July 18, 2011

Are You Ready for Baby Season?

It's that time of year again: the babies are coming.

Photo by Michael Francis McCarthy via Flickr.

Statistically speaking, more babies are born during July, August, and September than any other months of the year. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, not only are more babies born in August than other other month of the year (hello December/Christmas baby-makin'), they are more likely to be born on a Tuesday over any other day of the week (source). The slowest month is February (really - no June sex for folks?) and the day with the least amount of births is Sunday.

If the birth announcements haven't yet begun to clog up your Facebook feeds, watch out: they're coming, according to U.S. birth statistics.

So what does this mean for us who are still on the other side, waiting to make our own Facebook birth announcements one day? If you already feel like you're swimming in a sea of pregnant friends, you know that their birth announcements are just around the corner most likely.

Infertility is never easy when it comes to social media. It's like we're constantly dodging random assaults out of left field, blindsiding us in the process and leaving us calling up all of our emotional reserves. Knowing that Baby Season is just around the corner, we can take a few steps to make this time of year a little easier for ourselves emotionally.

Prepare yourself for the onslaught of Baby Season with the following tips:

It's okay if birth announcements make you joyous and sad.
It's hard having the reminder that someone gets to experience something for which you long, something for which you're working so hard that may have come so easily to them. It's perfectly reasonable to have a moment of jealousy, sadness, and frustration. Give yourself that moment of emotion - and you define how long that moment is. Just don't let that moment stretch into days and weeks; birth is still a joyous occasion and there's still a brand new human being who needs to be welcomed into the world. Allow yourself the permission to get sad and then make that phone call or text to offer your congratulations - because in your heart of hearts, you know you mean that too.

Consider making use of the "Hide" feature on Facebook.
You don't have to de-friend them. Just preemptively hide them and ask them to Facebook message or email you any pertinent news updates (if they can) so you're not left completely out of the loop. This will save you the random "100+ Pictures of Our New Baby!" photo album cropping up in your Facebook feed.

Talk to your pregnant friend and arrange a plan for how you want to be told about the birth.
It might seem very demanding, but it will say a lot about how compassionate your friend can be. Instead of texting you a picture of Jimmy Jr., have them send you an email instead. At the very least, by sending you an email as opposed to a text, you won't be caught off guard in a situation where you might not have the ability to run off and have a quick cry if you need to. Honestly, it takes no more time that composing a text message and allows you to confront the news on your own time with little more effort on the part of the new parents.

Take a break from Facebook for awhile.
If you're not symbiotically connected to the internet like I am, consider just unplugging entirely from your social media life, if you can afford to. I know some of you use social media for your business and that's not possible, but for the more casual users out there, go on a Facebook vacation until you know it's "safe."

Find out if you can make a visit privately at their home instead of at hospital.
For me, it's not the baby that upsets me, it's all the fawning over the new parents. I'm happy to hold babies and coo and touch their little noses. When I'm crowded into a tiny hospital room with a dozen other people all oohing and aahing, I get nervous, arming myself for the inevitable: "So when will you be having one of your own?" Talk to your friend and see if you can swing by one night after they've gotten home from the hospital and offer to bring them some takeout. That way you can visit the new little one in a more secure environment on your own terms.

What are some other ways that you've coped with a flurry of birth and pregnancy announcements? Share your experiences and suggestions in the comments.


annoyed army wife said...

I stop using facebook and it has made my online life a bit more bearable. I don't have to use fb for work or anything and my blog is anonymous, so it's a bit easier for me to do. However, I recently went back home for a wedding and about 6 people asked why I wasn't on fb anymore. I told them I got a hobby and left it at that.

Michelle D said...

I had a lot of friends born in October (including myself) and found it humorous to be 9 months after Valentine's Day HAHA. I used the "Hide" feature on FB a lot and faked happiness until I could have a good cry sometimes. I agree that I hated the groups of people and questions of "when are you having kids?" the most. Avoidance and side stepping were my key survival strategies.

CrysHouse said...

I stopped using facebook. I deleted my account and find that I really am more content as a result.

My friends have also started being fairly sensitive--sending me a text or warning me ahead of time so I don't just emote due to my inability to control it.

When older people started asking me when I was going to have a family, I started asking them when they were going to die. Harsh, but effective. And I'll admit, not appropriate for every older person in your life.

Cherish said...

I look around me to see who had a baby about two years ago and start anticipating that they'll be pregnant soon. That way I've already mentally prepared myself and grieved at home, so it's not too much of a shock to be told the news.

Chickenpig said...

All of this works, unless the pregnant person is a close relative, like a sister or sil, or a very close friend...one whose shower you will attend, for example. I have a very good friend who got pregnant a couple of months before I did, and then I miscarried. I went to her shower and cried all the way home.

The best option is to just get over it the best you can. Even after you have children, FB pregnancies can still hurt...especially when they come easy to the parents. They have that innocence and lack of fear that I have never had, and never will, and that hurts.

Stinky said...

Cryshouse, hilarious! Depending on the asker, I use: "when they stop dying inside me"

August: the month that my babies got misoprostolled out.
No compunction here about fb 'hide' feature, its a necessary tool for survival

gailcanoe said...

I use the FB hide feature, but I also find myself making passive-aggressive comments at times. Especially if a pregnant friend is complaining about her pregnancy or a new mother is complaining about lack of sleep or something. I usually just say, "I would trade places with you in a heartbeat. Please remember that not everyone gets to be as lucky as you." What I really want to say is "Shut the F&*# up!" but I usually stop myself before saying that. :)

Que and Brittany's Adoption Journal said...

I, like Cherish, know people who are on some sort of baby-having schedule. One family I know has a new baby every 3 years, on.the.dot.

It does make it easier to prepare myself for any grief that might pop up.

Que and Brittany's Adoption Journal said...

I also "hide" people on Facebook as soon as they post that they're pregnant. It actually doesn't bother me now like it used to, but I just can't seem to get out of that particular habit.

Emily said...

This is perfect! I can't tell you how many times I do each of the things on this list and think, "Am I being that bitter infertile lady again?" Turns out, I'm not. The FB "Hide" feature has changed my world--and cut down on the number of uterus photos I have to view. ;)