Facebook – the good, bad and ugly

Hi, my name is Dani, and I have been a facebook addict for about ten years.  I don’t want to give it up just yet, but we have been having a love-hate relationship recently.  Let me explain the good, bad and ugly of facebook to you.

The GOOD.

On Thursday’s egg retrieval we did something very random and spontaneous.  After Chris put his ‘egg packing uniform’ on, the nurse asked if we would like a photo of us together. After the nurse snapped a few of us posing together and left chuckling at us (in a nice way), I asked Chris to strike a pose for me in his beautiful attire.  (I posted pictures of him posing yesterday) I laughed about putting it on facebook.  He said, go on then!  I wasn’t quite sure if he really meant it.  I pointed out that people would ask why he was wearing it.  How would you respond to that?

Chris has been quite adamant in the past that he does not want to post anything on facebook about our infertility, he doesn’t want to share it with the world, and I respect him for that.  The only time I have posted something on facebook was when he gave me my first injection on Valentines day.  The post was vague enough that only one or two people asked us questions about it.  I also shared an article about infertility awareness week, I had only one question about that one.

So I sat there with the photo of the two of us in our surgery attire that the nurse had taken and pondered what to write along with it.  I crafted something positive, short and to the point.  And then I cried.  I was about to chicken out of it, but then a thought popped into my head, what the heck – why should we have to hide this big life event?  So I pressed ‘Post‘.  20 seconds later my phone vibrated, and again, and again, and again.  I was nervous to look at it.  What type of comments would I get?  Would people just press like and be too afraid to comment?  I was starting to feel sick to my stomach.  Here is what I posted:

facebook_IVF

After the transfer procedure was completed, Chris then posted a picture of our embryos from his own facebook account “Apparently babies come from raspberries”:

facebook_IVF2

Our first post received 232 likes and 73 comments wishing us love and luck.  My phone did not stop buzzing all day yesterday.  And then came the personal private messages.  Statistically speaking, infertility is likely to affect about 20 couples out of this group of people.  Of course friends we know who had gone through IVF contacted us either on facebook or privately to wish us luck and offer a hand/advice if ever needed, but then there was some of our friends who we discovered had been silent about their treatment for infertility who messaged us too.  We had private messages of inspiration and warm wishes.  We were astounded by this response and feel so much love filled in our hearts.

I cannot possibly feel negative for a while after all this support!!!

It is difficult going through infertility when a number of close friends and family are so physically far away.  Facebook provides us with the ability to stay connected with them – sure there are other means to do this (Skype, whatsApp, Email etc), but it allows us to deal with the timezone differences and still feel connected.  This to me makes facebook a GOOD commodity in helping us build friendships that help carry us through the bad times of infertility.

I can imagine some people reading this will be thinking we are crazy for posting what we did, but it wasn’t something that came naturally, rather it is something that has taken time to learn to be comfortable with.  I started to take the stance of not hiding our infertility a few months ago, if moments came up in conversations I would talk about it (awkwardly), and now I feel a lot more comfortable talking about it than I used to, I don’t whisper at work anymore and I may even start a conversation about it.  The underlying point is that it has taken time to become comfortable and not ashamed of what we are going through.

The BAD

By posting what we did before the embryo transfer, we have opened up our hearts to a much wider audience, and if things don’t go well for us it’s going to be hard to deal with so much condolence on our hands.  We are now vulnerable.  We are also vulnerable to comments and unwelcome advice that drive you mad when you are going through infertility.  We can’t filter these comments out from facebook.  We shouldn’t just de-friend someone because they made a hurtful comment that they didn’t realise they were making.  But we can de-friend people who turn out to just not be real friends or purposefully spite us with hurtful comments, at least we can block them from that part of our lives.  Fortunately, I have never experienced anything spiteful, malicious or hurtful regarding our infertility.

The other thing about facebook that is just plain BAD are the pregnancy announcements and baby photos that plaster your newsfeed.  For some people suffering from infertility, this should probably be in the UGLY section.  But I actually don’t mind pregnancy announcements, especially if they are close friends.  I do get a little bit tetchy when ultrasound photos are incessant, but you know what I can do?  I can edit the facebook options so that I don’t see their posts unless I want to or choose to go to their facebook page when I am feeling good to see what they have been up to.

The UGLY

For me, the ugliest thing about facebook are those targeted ADVERTS.  Pregnancy, baby clothes, mom sites, nappies….aghhhhhhhhhh JUST GO AWAY!!!!  I can cope with a pregnancy announcement any day over this crap.  You know what also gets my goat?  THE WORST.  Targeted adverts about infertility.  Clearly I browse infertility websites, so why does any infertility website think it is OK to use targeted advertising about infertility to appear on my facebook feed?  Do their marketing people know anything about infertility?????????? Do people with cancer get adverts about cancer? Do they want to see adverts about cancer, just as they have gone in to remission?  I guess it is an individual’s perspective about whether this type of advertising is useful or not.  For me, this is just UGLY.

