Skip to content

On Facebook

08/27/2012

Belle

I have lots of planned posts for the week. This is not one of them.

I was never close to my extended family. I used to joke that if I bumped into many of my relatives at the market I might not recognize them.

Why we were not close to our family is not a topic for this blog. When I moved to Kentucky I was finally within a short drive of my extended family and one July we ventured north for a visit. I was absolutely delighted to find warm, fun, down-t0-earth people. It was awesome to see the physical similarities between us – not only do we resemble one another, we share many mannerisms. We often stand the same way, gesture similarly and laugh much too loudly, especially when enjoying cold beer by a bon fire. I have made several visits back to visit my family, and they have visited Kentucky several times.

During our visits my family jokes with the Professor and I about starting our own family and adding to the growing number of children and babies running around the yard. “Oh no… babies are not for me,” I would joke as I swallowed my infertility secret. Eventually we confided in my closest cousin about our struggle and I shared this blog. Since then she has cheered me on when times were tough, she whooped during my fleeting victory, she granted me space and silence when I lost my pregnancy. She has been a wonderful support.

It has been increasingly hard to see children and pregnant people since my miscarriage. Some days the simple act of seeing a pregnant belly on Facebook is enough to send me into a tailspin of emotions – raw and ugly. Other days I can gleefully discuss another friend’s pregnancy and offer humorous solutions to her constipation. My emotions are bipolar and managing them can be a full-time job.

During all of this my sweet cousin, who has two beautiful and healthy children of her own, began pursuing her life-long dream to become a midwife. She posted frequently to Facebook about the wonders and milestones of her journey. One night the Professor and I were browsing Facebook and both landed on a post from her about the joy of being present when new parents hear their baby’s heartbeat for the first time. This was the final straw.

I never got to hear my baby’s heart beat. The Professor never even got to see our baby on the ultrasound screen. Our baby is dead and with it went a part of our hearts. Without any reason or message, I blocked my cousin’s Facebook page. I then blocked other pages of pregnant friends and acquaintances. The Professor followed my irrational lead.

One. After. Another. I watched as my Friend List dwindled. So many pregnant women and new moms gone in one emotional click.

This was months ago. Sometimes I feel foolish for my behavior. Other times, though, I am relieved that I can log onto Facebook with minimal worry of being accosted by an ultrasound photo. While some infertiles just delete their entire account, I don’t. I keep up with a slew of professional contacts on Facebook. I also follow some hilarious friends who regularly post snippets of their daily conversation that leave me in stitches (I’m talking to you K.T.).

This morning I received an email from my cousin. She is hurt that I blocked her. Her email shared personal thoughts and concerns and then delivered some heart breaking news about our family. It had me in tears at 8:30 a.m.  I never, ever meant to hurt her. I feel so blessed that after all of these years I finally have a relationship with my extended family. I am even more grateful that I have formed a bond with my cousin, who shares many of my deep thoughts and crazy obsessions.

I am so scared that by deleting our Facebook connection I have deleted our relationship. What I did was so selfish – this woman has been nothing but supportive of my struggle. The least I could do was follow and cheer as she finally got to pursue her dreams. She, too, has been through far more than her fair share of hard knocks. Why can’t I be supportive of her during this time of triumph? Because I am too wrapped up in myself.

I have become the kind of woman I hate. I am the have-not hiding from the haves. I am the one who brings down a kid’s birthday party because she has to cry for her loss. I am the one who misses family functions because there will be a pregnant belly. I am the one who cancels trips to visit best friends because she is too raw inside to face the world. I am the one who didn’t know her best friend of many years got married because she was too busy mourning the loss of a pregnancy that had barely existed. I am the one who puts her pains ahead of everyone else’s joy. I know people like this and I regularly use harsh terms to describe them: selfish, childish, greedy, pathetic.

I’m horrified and ashamed to realize that I am now one of them.

Advertisements

23 Comments

Post a comment
  1. sangela71 #
    August 27, 2012

    I found the “hide” function on Facebook particularly useful for situations like this where you might not want to disconnect from the “friend” completely but just want to spare yourself having to see the things she posts. People can’t tell if you hide them.

    At one time, I probably had 30+ Facebook friends “hidden” because they were pregnant or parenting babies.

