Monday, 20 April 2015
#Microblog Mondays - NIAW and CIAW indecision
April 19th to 25th is National Infertility Awareness Week in the United States, and May 19th to 28th is Canadian Infertility Awareness Week. I don't know why there are two different weeks - wouldn't it have more impact to have everybody focus their efforts on one week? or is it better to have two so that people get two reminders? hmmm....
This week many people are acknowledging NIAW on their blogs, and a couple of people (so far) in my network have done so on social media. I don't know how many times I've gone over in my head what I could or might say about infertility/sub-fertility on social media. (I'd planned to wait for CIAW, if only because I'm indecisive, but at the same time I like the energy that is happening this week! and after all, what does infertility care about national borders?!)
But I just don't know. I have around 180 contacts on Facebook. It breaks down into 1) people that I am closely connected with outside of social media (family, close friends, close colleagues) 2) people that I was connected with at one time but probably wouldn't be anymore if not for social media (people I met through work or recreational activities, friends and internet friends whom I don't see much anymore, a few former students, a few people I went to school or university with) 3) people I have a casual connection with, such as colleagues I don't work closely with, or people I see at band but not anywhere else, and then 4) a bunch of people who are only connected because of mutual interest in certain things (music or literature, mainly). There's some other bloggers in the mix too; I don't know if they fit any category or are in one of their own!
Most people in category 1 already know about the fertility issues, and have for some time. And if there was someone who didn't know that I really wanted to tell, I wouldn't want them to find out through a public Facebook post. So if I posted something, it wouldn't be with the goal of sharing information. Why then? The other reasons are more abstract: to show solidarity, to get people talking, to possibly encourage someone who is struggling with infertility and feels alone.
What's stopping me? well, in no particular order:
1) I don't want to start a public (or depending on the person, even a private) conversation about our fertility issues on Facebook. At the same time, if I post and someone asks a question, I feel like it would be contradictory to respond with: "Yeah, but I'm not talking about it! (with you)."
2) How much or how little do I say? I feel like if I'm vague, I'm leaving things open to speculation, which could impact on personal or work relationships in the future. People might make assumptions but not bother to check if they are at all true, and even if there's no consequence attached to that, it bothers me that people might think things of me and my family that aren't true. Although that could happen in any scenario. On the other hand, getting really specific doesn't seem appropriate for the audience (see above). I could just post something general about infertility and say little to nothing about us, but I still feel I should be prepared if people do ask questions, and that leads back to the same issues. I think most people are socially aware enough to recognize what they do and don't need to know, but I know maybe a couple of people who may ask more than they really need to know, the sort of people who like to force intimacy.
3) I wonder if being an "urban legend" I'm qualified to speak up about infertility. Here's how the conversation I kind of dread goes: 1) I post something about infertility 2) Person asks: "So AJ was conceived through assisted reproductive technologies? 3) Me: "Well no, you see we got very lucky and had a natural conception following failed treatments 4) Person says: "Oh, yes, I hear that happens allthetime!!!" So, how many more are you planning to have?" 5) Me: "Ummmmm....."
So what could be gained by posting about infertility/subfertility on social media?
1) Show solidarity with others who are walking this road, people I know about or don't
2) I might feel less twigged by people's (second in particular) pregnancy announcements if I feel I've been clear about where I stand
3) People might think twice about pestering me or others about when or if they are having kids/more kids (I think that would be my ideal outcome, actually). It so pisses me off when people aggressively question about kids. Especially when they include a poke or nudge with the question. Don't !@#$ing touch me I may hit you!!!!
I don't know. Any readers shared on Facebook or other social media outside of the ALI community? (well I know a couple have, at least). Why? What did you choose to say?
I will add, anyone else who chooses to share publicly, for whatever reason, you have my full support.