These days, most of my time on Facebook is spent in the various support groups I belong to, because once you’ve lost a child, so many social media posts seem just vapid and pointless. Also, it’s hard to stomach the inevitable pregnancy announcements and updates, when people are cracking jokes about labor and gushing about how their baby is a size of a grapefruit, and I just want to comment, “My baby was the size of a bowling ball, and HE DIED. Also, I DELIVERED A DEAD BABY.” You’d think the loss of your full-term baby would be enough to let your circle of friends and acquaintances know that stillbirth is a thing, but no, apparently most women will just blissfully go about their day thinking it will never happen to them.
Hence, in the two years since Luke died, I’ve whittled down my friends list quite a bit, removing people who have consistently failed to acknowledge my loss in any way, or who have shared insensitive posts, or who have otherwise just proven difficult to tolerate.
There are some people, though, whose names give me pause every time it seems like a good time for a purge. They aren’t adding anything to my life, and in some cases have been downright hurtful, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to push the delete key. These include:
• Family members who have never once acknowledged my loss—but they are nonetheless family, and they live far away, and this might be the only way I will ever know what is happening with their lives
• An old college friend of my husband’s, who has basically done very little to support him, and whose wife said to my husband’s face, in response to a blog post I’d written about all the ways people weren’t there for Zack, that anger is just a stage of grief and he would have been angry no matter what they’d done
• An old college friend of mine, who now lives in another country, recently got married, and is now pregnant, and has never acknowledged Luke’s loss, despite the fact that we were once close
• Someone who I’d unfriended at one point years ago for unrelated reasons, but whose friend request I’d recently accepted, only to run into her in the gym and have her say, “I saw it was your son’s anniversary the other day.” (Birthday, but whatever.) “I didn’t know what to say.” (Ummm, I gave everyone a script on what to do. I told people to take a nap, for f’s sake.) “But I’m glad you had another one!” (F you. Just f you. He’s my baby, not a totaled car that my insurance thankfully colored.)
So I wanted to put it to you, blog readers and baby loss moms: Who from the above list would you keep, and who would you delete? Is there anyone on your friends list you can’t bring yourself to delete?
You know me 🙂 These people you’re describing here? I’d delete them all. You’ve seen my profile with like 4 friends, so this probably doesn’t surprise you… The other day I thought you know? maybe I’ll reactivate my old profile. So I did. I was going to maybe try Facebook again – post about grief and baby loss to educate the world (no matter who it annoyed), but first I had to go through my list of 236 friends. I unfriended approximately 200 people – types in the categories that you describe. Family was hard, but if they never acknowledged Matthew, geeez I don’t know that they’re acting like family at all, sadly. Then I realized I still didn’t even like all of the 36 left. (I mean, I don’t hate them but I’m only interested in closer friendships now days and not all 36 fit into this category.) So then I decided, since there weren’t many left what was even the point? So I decided I wouldn’t deactivate, rather I’d permanently delete my profile. So that’s what I did. I’m happy I did it. Pure savagery when it came to my Facebook friends list. On my new profile, I’ll accept only those who I speak to regularly and who acknowledge Matthew, or family who maybe is out of touch but were initially supportive and acknowledged him in a nice way. But that’s only if I decide to use my new profile… I’m not that excited about it… Instagram is a better fit , it seems. I’m sorry you have all these insensitive people to try to ponder! Hugs!!
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Great post. I’m a Facebook fan/addict. I haven’t weeded through and unfriended many–just one I can think of (my homebirth midwife whom I currently can’t stand). I’ve unfollowed a lot of people though. One person that jumped to my mind when reading this is my sister-in-law, my husband’s sister. She’s never actually acknowledged my loss directly, never said my daughter’s name. It would be super awkward to unfriend her, so I wouldn’t. She’s never been rude or said anything hurtful. And we text and I send her pics of my living daughter. I think it’s strange she’s never said anything.
I have weeded out a lot of people and a very high proportion of my fb friends are now other bereaved parents. If it’s too politically incorrect to delete someone just unfollow them. Though I care so much less about being politically correct now!