I went to a baby shower the other day....it wasn't one of those totally lame 'lets sit down and play ridiculous games and talk about babies' baby showers, it was actually a lot of fun. Very social, women brought their husbands and the alcohol was flowing. Being "the other pregnant girl" I got my own fair share of questions asked of me as well, including the awkward moment when my pregnant friends uncle asked in a room full of people (who were all paying attention) "So has your husband been as supportive as hers?" He meant it so kindly, he wanted to brag on his nephew who had given up drinking the entire time his wife was dealing with the grueling days and nights of pregnancy. The room got quiet (or that's how it went in my mind) and I sat there with a blank stare on my face....I'm not usually one to be at a loss for words but I was stunned. How exactly do you answer this? I definitely didn't want this day to be about me....I didn't want to make him feel awkward.....and I didn't want to start crying. So I lied....."Yes, yes he is." Then with looks of approval from the rest of my friends, we said our goodbyes and headed towards the food. The rest of the shower went quickly, however, I was still 100% focused on the fact that I didn't have a husband, that I didn't have a support system, and that the "sperm donor" of this child had in fact done the opposite of giving up drinking...he had actually quickly became the king of weekly pub crawls.
We sat through the presents....said our proper goodbyes and headed home. I held it together for as long as I had people in my car but the tears flowed when I walked in my door. I laid down on the couch and didn't get up until it was time to move to my bed. I sat there and just felt sorry for myself.
At about 7 o'clock that night I received a text from my pregnant girlfriends whose shower I had just attended. It caught me off guard....It was actually an apology, but not for what I had been pouting about all day. It was an apology because I guess through out the day she had been making comments of how we were due at the same time but I hadn't gained much weight and she thought she might have offended me because of my apparent disconnect for the rest of the shower. I quickly sent her a message to make her feel better telling her it definitely didn't bother me...but it did get me to thinking: So here I was pouting because I didn't have a husband to help and yet my girlfriend (who I actually think looks fabulous at almost 9 months pregnant), who has an awesome husband and support system, was not happy with her weight gain. Selfishly, I thought that I wouldn't mind putting on 20 more lbs if that meant I had someone to tell me everything was going to be okay at 4am in the morning. I thought, I would love to waddle all over this city only if it meant that when I got home I had someone to help me in the house with the 10 bags of groceries. I would love to have to shop at Motherhood Maternity if that meant I had someone to argue with a name for this baby about. However, my girlfriend who does have all of this was concerned about a few pounds. Really, just a few pounds that will fall off afterwards??? How and why do we do this to ourselves I thought?? I mean all she could see is what was going wrong in her life (and believe me she is one of the most positive people I have ever met) and at the same time I'll I could do was look at what was wrong with my own life. Neither one of us were stopping to appreciate what was going right.
I mean the truth is although I don't have a husband as a support system...I do have some of the most amazing friends and family a girl could ask for. I have a mother who will come to my house while I'm at work during the day and clean the hell out of it...just so she knows I wont stress out. She also answers her phone at 3am and heads 45 minutes to my house if i can't get myself to quit crying. I have a father who has volunteered to be the "man" in my daughters life and constantly watches my son and encourages him to be an amazing little guy. I have amazing girlfriends who live in Texas who have actually taken time out of their lives and busy schedules to make sure and visit a couple of times through my pregnancy. I have 2 great guy friends that don't let a morning go by without sending a "hope today's a great day for you" text. I mean how could a husband really live up to all of that anyways?
So why had I become so focused on "the wrong" rather than everything that was right??? I thought about and thought about it. I thought by no means was my pregnancy perfect last time...I mean I lived with the father and you could say he was physically present but never really emotionally...in fact, I spent more nights during that pregnancy in the hospital alone than I've had to this time. So why was this go around so much more difficult??? Why was I so focused on the negative this time? Why was I comparing myself to so many peoples perceived "perfect pregnancies" this time? Then I figured it out...............the main difference between both of my pregnancies. I had the answer.............and the answer was simple and seemed so silly but there it was........FACEBOOK!
