Firstly, it is not a dare. A dare involves a degree of self-inflicted embarrassment (e.g.) dressing as Aunt Polly Tumble** for a day or speaking only in CBeebies theme tune lyrics for an entire playdate without ever explaining yourself. Or completing a whole transaction in a shop in the style of a Mister Maker “minute make”. Posting a picture of your beautiful children is not a dare. Or at least not a very good one.
Secondly, it is not a challenge. Motherhood poses a lot of challenges but posting a picture of your beautiful children is not one of them. Day to day life with little children certainly provides challenge enough sometimes; but posting a picture of your beautiful children is not up there.
Women who have to battle with depression have a challenge. Posting a picture of your beautiful children is not a challenge. Women who do a lot or all of the parenting alone have a challenge. Women who can’t or who have trouble joining the “motherhood” club have a challenge. Posting a picture of your beautiful children is not a challenge.
I guess the latter is why I personally take issue with the whole “motherhood” dare/challenge thing. A picture of beautiful children with the words “Motherhood Challenge” would have left me so upset and annoyed five years ago. It would have felt like the poster didn’t appreciate what they’d got. I would have been so frustrated that they didn’t realise (or care?) how much it hurt to not be part of the “motherhood” club. I felt so left behind as the pictures of parties were slowly replaced with baby after baby picture.
I have been very lucky as I have two children, but it took nearly four years, miscarriages, an ectopic and ivf to get there and the whole dare and challenge thing quite frankly grates. I can still remember the pain and feel sad for the people feeling it now. I know there will be people facing infertility who may be happy to see these pictures with the words “Motherhood Challenge”, that are able to share in others’ barefaced joy when they’re hurting. I genuinely admire these people and have come across a few. I hold my hands up high and proud – I wasn’t one of them. I would have hidden the lot of you from my newsfeed with tears in my eyes.
Essentially I am working on the logic that if you think, experience or do something, there are probably a fair few others in the same boat, even if it is one of the least talked about things. (Unless you are seriously considering the “minute make” dare, in which case you are just weird.) With one in eight couples affected by infertility there must be a fair few people out there feeling how I did and feeling it right now.
So a facebook without baby pictures? Is that the vision? A ridiculous idea and not what I’m suggesting; life moves on and Facebook is about sharing and celebrating amongst other things. But a bit of sensitivity would be lovely, a bit of thinking before you “speak”. For me trying IVF was my moving on, deciding that we were having a family one way or another and accepting we just didn’t know which way yet was moving on. But it was a tough challenge and this would have rubbed so much salt in the wounds. Posting a picture of your beautiful children is not a challenge.
If you do post a “Motherhood Challenge” photo lets be honest with ourselves and others. Let’s call a spade a spade – it is a baby brag and an insensitive one at that. It is not a (decent) dare and it is not a challenge. And please remember infertility really hurts so think about the others in the room. Motherhood is a challenge many are desperate for and scared they’ll never have.
*I wrote this as its been flaring up in my newsfeed lately. Since writing I have googled to see when it all started, seems there was a bit of an uproar back in February! What can I say? I was never the cool kid on the latest trend. This rant is however all from my own hip/heart.
**I lack as much imagination as I do coolness and couldn’t think past CBeebies for dares. If you are not in the UK or don’t rely on the CBeebies babysitting service I apologise.