Conclave and Facebook

Today begins the Conclave!

People always go nuts over the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and it is truly magnificent to behold. But, when we saw the chapel, I was immediately drawn to the back wall, where the above image, titled The Last Judgment of Christ, is painted, encompassing the entire wall.
All I know is, I wouldn’t want to be a cardinal charged with the mighty task of choosing the next sucessor of Peter, all the while facing an image of a seriously ripped Jesus about to lay waste to this mortal coil. Gulp. Choose wisely fellas.
Changing gears slightly…
Lent has been rough everybody. I’m doing really well on my “no ice cream” intention. No ice cream since Ash Wednesday, not even on a Sunday. I was doing really well with my gratitude journal for a while, but the last week or so has been very difficult. Probably the massive failure of my hcg injections, with no one to help me, since the pharmacy is in MA and my doctor is 2 hours away. That started the ball of funk rolling.
Then I realized on Sunday, after back to back really hard announcements, that I can’t stand Facebook anymore. I need to get it out of my life, at least for a while. So as of Sunday I added a Facebook fast until Easter. There are some groups on there that I love (like the Catholic IF group I am part of), but others, just….ugh. I started jokingly calling it “Babybook” because every time I log on, someone is pregnant, or just had a baby, or is posting 500 belly shots, is complaining about being pregnant (again!) or posting pictures of them wearing their baby in 600 different positions, nursing them, burping them. I’m actually amazed someone hasn’t posted a photo of the contents of “little darling’s” diaper yet.
Seriously. I love babies. Obviously I love babies, or I wouldn’t be coming unhinged at my inability to have any more. But come on.  There is such a thing as “oversharing”. Yes, I could hide them from my feed. Only, since I’m 29 years old, and most of my friends on Facebook are also around 29 years old, EVERYONE is having babies. And, even more difficult to deal with, second babies. Yes, I could hide the people having babies, who have babies they post pictures of every day. Then I’d have my 14 year old cousin, our priest, and handful of infertile and unmarried friends left on my feed.
No, the problem isn’t Facebook. It’s me. I don’t fit in to the Facebook timeline narrative of life any longer. I’m not having my second socially acceptable child, spaced 2-3 years apart from my first. It’s not so much that I fear being left behind, as that I’ve already been left behind. It’s intolerable. I have this gross, oozing wound in me right now, and Facebook is a salt shaker being liberally applied. Life is hard enough these days without willingly inflicting that shit on myself 10 times a day.
You don’t know how much I wish I could see all the baby stuff and feel nothing but happy for all of those people. I really wish I could. And whenever someone who has been carrying the cross of IF gets that BFP (big fat positive) I do feel happy for them. I feel sad for myself, but I feel happy for them. They are finally getting a reprieve from this pervasive suffering. Intellectually, I am happy for all of these babies. It’s a good thing when new life comes to be. I believe that. But in my heart, oh that’s where it gets dicey.
No matter who it’s coming from, when I hear an announcement, my first reaction is to feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. If it’s in person, I slap a smile on my face, say “congrats” or something to that effect, and try to high-tail it out of there as soon as possible so I can make sure I’m alone when the tears come. If it’s online. If email, I dash off a quick congrats and then cry. If it’s on Facebook, I scroll right past it. If it’s someone I’m reasonably good friends with, hopefully I’m finding out from some medium other than Facebook. If it’s someone I’m not reasonably good friends with, then my “like” doesn’t mean a thing.
Then the anger. The anger only comes when announcements from from (a) people who obviously don’t want to be pregnant (b) people who weren’t even trying and (c) people who got pregnant as soon as they go off of contraception. Not at the people themselves, mind you. It’s not their fault that their bodies work and mine doesn’t. No, my anger is directly squarely at a God who lets people who don’t want to be, get pregnant with ease. Who lets people who spit in his eye and flout the moral law, conceive with ease, when they decide it’s time. Oh, if only it were so simple!
Then there’s the simultaneous existence of abortion and infertility.
When we were fussing with the hcg, me on the verge of tears because it was not working, I looked at Atticus and said, “Somewhere, right now, someone who doesn’t want to be, is getting pregnant. And in 4 weeks she’ll pay someone to kill her baby, while we’re weeping over another cycle come and gone.”
I will never understand a God who lets both of those things exist at the same time. And no answer that anyone could give me would make me understand, or satisfy the level of anger I feel about it. It’s ironic, that my “virtue” for the year is “trust in God’s infinite goodness” because more and more, I just…can’t. I just can’t. More and more, I think he’s asleep on the job. So there it is.
No, leaving Facebook won’t make me less angry at God or myself. It won’t make me less sad about the fact that life is swirling all around me while I remain empty. No, it won’t do either of those things. But it will act as a measure of self-preservation, and these days, that’s probably about the best I can do.
***Wordpress automatically posts to Facebook, so my posts will appear, though I’m not logging on to post or admin them.***

7 thoughts on “Conclave and Facebook

  1. For what it’s worth, I get it. When you don’t something, or you do do something, which ought to be done, but in a certain time and in a certain way … you draw nothing back from the experience.

