After spending a lot of time in various infertility support groups over the last decade of my adulthood, I’ve learned just how deep the roots of social media anxiety goes when it comes to the holidays and pregnancy announcements. Everyone who struggles knows they are coming. It’s like a ticking time bomb we’re all just waiting to go off.
The quintessential pregnancy announcement: piggybacking on a holiday as a way to announce a pregnancy.
Welcome to social media anxiety for the infertile and mourning. I have found that I have to spend less time on social media around the holidays so I can be exposed to one less person “adding a pumpkin to their patch” or “one extra name to Santa’s list this year”. Even the 4th of July isn’t safe because guess what? Someone has a firecracker coming! And it’s not me.
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I’m not saying all of this to deter people from sharing their Pinteresty announcements with the world, because I am sure you worked hard on it. I also completely understand and recognize what it feels like to finally get to have one of those quintessential announcements. But remember that no matter how Instagram-worthy an announcement is, you can’t always expect a big reaction when we’re still trying to process infertility and miscarriage. If we’re not excited that you came up with a new announcement trend or repeated the same one as 10,000 other people on social media, it’s not personal.
A couple of years ago, my family took a lovely picture that had four pumpkins in it and everyone lost their minds over it.
Everyone and I mean everyone, thought it was a secret message. They were so sure that they were decoding an announcement. I can’t even begin to explain how frustrating it was to constantly have to tell everyone that no, our pumpkins didn’t have any significance… that we were allowed to have four because they were cute, they didn’t have to mean anything. My family will never be able to take a picture with more than three of anything without someone assuming we’re trying to cleverly announce something. The over-saturation of holiday-focused pregnancy announcements has definitely made my family have to be careful when it comes to pictures we take and share. Even my husband recently said, “we better not post a picture of the 4 pumpkins we just bought at the pumpkin patch or everyone will assume it’s an announcement.”
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The holidays can be tricky. They’re full of so many wonderful moments, fun traditions, special one-on-one times with family, and parties with friends. But while some are planning out and photographing their holiday pregnancy announcements, others are thinking of how they are going to get through hanging up their memorial ornament on the tree. They’re trying to process the fact that they were supposed to be buying gifts for an extra child this year, but no longer get to. They’re anxiously trying to dodge the social media pregnancy announcement bus, so that’s why they’re not keeping up with your daily posts, and they didn’t “like” or “love” your announcement. Again, it’s not personal.
With pumpkin season in full swing, the pregnancy announcements have begun.
Do not ask me if I saw “so-and-so’s announcement” because it’s possible I did and I don’t want to talk about it. Please allow me to deal with it in my own way, at my own pace, in my own timing, without being taken off guard. Do not text me and ask. Do not call me and ask. Do NOT tag me. Do not whisper about me to someone at a gathering asking, “does she know you’re pregnant?” because guess what? I heard you, and you just made everything more awkward. Do not ask me if I’ve seen someone’s gender reveal. Do not ask me to plan anyone’s baby shower. I’m just trying to make it through the sea of social media without drowning.
The holidays, while I love them, bring their own challenges. Sometimes the best thing we can do when we’re mourning is to avoid the things that trigger us… sometimes that means ignoring social media and dodging the holiday pregnancy announcements for a while.
Photo by Jessi Wallace
Jessi and her husband Glenn have spent their 11-year marriage navigating infertility. Between her PCOS and his male-factor infertility, they have struggled immensely to grow their family since the beginning. They share one daughter conceived from fertility treatment (born 2010) and had one surprise miracle pregnancy after five+ years of TTC that ended in a devastating miscarriage (2017). Jessi writes about conquering infertility, embracing motherhood, recovering from a miscarriage, and her faith on her blog Life Abundant, on Facebook, and on Instagram.