Infertility and Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat each provide us with an instant window into peoples lives with the simple swipe and click of our fingers. Sometimes this is a good thing. Grandparents get to watch grandchildren grow up and experience new things. Friends can offer comfort from miles away to someone who is having a bad day, month, year even life. We rejoice in the happy times, celebrate events and can even inform everyone we are safe during a disaster or terrorist attack. But what about all the day to day stuff that we over share? or the Opinion that we insert just to spark an argument or provoke wrath from someone we don’t know on a message board? We have all done this. We feel thousands of emotions and express less than 100 a day. We feel lonely or lost and we want others to know that we feel this way, in an effort to connect with someone even if its the sad emoji on Facebook.

In a book I recently finished and don’t encourage you to read as it wasn’t christian in nature with language and adult content, by Hollywood’s Amy Pollar, she wrote a chapter entitled, “My phone is trying to kill me”. She discusses how we are all so glued to your phones and instant knowledge of what our friends are saying and doing, what trouble celebrities are getting into and finding the goriest images on the news from a recent tragic event. We are so soaked up in instant gossip, we forget what is really going on. We share that grotesk image and forget that that bloodied body, belongs to a person who has family, who has a mother, and who will live (if they lived through the event) with that image being them. What a way to enforce PTSD?!?!

We are distracted from the important moments in life and our moods are changed in a second with each status we read. We are influential people. We are mentally programed to mimic others as a sense of sharing. Much like when you spend a month in a state/country with an accent, you, yourself can begin to use the same accent. Its a trick our minds use to help us empathize and even blend in. That is why, when you fill your life with nothing but negative facebook posts, you yourself begin to feel negative, and start looking at the not so bright side of things in life.

I am very guilty of this. I have found myself praying for a friend’s fertility treatments, crying with another friend who suffered a miscarriage, “Liked” several posts announcing they are expecting (one with twins!) and cooed over newborn photos of those who were recently born, and still I side with the bitter friends who also can’t seem to conceive. My attitude had been stuck in negative mode. Each time I was fronted with a new pregnancy announcement, I wanted to post my own thoughts and woes, I wanted to whine about it being my turn, and cry that it isn’t fair that someone has 5 kids and is pregnant again, can’t you share one with me? But I knew I was being sucked into negative thinking and so I would sit quietly, scrolling past posts and bottling it up.

One day, it just clicked for me though. I stopped being so focused on what I can’t do, and started focusing on who I am and what I am doing now. I am not really upset about my infertility, I am upset by the social shadow that is cast by public opinion on infertility. I want to Share my opinions and talk casually about fertility struggles without being told, “it will happen for you”, “in God’s time and in his way”, “just quit trying, it will work”, “Just adopt”, or my favorite one to dislike, “be lucky, kids are the worst”. I know all these things, I understand where you come from when you say them, But I just want to have a casual conversation with someone about my eggs not growing into a child while sipping on tea with out being judged or feeling guilty that I am talking about something that is as normal to me as driving to work.  I don’t want pitty, and so I don’t post about it on facebook.

People are going to continue to have babies around me. More so than I can control, because I am an OB nurse. I planned my life this way. Much to social media’s disgust, I don’t cry when a mother gives birth, because I have yet to experience it. I cry because I watch the faces of the Mom’s and Dad’s as they lock eyes and grasp their sticky wet infant in their arms. There is a brief second, filled with love, understanding and joy that passess between them, and I cry because I get to experience that with them. I get to be the nurse who they may or may not ever remember. I get to be me, and I get to be casual about it.

So, please, if you know someone who is going through infertility issues, don’t treat us like we are fragile. Don’t avoid conversations about babies, and please share your images of your babies and statuses about them crossing life milestones. Treat us like your friend, and ask us about our life plans and what we want to go do on Saturday. We may share a golden nugget of hope for the future with you, or we may cry bitterly on your shoulder because the lab work came back with unpromising news.




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