Sunday, January 05, 2014

In need of some Facebook advice

I think most infertiles find that Facebook can be the bane of their existence on any particular day.  For me, there were more than a few pregnancy announcements on there that made me cry sad, snotty tears.  The toughest was when a close friend of Jeeves, K, and his girlfriend (partner?  I guess partner is appropriate - they have no intention of ever getting married but they live together and intend to stay together for the rest of their lives, etc.) announced they were expecting on Facebook.  They didn't tell Jeeves ahead of time (and I should add that they had no idea we were infertile) and even though I shouldn't be so old-fashioned, I guess I didn't see it coming because they're not married.  I don't remember how they announced it, only that the news itself was very depressing for me (even though I was happy for them).  There have been others, but that was the one that stung the most.

I know a lot of people struggle with the baby pictures and what not on Facebook, but it was always the pregnancy announcements that were toughest for me.

I'm 17 weeks this Tuesday, going for an initial anatomy scan on Thursday.  At 13 weeks we sent out a large e-mail to our friends, telling them our good news.  I included in that e-mail that we had struggled with infertility and early pregnancy loss because I don't ever want to pretend that we were just like everyone else.  If anyone I know winds up going through this down the road, I want them to know they aren't alone and I want them to feel like they can ask me anything.  My IRL friends who are infertile knew before we sent that e-mail.  My cousin who has dealt with infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss and is expecting twins also knows already.  This is a sort of roundabout way of explaining that I have not gone Facebook public yet with my pregnancy, but it's getting to the point where I would like to.

But.

I don't want to be that schmuck who makes someone cry, who ruins someone's day.  I'm starting to think that might be impossible.  Which leaves a few options.  

The thing is, I do have friends that I primarily communicate with through Facebook.  And while I don't really care if the kid who sat in front of me in US History in high school knows that I'm pregnant, I do care if Karina, my former administrative assistant, knows.  And I primarily communicate with her through Facebook.  Same goes for all my cousins, a few former co-workers, that sort of thing.  These are people I like and care about, but wouldn't call up or necessarily send an individual e-mail to.  I do know that another cousin is having fertility problems, but I'm not supposed to know that, so sending him an individual e-mail would be weird.

I guess I could choose to never announce it on Facebook at all.  I've known people who do that, and then one day a baby picture shows up.  I know a lot of infertiles find the announcement via ultrasound picture very painful, so I would never do that.  While I generally feel very open about everything we've been through with infertility and pregnancy loss, I'm not sure I really want to put that out there on Facebook, especially since it would be linking Jeeves and he has a lot more random "friends" on Facebook than I do.  

The flip side is that I've always posted big life events on Facebook - jobs changes, going back to school, graduating, getting engaged and married.  I like social media and I like sharing those events with people in a communal way, so never saying anything at all seems kind of sad to me.  It breaks my heart that so many friends are still battling infertility, I hate hate hate it when I hear about a miscarriage or the failure of a cycle.   But that doesn't mean that I feel guilty that at least for right now, I am pregnant and happy to be pregnant.  

So what do you guys think?  What's the best thing to do?  Never say anything?  Wait till my belly gets really big and let someone post a picture of me, but never mention being pregnant (I've seen that once or twice)?  Keep it simple?  Take a picture of a onesie?  Have you ever seen an announcement of a pregnancy on Facebook that wasn't painful, or is that just an impossibility?  Am I totally overthinking all this?  I noted that none of the women in my pregnancy group (all of whom did IVF and struggled with infertility for a long time) thought twice about posting their pregnancies in adorable and creative ways.  How do you balance having sensitivity for anyone out there that is still dealing with this shit, while also celebrating your own happiness?  Your advice would be so appreciated.

3 comments:

  1. Hmm. You've definitely thought it over. I'm not sure I have anything helpful to add. I myself have already decided that I will not be posting anything on FB and I will directly communicate any big life news to the people in my life by phone, email or in person. Actually, I've recently stopped checking FB all together. I think you shouldn't deny yourself the joy of sharing your news. It's not up to you to know the boundaries of others and from all of your thoughts it's obvious to me that you will come up with something great while still considering others.

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  2. I sting as much as the next IF when I see a pregnancy announcement on FB - however I would never begrudge someone their right to announce their pregnancy in whatever way they want. Especially when they've been through infertility! And the reality is, if it's going to hurt me - it will, no matter how it's introduced (or even worse if it's not and one day a baby pic appears or you hear about it through others). As kind as it is for others to consider my feelings, they are MY feelings. I can't expect them to censor everything just for my benefit (although, that would be nice sometimes). I certainly wouldn't want someone to miss out on some important part of their pregnancy because they didn't want to upset me.

    And a FB announcement has become pretty important - almost a rite of passage to pregnancy. It's exciting and fun, and it's really touching to see all the well wishes and excitement. I know I dream of how I will do it one day.

    So I say, just go for it. 100%. You've waited a LONG time for this, don't miss out on it. You deserve it.

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  3. Rach has a good point. If it were me (and I hope soon it is) I think posting a simple, "After years of waiting, we are happy to announce that we are expecting our first child on ____." But that's me, and it's a very individual thing. I know some people like to post picture announcements (if not ultrasounds, the bow-on-the-belly thing) but I would rather give infertiles a chance to mute me after the announcement. Pictures are harder for me.

    BUT! Like Rach said, you deserve to announce any way you like. This is a happy time and you've been through so much to get here.

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