  2. Bethany #
    August 27, 2012

    Belle-
    Once again you have written the words I am unable to say. I am also “one of them”. I didn’t attend family Christmas this year due to “pregnant bellies.” Like the reader above I found the hide function on facebook incredibly useful during the past year. I sincerely hope that this will somehow get easy for all of us infertiles, and hopefully the best is yet to come.

  3. August 27, 2012

    Belle, stop beating yourself up. Just stop. You are not being selfish or a drama queen; every action you’ve taken has been to protect yourself. I get that your cousin is upset about being blocked. Yes, in retrospect, hiding her feeds probably would have been better. But you are not operating in a state where you can always be rational. You’ve lost your baby. As a midwife, she SHOULD understand that grief and pain. This goes with the territory.

    One of the things that I’v found to be helpful is to stop feeling guilty over hurting because of infertility. When I stop with the guilt, I find that there are things I can do. Mainly because I want to do them. Do others like it, hell no. But, by giving myself the limits I need I find that I do better in general.

    Give yourself some time and then respond to your cousin. Explain that, though you never meant to hurt her, seeing her posts about heartbeats was far too painful for you. That it triggered so much pain and emotion. I guarantee that when she sees this note she’ll understand. That it’s not that you don’t love her or are happy for her, but this is just too much.

    Thinking of you. And, once again, stop beating yourself up.

    • August 27, 2012

      Yes to this comment.

      I’m not ashamed to have been ‘one of them’ while I was going through my IF journey. After every single failed IVF cycle I went through one of my best friends got pregnant. Every effing one and every time I got the call I ended up on the floor in a crying, hysterical, not at all happy for them mess. I felt so guilty and like a terrible person but I wasn’t and neither are you.

      I think the sad part is that so many people would describe people like me as “selfish, greedy, childish, and pathetic” because of how I struggled while going through IF which only makes it harder to be open and honest with people about the struggle.

      Stop beating yourself up.

  4. August 27, 2012

    I am sorry belle. there is no way around it, it blows. and i think we all think that we will not be that person – the one who hates everybody pregnant, who is so insanely jealous that we can’t be happy for others…..and then we all get there, give it time and we all do. I certainly did. I had to stay off fb for a long time as my newsfeed filled with pregnancy announcements and I bawled and argued why i deserved it more than them.
    I agree with others, the HIDE function is perfect. They have no idea you can’t see everything they write, you are still their friend, only nothing they do shows on your feed – if you want to go check on them, you can. I used it a lot. And when you are pregnant and thrilled and ready for them again you can unhide them all without them ever knowing the difference. Add your cousin back, she will understand, she knows you’ve been living in your own private hell.

  5. August 27, 2012

    Don’t beat yourself up. This is normal. It may not feel RIGHT, but it is normal. You are in the mode of self-preservation and there is nothing wrong with that. Quite honestly – your cousin should have never sent you that email. She knows of your struggles, and she should understand, or at best, not question your actions. Yes, we would all like to cheer each other on ALL THE TIME, but we can’t. Your loss is still fresh, and blocking a friend whose posts hurt you is OK. Don’t question the validity of your feelings because the pregnancy barely existed. It existed. That’s all that matters. You need, and are allowed, to do what is needed to bounce back.

    And you will bounce back. Never completely, but enough to feel better and move on. It will happen. Don’t rush it for anyone else’s sake 🙂

  6. Jen #
    August 27, 2012

    I echo Cristy’s comments completely. You’ve got to go easier on yourself. What you went through is insanely hard – and it’s not any easier because it “barely existed”. I think a miscarriage would be DEVASTATING, given what you had to go through and how much time it took to get that second line.

    You’ve got to let yourself grieve and NOT keep saying “I should be feeling” or “I shouldn’t be feeling”, because that’s crap. There’s no way you SHOULD be feeling, but you have to just give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you ARE feeling. That’s my biggest takeaway from therapy and I can’t tell you how helpful it has been. As soon as I allowed myself to feel shitty, I started feeling better. It’s like the grief is painful enough. And all the feelings wrapped in with it (including anger, jealousy, bitterness, etc.) – those are so painful! But to cap it off with feeling guilty about those feelings is just too much.

