social media and blogs in general, not pointing any fingers specifically. It’s the whole problem with viewing people’s lives through a happy highlight reel. All that being said, once I was ready to handle things mentally better, I did re-follow most of them. But just wanted to jump in and say closed-mindedness isn’t necessarily the driver here.


Thank you for being as open and honest as you feel like you can. I can’t imagine what your job is like, all the horrible awful things people think they can share, but you are brave for continuing to do so and I’m so glad I follow you!


Ive read a quote that was along the lines of ‘share a scab not a wound’. The context was while sharing the reality of where we are now is important with those outside our inner circle, when something is still a wound we are in survival mode and havent had the time to begin to process the experience. Sharing a scab can be sharing wisdom and experience instead of emotional dumping on others. I find my worst days and even my best days, i rarely share with my people immediately. I definitely need time to process and think through before I start sharing.
Also, as someone who is starting to TTC I find my IRL friends and social media is oversaturated with all the hard nitty gritty parts of motherhood. And it is hard to get excited about our next step when everything seems to be negative. Ive been specifically searching for people writing about the joy as well as the hard times.

Debbie Hollick

Carly – I suppose you hear a lot that people “never write” comments but I have been following you for at least 10 years and I can honestly say I have never written one. I also don’t know where to start and this will probably be random-ish but I’m so grateful to you and to have seen you grow through the years. I’m 40 – so only a little bit older – but have seen you as something of a little virtual sister through the years. I’ve watched you battle trolls, move thorough your New York phase, meet Mike, marry, and now have your awesome Jack.

At the same time, I did those things, too. And, always, I had you to open the door to new and fun things, ideas, people (I follow a ton of new bloggers because of you and all of them are truly lovely and thoughtful women).

I gave birth to my third and final baby in June and it’s been my hardest yet. Watching you with Jack reminds me that there is happiness if you chose to see it. I don’t gloss over or have unrealistic optimism but I’m thankful to get to see you happy. And honestly, I think that comes from wanting the best for you. People who don’t want that will never read your work and appreciate it. Yes, you have a career in blogging so you make money on engagement but so does everyone else. I was a teacher – I literally made my money by engaging and connecting with kids. I teach teachers now, it’s the same story.

I guess, if you have time to read this and your at this point, I’ll summarize by saying that you are thoughtful and diligent, reliable and kind. Those things matter and I’m grateful to be alongside you.

Sending all the big virtual sister love I have.


“Watching you with Jack reminds me that there is happiness if you chose to see it.” Yes, this! I think I understand that what’s shared is just one piece of it but it’s inspiring to be reminded about the lovely moments and your stories make me excited to be a mom. I’m still practical about what’s hard but so much of life is hard and I’m grateful for the highlights sometimes xx Sending you love!


So sorry that you have to deal with people pressuring you or being nasty on the internet while also going through huge, challenging personal changes! I also had a baby during the pandemic (my second) and it was a vastly different experience than with my first. Be gentle with yourself. We’re living through very tough times, and having a baby (especially your first) upends your life. Know that you have a lot of readers who love and appreciate your content. Your is my favorite blog!


Hello Carly,

I really liked your article. I’m a very reserved person and I remember once at work, I told a coworker that I didn’t like to share about my personal life and she replied with ”Why?”. I don’t think you need to justify yourself at all. Some people just don’t understand it and as long as you do what you are comfortable with, you will feel better with yourself. Sure, blogging has a personal touch to it, but in the end it’s still a work environment and you shouldn’t feel pressure to share everything.
I hope this comment finds you well!

Take care,


They have earned a right to hear your story— some empowerment author. It’s true and woof so many people need to embrace it.
I appreciate your vulnerability – I don’t have children yet but I want them someday. I feel parenthood is a giant journey is letting go of expectations. Your only role is to love. It was the best part of my mom’s life and she explained, she had to learn as she went, watching me make mistakes, trying to listen etc.

It’s joyful and hard. It’s rewarding and exhausting. Life is full of “ANDs” that make people uncomfortable. Humans hate discomfort and would rather be miserable than risk change (aka discomfort).
I get tired of my friends that vent but refuse to try a solution or get actual help…. Then I’m their therapist versus their friend— seriously everyone needs a therapist.

Parasocial relationships have limits. You get to portray what you choose. Mean people likely have no true real life relationships and instead whine about strangers, as Jo said from Cup of Jo— it’s like “burning cats”

Your kiddo is adorable. I’m more excited to have a boy by seeing bloggers embrace their boys.

Motherhood is a giant and: challenging and amazing.

Thanks for choosing to share.


You don’t owe your readers anything, especially real time trauma. It’s unfair of anyone to ask, and in my opinion, is a violation of a boundary. Your life isn’t the product – the content that you choose to share with us is. If people can’t respect that then that’s on them. Stay strong!


Thank you for sharing this, Carly. This is why I’m still following you after all these years, it’s because you don’t follow what people expect of you, you are ‘real’ (at least for me more real than the others). Please just keep being you


Hey Carly!

Thanks for posting your thoughts about this. I really like to read a handful of blogs regularly. But do I expect the content to be a 100% “real life in real time”? No. Honestly, I find it that some people overshare. I get it that there might be a lot of pressure from readers/clients, but what is the point? Some things need to be processed first and I find it much more substantial to learn about any conclusions or realisations than about the situation itself.

As the danish philosopher Kierkegaard put it: “Life must be lived forwards, but it can only be understood backwards. ”

And in addition to that, every person has the right to choose what to share with whom.

Your blog does not feel like a sugarcoated version of your life but I would never expect any blog to be a 1:1 documentation of anyones life also.

In my opinion it is a very healthy approach to live in the moment and then decide if and to which extent you want to share a situation afterwards.

And if people do not agree with that…well, there are a ton of other blogs out there which might suit their expectations 🙂


I don’t frequently comment, but you hit the bullseye on this one. I know it looks different for non-influencers, but we all have decisions to make about being present in the moment vs. documenting and sharing. IF you haven’t had this conversation with yourself, it’s worth pursuing deliberately.

Parker W

Carly, I have been a reader for over seven years now. And I am so glad you wrote this but I just want to reaffirm, you do not owe anyone any part of your life that you do not want to share. Period. I am so proud to be a longtime reader and so overjoyed for your life as it unfolds. Sending you my best and thank you for this post.



I been following you since 2010/11 (I honestly can’t remember at this point). I’ve watched you go through so many life events at roughly the same time as me (down to both of us getting married on 9/5/20)!

There is still a certain Wabash boy I’d like to punch, but I know you are over it – even though I (a complete stranger) still resent him (I realize how weird that is).

While I would love all the details as they happen, I have come to appreciate the reflective nature of many of your posts. They help me to reflect on similar events that have happened to me, while also letting me feel less alone.

Thank you for doing things at your own pace. It feels genuine and real – which is why you are one of 3 bloggers I still follow – and the only one I’ve followed ~weekly~ for 10+ years. It’s been a delight to watch you grow into the confident, emotionally mature, and successful person you have become.



So beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this and staying true to your self. I have been following you almost 10 years and still love your content and honesty. It lifts me up every time. So just do what feels good to you and the rest will figure itself out .


Everyone processes things differently! Some need to talk things out as they’re experiencing them; others (like myself) need to simply power through and reflect once on the other side. I love that you’re sharing once YOU feel ready – in the moment or not, that’s as real as it gets.


So beautifully said. A good reminder for everyone to judge less harshly on social media and soak in the content creators that most connect with us. Wishing you a happy holiday season with your baby boy!!