A couple of months ago, in between late nights at the office and learning German, I wrote a guest piece for my friend and fabulous author (yes, I’m biased), Erin Lawless. It’s about parents who post every nanosecond of their newborn’s life on social media. It was/is, perhaps, a little controversial, but I quite enjoyed it all the same and so I’m posting it here as well.
“Would you all please stop! I don’t care anymore.”
I recently muttered these exact words at my phone one morning while absent-mindedly scrolling through Instagram instead of getting up.
You see, it appears that whenever I open Instagram, check Facebook, pull up Twitter or even get round to pinning something on my (admittedly neglected) Pinterest, there’s inevitably a baby picture staring back at me. If it’s not a baby picture it’s a “Week 34!” or a “This one doesn’t want to come out” pregnancy shot.
Alright, I get it. You’re pregnant / newly with-child / hanging out with your adorable newborn. And that’s cute. Once or twice. But there’s a limit to how many “Look at my amazing partner/husband/wife/baby and our cute new family” I can take (especially before breakfast).
Here’s one where it’s hiding from the ultrasound. #growingahuman
Isn’t he/she/it so cute?! #adorbs #lookslikedaddy
4am feed time. #tired #butshescute #mumlife
ENOUGH. I do not want to see swollen ankles or large bellies. I am bored of babies in onesies sprawled across a bed. And I’ve seen enough ultrasounds to be able to tell you that, it’s ok, you’re not going to have an alien.
But before you write me off as a callous, cold-hearted, childless bitch; hear me out.
I’m in my late 20s. I actively use social media. I have a wealth of friends and family with newborn kids (and judging by the number of pregnancy announcement Instagrams; it’s about to boom). My friends are having babies and that IS exciting. Some of my closest friends, ones I’ve known for over a decade, are making little copies of themselves. We’ve navigated first dates, first kisses, break ups, fan girl obsessions, proposals and weddings together. It’s only natural our lives have reached the point where we’re now being responsible for another life; be it human or cat.
And yes, announcing on social media is a quick and fast way to communicate the news of “Hey guys, we made an us!” (Alternatively: “We’ve been having lots of sex!!”) to as many people as possible with as little effort as possible. It’s especially useful when the people you want to inform are scattered around the globe. But – and here’s where I get up on my soapbox – I do not need you to document EVERY SECOND of your pregnancy. Believe it or not, once you’ve seen one pregnant woman, you’ve pretty much seen them all. They don’t vary wildly in form. It may surprise you, but I don’t particularly want to see your enlarged stomach. I don’t need to watch a time lapse of your body swelling up. And I really don’t want to see a labour shot(!).
It doesn’t end there either. Once baby has screamed their way into the world, my social media feed is plagued with shots, taken from multiple angles, in an array of microfashion, and filtered with Valencia. I don’t know how to tell you this but, I’m not especially bothered about seeing the 157th picture of your baby trying to smile (/fart).
I don’t want to banish infants from Instagram or free Facebook of baby farting faces (they can actually be quite hilarious). My simple plea is just that there’s a few less babies staring back at me when I log in. Your child is adorable but I don’t need to witness its every nanosecond. Just a small update now and then is fine. Especially if it’s funny – like they try to say “banana” and it comes out as a swear word, or you just happened to film them doing the most fantastic accidental forward roll into the cat while they tried to stand. I welcome those posts with open arms. (Mostly because they will keep me entertained during long and tedious days at work.) But please, stop clogging my newsfeed with your sex trophy.
If you really must broadcast every tiny development of your newborn (perhaps you have family/friends abroad who want to keep up with progress), consider creating a private Instagram account you share only with those who you know want to see every detail of your baby’s life or creating a Facebook list that you share only baby updates with. Spare the rest of us (ok, only the lonely, single, bitter ones of us) from having to trawl through numerous “Just too cute” and endless “Look at this beautiful bundle” moments. After all, I don’t fill your newsfeed with sunsets, cocktails, cats and epic holiday photos do I? Oh… Right.