I have a dilemma. And I know it will be one that people have differing opinions on. But I’m trying to figure out how I feel about it, precisely.
You (maybe) know how on your Facebook timeline, you can scroll all the way back to “born 1983,” and you have blank years between, say, 1983 and 2006, when you actually set up your account. But at some point in the not-so-distant future, there is going to be a wave of teenagers with every single year of their lives filled out, thanks to their overenthusiastic parents.
And I guess no one really knows what this is going to mean for the future. And maybe I’m giving Facebook (or whatever comes after Facebook) too much credit. But I think it’s a pretty safe guess that things aren’t going to start turning backward. Everything’s going online.
When Drew and I got married, we got into a small scuffle or two with friends over the fact that we preferred that people not post tons of pictures of the wedding, particularly if they’re, you know, sitting in the back and taking pictures on their phone. Ultimately, yes, some pictures got posted, and it didn’t really bother either of us. But the other day, I saw that a (far-flung) friend of mine had posted 300 pictures into an album called “Wedding,” and my first thought was, “Oh wow, I didn’t even know she was getting married!” and then when I looked at the pictures I realized it was just a wedding that she attended. (I don’t even think she was in it…just a guest. Which seems extreme to me.)
But at least those people are all over 18. Lately, I can’t stop worrying about the whole phenomenon of posting a million pictures of your baby on your Facebook page. Let me just admit, I don’t think I will be able to resist that, for a couple reasons.
1) How can you not show off something like that? How cute would an Instagramed baby be? Am I right?
2) I’m pretty sure that I’m still like halfway in the closet with this whole “being pregnant” thing, and if I post a couple pictures of me and Drew holding an infant, it’s going to make it a lot clearer.
(There’s also a whole other side issue of the “attention wanted” posts, versus the “for entertainment purposes” posts, versus the “for the family members” posts.)
It’s not just the possibility that one day this kid will want to be the president (ha, yeah right), and won’t want pictures of himself or herself naked in a bathtub. It’s also a safety thing. Drew pointed out there are people on Facebook, who we don’t really know in real life…but we know EVERYTHING about their (very young) children. Like, we could probably use the knowledge we have, to kidnap said children. And we would never do that, because we’re cool, but there are people out there who would totally do that.
I can’t claim to be particularly good at staying anonymous – I’m sure that I’ve accidentally let slip too many details here. Things that I didn’t mean to say, but “oops” happens.
And even if I can resist putting a bunch of pictures – there are still all these other people running around with cameras and phones and wanting to post stuff.
I can be kind of private about some things. And delivery is going to be one of those things. I’m good having our parents in and out during labor, and hanging out…but when it comes down to business, it’s really important to me that it’s me and Drew (and I guess some doctors or something). It fits with our whole “we’re a team” thing.
So I’m going to be pretty bummed if I come home two days later and find out that it’s already on Facebook, because someone jumped the gun – purely out of excitement, I’m sure. But how do you put that out there, without sounding like a total bitch? It’s just gotten too hard to put restrictions on things like that.
Friend anecdotes: one friend was very strict about things early on. She didn’t want her kid posted anywhere linked with his name, or with the names of her or her husband. I think she was thinking about safety. But eventually she’s posted more and more pictures and videos of him on her Facebook, which I’m sure has the highest security settings.
Another friend has been strict the whole time, and her kid is 3 years old. She’s also told family members to take things down because she doesn’t want them just floating out there. She also told us a story about a relative posting a video online with the caption, “[Name]’s first steps!!” And all the family members were commenting and loving it, and she had to say, “Hey, listen, she had her first steps a week ago and her father and I were there you can’t just take that away from us.”
I guess that’s my fear. My long-winded fear. I just don’t want this to get away from us. I want the two of us – Drew and me – to be the keepers of the milestones and the reveals. That’s all. I guess. Luckily, none of our parents are really into Facebook, so they won’t go crazy. Other friends and relatives…might be harder to rein in.
Silver lining, which I keep reminding myself: I am so grateful that this kid is arriving into a world of people excited and happy to meet him or her.
PS. He or she has been kicking the whole time I’ve been writing this – perhaps as if to say, “Moooo-oom, you’re embarrassing me” ?