I wonder a lot about the algorithms facebook use to determine if an ad should be placed on my page.  They use data from your profile, such as location, age, gender, interests, connections, relationship status, languages, education and workplaces.  That is all pretty basic information.  However, there is more personal information that facebook uses such as your listed likes and interests, pages you like, apps you use and other timeline content that you have provided.  I decided to see what kind of information advertisers need to provide to facebook, and it is indeed seemingly innocent.  Here is what I found:

facebook_ad

Creating a facebook advert: infertility is an interest that can be directly targeted to a user

The interest “infertility” is possible to target an audience to, these are people who have liked content relating to terms such as PCOS infertility (audience 246,280), unexplained infertility (205, 540) or male factor infertility (31,960) or even resolve (22,850). ( By the way, I found the potential audience numbers really interesting – note how low male factor infertility is? )

Fortunately, I was educated a couple of days ago how to stop this from happening on your facebook page.  Nara from the Zero to Zygote blog recently posted how to stop adverts (in fact any type of advert) that you do not like appearing on your facebook feed.  You can check out her handy guide here. I am so grateful to her for this post, as soon as I read it I immediately went ahead and clicked on a stupid pregnancy ad I have been receiving over the last few days and changed my setting to block ads like that.

The second question is whether facebook uses data other than what is found on your profile and your actions on facebook, for example when you visit infertility blogs, forums and IVF clinic pages?  The answer is yes, like many other websites, cookies and trackers are used to directly target the ads you see on your facebook page.  Some people may call this spying, marketers would call this targeting.  You may think that you can just turn off cookies and trackers in your browser, it’s easy to do, but facebook will not let you use certain features if you do this.  However, you can limit it by following the instructions here:  http://gizmodo.com/how-to-stop-facebook-from-sharing-your-browsing-history-1589918083.

Hopefully, for me now, the UGLY has just gotten a whole brand new makeover (thanks Nara!!!), the BAD has been put on the naughty step for a time out, and facebook has become more of the GOOD that I originally signed up for (thanks Chris!!).

Do you have any good, bad or ugly stories about infertility and facebook to share?

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22 thoughts on “Facebook – the good, bad and ugly

  1. Disorderly Love says:

    So much of what you said in this post resonates with me so well.
    I’ve never been shy about sharing our infertility. Maybe it’s because, as you pointed out, our families do not live close &, being new to the area, I don’t have a plethora of friends here yet. I also wanted to educate others.
    After I started sharing certain posts on Facebook, I too got some unexpected support and A LOT of unexpected private messages of others who had been through similar issues. It felt good to know people were thinking of us &, most especially, also had infertility issues & came out of it with babies!
    On the other side of the coin, I wholeheartedly understand so much of the bad. The pregnancy announcement after announcement & ultrasound pics get to me-ESPECIALLY after just being raw from finding out yet another treatment hasn’t worked out yet….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nara says:

    Wow, I love that you posted those pictures on Facebook, and I almost cried at all the likes and support you obviously received. That’s absolutely beautiful.

    I completely understand where you’re coming from re not wanting to leave Facebook. I think it’s a really good tool for keeping in touch with people and having casual contact with friends who I don’t get to see much in real life. I’d miss that if it was gone. It really makes me wonder about how my friends would be if I shared information about IVF… I don’t have the guts to right now, but seeing yours has inspired me!

    I finally had a message back from Beaming Baby (the targeted advertising I’d been receiving). They were really apologetic and said they couldn’t control the targeted advertising. Now I’ve calmed down and figured out how to stop the advertising, I think I’ll have to apologise to Beaming Baby… I just wish that the FB algorithms wouldn’t scrape data and make incorrect calculations about what they think we would like!

    Finally, I hope Huckleberry and Huckleberina are settling in well! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      There is no undoing a post on facebook, so be sure to be sure if you think about doing it!!!!

      That is awesome that Beaming Baby responded to you, it is true that they don’t have control over facebook’s algorithm, but they also have a responsibility for selecting their targeted advertising, if they leave it too general an audience, then they risk exactly what has happened to you. Bah.

