Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Facebook Sickness April 17, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

I’m convinced I’ve picked up a new form of morning sickness. The primary symptom of “Facebook Sickness” is feeling nauseated every time a “friend” posts yet another comment or photo updating her (or his wife’s) pregnancy. It’s an epidemic:

“Here’s a picture of me at week 5!” (Looking no different than you looked at week 4.5.)
“Here’s the latest ultrasound image!” (Still looks like a blob of nothing to me.)

“Today my pregnant wife is craving ice cream!” (I crave ice cream every day. Big whoop.)

“I’m kicking my mommy today. Love, Baby Girl Smith” (“I crapped on the hallway carpet today. Love, Scout the dog”)

I can’t comment with what I’m really thinking because that would be rude…and, well, I actually am happy for these people. But I am SO OVER the daily belly photos that I am tempted to post one of my own:

“Here’s a picture of my belly. Still fat.”

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. A bowl of chocolate chip ice cream would go a long way to adjusting her attitude today.


16 Responses to “It Got Me Thinking…About Facebook Sickness”

  1. Maria Says:

    When I first started a Facebook account, everyone I knew was inviting me to be a friend and I accepted them all. I did feel bombarded with updates on their happy lives with children. So one day, I decided to go through my list and defriend all those that were hurting me (even if it was not intentional). I now have less than 30 friends, all of who are family who live in other countries or friends that moved out of State or out of the country. At first some people were offended and I told them I was only using the account to maintain relationships with people that are so far away I couldn’t maintain them in person. Some people got offended, others understood. It really doesn’t matter because at the end of the day — you have to take care of yourself and do what is best for you. At that time, that’s what I needed to heal and I don’t regret it one bit.

  2. Jenny Says:

    Being someone who doesn’t really like to talk on the phone, FB has been a great way to stay in touch. But the newsfeed is a daily source of pain. I try hard to screen out the constant mommy bombardment: the belly shots, ultrasound pics, etc. I had some friends who downloaded some app that would give a weekly report of the baby’s complete growth cycle including very detailed illustrations. Not to mention the updates including the latest cute thing that has been said, or “I’m so fulfilled because of my children” posts. Screening them out has helped some but you can’t hit “hide” without reading what has been said and then the damage has already been done. I know they don’t realize, and I know none if it is intentional, but most of my friends know I can’t conceive and that we’ve expereinced some great (to us at least) losses. Do they not for one second realize what it does to me to have to see all of that? I always try to be sensetive about what I say to others but I may not think twice anymore about listing the number of hours of sleep I get at night or posting pics of our wonderful vacation without kids. :/

  3. Kathleen Guthrie Woods Says:

    Maria & Jenny — Thank you for your comments. I was worried this morning that my post would be hurtful to some friends who might read it (because I am genuinely happy for them and their good news), but I can’t help that the bombardment of FB posts of this nature can be also be very painful for me (and other childfree-not-by-choice readers). It’s so hard to have to turn on the filter every time I want to catch up with these friends, and I do want to stay in touch and celebrate with them. A delicate balancing act, to be sure.

    • IrisD Says:

      How about we all friend each other, post pictures of trips we might have taken (or other cool stuff we might be up to), etc. and comment, comment, comment!!! I don’t mind the kid pics, what gets me are the “If you have a beautiful daughter/son, who makes your life worth living… etc., etc.”… “Motherhood is the toughest and the best job ever…” etc., etc.

    • Maria Says:

      I can think of 2 couples in particular that I also wanted to remain friends with. However, every time my husband and I would see them, the only thing they talked about were their children and who was having babies. The wife especially. I had to distance myself from them by declining invitations and not viewing their FB page because it was so painful for me. They knew what we were going through and never made any attempt to be more sensitive. We hardly see them at all anymore. At first I felt bad that I was losing them as a friend. Now that so much time has gone by, I see it as a natural progression because we no longer had anything in common with them. And that’s ok with me because I now realize that people who are insensitive to my feelings really aren’t very good friends to begin with. FYI, I have other friends who have children and when we get together we can talk about everything but their children so I know it’s possible. So don’t feel bad to let go of relationships or people that are bringing you down.

  4. Quasi-Momma Says:

    Kathleen, Kudos for saying what we’re already thinking. Made me laugh out loud today! Thank you!

    Iris, I’m there with you on the meme’s. I don’t want see those either.

    What blows my mind is seeing someone who is so excited about their pregnancy they post the pic of the positive pregnancy test. As someone who’s lost pregnancies that kills me. Why??? It’s just my jaded perspective, but I hate to hear people talk about these things like they are a foregone conclusion. Of course that could be the jealousy talking! ; )

  5. Reese Says:

    I just had this very thought last night. Some days are harder than others to see all of these posts. The day after Easter was filled with endless pictures of babies and toddlers on their Easter egg hunts. Major blow to the psyche. I’m thinking of avoiding FB in the days surrounding the typical “danger zones” i.e., Mother’s Day, Easter, etc. and possibly reorganizing my Friends lists so I can avoid the Mommies when I’m not in the mood!

  6. Maria Says:

    Here’s an idea — you can like this blog through Facebook. If you do, your Facebook account updates your page daily with new articles. Maybe our FB friend will read a few and learn something about being more sensitive.

  7. Klara Says:

    great post & great comments!

  8. Reblogged this on fertilitydoll and commented:
    Ohh yesss Facebook sickness… but there’s that nice functionality called ‘hide from feed’

  9. Mali Says:

    I’ve been very lucky that I don’t have friends (or family so far – but the younger generation is starting to think about babies) on Facebook who do that. If it happens, they’ll be hidden PDQ.

  10. Sue Says:

    I hid all of my friends with babies on FB long ago. I only get the occasional kick to the gut via friends of friends who comment on posts or when other people are tagged in photos. Just yesterday a friend was tagged in an ultrasound picture – GUH! Facebook can be such a mine field.

  11. Just Jinny Says:

    I totally accept the fact that sometimes its just going to be difficult for me to be over the moon happy for pregnant people, friends or not. I’m not rude {I keep my thoughts to myself} but I remain silent..and for some people that can be even more of a slap in the face. Especially on Facebook. “She didn’t even LIKE my status update about how I had to get up and pee three times in the middle of the night…how rude of her”. They just have to deal with it.

    But I could post a picture of my belly and title it ‘Still flat…HA HA!’

  12. loribeth Says:

    I’m at the stage where I’m starting to get pictures of people’s GRANDCHILDREN. :p

  13. Mel Says:

    Thank you for writing this. It’s such a relief to know I’m not the only one who feels this.

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