Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why I Avoid Facebook

In the beginning, I thought Facebook was pretty cool. My husband was posting things daily and sharing stories of what he had read from current friends and reacquainted ones. I appreciate the genius of the concept. After all, humans are social creatures. We have a need to connect. We all want people to bear witness to our lives. So, I can see why people want to share details of their daily lives, post pictures of their kids, hear how their high school friends have turned out, and share things that are important to them. It also provides a way for introverts, like myself, to be social without having to imbibe alcohol in order to relax.

So, I opened an account and starting adding "friends." At first, it was fascinating. People I hadn't heard from in years (and frankly, hadn't thought of either) were now friending me. I could read updates on their lives at the click of a button. Got a few minutes of downtime at work? Check out new status updates. Want to share my big news that I'm training for a half-marathon? Put it on Facebook!

What I wasn't prepared for was the updates I didn't want to see. The announcements that friends were having their third baby (two of these updates popped up in the same week). The belly pictures. The "I'm at 20 weeks and can celebrate!" Facebook had opened up another portal for pain. I now had a whole new way to get updates on everyone I know who's having a baby, just had a baby, or wants to have a baby. I tried to balance the joy with the grief, feel happy for them while feeling sad for me, understand that other people have the right to be happy while I grieve. And, then I couldn't anymore. I was very happy when I discovered the "hide" feature. Uh oh, so-and-so just announced her pregnancy. Quick, hide before you have to read any more!

It brings up such a complexity of emotions. Take feeling happy for someone who is blissfully pregnant for the first time, sprinkle in the gratitude of the miracle of a child coming safely into the world, fold in a cup (or two) of jealousy, add a dash of guilt for feeling all of these things, and what you're left with is a nasty piece of lumpy dough that sticks in your throat and leaves you miserable.

I have no control over women in my office being pregnant. I have no control over being surrounded by pregnant women and babies in public, in movies and on t.v. I do have control over what I read online. Right now, Facebook is not a place I want to be.

P.S. Be sure to read my last post if you haven't already entered in my giveaway. And, while you're here, leave me a comment on how you feel about how social networking has impacted your "baby full" life.


Joanna said...

That is so true Cynthia. I'm still on FB, but I find I don't post anymore. People only want to hear "good things" and when you post something painful the silence is deafening. I totally agree about the lump that stays behind or the pang of hurt that I feel each time I see that announcement, or even when friend post "Happy Birthday to ....", I find that hurts too.

wifey said...

FB is such a double edged sword for me: I live halfway across the country from my family and they are all on FB, so it's the easiest way to keepin touch with me. BUT my husband is on an anti FB campaign lately - he's tired of my mood being so easily influenced by pregnancy announcements, birth announcements, ultrasound pics, belly pics, yadayadayada. And, like the previous commenter said, people only care about the happy shit. Lots of people - lots - knew about my last miscarriage and no one had the balls to even say "I'm sorry." And yet, look at any pregnancy announcement: everyone comes out of the woodwork to offer support. Fair weather friends, all.

Thanks for this post - you summed it all up very nicely. I love the hide feature - been using a lot of it lately.

Becky said...

I used to be on Facebook all the time but after I lost Liam I also haven't wanted to look at it very often. It seems more than ever now that everyone is pregnant or posting tons of baby pics and talking about there kids newest accomplishments. People were even asking how I was doing with the loss and I just didn't want the whole world to know I was hurting that way.

Jess said...

I just lost my twins a week ago and logged on to fb for the first time tonight. I was crying within the first minute. I'm definately not ready to see all the profile pics of people's babies. I'm saying goodbye to fb for a while.

Anonymous said...

I quit facebook and have never been saner. Instead of (wasting) an hour online each day, I challenge myself to pick up the phone and talk with a friend or relative and have an actual meaningful conversation. Much more rewarding than the mutual voyeruism of facebook. Plus, I can decide if/when I'm ready to talk with a particular someone who is likely to have baby updates.

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