This is a topic I would like to discuss with you and the Ask Angela readers. I think social media is such an insensitive and boastful place. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for 2 years now. It’s difficult enough going to church and seeing everyone’s little ones running around, but everyday getting on Facebook and seeing babies shoved in my face makes me feel like people are only becoming mothers so they can brag about it on social media. How can we call ourselves Christian women and yet be so insensitive to the struggles of others?
— Sincerely Shame-on-you
Before you do anything else, deactivate your Facebook. A few months ago, I wrote an article about Facebook monsters, and I wish I said then, but I’ll say it now: if the digital world of Facebook is causing you to have negative feelings in your actual lives, then immediately log in to account settings — security — deactivate account, and take a break from the social (read: personal torture?) site.
It’s very difficult for people to imagine the pain and frustration that comes with not being able to bear a child, but most of us can relate to the feeling of wanting something and feeling like, for whatever reason, it’s being withheld from us. For some it’s having a child, for others finding a job, getting married, grad school admission, real friends, increased health, an answered prayer — the list of our desires can go on forever. These desires can be so intense that everything, including the people who have what we want, seems to mock our pain at not having received.
And, yes, some people do use Facebook to brag (“Ugh! My boyfriend won’t stop getting me flowers!” #boyfriends #lovehim #latergram), of course, but is that really why you’re upset?
When you have a baby won’t you want to share that news with your friends all over the world? Via an email? Texted pictures? A blog? Facebook? Will you bring your bundle of joy to church? Where he or she will play with the other children or cry during the quietest part of sacrament meeting? Or will you keep it all a secret? And never share with anyone the highs and lows of motherhood?
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I don’t think these mothers who are posting to Facebook are being un-Christian, or that they’re trying to be insensitive, rather, your feelings are tender. Sometimes when we have tender feelings, especially in this case, it can be very difficult to see others receiving the blessings we desperately want, and that’s OK.
But if you can control your feelings, with the help of the Lord, you may find that these very women with whom you were feeling so much frustration towards, could become a great strength to you. These woman may have overcome similar trials, they may become your real friends, or your shoulder to cry on or just someone to help you feel better during a difficult time.
Shame-on-you, we know what it is to want and not receive, and we have good thoughts for you today!
Readers: What thoughts could you offer Shame-on-you? How do you cope when you feel like blessings are being withheld?
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Advice columnist Angela Trusty answers questions about a variety of topics, including the Mormon young single adult experience. She is published weekly in the Deseret News and Washington Times. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: angelatrusty