    At that point one can question. What were one’s motives? Why did I do this or that? Why could I not? Why didn’t God help (or interfere)?

    Trust me, you can really drive yourself nuts if you work at it.

    Remember though that almost every experience has at least two lessons: one for you, and one for God. And if another is involved the number of lessons goes up.

    I have to counsel my daughter all the time.

    Focus on her issues, focus on what’s right or wrong in her own life. Forgive and let go of her cravings and passions. It’s tough since she works with people all the time who have everything she wants, and more, but cannot have.

    It leaves an emptiness and a hole in one’s heart that’s really impossible to fill without turning to God for answers. That is, if one is listening.


  2. I left facebook for pretty much these exact reasons! I don’t miss it at all – honestly. I stay up to date with my friends (real, not facebook) through the old-fashioned means of telephone, letters, and visits =) and it’s a weight off my mind to not have to brace myself for the inevitable pregnancy announcement/update/pictures of everyone else’s children. I saw leaving Facebook as akin to that quaint phrase “custody of the eyes” – I would be consistently tempted to jealousy every time I logged on. Anyway, blessings for the rest of your Lent…and good luck with the ice cream fast too!

  3. I haven’t been on Facebook for two and a half years. I have never regretted it, and I didn’t even leave because of pregnancy announcements. Now, looking back through the lens of almost two years of secondary infertility, I am so glad I wasn’t facing pregnancy news every other day via social media. Yuck. It’s more than enough to learn to be graceful in person, let alone handle the barrage online.

    So much of your experience mirrors mine, complete with less than stellar hcg moments. Wow, if being stuck in the belly by your husband isn’t an exercise in marital trust, I don’t know what is! Let’s say, he ain’t no nurse…Ouch.

    Thinking about abortion, about babies being thrown away, about my older sisters-in-law getting pregnant within a couple months of stopping the pill, twice no less, after being on bc for years, while I struggled faithfully and often in isolation (save for my husband and a few close friends), it was all terrible. We won’t understand it this side of heaven, I guess. I used to just wish it wouldn’t hurt so much. I wished happy news wouldn’t mean me crying the rest of the day over a glass of wine… I pray for you. May God heal your heart and Mary (Mother of one) hold you close.

  4. Sarah, I know exactly what you’re going through. My husband and I dealt with infertility for 10 yrs. I know the pain you feel when someone announces a pregnancy. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. We said rosaries, novenas, went on pilgrimages, and still had no baby. We wrestled with our faith during this time. It’s hard to believe that God would give a child to a drug addict or some other unfit mother, but not us. I was miserable and unhappy. It took a long time, but we finally warmed up to the idea of adoption. We didn’t want to adopt right away because it was hard to say goodbye to our dream of having our own child and experiencing a pregnancy, but we got to the point where we just wanted a child and we didn’t care where it came from. Soon, I knew I would be a mother, so for the first time in 10 yrs, I was happy. Wouldn’t you know it, I ended up getting a BFP. I was pregnant! I am now 45 yrs old and have three healthy kids ages 8, 4, and 1. So why did God make us wait so long? Was there a lesson involved here? Maybe. My husband and I are high school sweathearts and got married at 22. We had our whole lives planned out. When we would buy a home, start a family, how many kids we will have, when we will retire, etc. Maybe God threw a monkey wrench in there to tell us that He is in control, not us. Maybe he was testing our faith. There were times when we just wanted to walk away from Him because it didn’t seem that it mattered. Our prayers were falling on deaf ears. But, we didn’t. We accepted it, continued to love God and move on.

    So, continue to love God. Maybe He’s trying to show you something. Enjoy your little one. You have more than we did at your age. If your cycle starts up again, instead of crying, hold your little sweetie and thank God for the child you do have. Try not to focus on what you don’t have. Focus on the wonderful things you do have. Be positive and happy. Don’t let TTC become an addiction. Let go and let God take control.

  5. Thank you for sharing. May you find some comfort in the responses of your readers and some comfort in your church and faith.
    When I see you the next time I will ask if I can be of help in some way. I wish I had a magic wand for you. We’re praying for you.

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