I stopped using Facebook in August 2012. There's a very particular reason why I quit. We were a little more than a year into our marriage, a little more than a year TTC, and already it was hurting. Several of our friends had infants, and I was feeling really left out (although they tried their best to make me feel included). So one Sunday, I made plans with three girlfriends to go out after mass for brunch and shopping, without any kids. I was already feeling on edge to be the only non-mom, and it didn't help that one of them kept commenting how great it was to have a break from kids. It also didn't help that during our shopping stroll after lunch we ended up in Babies R Us. I made some excuse about having to leave the store because I felt like I was having a panic attack being around all that baby stuff.
Anyway, later that day, I was browsing Facebook and noticed that one of the ladies posted something like, "Such a fun moms' outing today!!"
Like really, ouch. That seriously hurt. Moms? Clearly I am not a mom, and I don't forget it for a nanosecond of my life. Her comment made me feel so invisible.
Anyway, maybe it was a hasty reaction, but that was it. No more Facebook. I'd had enough with pregnancy announcements and baby pictures out the wazoo. Enough with feeling less-than and comparing my life to others.
So I quit cold turkey that very day, and honestly didn't regret it at all. I was relieved! I didn't have to be surprised by another announcement or feel a pang in my heart looking at my friends' adorable kids every day. I had real friends that I stayed in touch with and I enjoyed being away from the hubbub of constant information. It really was perfectly fine being off Facebook; I survived handily :)
So when a few weeks ago the thought occurred to me, "maybe I'll go back on Facebook," I was shocked at myself! Who is this crazy person?!
But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be okay. I'm in a very different place than I was in August 2012. Yes, infertility still hurts a lot. (Just got another pregnancy announcement today, and cried.) But I also feel a good bit stronger! Yay! I've come to expect that most people will keep having children - that's just a fact. In a lot of ways, I don't feel as tender and vulnerable as I did a few years ago; it's not all so new and shocking any more (depressingly, I suppose).
And I realized two things: 1) I have things I'd like to share with the world! :) No, I don't have cute children to post pictures of. Fact. But I do have a cute husband :) and we do fun things and our life isn't half bad and I would like to share that life pictorally with friends who live scattered around the country. Because my life is worth sharing!
And 2) I miss people that I used to connect with through Facebook. Mainly college friends, who have scattered, and family that lives in my home state. I realize that Facebook is not nearly as good a communication method as an in-person chat or even a phone call. But the fact is, I'm finite, I have lots of people I love, not nearly all of them I'll be able to visit or call. Facebook is the next best thing, and I'd like to encourage and love on my friends that way!
Finally, I learned some handy tips and tricks from Rebecca (thank you!) such as not following people whose feeds are way too filled with all things baby, and asking not to be notified with posts about pregnancy and babies after I've liked or commented on them. Whew! That makes a BIG difference! There are some people I love in real life who I really just can't take on Facebook - and they don't need to know that. It's not you, it's me!
Plus there's the Catholic IF group that seems like a great place to be! I'm sorry that this is an anonymous blog so I won't share my name, but I'm in there now!
This probably is one of the more nit-picky, minutiae-filled posts I've written, ha :) But this was a big step for me, wading back into Facebook! Hopefully it doesn't sound weird, but I think it's a good sign for my healing, namely my willingness to be present again in this way, despite the possible heart-pains it might bring.