The Anatomy of Joy in the Age of Facebook

12 Jan

I’m still here. Thank you to the people who have emailed to check in on me. Silence is never fair to this blog, but I admit I haven’t really been able to muster the words. It’s been a slog to get through the days, much more than anything else. I just haven’t been able to be eloquent.

Until now- because I have something to unpack, and this is the only space in which I can really do so.

29 weeks today. This puts me in a relatively safe space. I say relatively, because no one knows better than I that safety in pregnancy is an illusion. I’ve got a cerclage, a killer case of gestational diabetes, and more anxiety than any human can possibly carry without losing their mind.

That being said – I have to start behaving as if I have a baby on the way. Because if all goes well – that’s happening.

****

I kind of dislike birth announcements on Facebook that come with no advance warning. “Baby!?!? I didn’t even know she was pregnant!” is not a reaction I like to have. I don’t know why – I just find it dissonant and off-putting somehow.

However, I am well on my way to being one of those people that out of nowhere announces a birth. Because I have not said a peep about being pregnant.

Oh – I’ve wanted to. I’ve wanted to share a cute story or two about how my daughter is reacting to the news of being a big sister. I’ve wanted to wax philosophical. I’ve wanted to bitch and complain about sugar withdrawal.

But each time the urge to post a status comes over me, I stop short. Because – I can’t. I just can’t.

Social media gives a snapshot of a moment, without an iota of complexity and nuance. How many friends do I have on Facebook, who don’t know my history, who may be silently suffering through infertility or loss? How many of those will see these snappy musings and feel sick, because all they’re seeing is a snapshot without knowing the whole story?

They don’t know the complexity. They don’t know about the losses. They don’t know about the messy, tangled feelings that I’m grappling with at the moment because I lost a son, and yet I’m about to (please please please) give birth to a son.

They don’t know how I struggle with giving the little boy I carry his own identity. Or the fear I feel because I don’t want to lose touch with the little boy I lost.

All they would see are vapid musings. Little snaps of joy or grumbling with no true feelings. No complexity.

And yet – I don’t think I can stay silent. If all goes well I’ll want to shout about this little boy from the rooftops (please, please, please, please be ok). And then I’m guilty of a custom I loath. The pregnancy announcement blindside. Which often, for people suffering through IF or loss, can be just as cruel as those little missives and announcements in between.

Yesterday I composed a long facebook post, after quite a long time with little to no status updates. This is what I wrote:

There are moments that I’ve wanted to post some news here. It’s not bad news. It’s the kind of messy, wonderful, often sad and scary complicated thing that people don’t post because of all that baggage. But that doesn’t currently feel right to me. So bear with me if you can. This goes deep. 

I’m 20 weeks pregnant with a son. He will be the first baby brother to my furiously magical little girl. 

He will be my sixth baby. 

My fifth, of course, being the amazing creature you see popping up on my feed on occasion My fiercely unique and extraordinary daughter. 

My first three were lost too soon. My Fourth was lost too late. A boy – our son – who entered this world at 22 weeks and didn’t make it.  My eldest son, who I never got to introduce to the world, because there was no celebration to be had. 

I am due March 27th. A month before – February 21st – would have been my son Nadav’s 5th birthday. 

How do you mourn a person who you’ve never truly met, but loved so deeply? How do you embrace joy and celebrate the love you have when there is so much underlying grief? 

How do you do that while leaving space to celebrate the life that is about to come into this world? 

All I know is this: The next few months may have some cute pics of my daughter marveling at my growing frame. Or cynical throwaways about physical symptoms. Hopefully ending in a wonderful post introducing our little boy. Hopefully. Hopefully. Hopefully. 

But that’s not a simple and straightforward thing.
On February 21st I will be mourning the little boy I lost while still hoping to embrace the little boy about to (please please please)  enter the world. 

Trying to do everything in my power to make sure that each of them is loved on their own, as individuals. 

So whatever you see here from me, know that it’s messy. And scary. And is making me unendingly grateful for everything I have, had, and have lost. Grateful and terrified. But grateful. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. 

*****

I wrote it. I posted it. I deleted it about 20 seconds later.

Because just as social media is fit for bite-sized missives, I think it’s unfit for long and complex musings on loss, grief, and joy.

Maybe. Or maybe I’m wrong.

Or maybe, (hopefully, if all goes well), sometime in the next few months, there are going to be a whole lot of people thinking “Baby?!? I didn’t even know she was pregnant!”

For better or for worse. And I don’t know how I feel about that.

 

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16 Responses to “The Anatomy of Joy in the Age of Facebook”

  1. April January 12, 2017 at 05:00 #

    I expect silence from you; I know you post when you can. *hugs* I was relieved to read this, though.

    And Facebook? Facebook doesn’t understand. It’s only fit for tidbits, as you said.