Okay, so I know it seems ridiculous to blame a social networking site for my pity parties through out my pregnancy, but hear me out. I think I'm on to something here. So when I was pregnant last time the world wasnt' so Social Media focused. I did have a Myspace account. (this was 6 years ago...quit making fun of me.) I maybe checked my Myspace 1x a week, maybe wrote something on there 1x every 2 weeks and hardly ever loaded pictures.....I mean it was a lot of work to get out my digital camera and upload pictures to my account. You had to be really dedicated. These were the days when people like Tila Tequila were the cutting edge of social media websites. I did not have that type of energy or really care to show myself off that way. I knew my friends phone numbers and if I wanted to see what they were doing or talk to them I just called them. Calling my friends meant we talked and I heard all of the good and BAD that was going on in their lives. The truth is as much as its sucks to know their is bad in your friends lives I think that makes us just a bit more confident in our own lives. I mean you can hardly ever speak with someone when they don't want to vent just a little about what is so wrong in their life. I mean sure what I got going on sucks, but look your life sucks too...it makes you feel like we're in this together.
Fast forward to now....I would say I keep up with the majority of my friends via facebook. I know, it sounds ridiculous. But think about it...it's just so much easier. I'm now a single mom, I work 40 hours a week...the only times I have to talk to someone is while driving in my car but I have a 5 year old in the backseat who shouldn't really be hearing everything mommy wants to complain about.....and to see someone would require me making plans on the weekend and then following through with them (such a chore.)
So Facebook it is. I see what my friends are doing, who they are dating, what sort of fun events and parties they are going to. I see my pregnant friends pictures with their husbands, I see the congratulations from their families and friends about what great "Parents" they will be, I see their mother in laws bragging about their upcoming grand babies....and all the while I unconsciously let it get to me. I see a picture of the first time a girlfriends husband has his hands on her belly feeling their baby kick....a process that now takes less than a minute to upload if taken with a smart phone.
I know the truth is that everyone has their own set of problems....I know that the grass is not always greener on the other side.....and I know that what people put on facebook is 1/100th of what's really going on. I mean who's going to take time out of their day to post how terrible and miserable they are. It's the same reason we wear makeup to the grocery store...we don't want anyone to know what we really look like or what is really going on behind close doors. Consciously i know this......however, realizing it and letting myself not be affected by it is a whole new challenge.
Have you even seen the statistics on facebook (as of February 2012):
-There are over 845 MILLION people on facebook worldwide
-With more countries allowing Facebook it is projected to have over 1 BILLION users by end of 2012
-There are over 250 MILLION photos uploaded daily
-The average visit to Facebook is at least 20 minutes long
-The average user spends a minimum of 55 minutes a day on facebook
-For every 5 pages looked up on the Internet worldwide 1 is facebook
-48% of 18-34 year olds check their Facebook before they get out of bed in the morning
-FAD (Facebook addiction disorder) is quickly becoming the fastest growing addiction problem worldwide
-57% of people say they talk to people more on-line through Facebook than actually talk to them in person
So see I knew I was on to something here! So what you're telling me is (because I consider myself an "average user", really if not more) that I'm spending over 334 hours a year on line looking at photos and pictures of friends/acquaintances and their friends/acquaintances and their status updates of the best part of their days or weeks or months, and what fabulous parties they are attending and who they met out for lunch when they all checked in! All the while I'm sitting at home, by myself and without being able to help it I'm comparing myself to their accomplishments and lives. 334 hours!!! Do you realize how many hours of feeling sorry for myself that is????? To put it like that it makes me think....if I were really to put my mind to it, what amazing feats could I accomplish if given 334 hours to do it in???
So naturally I'm not going to take myself off Facebook right this second. I'm not going to boycott the number 1 website in the world because I've realized what is wrong with me (or part of the problem.) However, it does make me think. What if I limited myself to playing on facebook (which is really just a form of stalking when you really think about it)....what if I limit my time? What if I set an amount total I can be on Facebook a day???
If I make this first step (I sound like a drug addict, scary)....then maybe, just maybe I can start to look at the positives of my own life. I will be able to see what is going right because I won't be so busy watching other peoples lives and comparing myself. I will learn to appreciate what I have no matter what more any one else has. I will stop thinking about what I'm missing and rather appreciate what I have. I am quickly learning that this comparing myself to anyone is a vicious cycle, because the truth is while I'm wallowing in my sorrows of what I don't have someone else is probably looking at my life and wishing they had what I do have. So there it is.....not a perfect solution, and for sure not a 100% cure of emotionless nights...but I think if I can wrap my mind around the fact that Mark Zuckerberg's was just trying to come up with a fun way to connect with his classmates and not design a way to ruin my life...and I can really makes sure I believe that I'm truely only seeing the very best parts of my "friends" lives...then I can learn to Love my own life. I can be proud of my own accomplishments and cherish my own achievements! Now to figure out what to do with those 100's of hours of extra time I'm going to have on my hands!!!
"Do not compare yourself to others or you may end up believing that you are better or lesser than the other person; in either case, they are both not true."