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Online mothers. Raising children with the Internet’s help

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Mother of two and blogger Irina Cherepanova runs a positive website for mothers. Unlike many of her online colleagues, she’s not into giving advice - but describes funny stories from her life. When children get sick, Irina is never in a rush to call a doctor. Because there’s always a useful opinion to be found online.

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- When children get sick, we, moms, get braindead. Have to immediately do something, an injection or a pill. When my child get sick with, for instance, stomatitis - I google it and match what I find. So when the children doctor comes over, im equipped with the right questions I can ask.

But many parents set their own diagnosis and treatment - based on comments in online blogs. Deputy head of emergency room at pediatrics university has dozens of shocking stories about consequences of online medicine. Self-treatment ranks 5th among the causes of death - according to the WHO.

- A doctor came over and said the child was suffering from breathing obstruction. But parents refused to take him to a hospital on an ambulance and said they would take the child themselves. But they didn’t go, spending 6 hours online, going through blog comments. Another case - a child was diagnosed with sugar diabetes, parents turned to blogs and decided to treat the chid with a diet. So the child ended up in intensive care.

But the number of those preferring a public advice is growing, among them are celebrities. After giving birth to a daughter, singer Zhenya Lubich changed her image and abandoned songs about vodka. Now she runs her own blog, directed at young mothers, fans of her music and healthy lifestyle.

Zhenya Lubich, singer/blogger: «I was in a situation when doctors couldn’t help me and my condition got worse. Thats what my blog is about. Im honestly sharing my story. And im not trying to force my approach onto anyone, im just sharing my thoughts. I have an opportunity to deliver the information to the masses - the one which works. At least, it worked for me».

Online communities for the pregnant, adepts of natural birth giving and breastfeeding - that is a different word with its own laws, hierarchy and language. «Puzolom» - belly. «Puzozhitel» - a baby inside a womb. «Ovulyashka» - a woman who is planning to get pregnant. «Papamuzh» - positive image of a husband and a father. You wont find these words in a dictionary. As well as the new term - «YaZheMat».

«YaZheMat» - the most aggressive bunch of online forum dwellers, a special type of women fixated on motherhood. The see it as a heavy cross they have to carry - and every one else have to carry it with them. They are also very ignorant. For instance, asking a question with full seriousness - would milk become blessed if they baptize their breasts in a church?

Popular forums hold online meetings with specialists - to raise the level of mothers’ knowledge. Psychologist Tatyana Gileva answers online questions and explains where the «YaZheMat» meme came from.

Tatyana Gileva, psychologist: «This cult of YaZheMat emerged as a response to mother being often diminished. If a mother with a child sits next to a person on a plane, the most likely reaction would be - that sucks. Today one has to be successful, do many things and have time for everything. The narcissist part of many mothers suffers when they go on maternity leave, and they become YaZheMart».

Evgeniya Altfeld, reporter: «Internet has replaced doctors, lawyers and psychologists to many young mothers. They spend days reading advice on how to raise their children, at times failing to implement them in real life. And sometimes don’t realize that a their child has grown - while being stuck online»

Infinite flow of information, where comments from doctors mix with those whose experience spans 9 months. All parents go through such test. Young mother and singer Zhenya Lubich’s advice - not taking recommendations even from celebrity bloggers as the only viable solution. Even if it sounds convincing.

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