Loving mom’s Facebook post sets me off

I’m scrolling through Facebook and here comes one of those picture posts with a saying about the glory of motherhood. This one proclaims, “Having a daughter is God’s way of saying, ‘Here. I thought you could use a lifelong friend.’” It goes on to say, “I love my daughter with all my heart. Share if you do too.”

Just jam a knife into my heart. I’ve gotten this one twice this week from women I love and whose daughters I cherish, but who don’t understand how these posts affect women who never had children. They have every right to glory in their children and I’m happy for them, but it hurts and I’m not sure how to react. Not having a daughter, I can’t “share.” Do I “like” it when I have trouble even looking at it? Do I try in the comments to explain how it makes me feel? In at least one case, I don’t dare. One friend would send me a hug, but the other would scold me for whining and tell me it’s my own fault if I don’t have kids.

Is it? Hello, God? Is it my fault? Did I free-will myself out of motherhood? Should I have stopped using birth control in a failing marriage? My husband would have noticed; he was vigilant about making sure we didn’t get pregnant. After that, should I have not married a wonderful man with three kids and a vasectomy in case someone else showed up to give me children? I have never met any other possibilities.

I was young. I didn’t want to be alone. I didn’t know all this would happen. I thought I could still be a mom right up until I realized it was too late. That caused me to drink a lot for a while. It took another decade before I could say the words, “I will never be a mother.” So it’s my fault?

No. I don’t want to “like” this post, and I am not going to comment, so I scroll past and read some more junk about Trump and Clinton. Let my loved ones assume I was busy and missed their posts.

To be honest, my initial reaction to the Facebook post was a wistful “if only.” Then I got mad.

Today there was a different post: “Share if you have a handsome son.” Uh, next. We’ve all seen them, the shout-outs for daughters, sons, granddaughters and grandsons. Good for them. I’d probably post the same things if I could. I’d be disgustingly proud of my kids. I’m bad enough posting pictures of my dog.

Okay. Thanks for letting me vent. My life is good. I’m out to lunch, the ocean view is gorgeous, and my Caesar wrap is delicious. Also, the kid in the next booth is driving me nuts. She won’t stay in her chair. She is not eating her kid-size fish and chips. At least I don’t need to deal with that. So what if I’m eating alone? The book I’m reading is great.

Two old women in sweatshirts and jaunty hats pass by. They’re laughing. I can be like them.

Keep saying it: My life is good. My life is good. My life is good.

Whew. See what one little Facebook post can do? Okay readers, what sets you off?

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12 thoughts on “Loving mom’s Facebook post sets me off

  1. Hi there Sue, I hear you! I must have numbed myself to those posts because I see them but keep scrolling unaffected. I have a rather skeptical view of fakebook anyway so I don’t hold much stock on those types of posts. (Give me the personally written status update any day)

    Also, I’m in the itty bitty minority that would NOT be posting pic after pic of my kid(s) for the sake of online privacy and safety…. so I just don’t think like the majority anyway.

    Ya know, it seems to me like those images you described are lumped into the superficial, ooey-gooey “I just love my new boyfriend! I love my husband! I love my wife! My __ is awesome! I love him/her so much! I have the best ___ in the world!” category. The images/pictures are shallow, and more for the person doing the posting than the audience. (I’m not talking about a heartfelt, heart motivated personally written post. Just the images people find and share.) I’m not saying the person doing the posting is not sincere, of course they are; I’m saying that to the audience those images frequently come across as ‘that’s nice dear… next.’

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  2. I’ve been through that as well. It does hurt. Although, men can reproduce forever, women can’t. I’ve always thought that was unfair. I’ve been a stepfather and step grandfather and it’s not at all fulfilling. I do everything I can to not be around my step grandsons.
    I care for them, but I don’t love them unconditionally. I’ve tried and I just can’t do it. If that’s wrong, then so be it.

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  3. I hear ya. Lot’s of meme’s out that. Scroll baby, scroll!!

    It’s the local “women’s groups” that get me. A night out of the house? Try a new restaurant? Check out this new location? Catch a movie? That all sounds great until you read it and it say, “Join other Mom’s as we . . . blah, blah, blah.

    Like seriously people – you couldn’t have just replaced “mom” with “women”?

    I feel like leaving a comment such as, “sounds like a blast. However, I noticed that this invitation is for MOM’S. It’s too bad your club isn’t extended to witty, creative, accomplished women of all walks of life. I’d attend for sure if it was.”