    I hope things get better soon. I know the feeling completely of having bipolar reactions to pregnant peeps and babies. Who knows how to explain it, but know that you are not alone in feeling that way and that it really is okay to feel it!

  7. D #
    August 27, 2012

    I give you a ton of credit for not dropping off of FB completely (as I did). It just got to be way too much for me to constantly see reminders of what I don’t have. I would feel inadequate and upset that people I went to high school/college with that were total alchy’s or druggies popped out kids like it was nothing. You, my dear are 100% completely normal. I hope that after you explained to your cousin the circumstances she didn’t feel as hurt. I agree with many of the other commenters here, you need to protect yourself right now so you can heal and be ready for whatever comes next. It will take time, but you will get there. Just from reading your posts regularly, I can already “see” a positive change.

  8. August 27, 2012

    You have nothing to feel guilty about. Just know where your limits are and search for a better solution.

    What you are dealing with is not as simple as haves vs the have-nots. It’s not the basic desire of wanting a nicer car or a bigger house that someone else may have. You are struggling against the instinctive desire to have kids and the fertility issues preventing you from having them. The reason seeing others easily procreate cuts so deep is because they are deep rooted issues in who we are as human beings.

    Accept it. Grow beyond it. But don’t feel guilty about it.

  9. August 27, 2012

    Thanks for sharing this very honest post. Facebook can be hard to enjoy a lot of times. I have deleted several people I don’t care about and have hidden friends that I got annoyed with. I think it’s ok that your cousin told you how it made her feel. I think the two of you should just be honest about what is difficult so you can find a way to get back to the close relationship. I’ve found that people generally just don’t know how we feel if we don’t tell them so we have to talk about it. Sounds like your family relationships are important so do what you have to do to to maintain those as well as take care of yourself!

  10. pegara #
    August 27, 2012

    Don’t beat yourself up. You have every right to be sad and grieve and do what you need to in order to get through his time. Your feelings are not wrong, they are what you need to do to survive emotionally.

    Too often the people dealing with IF and loss are the ones who are expected to suck it up and be happy and others aren’t expected to consider us.

    I’ve blocked people for an over abundance of baby and pregnancy pics too. Do what you need to in order to protect yourself and screw the rest of them.

  11. August 27, 2012

    Just this morning I was having a discussion with a fellow IFer about feelings. She was being told that she should feel happy for other people who are pregnant, despite her pain. I told her the same thing that many others have told you in the comments here: there is no “should” in feelings. They just are. Whether we like it or not, we’re not in control of them. We can’t change them with the flip of a switch, especially with deep, primal feelings like grief.

    Perhaps it would have been better if you had hidden your cousin rather than blocking her, but there’s no point in beating yourself up over it. You did what you needed to do at the time just to survive. Hopefully your cousin will understand that and the two of you can start over.

    Please be kind to yourself, Belle. I know you’re not feeling too great about yourself right now, but you ARE a good and kind person. Sometimes, though, we need to put ourselves first and that’s ok.

    *hugs*

  12. August 27, 2012

    You really can’t beat yourself up over this. My therapist consistently tells me that I need to protect my heart. And if that means hiding people on facebook and avoiding baby showers and holidays, that’s what it means. You can offer your support to people while still asking them to respect your needs and you need to explain that to people who get offended. Your number one priority is you. You have to remember that.

  13. August 27, 2012

    You are NOT a bad person for feeling this way and doing what you did! It does not make you selfish, childish, greedy or pathetic. Like others have said, you had to do what was necessary to protect your emotions. I hid people too, and my husband chided me for it and was not supportive of it at all. I kept telling myself it wasn’t because they were pregnant or parents, but because I was truly starting to dislike them. But here’s a rub for you….as soon as we were pregnant, I un-hid everyone and rejoined social media. Um, yeah, who’s childish now? That would be me. “Sure I’ll be your friend as long as I get my way!” Right. So much for the lies I told myself! The truth was it was jealousy all along and I was too proud to admit it. Sorry to even mention that, but I just wanted you to know I relate to your guilt.

    Bottom line, I think most of your followers would agree you did the best you could. I don’t think your friendship with this cousin is ruined forever. Just talk to her. She may surprise you and return to being as supportive as she has been.

    Wishing you lots of hugs today!

  14. August 27, 2012

    All above me said it so well already I just say : what they said!

