Amid my feelings of anger, resentment, jealously, guilt, and sadness, social media initially had a pretty toxic affect on my mental health. Every time I saw a pregnancy or baby announcement I felt crushed, like the announcement was a personal attack on me, my shattered plans and my lost baby.
I could…no, SHOULD, have taken a break from it. I should have got outside. Left my phone and the make believe world of the internet inside. But grief doesn’t let you see from the outside in. It consumes you and doesn’t leave space for rational thought. I was off work, I was on my own, and I felt that logging in to social media would make me feel connected, and less alone. Of course it actually had the opposite effect.
But gradually, in the moments when I felt a bit stronger, I was able to take advantage of some clearer thinking. I realised that I have an element of control over what I see on my social media.
When I found out I was pregnant I took to following any cool celebrity I could think of who was a new Mum, or had young children. But after my miscarriage, what had been an exciting peek into what was to come (minus the instagram filters!) quickly became an irritating and smug reminder of what I had not been allowed.
So I stopped following all these people (sounds so simple doesn’t it?) and searched instead for something more positive to get me through this time. My social media now consists of “influencers” of the more relevant kind; now when I look at instagram I see people who have been through tough times and are helping others. I see people giving and sharing advice. I see therapists and counsellors and Mums whose children are not with them. I see sketches that are so beautiful I have a little weep. I have joined a miscarriage support group on facebook (which I affectionately term the “sad ladies facebook group” but which has been nothing less than a lifeline to me).
Of course, I still see pregnancy and birth announcements. I cant imagine there is any cure for that very specific pain. Perhaps it dulls with time?
I frequently see posts on the support group from women discussing their feelings of guilt over the anger and jealousy they experience when seeing these announcements. This has made me realise how normal these feelings are. Anger is a part of grief. Sure, in my stronger moments when I see these announcements I can think to myself that I don’t know what journey these women have been on to arrive at their pregnancy or birth. But on darker days, I have come to realise that it is OK to be angry. It it OK to feel jealous. These are horrible things to feel and we can’t hide from them, but they will pass.
As to the original question – I don’t know the answer. The above is just what worked for me. I hope it can help others in dark times.