This post has nothing to do with surrogacy, but probably something we all can relate to someway or another. No better way to vent than blog!!
I have been an active member of Facebook for almost 2 years now. I remember the days where MySpace was popular (whatever happened to that?) and my husband and I thought it was absolutely ridiculous!! It appeared absolutely absurd to have your life broadcast online, showing the world every detail of your good and bad side. Back in those days (which seems so long ago), if you were married, had kids, or over the age of 25, having MySpace was rather questionable. But, now Facebook has become this HUGE phenomenon that every person seems to have; even my parents, aunts and uncles, and even grandparents!!
So, my husband and I decided to try it out and jump on this bandwagon. We know any sort of extreme exposure of our lives may come at a cost, so we decided to make a joint profile page, "Ashley 'n' Cameron". Ever since then we have continued adding "friends", daily status updates, and lots of photos. Although I continued to take part of this virtual network, I have always been very skeptical about every aspect of it.
It is so absurd to me that some people have 500 + "friends" on Facebook. Really?? Do you really associate with this many people on a daily or even weekly basis? Yes, I had around 150 at some point, but even that seems like a lot to me. What in the world do you need that many people to know about you? For me, Facebook is about reconnecting and sharing your life with people you know or have shared a past together. It isn't about, let's see how many "friends" I can get so it looks like I have some sort of high reputation I have to live up to. Yes, there may be a few people that are involved in multiple school, church, or work groups that have collected many relationships over the years, but lets face it... people with 1,000 or even over 500 friends really need to get a life!!
Where did privacy go??
As unlikely as it appears, I am a somewhat private person. But, somehow Facebook proved me differently. I can remember those days where you would run into someone you have not seen for months or even years and that quick conversation of "What have you been up to?" seemed like it could go on forever. It was nice running into someone and finding something out you didn't know, and going home to tell your family, "guess what so-and-so is up to these days?" That is clearly not the case as 2011 approaches. It can be very awkward having these run-ins these days. Although you haven't seen someone in ages, you know absolutely everything about them!! There are uncomfortable silences because there isn't much to talk about. I really miss those days where life used to be a secret. Now, we have hundreds of people involved with your every action and know where your life is going.
I didn't think twice about putting my children up for the world to see until recently. At first it was really fun posting pictures and incidents I had of my boys... I loved to share how cute and accomplished my family has become. This sharing, or bragging, has really got me thinking. I didn't notice its effect until I saw the exposure from other people's profile. Without mentioning names, when people posted pictures or videos from their baby's ultrasound, delivery, first baths, or every little milestone, it really got me questioning if I was doing the right thing as a parent. Yes, people can make their own decisions about how their child/children are exposed on the internet, but for me, it has got to stop. Children do not have a voice and do not know the effects internet exposure can have. They don't have any choice when it comes to their life being broadcast on the internet. Basically, we are allowing our children to grow up in the public eye. Every picture or memory that we as parents get to enjoy, so do hundreds of our "friends". I don't think this is fair. I am not sure how I would feel today if I knew that my every day life and childhood was detailed on the internet for so many people to see. Some of you may think I am way over thinking this, but I guess that it is just me being a very protective and caring parent. I don't want everyone to experience all of these precious moments of my children... they should be just for me and my husband. And for those of you who do have hundreds or even thousands of friends, please be careful of what you do post. You really want all of those people looking at little baby parts?? Hmmmm, out of all of those people, I am sure there is at least one who isn't as trustworthy as they may appear. I may be a little extreme here, but I don't see it as being as safe as some of you may think. I think you can never protect your kids enough these days.
Why don't I just limit it?
Some of you may ask, why don't I just maintain a profile but limit my posts/pictures? Well, that's like telling an alcoholic to just consume an ocassional drink and not get drunk. Facebook has become a daily habit for me. I am so used to sharing my crazy incidences or posting pictures of the past holiday or vacation we just had. I have tried to cut it down some though. I deleted about 30 of my "friends" and erased hundreds of photos that I had posted over the past couple years. But, as time went on and I continued to get more friend requests and more pictures I was so tempted to post, FB still was there. I guess it is about self control too. There are many people out there who stay so busy with work or school who find little time to access the internet to download pics or what not. But, being a stay-at-home mom really comes with a lot of down time. What else am I going to do with my time when my boys sleep 15 out of 24 hours of the day?? There is only so much cleaning, laundry, ironing, and grocery shopping a mom can do!! When I go onto the internet to check email or online shop, I always click on the Facebook link where that "What's on your mind" box just stares at me!!
And I don't want to become one of those FB creepers. That's what I call those people who have a profile page, hundreds of friends, that never have any FB activity but yet know every single aspect of your page!! It's like they want to look like they are too good for FB and have sooo much going on in their life to even have time for something as silly as this type of socialization, yet for some reason they are able to follow your everyday life without you knowing. I hate that!! So, no, I am not going to become a creeper and maintain a page and check out what everyone else is up to without sharing my life. That just isn't going to work with me.
So, why not get rid of it now?
So, as of December 30th (just a few more days) I will delete (not just deactivate) our FB profile page. Why not do it now you ask? Well, it's kind of like starting that diet that always has to begin on a Monday. When you are so accustomed to something, setting a date to stop or begin is always easier. I know many of you would never admit it, but FB is addicting. When something is apart of your everyday life no matter what it is, it can become an addiction. Facebook will always be there and I will be tempted to go back on. But, I know that I really don't want to and in order for me to follow through with my wishes, I need to be strong and avoid it. I am not going to sit here and say that I will never rejoin. I don't want to be slapped in the face with an "I told you so." But, there may be a day in the future where I will be able to maintain less than 50 friends, more family than anything, and make my profile a super private page so I don't continuously get hundreds of friend requests, but I have no idea what I will decide. Heck, I may even love my new private lifestyle sooo much that I may never want to come back. Who really knows?!?
So, I will miss some of the contact I have with close friends of mine. I did meet a lot of people that I hope to maintain relationships with the old fashion way (email that is). I have had a lot of support with my surrogacy journey on Facebook, so that is going to be really hard to see gone.
I will keep up this blog because I know I have helped a lot of people with my journey. But, it is my goal not to share too much of the girls' lives on here because I know my IP's feel the same way I do about FB and don't want their girls growing up on the internet either.
Here is to a new year, with new resolutions!! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and enjoys bringing in 2011. I had an overwhelming awesome year, and it only will get better =)