For those of us dealing with infertility, Facebook is an emotional landmine. It might as well be called “babybook.” Pictures of pee sticks, ultrasounds, pregnancy updates from “friends” who post their pregnancy update before the pee is even dry on that stick- this is the land of clueless Fertile Myrtles. They roam carelessly here, reminding us incessantly of what we don’t have.
I would have been one of them too too if circumstances had been different. So many of my dearest friends live far away, and Facebook keeps us connected through the changes in our lives. They posted their baby bump photos and baby pictures and I’ve been truly happy for them all. I’m sure I would have shared a few of the milestones and joys of pregnancy myself by now if I weren’t part of this club.
But at 22 weeks, 2 days, I still haven’t posted an update about the most wonderful news I’ve ever had to share. I watch other announcements and baby bump pictures fill up my news feed, and still can’t bring myself to add my own.
Last week Mr. T’s ex-girlfriend posted her first baby announcement. (Mr. T and I both still keep in touch with our college sweethearts, as well as each other’s-another story for another time.) As silly as it sounds, I have been dreading this moment- when one of our exes posted their pregnancy news. I knew it would happen before we ever posted any news of our own. So, seeing her status update instantly turned my stomach upside down, even though I have my own growing bump now.
Then, reading her update again: “Excited and grateful to be welcoming a baby in December,” I began to wonder if she was one of us. She had waited until past 20 weeks to share her news, and she had used the word “grateful.” Only those of us in this club truly appreciate what it is to be “grateful” and not just “excited” to be expecting.
That evening, Mr. T told me that he had congratulated her on her news privately, sharing our news as well, and how it had been a struggle for us. Sure enough, she had been through her own struggles, with multiple miscarriages before this pregnancy.
Her subtle status update made me realize that it is possible to convey pregnancy news in a way that is understood by others still struggling, without having to spell it out to those Fertile Myrtles who aren’t owed any explanation. After all, I have no desire to share with my 7th grade teacher, work colleagues and random classmates from grade school that I’m “Finally knocked up after 3 rounds of IVF and 2 miscarriages.”
Still, I haven’t posted my own update, and I’ve been debating if I need to at all. On Sunday I had a chance to meet dear Twitter blogger friends @alethea and @breannadk, explaining my dilemma to them. It suddenly struck me that the reason I haven’t posted isn’t entirely selfless, being sensitive to other Facebook friends who may be silently struggling- it’s also because I’m still afraid. I’m terrified if I announce it to the world, something bad will happen.
It’s the same reason I haven’t picked out names, painted the nursery, or started a baby registry. It’s the same reason that the only baby thing we own is a plastic giraffe named Sophie- a gift from friends.
@alethea and @breannadk agreed that I need to post to Facebook, as a small first step to all of these other wonderful things I should be thinking about.
I’ve been depriving my husband from sharing this joy on Facebook too- and after all we’ve been through- we deserve our moment. He only recently admitted to me how jealous he’s been of all our friends’ little ones- he deserves to shout it from the rooftops now. This little one, our miracle from the dish- deserves to have all our friends to share in our joy too.
I still don’t know how I’ll share this news on Facebook, but I’m pretty sure I’ll use the word “grateful.” Nothing else says it quite as well. In fact, maybe “grateful” should be our code word- our way of telling others still struggling that it took time and tears and heartbreak and pain- to get to this joyful moment.
As I sit here writing this, baby kicks me to agree.
So unbelievably grateful.