While miscarriage and general infertility are not pleasant experiences, they certainly are educational in the grand scheme of things. In MANY facets, really. But I’d like to focus now on one in particular.
Social media has really enveloped American culture these days. (I say, “these days” like I’m some old granny or something…sheesh!) But in all seriousness, between watching for/responding to this week’s POTUS tweets, or looking for the best Instagram filter to use, our culture is really quite driven by social media.
Just last week I had a discussion with family during “Saturday Lunch” (*Sidenote: each Saturday we get together with my cousins, parents, aunts, grandma, great aunts and uncles… whoever is around really for lunch at a local fast food location. Pretty cool, huh?) who had recently gone to a local apple orchard. My cousins told the rest of us about their pre-lunch adventure to Apple Holler with their three little kiddos. As they told us their story, we were shocked to hear the cost was $18 per person (kids included!) to go through the gate and into the orchard to pick/fill what was described as a very small bag of apples. One of the story-tellers told us she asked if she could go through the gate into the orchard just to be with the rest of her family (and therefore not pick any apples to purchase). She was told, “No. Even if you don’t want apples, you need to pay the $18 to even go into the orchard.” From there, a conversation ensued as to why this was the orchard’s policy.
As a group, we began to discuss why one would pay upwards of $18 per person to go apple picking. Before social media, one would go to an apple orchard for the apples (and the fun of it as well), but the prices would then be more akin to prices seen in a grocery store, maybe a little bit more. Throughout our conversation, we decided that today, going to an apple orchard is not only about the apples, or experience with family or friends. Of course those are innately part of the “going to an apple orchard experience.” However, in our era of social media influence, it’s also about about getting one’s picture taken while picking and eating the apples. And I’d put money on the fact that many of those who attend an apple orchard today are more motivated by the post they will later make to social media than the apples themselves or experience. I mean, would you pay $18 per person for a bag that holds 6 apples? No! (At least I should hope not! Go to Pick’ N’ Save, ya nut!) But, would you pay $18 per person for a bag that holds 6 apples AND a beautiful orchard with countless opportunities to take the perfect “Fall Profile Picture?” Clearly the answer is “Yes” as a drive down I-94 this time of year displays countless cars parked along the frontage road of Apple Holler.
(*Sidenote: I’m not dissing people who go to apple orchards and take pictures to later post on social media. I mean, my own family did it and I’m not dissing them! Don’t send me angry comments. I’m just a girl trying to make a point.)
Social media drives American Culture.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. But it’s something of which to be cognizant.
Switching Gears: Before I was ever pregnant, I dreamed about the different ways I would announce to family and social media that “Baby Seager” was coming.
How would I tell Joe?
How would I tell my parents? Perhaps a cute little present at Christmas time that said “Future Grandpa,” or the good old, “Let’s all take a picture and instead of saying ‘cheese’ say ‘I’m pregnant’ and catch everyone’s faces”?
How would I tell my co-workers?
How would I tell FACEBOOK?
Would I take those cute little “stand sideways and watch Megan’s belly grow” pictures?
It was exciting to think about these announcements – both those in person and those using social media. When I was finally pregnant last Fall, it was exciting to tell Joe, my Dad (my mom already knew in a “not to announcy way”), and to take the goofy pictures standing sideways. I even went CRAZY and bought a while bunch of new mantel decorations because I decided I would stand in front of the mantel for my weekly “baby bump pictures” so that we could not only watch my baby bump grow, but also see the seasons change in terms of “what was on the mantel.” Great idea, right?
I was ready for Facebook. I was ready for “Baby Seager,” as well. But I was ready for Facebook.
And I’m not saying it’s bad that I was excited. Of course sharing the joy of something akin to the blessing of a pregnancy is positive thing! But social media is far from the most important piece of such a journey.
The celebration should be about the baby, not the announcement.
Apple picking should be about the apples (or, the fun experience with family) not the picture for Facebook or Instagram.
I thought about blogging our journey to parenthood for some time before I finally began this blog. I knew it would make me feel better if I did, but something was holding me back. That something, was social media (and the greater cultural “ways” of announcing to important family members that one is pregnant). When I began to blog, I knew I was giving up ever having an “exciting moment” to tell Joe, my parents, co-workers, friends, and FACEBOOK that we were pregnant. At this point, anyone with access to the internet and an interest in our journey will have the entire story at their fingertips. I mean, I won’t be surprising Joe that we are pregnant. Nor will we be surprising our parents, coworkers, extended family, etc.
Maybe those moments will never come at all.
Or they will come in the form of adoption at some point down the road. Regardless, the “picture” is no longer of any importance to me at all. The apple, the experience, is what I have put my entire focus on.
And for that, I am thankful.