life, love, and maybe babies

Monday, August 10, 2015

Cutting the Digital Cord: Why Infertiles Should Consider Leaving Social Media

The election is over and the holidays are on their way. A time for family, egg nog, and over the top family posts on social media.


A little over a year ago I wrote a blog post about getting rid of social media for awhile. And look, I rely on social media. It's how I stay connected to all of you. But sometimes it isn't healthy. And I need you healthy so you can focus on your baby making.

So here's the post I wrote, updated for now. Read through it, share it with your friend who just saw 3 posts in a row about babies, and then consider logging out and walking away for a bit. You just might be glad you did. And hey, I'll still be here when you get back. So there's that.



  • Sooooo blessed to find out we are expecting our 4th child in January! Guess that super birth control pill didn't work after all. LOL!
  • Ugh, I hate being pregnant. Someone kill me. #notplanned #16andpregnant #MTV #selfie
  • Why would anyone ever adopt? I mean, there are so many precious babies out there that need homes! #adoption #IVFisaSin

Look, we all do it. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, blogs - it's how we stay connected. It's a convenient and voyeuristic way of seeing what is going on with friends and family and even perfect strangers across the globe.

But it will drive you crazy.

When I was in the throes of my fertility treatments, I often found myself tangled in the trap of social media. I'd be waiting for my umpteenth blood workup and hop quickly on my phone to keep occupied. I'd be happily reading ridiculous political posts and the occasional rant about bad customer service from a carpet cleaner, and BAM, there it would be. Pictures of my cousin's brand new baby. Mocking me. Laughing at me.


It's enough to drive anyone batshit, yo. Unfortunately for infertiles, we're already halfway to crazy, so it basically drives us straight to the nut house in our bathrobe and curlers.

And so, after many hours of debating and thinking, I finally did it. I suspended my Facebook account for three months. I cut the cord last year right before the holidays. At the outset I was concerned about missing all the engagement announcements and "Happy Holidays from the Murphys!" photos that were sure to be abundant during that time. But in retrospect, it was exactly what I needed at the time. 

So if you're an infertile and you can't take one more post about Sally Jo and her kid having green diarrhea, allow me to bestow on you the 5 reasons you need to let social media go for awhile.

1) It's distracting you from what's important

You, my friend, have protocols and schedules to follow. You have medications to take and happy thoughts to be thinking. And while it's lovely to see that your best friend is pregnant for the third time right before you leave for an RE appointment, it isn't doing you any favors. It's taking your eye off the proverbial ball (the ball being a baby). Instead of focusing on your own pregnancy journey, you're now having the "WHY NOT ME??!!!" conversation in your head.


Instead of logging on to Instagram and seeing yet another picture of your colleague's newborn, try something else. Step away from the apps and go for a walk. Eat a banana. Or...if you refuse to delete these apps altogether, considering hiding those people you know that are pregnant or just had a baby (trust me, I won't mind). Focus on yourself and your journey.

2) It's making you grumpy

How many times has your RE told you that keeping a positive attitude and a light heart is vital to the fertility process? Every time you see a post about a baby, your heart clenches. Trust me, I know. You plaster on a smile and pretend it's all good. Your body knows better. It can feel the tension and the anger and the icky stuff. It knows the reason you're snapping at your barista for failing to make a non-fat latte isn't because it's early in the morning. It's because your insides are in pain from Fertility Overstimulation. (And yes, I made that up.)  

Your body is smart. It knows when you're lying to yourself.

3) Deleting social media might just improve your social life

Can you imagine how awesome your friends will think you are when you send them an email or a text to tell them happy birthday rather than a Facebook post? Or if you actually call them to see how the first day of their new job went? You might get a Friend of the Year Award.

When I first suspended my Facebook account, I didn't tell anyone I was leaving, I just went. Over the next few days, several people emailed or texted me asking why I'd dropped off Facebook. I explained that it was just getting to be a bit much for me and I needed a break. And you know what? Not much changed. The people that I loved reading about on Facebook started to email me or text me more often. I really didn't miss much of anything (especially those awesome political posts from random family members I barely speak to). 

I found that if something was really important, and a person was special to me, they found a way to communicate their news. And I didn't risk a Fertility Overstimulation episode in order to hear about it.

