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Facebook Status Chain Letters and Fake Pregnancy Announcements

Most everyone I know has a Facebook profile and will check their newsfeed and “creep through” their friends profiles at least once a day – often times more. The joys of modern day social media is we can get real time updates on what’s going on with people. The good, the bad, the confusing and the ‘TMI’.

One trend I have noticed in the past few months mostly are those “if you agree with me post this status too” status-type chain letters. The ones we used to get way back in the day via email that would leave me wanting to pull my hair out. The most popular one being in support of breast cancer awareness going around last September and with Christmas holidays being just around the corner another one has popped up. These statues are written to allude that you are pregnant and sharing the news on Facebook — only to find out that you’re not.

While these statuses can be cute and funny (& somehow raise awareness for cancer, which I still don’t get how that works) there is another side to this that people may not realize. When the harmless fun can actually be harmful for some people subscribed to your newsfeed.

As a survivor of multiple miscarriages and the loss of my stillborn son I can be sensitive to certain dates and times – we call these “trigger zones“. I know this is a very common cycle for people living with perinatal grief and for the most part we can brace ourselves for these known dates and plan our care. One trigger that we can’t brace ourselves for all the time is announcements of pregnancy in our family, friends and acquaintances. It’s a part of life that we have to learn to deal with and while hard, we get that.  The same trigger can happen for families struggling with infertility. A spiral of happiness for the other person, the sadness and anger for themselves – it’s a difficult cycle.

With the entrance of social media our daily circle of friends are getting larger and larger. Instead of walking to the office and having a handful of people you talk to every day – you now have a Facebook profile full of friends who you likely don’t see or talk to on a weekly basis – but you are kept up to date with them online. With this comes the larger chance of waking up to another pregnancy announced on Facebook.

We get through it because it likely happens every couple of months.

That is until statuses pop up like this:

I am ___weeks pregnant and am craving ___.

or

WE’RE EXPECTING!!!!!! 5 weeks!! I know its crazy isn’t it? I can’tbelieve it myself! I wasn’t going to put it on here but wanted to make it official. =).. I mean who would have guessed that happening again!! Yep, its official….. We are expecting Santa Claus in just 5 weeks!!! . . . . . . Re-post if you are on Santa’s nice list!!!

Harmless and fun chain statuses. The first one being in support of breast cancer and the second being a ‘cute play on words’ about the holidays. All in good fun, right?  Absolutely, except it’s not always harmless and while there is certainly no harm intended it can very much be for those going through perinatal grief or struggling with infertility.

Pregnancy announcements are a trigger. Triggers can be a great source of anxiety, panic, depression and fear – not fun things to deal with. Yes, pregnancy is totally a part of life we have to learn to cope with, but when we have to use our coping skills and anxiety reducers for fake announcements – that’s when it gets out of hand.  When we open up our Facebook profile to see multiple (& fake) announcements - that’s when it gets out of hand.

They are unintentionally insensitive. Unintentionally harmful. & who likes chain letters anyway?

Read more from Devan on Accustomed ChaosUnspoken Grief
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photo credit: adapted from  VirtualErn via Flicker

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