  15. August 27, 2012

    I echo everyone else – you didn’t block her as a malicious action, you were doing it as part of self-preservation! It’s unfortunate that it hurt her feelings, but you didn’t do anything permanent. Right now you are too sensitive to read about her new profession and her family, and it’s your right to filter your friends list as you need to. As you heal, you may feel more able to read her posts. Don’t be so hard on yourself. 😦

  16. August 28, 2012

    I have been hiding people right and left from my feed–pregnant, newly married, just had a baby, have one baby already but I can tell they’ll have more…the list goes on. Lately, it’s been preemptive “hides” with newlywed friends. I just can’t handle seeing all of the posts, nor do I feel like I should have to be forced to look at them if it’s upsetting to me. Like everyone else has said, I’m in the camp of “don’t beat yourself up about this”. Think about life before Facebook–we weren’t confronted on a daily basis with every friend, relative, and colleague’s lives. I think it’s more emotionally taxing than we’re even aware of, simply because it has become a way of life. I applaud you for realizing your boundaries. If your cousin is a humane, understanding, and rational woman (And a midwife, no less!) I think she will be more than understanding if you tell her your reasons for doing what you did. It has nothing to do with her. I think you should call her over writing her an email–leave the digital technology behind and talk things through.

  17. 35life #
    August 28, 2012

    Don’t feel bad at all. Facebook is pure evil most days, and yet I still torture myself daily. I thought about blocking or hiding people and thought in doing that, my newsfeed would probably be silent. There are so many comments about kids and photos and all the moms who “like” everything that other moms post. Every single photo, comment, everything. I could put the wittiest, most exciting news going on in my (childless) life and not a single “like” some days. For the record, I post things to post them, not for a response, but it still angers me that Facebook has become nothing more than a photo album for the fertile. For people who are family or are close that I may have snapped at or been short with, I simply tell them “I have my good days and my bad days”. Those who are close and care should usually understand.

  18. August 28, 2012

    I don’t know… are you hiding from the “haves?” Or protecting your battered heart? I don’t see your behavior “selfish, childish, or greedy.” I think it’s important that we protect ourselves and preserve what is left after suffering from the hell that is infertility.

  19. August 28, 2012

    Well, that’s quite the tirade on yourself. What would you say to a friend if she told you this is how she handled her grief? My bet is that you wouldn’t be so unkind. Infertility and loss takes an incredible amount of emotional energy to survive. You have to put yourself first and do what you need to survive. Survive. Please keep that word and how profound your experience is. I have hidden lots of people, I have stopped attending showers and events that revolve around babies and kids. I’ve lost a lot to infertility and baby loss, but they are absolutely necessary if I’m to keep getting out of bed every day.

    I’d like to add, don’t expect your cousin to understand because she is a midwife. They are in the business of live babies. Not infertility, not dead babies.

  20. August 29, 2012

    Doubly ditto what everyone else has already said. Going through IF is hard enough without family and friend drama. I hope, if you feel like it, you are able to patch things up with your cousin and that she is able to understand.

    I’ve felt the need, and did so, to block/hide friends on FB at times when I just couldn’t handle their baby posts. Do what you need to in order to save your own sanity. You can always go back and read their page if you are up for it later on.

  21. August 31, 2012

    Don’t beat yourself up over this! You were doing what you had to do to take care of you! If you hadn’t blocked her or if you had gone to that family function or that trip you may have been in a worse off than you are now. You need to let yourself mourn when you need to if you don’t it sits and festers and makes things worse. I think you should email her back and explain exactly how you are feeling. Tell her what triggered it. If you want a relationship with her tell her that. And only if you feel like you need to, apologize. I was one of the people who deleted my facebook. I had a whole bunch of acquaintances that friended me and the people I really care about I saw in person often so it really didn’t matter. It was the most freeing thing I did for myself.

    Express not repress! Reminds me of a scene from one of my favorite movies French kiss. http://youtu.be/R-jXANe8Eh8

  22. September 3, 2012

    I know Im very late in responding to this post. But I saved it because I wanted to make sure that I did respond. Because I can relate. In fact I could have written it. You express yourself so well. And again after my own chemical pregnancy this month Ive been more than a little down. So I understand better than I ever have before, the feelings youre expressing here.

    Thank you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: