life, love, and maybe babies

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cutting the Digital Cord: Why It's a Good Idea for Infertiles to Step Away From Social Media

The election is over and the holidays are on their way. A time for tradition, egg nog, and aggravating posts on social media:
  • 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 can 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 decided to do it. I suspended my Facebook account for three months. 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 to do.

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, 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, step away and go for a walk. Hell, 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. You plaster on a smile and pretend it's all good. Your body knows better. It can feel the tension and the anger.. 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 and your mind are in pain.

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? #friendoftheyear

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 getting to be a bit much for me and I needed a break. And you know what? Not much changed. The people that I truly enjoyed following started to email me or text me more often. I didn't miss much of anything (especially those awesome political posts from random family members I barely speak to anyway). 

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

4) Your husband/partner will feel special again

I am so guilty of checking my stupid social media 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 suddenly having complete conversations 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 to a fault. 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. These sites aren't trying to hurt you, but it's still a knife to the gut when you see an ads for 30% diapers.


                                

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

*****

Bottom line- I'm not saying leave Facebook and Twitter and Instagram forever. Maybe keep one and ditch the others. 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 tweet impeding your 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. 

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



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