4) Your husband/partner will feel special again

I am so guilty of checking my stupid social media pages when Hubs and I are eating. What a terrible, atrocious, rude habit. But guess what? Once I deleted those apps, I had nothing to "check" anymore. I just had him. One night at dinner he actually said, "Hmmm, something's different. Oh, I know. You haven't looked at your phone once."

We were able to have a complete conversation without stealing glances at our devices. I felt more connected to him than ever. And really, when you're going through infertility stuff, feeling connected to the father of the child you're hoping to create is kind of a big deal. Attention must be paid.

5) No accidental advertisements

Twitter and Facebook and Google are smart little cookies. So if you've ever written an update mentioning the word "pregnant", chances are those sites think you're preggers. Subsequently, you will start to see ads for bottles, diapers and baby clothes in your Facebook feed or off to the side of your Gchat. Those sites aren't trying to hurt you, but it's still a knife to the gut when you see a Facebook ad for "Pregnant and scared? Call 1-800-XXX-XXXX."


By unplugging those social media outlets, you once again start to take control of what you see. Remember, you can't see an advertisement for breast pumps on Facebook if you AREN'T ON FACEBOOK.


Look, I'm not saying leave Facebook and Twitter and Instagram forever. Maybe just ax one and keep the other. I maintained a relationship with my Instagram the entire time I dumped Facebook and that worked for me. But protect your heart. Clean out the clutter that is keeping you from focusing 100% on making a baby. This is one of the most important things in your life and you don't want something as stupid as a Facebook update making you lose focus. After some time has passed and you feel like you can handle a rant about "Synthetic Babies" from your Aunt Ethel, consider coming back. But take it slow.

And in the meantime...don't give up cool infertility blogs. :)

XOXO friends,

Thursday, August 6, 2015

5 Questions You Don't Ask a Pregnant Lady (and what to ask instead)

I have reached the stage in my pregnancy where everything - and I do mean everything - gets on my nerves. The decaf coffee takes too long to brew, my shirts feel like they're choking me and why can't people DRIVE PROPERLY?

I'm kind of a mess.

Hubs has done a great job dealing with my irrational behavior and I feel like for the most part I've kept it relatively under control, but there are a few things that are driving me bananas.

The questions. All the damned questions.

Now look, I get it. People are curious. I've opened myself up to questions because I've been relatively forthright about fertility struggles and yadda yadda. So I know that people feel comfortable asking questions about my pregnancy. But you guys, some questions have me thisclose to going postal.

The thing is, I know I've asked these questions of my pregnant women in the past. I wanted to make conversation with them and they are the top 5 that just naturally come to mind. But now, as a preggers gal myself, I am realizing they are really just not appropriate. (There are exceptions, and I'll get into that.) you have some friends or colleagues who could use a schooling in etiquette when it comes to pregs peeps? Feel free to show this to them. Let me be the bitch for you. Someone has to do it.

5 Questions You Don't Ask a Pregnant Lady (and what to ask instead):

1. Are you going to have a natural childbirth or are you getting an epidural?

This question is loaded. No exceptions. No matter what you say, the type of person that asks this is probably going to tell you his/her birth story. And it doesn't matter if their intentions are good and they had a great experience. Chances are, whatever you're planning to do won't line up with what they did. Inevitably, you hear their story and end up feeling like you're choosing the wrong thing, and then you get anxiety and eat a bag of Doritos to cope.

Some women (*raises hand*) have never had a child before and we're, frankly, scared to death. We don't know what the hell we're going to do. We want to believe we can withstand the pain of childbirth, but we also know that a paper cut sends us running to the Tylenol. You asking what our birth plan is just works us up and makes us feel we're doing it wrong. And that just isn't good.

What to say instead: 

I know the idea of labor can be scary. I used a midwife and didn't have pain meds, so if that's something you're interested in hearing more about, I'd love to tell you my experience.


I know the idea of labor can be scary. I ended up getting an epidural so if you'd like to hear more about my experience or advice I have, I'm happy to share it with you.

The point is, you aren't forcing your poor pregnant friend to listen to your story about how you were in labor for 32 hours and when you finally couldn't take the pain anymore you got an epidural but it didn't take properly and you FELT EVERYTHING and OH MY GOD it was terrible. Unless your friend asks about your experience, it's probably best to just let it lie. If she really wants to know about your delivery story, she'll ask.

