The other day a friend confided to me that she was pregnant. I was among a rare few to know her news, as she had decided not to announce her little one on Facebook until after he or she arrived. (Talk about a surprise!) In this social media-driven age, we feel the need to share every single moment of our lives, which makes the decision not to share a sonogram pic or your growing belly at every stage for all of your friends to see, seem nearly unthinkable.
But I really admire her choice, and I believe it’s one I would make myself if I became pregnant again. Why? For three simple reasons:
1. Fear of Loss
Four years ago, I was pregnant for the second time. At around my 14th week, I shared a picture of my pregnant self and announced our big news to all of my friends. Two weeks later, I was told by my doctor that I had a missed miscarriage. The loss was devastating, and having to announce to Facebook that I lost my child only amplified the pain. There were friends who saw my pregnancy announcement but not the post about my loss and would write on my wall or send me a message asking about the baby. Then I’d have to explain to them that there was no more baby.
There was something both heartbreaking and humiliating about having to explain it over and over again. It made grieving more difficult, and it left me feeling more vulnerable and exposed than I known to be possible. While I am open about my loss now, it’s because I have come to terms with losing a child. Talking about it now is my choice.
2. To Avoid Unwanted Questions
When my son Norrin was diagnosed with autism, everyone said that having a second child would be the best therapy for him. But when I started to share the news about my second pregnancy, people congratulated me and then asked, “Do you worry about this baby having autism?” Friends, family, even strangers, asked me. I was elated to be pregnant the second time and I didn’t need (or want) people trying to scare me under the guise of concern. If I were to become pregnant again in the future, autism would be the least of my fears.
3. Consideration for Others
There are times when I log onto Facebook and it seems like my entire feed is knocked up. It’s update after update of sonogram pictures, daily baby bump photos and beautifully photographed gender announcements. It can be a little much, and makes me long for the simpler days before Facebook. Social media can be both a blessing and curse. This doesn’t mean I’m not happy for my expecting friends or that I hide and/or refuse to like their photos or updates. I am happy to celebrate in the joyous moments but it can be hard not to compare other people’s lives with my own. It’s like a constant reminder of my loss. When a friend becomes pregnant and shares the news on Facebook, I immediately think of my friends who have suffered a miscarriage or long to have children but have not been able to. I know their hearts ache a little too.
I don’t know if we’ll ever be blessed with another child but if it were to happen, I think I can safely say I’d keep the news off social media. While I love Facebook and sharing moments of our lives – there are some moments that are best kept just for the people closest to us, and in person.
Trust me, the elated smile and hug of a congratulatory friend means way more than any like ever will.