I remember when it all started. My younger brother was a
senior in college, and he proudly showed me all the connections he'd made on
this neat little website with a funny name, Facebook. At the time, you were
only allowed to link to other students at your own college. (Yeah, I bet kids
today don't even know about that. Or that I had to walk 10 miles to school with
snow up to my neck.)
the concept was great, but as it was for students only I didn't actually join Facebook until I was almost 30, and pregnant with my first son. Once I figured
out all the fun "Like" and "Tag" buttons, I abandoned all interest in actually
using my computer to further my writing career and instead found myself "Oohing" and "Aahing" over pictures of my friend's kids.
married and miscarried a year later, I posted the miscarriage as a status
update. Though it seems like TMI, it was extremely helpful, as I'd been 13 weeks
along and had already announced the pregnancy on my page. Facebook allowed me to
tell everyone at once, instead of over and over again in person, like peeling
off a scab repeatedly.
So when I
had the happy news of a second pregnancy, I posted many, many pictures of my
growing belly. I naturally thought my relationship with Facebook would continue
swimmingly. It did not, however.
after my C-section, which left me feeling like I'd just returned from a trip to
Mars, my husband glanced down at his phone. Friends and family were starting to
ask about the baby’s weight, length, features. "Should I just post his photo on
Facebook?" he asked.
I'd rather friends and family formed real-life relationships with my children.
this many times before, the picture of a newborn baby posted seconds after his birth. And I'd cried (of course) from the beauty of it. However, in this
instance, groggy and in pain, I paused. I looked down at the face of my son,
sweet and innocent, in his little plastic tub next to my bed. And I said
something that shocked my husband to the core: "I don't think I want to post
pictures of our children at all."
answer is, while I still love poring over other people's photos, I'd rather
friends and family formed real-life relationships with my children. When
friends urge me to post photos of the boys I assume they miss them and instead
invite them over to my house, for lunch or a playdate. I know I'm swimming
against the current in today's modern age, but a small part of me feels it's
unjust to post photos of my sons when they aren't old enough to have any say in
The natural worrywart in me fears online predators, too, though I
know there are guards against that. I'm not 100 percent certain I made the right
choice; being a mother of young children can be a lonely business, and Facebook
acts the way villages once did, with women posting their struggles (Johnny
threw his bowl of peas for the 16th time across the room, I am going to jump out the window!)
and happiness (Ava took her first steps today!). A friend's comments act as
guidance and assurance. Still, without sounding preachy, it's my personal goal
to recreate a mini village outside the computer, with a few kind mothers in my
neighborhood willing to "Friend" me for real.