After any type of loss, social media becomes a field of wildflowers sprinkled with land mines.
It is a place that is both good and bad for grief. After losing my son, it has been difficult to see other’s lives so happy, while mine fell apart. However, it has also been a blessing when I am struggling.
I’ve found that the “unfollow” button is an amazing thing.
If you are struggling with infertility, miscarriage, or the loss of a child, you do NOT want to see everyone else’s happy photos with their children while you are devastated. It feels like a slap in the face. Full disclosure: If you recently announced a pregnancy or had a child after I lost my son, Asher, I most likely unfollowed you. Sorry, not sorry. While I am happy for you, I do not need to see the photos of your child growing and changing, when mine never will. I need to protect myself and avoid massive breakdowns every day. If unfollowing you helps me accomplish that task, I’m going to do it.
For those of you that I had to unfollow, I mean no offense.
I just need to take care of myself and my grief. It’s bad enough trying to avoid triggers out in public (like the crying baby in Target who reduces you to tears), I don’t need to see them in the privacy of my own home. If I can unfollow you to control one thing I encounter every day, then I’m going do it. I’m so happy that you don’t have to experience the pain and sadness that I have been forced to, but that doesn’t mean I can look at your happiness and not be sad for myself. Seeing others happy with the one thing that I lost is heartbreaking.
I’ve learned to avoid Facebook after my loss and 4 months later, I still do.
I’ve found it to be flooded with photos of pregnant women and babies than I can’t handle. Instagram has been the better option and a great way for me to connect with other loss parents. I now follow several women who I’ve never met, but with whom I share a bond. We have all suffered the horrible loss of losing a child. We direct message each other to discuss our worries and feelings. We make each other feel normal for having certain feelings and emotions because chances are, we have all had the same ones. We understand each other’s pain and feelings as we all continue forward on this journey of grief.
Social media has connected me with others from all around the world who understand this loss journey.
They understand when I have a breakdown in the middle of the grocery store and have all been there themselves. Even though I have found social media to be the cause of my breakdowns, anger, and frustration at times, it has also been the cause of smiles and camaraderie. It is a blessing and a curse when struggling with grief. It is a place that should be handled with care as it can be the source of pain or comfort. You need to do what is best for yourself to make it more comfort and less pain.
Story by guest writer, Amy Lied