“If I see one more pregnancy announcement on FB, I’m going to lose my shit.”
– Every woman with infertility while scrolling on social media
You’re not the only one.
It’s like a punch in the gut to open your social media and see an ultrasound picture on someone’s status update. Have you thought about disconnecting completely? Yeah, but then it feels lonely to lose those connections with family and friends. There are some things you want to see.
Then how do you avoid falling into the vortex of self-pity, jealousy, frustration, sadness, and anger?
I’ve got a few ideas to share that I pulled from some fellow infertility warriors and the Circle + Bloom Facebook community (a super supportive reason to stay on social media!).
Know That You’re Not Alone
If you haven’t already found an online community of people who understand what you’re going through, it’s a good place to start. Unfortunately, there are a lot of us infertiles out here. We all know the lingo, the treatments, the excruciating wait, the hormones… the whole roller coaster ride. Find a group of other women who are going through it too – you won’t feel so alone.
Another thing to think about is: you’re not the only one to feel burned by social media. Consider the chronically single people who envy their friends’ wedding pictures. Those who’ve lost a spouse seeing an anniversary announcement. The out-of-work couple who sigh at every new homeowner’s move-in day photos. Or even my friend who adores dogs but couldn’t have one because of her severe allergy. Those cute puppy memes? Ouch.
Everyone struggles with something, even if their Insta feed is perfectly curated.
There’s No “Supposed To” With Feelings
We should feel happy for our friends, right? We want them to experience all the good things in life. It’s wonderful that they’re having a baby. So you should probably “like” their ultrasound photo, and comment about how happy you are for them. Right?
Maybe. And maybe not.
If that’s truly how you feel, then go ahead and plug in those heart-eyes emojis. But if you’re sobbing and yelling at your phone, or just feeling like crawling into bed and pulling the covers over your eyes, shut it down and walk away. There are plenty of other people in the world who can step in and cheer your friend’s good news. This time, it doesn’t have to be you.
You can still be a caring, loving friend and take care of yourself and your emotions.
Take Control of Your Social Media
One of the awesome things about social media is that little “settings” icon. It’s time to click on that tiny gray gear and take control. Unfriend, hide, and unsubscribe. Do what it takes to protect yourself for now – you can always go back later and change it again later.
Here’s some ideas to get you started:
- Less Facebook, more Twitter. You’ll see fewer photos on Twitter, and people are less likely to use the 140-character channel for personal new announcements.
- Take a break. You don’t have to go offline forever, just for a little while. A few hours or a few weeks. Avoid it during your two-week wait, or when your hormones are taking you for an especially bad ride. Or really anytime you’ve feeling vulnerable.
- Manage what you see. If a friend talks nonstop about her pregnancy or her cute kid, hide or unfollow her.
- Share, or don’t. It may help to be open about your infertility by posting about it. You could get messages from others who have gone through a similar experience and can offer support. But some people may not know how to respond, or may say the wrong things. You know yourself and your social network – you’re the best judge of whether sharing is right for you.
- Don’t engage with social media as soon as you wake up, or right before bed. First thing in the morning and last thing at night are generally bad times to peek in on social media. Set your day up for success by connecting with yourself first – whatever that means for you. And wind down in the evening by calming your body and mind. Pick times for social media when you’re feeling strong enough to withstand whatever you might find.
You may not be able to fully control your fertility, but you are in control of how you let social media into your life. If it doesn’t make you feel good and supported – step away for now. It will be there if and when you’re ready to go back.
Try out Circle+Bloom’s free 10-minute guided meditation for fertility. It can help increase awareness of your mind-body connection, balance hormones, and teach you valuable relaxation techniques to support your future pregnancy. Download our free fertility meditation
With love & gratitude,