    I agree – Life is good, life is good, life is good.

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  4. I tend to ignore those posts, just like I ignore the ones that say “my husband / boyfriend / _____ is the best in the world and bought me that latest Tiffany whatever with a bunch of red roses”. I put those down to people wanting to fill their own void of insecurities or issues, making them feel better to put that up and show off how great that one instant moment in their life is compared to the other instances where they could also be saying “my husband / boyfriend / ______ annoyed the crap out of me this morning for not _____” (we could all fill in the blanks!). I have this very firm opinion that if you are going to use Facebook as an open book into your life, then those sorts of posts need to be balanced with the other not so great stuff that goes on in your life. Which nobody does (or very few people do) and which is why I now find it a pretty useless social media tool. Put up your family photos, sure. Share a funny story about something your child said or did that makes people laugh, sure. But rub it in other people’s faces that you have a better life because you have something that not everyone can have. No, I draw the line there. Then you’re just being insincere. I also have an opinion that if I was to see you on the street and not be inclined to stop and talk to you, then we shouldn’t be Facebook friends. And if we are Facebook friends and you were to say such a thing to my face (that is on these posts), then we probably wouldn’t be friends for very long. Either that or we’d have a very long conversation about how it makes me feel and we’d know from there whether we were friends or not.

    And hence why, since my Facebook has stopped working on my phone, I feel a lot calmer and less emotional and only seem to know the important stuff – the stuff you find out through watching or reading the news, through a phone call, or talking to people as you see them, through reading books, through a considered, written message.

    And on the flipside, if you’ve put one of those posts up and the day after you follow it up with one that says you threw your husbands shoes in the bin because he kept leaving them in the way to be tripped over even though you’ve told him a million times before not to do that (yes, I may have done that in the past …) then I would tend to think you are being sincere on Facebook and we could very well be friends.

    My life is for me to live, and not for others to make me feel bad for living my way, by choice or not.

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  5. I got rid of Facebook a while ago mostly due to the baby posts (and partly due to it being fake…We haven’t talked since high school, we aren’t “friends”). I don’t miss it.

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  6. I can totally relate and this is one of the reasons I canceled my Facebook account. It seems so fake and I’m not good at being fake. What amazes me is how women with children just don’t understand how painful it can be – now that I’m off of Facebook a friend of mine texts or emails me her sister/cousin/friend’s baby pictures and announcements!!!! If they were hers I would want to know but I don’t get why she feels the need to share everyone else’s good news as well. I guess she is happy for them and I know “of” them through her but really? If I knew a friend wanted to find a life partner I hope I wouldn’t be going on and on about how much I love and adore my husband, so lucky to have found him, etc. The older I’m getting the more I realize some people don’t get the “happy ending”. My husband was my fairy tale when I met and married him, I just never imagined once I hit my 40’s that proverbial biological clock would really kick in.

    I probably sound very bitter and yes, at this moment I am in some respects, as much as I try to focus on all the things I am grateful for in this moment, my husband, my health (physical – mental not so much ;), my animals, being born in this country, then I get on a guilt trip for feeling sorry for myself. A former hairdresser told me that women without children “just aren’t right” – and this haunts me since I definitely don’t seem to see the world as most do.

    Thanks for maintaining your blog, it’s nice to know we’re not alone.

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  7. Thankfully (very thankfully) I found your blog today, feeling lousy after confronting my ‘childlessness by marriage’ during bereavement counselling. Funnily enough I commented on all the FB posts, I certainly can’t hold it against my dearest friends for being grateful for their children and grandchildren but it does rub salt in the wounds. I feel so stupid for allowing myself to end up in this position, it’s just poo at the moment.

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  8. Hi, I’ve just seen this post and I can relate. I live in France and I only have a facebook account because it allows me to stay posted on the daily lives of my friends and family. I’m a 45-year-old childless stepmom to my French husband’s two kids. I’m isolated from my support system and there are NO childless stepmother groups here. My French isn’t yet good enough to start my own support group locally. And I get the typical “just be grateful you have stepkids, it’s just like being a mom.” No it isn’t. It just highlights the lack when I see my husband hugging his daughter. And I get to tolerate TWO Mother’s Days…all over facebook in the U.S. and half a month later in person in France. Pffffff. It’s so depressing.

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