The stick turning pink or in my case, the phone call from the nurse telling me I was pregnant after 2 long years of trying, was one of the happiest moments of my life. After numerous amounts of fertility treatments, you’d think I would shout it from the rooftops and blast the announcement all over social media. But not me. I am not one of those people.
For me, social media was a monster when we were trying to conceive. Every day I had a new friend posting an adorable baby announcement and then posting a weekly update on how big the baby was with the infamous fruit next to it. It was devastating. How was this fair that everyone else that I knew can get pregnant, but I couldn’t do the one thing I thought I was put on this planet to do? I eventually removed Facebook from my phone so I wouldn’t have to deal with the daily heartbreak. That way it was one less social media post throwing the fact that I wasn’t pregnant in my face. Now, don’t get me wrong. There was absolutely zero animosity towards those people who could conceive the old-fashioned way. I was glad they didn’t feel my pain. I just didn’t need the constant reminder that I wasn’t going to have a baby anytime soon.
We chose to keep our struggle private until the final months when I just couldn’t hold it in anymore. I started to share. I still chose to just share with close family and friends. It wasn’t as if I was ashamed to tell the whole world of our struggles. I mean, look at me now. Hello, World! I just felt it was a private situation that only people close to us needed to know. In reality, no one else goes around telling people how many times they had to have sex to conceive their child. Why should I be held to different standards?
After numerous fertility treatments, trying everything from months of oral pills, injections, an IUI (Intrauterine insemination), and one IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) cycle, we finally went in for the blood tests and found out I was pregnant. The feeling we were longing for: pure happiness. But the joy was also filled with extreme terror. To be honest, I was terrified to share with the world that I was pregnant. What if these years of trying, getting stuck with over 100 needles, and endless amounts of oral medications didn’t give us the baby we longed for? What if I lost the baby?
When the first trimester of my pregnancy was up, we decided to hold off on the big announcement, especially telling the dreaded social media world. I thought about how many of my friends were struggling with infertility in silence. I thought about those people who just lost a baby through miscarriage. I thought about my friends who don’t want their feed filled up with baby announcements and weekly fruit pictures. I thought about those friends not married who knew they would have a limited number of years until their biological clock ran out. If I could just prevent one of them from the lonely feeling I felt, I wanted to do that. I wish more people did that for me.
And of course, we shared our exciting news with family in the first trimester. We announced to friends and work colleagues through email and/or general conversation. Do I feel like I missed out on 300 likes and congratulations on social media? Was I sad that my old college lab partner’s roommate didn’t see my news? Not one bit. I know that I gave a few anonymous friends peace that day by keeping my news private, just like it was before social media ever existed.
And what was super crazy is that everyone respected us for it.
Instead of telling everyone in a 20 minute period and people just writing “Congratulations” out of habit we were able to tell friends and family in person. I was able to see the tears in my parent’s eyes when we showed them the ultrasound for the first time. My husband and I were able to sit around the dinner table with our grandparents and not only share pictures but explain how our son was created. In awe of the technology, the conversation was rich and exciting. I was able to tell close friends in person and cry happy tears that we finally got the miracle baby we had been wishing and praying for. Those moments were raw and genuine. They are moments I won’t forget, unlike social media where the posts come and go in a few day time-span.
I’m not saying that sharing your news or showing weekly bump pictures is a bad thing, but I am just saying to think twice about how much you’re posting. You never know what other people are struggling with in silence. Infertility is not something society talks about openly, and as one of those people who have unexplained fertility; it’s hard to talk about. We are not able to do something we were biologically programmed to do and should be able to do through a simple act of sex. It’s embarrassing. It’s painful. It’s lonely. It’s terrifying.
So for any future kids we may have, you won’t see me blasting pictures of my ultrasound, bump, and/or baby pictures. I will be sharing the news in person and remembering these once in a lifetime moments with those special people in my life. To those out there still trying to conceive and struggling with the same social media monster, this post is for you.