2. Are you going to quit your job and be a stay at home mom? I did it and it was the best experience ever. And don't feel bad about quitting - your job is to be with the baby. Not every woman feels that her entire existence centers around her children (even infertiles like me want to keep working). On the flip side, some women would give their left ovary to stay home can't entertain that option due to financial constraints and now you just made her feel like shit. Good work.

Here's the real deal: maternity leave and stay at home moms and all that jazz is a tough subject to navigate. There are feelings and budgets and marital dynamics to consider and you stirring that pot up just to make conversation isn't thoughtful. 

What to say instead:

I'm going with nothing. At most maybe you can ask how long she'll be taking for maternity leave, because that's going to eventually be common knowledge. However, she could be on the fence about returning to work at all, and she doesn't need you breathing down her neck to make a decision. Unless this is a super, duper good friend who has been open with you about pregnancy from the beginning, just wait and see what happens and be supportive when it does.

3. Are you going to breast feed?

This one is so tempting to ask. But please, just please don't ask. I'm guilty of it myself and asked women all the time before I was pregnant. Now I'm kicking myself for the pressure I probably made those women feel.

Breast feeding/nursing can be a huge struggle for a woman. Especially a woman like me who has never had a child. Will my milk come in? Will the baby even accept my breast? Will I have the energy to nurse after an exhausting day at the office, because if pregnancy is any indication, just keeping this child alive without falling asleep is going to be a challenge. 

Over the last few years, the breast feeding movement has gained a lot of momentum and that's fantastic. Breast feeding is a wonderful thing that many women are able to do with ease, or maybe even with difficulty, but they push through it and make it work. That's amazing for them. But for many, many women, it just doesn't work for a litany of reasons. And even if you are adamantly positive you are going to breast feed, sometimes you discover it just isn't going to happen. And that can be hard on a woman who really wanted to take advantage of that opportunity.

But I want to get my friend some of my fave nursing products for her shower, and I don't know if she's going to breastfeed. Well, it's called a registry. If there isn't breast feeding paraphernalia on her registry, it means she's a) not planning to breastfeed or b) hasn't decided. Simple as that.

What to say instead:

This is one of those instances where being close to the pregnant woman (best friend, mother, etc) might give you a pass. If your friend is planning to breast feed, she might want some advice and as someone close to her, your input could be helpful. However, if you have never talked about anything other than printer cartridges or shared a meal with her outside of the break room, it is NOT okay to ask this question. I'd say to go with something like, "I'm so happy for you and your husband (or partner). You're going to be a great mom and please let me know if you need anything!"

That's it. No mention of boobs, nipple cream, pumps or formula. It just isn't an appropriate question.

4. OMG, you're so big! Are you about to pop?

Women come in all shapes and sizes. Just like men! And I feel like this question oftentimes comes from a human of the male gender. And I's awkward. After all, Jane has been waddling around the office and whining about her feet being swollen for weeks and weeks! SURELY she's almost done and can shut the hell up about it because it's really interfering with your ability to play Solitaire on your computer during the day.

A woman's size is not open for comment, ya'll. Pregnant or not, it's just not an okay topic. Some women start showing at 8 weeks, some don't until close to 27 and beyond. But guess what? It isn't your business to tell them they look big. Just like it isn't their business to say, "Hey George, having pizza for lunch again, eh? Think maybe you should opt for a salad instead? *wink wink*" 

What to say instead:

You look so lovely today.

5. OOOOH, can I touch your belly?

No, no you cannot. If you even had any idea the amount of hormones that were raging through a pregnant woman's body, you wouldn't go within 10 feet of her. Here's a tip: women who are pregnant (at any stage) probably aren't feeling very gorgeous. We've got extra blood coursing through our veins, our uterus is doing all kinds of weird growing, and our patience level is at zilch. And that's when we aren't even showing yet! By the time the belly pops, we're pretty much over it, so you showing up all Chester Molester and wanting to feel our stomach is just not okay. 

What to say instead:

You look so lovely today.

So there you go. The 5 biggest questions not to ask a pregnant woman. But there are so, so many more. (Are you going to use cloth diapers? Are you carrying twins maybe?) What other questions annoy the living daylights out of you?


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