Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Facebook’s Skewed Perspective August 20, 2012

This post was originally published on April 1, 2011.

In the news this week was a warning from doctors about teen depression and Facebook. Listed among the “unique aspects of Facebook that make it a particularly tough social landscape to navigate” were the “in-your-face status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times,” leaving some kids to “feel even worse if they think they don’t measure up.”

If you’re childless-not-by-choice and spend any time at all on Facebook, these painful feelings might sound all too familiar. There’s nothing quite like a pregnancy announcement or cute kid pictures to remind you of what you don’t have.

But take heart!

The report is very quick to point out that Facebook “provides a skewed perspective of what’s really going on.” I think that’s true. While there are some people who clearly don’t give a second (or even a first) thought to what they post on Facebook, I know that I am very aware of how many people can read my posts and the different levels of “friendship” I have out there. Because of this, I’m always careful to manage my public persona.

If I’m having a crappy day and life is just the pits, I stay off Facebook; I don’t post my misery to the world. On the other hand, the pictures I do post are usually of my best days, out in the sunshine, with my husband, in some exciting locale, living a dream life!

I think that the majority of people post this way – we put our best Facebook faces forward – so it’s easy to look at a small sliver, a snapshot of someone else’s life and see it as perfect. In other words, it’s easy to look at a portrait of a happy family or read a jubilant pregnancy announcement and perceive that someone else has EVERYTHING we want.

But life just isn’t as simple as that.

If you’re at the stage in your journey where seeing some else’s children or baby news tips you over the edge, I strongly recommend giving Facebook the elbow for a while. But that’s just my opinion. There’s been a really great discussion on the forums about how to deal with Facebook. Take a look to see how other readers dealing with it.


4 Responses to “Facebook’s Skewed Perspective”

  1. Peaches Says:

    I really don’t get it why you are supposed to keep your bad side(s) away from facebook. I get that it could be a bad idea to write a public post about it but it should be ok to let your friends know, even the not so close ones, I mean, why not? This is who I am, I’m human, I have good days and bad days. If I ever become an emotionless machine, then I’ll let you know…

    But yeah, what can I say, this world is full of actors… and mostly bad ones…

    The interesting thing is that when I don’t tell people I feel bad then they tell me that they can not help me if I don’t open up and let them know… Damned if you do damned if you don’t…

    Ok, some don’t like facebook in general, they believe you should only talk about problems in person. BUT some of my fb-friends I never meet in real life but they can still be very supportive! Also I cannot know who will care or not, people always surprise me… I don’t have the energy to call every people I know (also, people here in Sweden don’t like it when you phone them, unless you are really close and that’s not easy to get either… long story) I’d rather write about it on facebook and at least let some people know this way than stay at home and just be depressed…

    If more people were honest about how they feel, maybe there would be less desperation and lonelyness out there… Just saying…

    • Wendy Wallace Says:

      I use email to share with my closest friends and I use messaging on Facebook to share only with who I want. I do not have my profile locked down. Even within my close friends I do not share the same things with everyone. I have some friends that because of what they have been through that I would not feel comfortable saying some things to more because I feel like my words would be hurtful to them… while others I could say those words to without fear.

      • Peaches Says:

        ok, that sounds very good, that you don’t want to hurt your friends (I wish my friends did the same more often!)
        I don’t think e-mail would work for me, I’ve tried but most of the times it just doesn’t work for some reason…
        My problem is not so much what to share with whom but rather the “don’t share bad things” kind of mentality that seems to exist today. I’m not going to lie about my life just to look good better. Sure, I don’t share everything, but I do say when I feel bad, at least I used to until I got to hear what a terribly wrong thing that was to do (according to many people) so now I keep things much more inside…
        My point is that it should be ok to let other people know you feel bad even if they are not best friends with you. Some people don’t have any close friends for different reasons, but we are all human beings and I believe we should all try to help each other and not only our friends. That’s what I’m trying to say…

  2. Maria Says:

    I only use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends that live out of State or out of the country. I recently added a few friends and with our busy scheduleds I never get to see anymore. So I have less than 40 people who are close friends or family that I keep in touch with on Facebook. For that reason,I don’t get inundated with posts from people I hardly know who are bragging about their kids. I like to see how my family is doing from far away and, occassionally they do something that makes me feel weird, and I hide thir posts for a while. E.G., my sister-in-law posting about 30 Shades of Grey and telling her daughters to get the book, then I find out its porn. Gross! I told my husband he was so embarassed of his sister. Anyway, because my group is so small I feel comfortable posting the stuff that is the real me, and it’s helpful to receive words of kindness from my family so far away. This is an issue easily managed — reduce your FB friends to real friends. Created a Linkedin account for networking. It has worked for me.

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