  2. Baby crazy January 12, 2017 at 09:04 #

    Dang it! You need to post that! It was /is beautiful. It’s open and honest. Reading it I felt nothing but compassion for what you’ve been and going through.
    When I announced I was pregnant with Paige I couldn’t do it without making ppl understand how special it was for us. I was amazed at how many ppl opened up about their own journeys.
    Anywho just my 50cents worth. Glad to hear from you, glad you’re on the last stretch. Not cool about the diabetes etc though. Take care and sending you much love from NZ.

  3. me0me January 12, 2017 at 13:21 #

    My two cents – it’s posts like that one that balance the bad aspects of social media. They’re my favorite, because they create the most potential for connection and give both writer and readers a shared sense of humanity.

    💜

  4. Angel January 12, 2017 at 15:46 #

    Oh MO, the post was beautiful and honest and gut wrenching and perfect. It doesn’t matter what Facebook IS, it matters what YOU are. Nadav is so irrevocably a part of your family and your story. I personally think you should post it. And if you think the comments (you know the comments!!) will be too much, simply turn them off. Or not as you choose. I personally feel like it’s time we were all a little more open about the IF journey. For those who have been lost and for those families just beginning that walk.

    So much love sent your way.

  5. Suzanna Catherine January 12, 2017 at 17:20 #

    It was nice to see a post from you. You’ve been on my mind.

    Your FB post was perfect. If you’re taking a poll, I vote for reposting it. If the comments would be too stressful just turn them off. It’s your FB page and I don’t think you should have to limit yourself to tidy little 140 character statements as if it were a tweet.

    Sending you love and hugs from half a world away.

    SuzannaCatherine

  6. jjiraffe January 12, 2017 at 19:00 #

    So thrilled to see a post from you. I totally understand all the feelings you express here, and in your proposed FB post. Whatever you decide to do is what’s right for you, at the end of the day. Thinking about you all the time!

  7. cassiedash January 13, 2017 at 00:55 #

    This is beautiful. Beautifully written and beautiful, if not complicated, news. Nadav is forever a part of you. Nothing can erase that. And I am certain that as the baby boy growing inside you grows on the outside of you in a few more months, he will carve his own place in the world, and in your heart. Wishing you lots of peace and sending lots of love in the days ahead.

  8. Daryl January 13, 2017 at 01:30 #

    Facebook announcements are such a minefield. They still get me, even though I have my beautiful, healthy daughter. On the other hand, as you’ve touched on, you wouldn’t necessarily have the same conversations on social media as you would curled up with your bestie and a cup of coffee on your living room sofa. Maybe social media needs a little more messy real life, but don’t feel obligated to provide that if you don’t want to. Your post is beautifully and honestly written, though. Thank you for sharing it here.

  9. Amy January 13, 2017 at 07:07 #

    Oh, mama. You have been on my mind, and just today I flipped forward in my planner and there, on February 21, I’d written “Nadav – 5 <3". We never, ever forget. And it is hard, I think, to figure out how to carry them forward as their living siblings make our day to day lives a beautiful, crazy, exhausting, difficult blur. I welcomed my fourth and last baby last summer, six weeks early. In some ways, her impending arrival was even scarier for me than her older, living brother's had been. Maybe partly because I knew she would be my last, and because I thought/assumed that losing my firstborn daughter and son and then having a second son, my opportunity to raise a living daughter were gone. Now I'm 4.5 months into raising this easy, happy baby girl (and struggling daily with her challenging 3.5-year old brother who literally has only just started liking her in the past month), and I still can't believe it. I sometimes think she won't be mine to keep (fucking pa.xil isn't doing its job anymore), but I carry on and hope to God that she is. I did post about my pregnancy to friends, but refused any baby showers. I wanted to run away and just have her, and reappear later with a healthy baby. It's so hard, all of it. I am relieved to be done. I don't think I could handle another pregnancy. Sending you so, so much love.

    • Mo January 13, 2017 at 11:24 #

      Wow. Thank you. 💜

  10. ceecee867 January 13, 2017 at 16:43 #

    That would have been a beautiful, well-written FB post…. you might consider re-posting it simply because it speaks volumes about everything that is running amok in your situation. Bless you all 🙂

  11. Theresa January 16, 2017 at 19:41 #

    Great to see you again, Mo. I haven’t read much on my feeds to be honest but its really nice to see you pop up again. Congrats on your pregnancy and FWIW I love what you wrote for those few seconds on Facebook 🙂

  12. chon January 20, 2017 at 13:25 #

    I think that if I had seen that I would have been filled with every possible emotion. And also, congratulations.x

  13. Kristen January 23, 2017 at 23:51 #

    Love to you. This is all so hard and messy. Congrats on 29 weeks! XO

  14. SRB January 24, 2017 at 16:53 #

    You put it into the ether, even if just for an instant, and that matters. I hope it lifted even a milligram of weight from your chest. Glad to hear from you ❤ XO

  15. kerrielegendblog March 17, 2017 at 05:08 #

    Nice post! Congrats and keep writing!

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