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Parenting

To The Mama Trying To Conceive — Don’t Let Social Media Get You down

Mama, I’ve been there, and I know how hard it is.

Originally published on Mother.ly

by Jennifer LaBracio

You’re at work, avoiding your to-do list and wasting time on Facebook instead. You’re waiting in line at the grocery store, scrolling through your Instagram photos. And there it is — another pregnancy announcement splashed across your social media feed.

“OH BABY,” spelled out in silver mylar balloons. A half-eaten slice of pink or blue cake. Mom and dad’s sneakers in the background and tiny baby shoes positioned delicately in the foreground between them.

One more post in the seemingly endless litany of pregnancy announcements out there for all to see.

And in that split second it took for your eyes to scan across that screen, your heart drops. It hits you like a ton of bricks. Sometimes, it even takes your breath away.

Because for you... it’s different. Things aren’t going as planned. There’s no happy news to shout from the social media rooftops.

Mama, I’ve been there, and I know how hard it is.

To the woman who holds that pregnancy test up to the window in the first morning light at every imaginable angle, month after month, squinting for a glimpse of even the faintest hint of a pink line — I’ve been you.

To the woman who knows the incomparable emptiness of enduring a miscarriage, or two, or three — I’ve been you.

To the woman who’s spent thousands of dollars on reproductive technology only to look down at the end of each cycle to see the familiar twinge of red streaked across the toilet paper — I’ve been you.

To the woman who has seen what feels like her tenth pregnancy announcement this month and is left wondering — how can something so natural, so effortless for seemingly every other woman, so innately human, be so unattainable for me? I’ve been you.

It feels like it’s never going to get easier, doesn’t it?

Like everyone around you is having the time of their lives at the party you weren’t invited to. You want to be happy for your newly pregnant friends, but seeing their news plastered across the screen of your phone is yet another reminder of what you don’t have, of what you so desperately want but can’t seem to achieve.

In a time when publicly sharing so much of our lives online with others can bring joy, it can also inadvertently bring others tremendous pain. It seems as though everyone around you is swimming in happiness, yet you are drowning in despair.

I’m not here to tell you it’s all going to turn out the way you pictured it. And I am not here to tell you that you don’t have every right to be angry and sad and to feel utterly and completely drained by all of it. Truthfully, there’s a portion of those feelings that may never really go away.

But I am here to tell you that you are not less than. You are not incomplete. You are not alone.

Your story matters, too, even though you may not feel like posting it on Facebook right now for all the world to read. And this is not the end.

Someday — maybe it’s one year from now, or maybe it’s five — you will find peace with your journey.

Peace may come in the form of a surrogate, or from an egg donor.

Peace may come in the adoption process, or in applying to be a foster parent.

Peace may come in having a beautiful only child, or in spending time with nieces and nephews.

Peace will come in accepting that life looks a little different than you originally pictured.

And you know what? That’s OK.

So maybe your journey isn’t the stuff that idyllic Facebook dreams are made of.

Maybe it’s not one that fits neatly within the confines of 140 characters, or can be glossed over by the lens of an Instagram filter.

But what it is is something so, so much more powerful than that — it’s who you are, and who you will become. It’s finding solace in the fact that you fought the good fight. It’s being defined not by what you don’t have, but by what you do .— resiliency, grit, determination, resolve.

And I promise that wherever you end up will feel like it’s where you’ve been meant to be all along.

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