      Thank you…I’m hoping the hucks are snuggling down v soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. EmilyMaine says:

    I always hated the constant buzz of notifications. It made me feel compelled to check them. I turned them off on my phone which changed my life. Now I don’t even have the app or messenger on my phone as I felt Ibchecked it too much. I love my Facebook freedom!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Babyscienceproject says:

    You’re very brave to post on Facebook, good for you. Glad you’ve had so much support, I’m far too terrified to do that myself (although I think people are much more cool with infertility treatment in the U.S. compared with UK). As for pregnancy posts on FB….yuck. I will NOT be rubbing anyone else’s face in my good news if I ever get to that stage! X

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      Ooooh that’s an interesting perspective! I know that Brits are generally more reserved, but I had never thought of this before. i’m going to have a think about that one.

      I know exactly what you mean about not rubbing anyone else’s face in the good news. I really like what Ashley from In Pursuit of a Family did with her ultrasound pics; she created a separate page that she could send a link to people to view if they wanted to. I shall be copying that idea (hopefully sometime soon!)!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. heatherhopeful says:

    I think you’re incredibly brave to put yourself out there on Facebook. I think it’s great–it opens people’s eyes to the fact that infertility exists. I got rid of my Facebook because I’m not nearly as level-headed as you are, and the pregnancy announcements were driving me mad! I’m proud of you for sharing your journey, and rooting for your two little embabies!

    Liked by 2 people

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      This is definitely something that went through my head as I thought about why should I hide this anymore. I was enthused to post a news article about a veteran who was denied insurance coverage despite an IED blowing him up and as a result can only conceive through IVF…but then I thought perhaps this was too much infertility stuff my facebook friends could handle in one week!! But my urge is to share how difficult it is for so many people. But I will be taking one step at a time with this facebook thing!
      Thank you for kind thoughts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Erin says:

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately in light of Mark Zuckerberg and other celebrities “coming out” about infertility and pregnancy loss. Most of the time people share this part of their life after a successful pregnancy and very rarely during the TTC process. I think you are so brave for sharing what it’s like to be going through IVF and I’m so happy you received so much support and love! So many women feel so alone going through this and I think the more people share, the less of a stigma there is about infertility.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      Yes Mark Zuckerberg’s sad (but good!) story is very poignant. I don’t think I would post anything directly about having a miscarriage whilst TTC, but Chris and I have discussed and agreed that we would be open with people face to face if this happened to us. This however, is all talk and ideals, we truly have no clue how it feels to lose a child, so in the moment it might be different. Facebook is another level, let’s face it, many of us have ‘friends’ on facebook we probably shouldn’t and that is also one of the issues!!! Maybe if I only had 20 of my close friends & family it wouldn’t be so bad! Which reminds me – it’s time for a facebook ‘friend’ cull!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. ashleykyleanderson says:

    Dani, I am so proud of you guys for so many reasons! Since seeing the photo from your transfer I have been thinking about your long road this year and I am so glad that you are getting this outpouring of love and support from people in your life. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to live so far away from your family and friends, but I think it’s great that they can be involved in your journey this way now too.

    When we first posted to Facebook, I felt the same way you did as far as that initial fear to check your phone, but was pleasantly surprised about how nice it is to just be open about it. We also have had people come out of the woodwork to tell us their stories, and I would absolutely make the same choice again.

    Do you plan to share when you’re getting the results? As someone who has been through getting both a negative and positive publicly, I would suggest giving yourself a little cushion. For our negative, literally everyone knew we were getting the call that day and we had well wishes coming in all over facebook even after receiving the bad news, which was really hard for me. The second time we got our results 2 days earlier than we told everyone we would– this was a much better plan. If you haven’t already (and I’m sure you have but just in case!), think about how you will want to handle it. I thought that people would respect our privacy the first time if we just asked them to, but we did not get even 24 hours to ourselves before people wanted to know. The good news is that you could tell people it takes 3 weeks to get the results if you wanted and hardly anyone knows better! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      You are such a sweetie 🙂

      you are right, looking back on this journey is a really important thing!! And one of the things I realise is that if I had kept it quiet or on the low I probably would be depressed on medical leave right now. I’m also not very good at lying and my cover would have been blown anyway (I’d make a terrible spy).

      This is a very good question you pose…personally, I would like to share both good and bad news, but your idea of a week after to give us a buffer is something I will try to do, but I haven’t talked with Chris about it yet (I should really do that soon as time is flying!). Only my friends and family who follow this blog will know the actual day we are due to get our results, which is a very small number – they are great so they know we will tell them when we will tell them and won’t bug us (an extra hint hint guys if you are reading this!!!)

      Like

  8. My Perfect Breakdown says:

    I am so proud of you and Chris for opening yourselves up to so much love. I’m thrilled to hear that your family and friends have shown you so much support with your photos. I hope the positivity continues and you can get the ads undercontrol!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Laura P says:

    You can also make lists on Facebook to control individuals who can and can’t see singular posts which can come in handy. It was hard to not ask about results but praying was a good distraction. It was also helpful that you’re a timely blogger! X

    Like

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