Grieving and Facebook. I have so many mixed feelings about social media, especially now, nearly two years since my son’s departure from this world.
On one hand, I love Facebook and its ability to quickly connect people across the world. In those early days of my grieving process, I would scourge the Internet. I devoured stories from other mothers. Glimpsing the lives of women who had suffered similar losses gave me hope that one day I would emerge from the deepening darkness and depression that threatened to suck the life from me. These mothers were somehow able to get out of bed every day. Even better, they were changing the world with their stories. Though their children were no longer with them, their babies were impacting the world. When these women shared their stories, they showed me that life is worth living after it feels hopeless. They showed me that our children’s voices can be heard long after they are gone. They showed me that I would not be the only one to remember my son and my other angel babies. They would help me to keep their memories alive.
I have always been a writer. After William was born, I wrote and wrote and wrote. It helped to ease the pain by the tiniest fraction of an amount. The words just flowed. And through writing, I discovered how I was truly feeling. I’m not usually one to voice my opinion. But the written word gave me the courage to share my most intimate thoughts. And Facebook allowed me the chance to share those thoughts with a wider audience. In the months following William’s birth, it was so welcoming and comforting to see people reading my posts and providing supportive comments. I’m not sure people realize how much it means to know that even if they don’t understand my pain, they’re willing to listen to my story. By reading my words and posting a response or even just “liking” an article, people were showing me that they cared. Throughout this journey, there have been many times that I stopped caring about myself. But when I saw people’s support and encouraging words, it helped me through the darkest of days.
So, I love Facebook because the people on it helped me through the worst days of my life.
But, lately, I have also grown to despise Facebook.
While Facebook allows me to see others’ support of me, it also unrelentingly shows happy pictures of family vacations at the beach or innocent pregnancy announcements. I try to quickly scroll past them, but I still feel a bitterness and jealousy welling inside me that is hard to control. I HATE feeling this way. I want to be happy for people when they have good news to share. I want to share in their joy. I want them to know that I am thrilled for them. But inside, it hurts. So very badly. Because I imagine what could be, what I should have. And who is not here beside me.
In one way, I can relate to the excitement that resonates through the pictures. I, too, felt the same thrill at one point in my life. But I can’t understand a happy ending. Because I have never had a living baby. I can’t imagine the intense joy that parents must feel when they bring a crying, smiling, cooing baby home from the hospital. And when I start to imagine it, I have to stop. Because it is far too painful. I may never get to experience that joy. Seeing the pictures and announcements feels like a quick stab in the heart. Over and over again.
For this reason, I have begun limiting the amount of time I am spending on Facebook and Instagram. I have found that it is easier for me to live a life that makes me happy when I am not constantly assaulted with images and words that make my heart ache. There may come a day when I completely distance myself from Facebook and Instagram altogether.
However, I will forever continue to read others’ stories. Because these stories continue to inspire me and give me hope. I will continue to write and to volunteer for the Tears Foundation. Because these activities continue to keep my angel babies’ alive. And because, maybe, my angels are helping others through my work.