ARTICLE: The Shaming of Izzy Laxamana

I haven’t touched on it a lot here, but you may have figured out that I don’t post a lot of photos of Chick. This is true of my anonymous blog, but also on my personal social media accounts. There are a ton of reasons for this, which would make a great post but… well, the holiday season is busting my ass right now, and I hardly have time or energy to put on socks in the morning.

In summary, Mr. O and I have decided that we want to honor Chick’s privacy. He may love having his photo all over the interwebs. He may be intensely private. He is currently 5 months old, so all we know for certain is that he likes chewing on his hands. As who he is becomes more clear, maybe we’ll revise this policy.

We arrived at this decision after a lot of discussion about the role Mr. O and I want social technologies to play in our lives– how we use it ourselves, how we want to use it as a family. This is is where we landed, and it seems to work for us. I don’t think people who post pics of their kids are terrible humans. It works for them, so go forth and post. To each their own, and all that.

Anyway, while I was trolling my Facebook feed I came across this article about how parents are using social media tools in disciplining their children. The story the article starts with is pretty well known, but I think the writer does a great job of connecting this to a larger historical arch of the role of public shaming throughout history. Communities have always sought to punish people and behaviors that fall outside what has been agreed on as “acceptable.” These tools just amplify our impulses, albeit to an extreme.

Of course, there is a huge difference between posting video of your child’s first steps and video of their biggest failures. I don’t mean to conflate the two. Still, as I sort out what kind of parent I want to be, I thought this was a really interesting take on how our parenting happens within the context of a community, be it IRL or virtual.

ARTICLE: The Shaming of Izzy Laxamana



Who Wants to Know?

You may not have figured this out, but I am actually a private person. I may have willfully blogged about my infertility treatments to perfect strangers. But remember… none (or I should say very few) know who I am.

Infertility– IVF in particular– meant that I knew a lot more about my pregnancy than I would have otherwise. I mean, I literally saw the embryo inserted into my uterus. I know my exact conception date. Because I’m an IVF mama, I also had a whole bunch of early ultrasounds– more than a “normal” pregnant woman would. I have seen my insides more in the last 2 years than I would have expected to in my whole life time.

In principle, this is fine. Thanks to all this technology and SCIENCE!, I am pregnant and happy to be starting my family. But I also wish I had a bit of the mystery I assume “normal” pregnant women have.

In part because of this, Mr. O and I have decided that we don’t want to know the sex of our baby until it comes out. I like the not knowing. I like the idea that for 9 months, there are no expectations or assumptions about this kid, so Chick can just focus on being happy and healthy.

It would appear that other people are not okay with this.

Because humans abhor vacuums, this has led people to frantically trying to predict the gender of my baby. They base their assumptions on how I’m carrying, what came to them in a dream, a “gut feeling”, or what I had for dinner last night. One person tried to get me to do the “Needle Test” which is apparently when you rub a needle on your wrist and dangle it over your arm. Depending on which way the needle swings, you’re having a girl or a boy. Huh? How is this a thing?

It is amazing to me how judge-y people are about not finding out. Two of my favorite responses so far:

“I hate it when people don’t find out. You have the technology, why don’t you use it?”

The real question is why do you give a rat’s ass?

“But how will I know what color baby clothes to buy you? Green and yellow are just so boring.”

Then let’s go with my emo baby theme, and just get everything BLACK.

Pregnancy is funny. On one hand, it is an incredibly personal experience. This is happening in your body. You’re carrying this little person, taking care of it, dealing with all the new and exciting ways you’re changing. It is happening TO YOU in a very real sense.

But at the same time, pregnancy is very public. The bigger you get, the more conspicuous this very personal experience gets. People can’t help but know, and so can’t help but offer completely unsolicited advice about how and what you should be doing.

Along these lines, Mr. O and I have also decided against the FB announcement. At first it seemed harmless enough, but the truth is that I don’t want people I don’t care about to know. I also want to respect Chick’s privacy. Who knows? They may never want a Facebook account, Twitter handle, or whatever new-fangled social media is out by the time they are old enough to care.

Honestly, I don’t care what other people do. What I love about humans is that we all find a way in the world that works for us. If you want to post your ultrasounds on Facebook, that’s a-okay with me. What I don’t understand– and never will– is this insistence that we all experience pregnancy the same way. The people who love and support me know I’m pregnant– that is enough for me.

Everyone else can just learn about it on their own. And keep their opinions to themselves. Please.

Not LMAO. Not Even a Little Bit.

And now is the time on Sprockets when we wait!

(Oh, Mike Meyers… you’re timeless…)

I’m 3 days away. 3 DAYS. I’m mostly sure I’m not pregnant, but then again what do I know? I’ve never been pregnant before, so maybe this is what it feels like.

Alas, PMS symptoms and early pregnancy symptoms are so similar. (Because nature thinks this is funny.) I’m rational enough to ignore these symptoms, and yet human enough to want an answer NOW.

This TWW has been fine, really. I have developed a new coping skill– extreme exercising. There is something to be said for forcing yourself out of your own head and into your body. I ran almost every day last week. I went for a 2 hour hike this weekend. And I lifted weights. No kidding, I picked things up and put them down.

The added bonus is that everything hurts, so I can’t misinterpret anything as early signs. They are most likely signs of my mania, and that isn’t going away anytime soon.

In annoying family news, Mr. Ostrich’s sister is up to posting inappropriate things on Facebook again. I’m mostly fine with it because a) she usually keeps it about herself, and b) it’s pretty darn entertaining, in a totally voyeuristic kind of way. It’s like watching The Jersey Shore unfold in my Facebook feed. But yesterday, my dear sister-in-law posted some image that’s been going around FB: “Be Someone’s Crazy Aunt.” She tagged both me and Mr. Ostrich and writes “I would love to be!!! LMAO!!!”

Note: I am not LMAO. Nor am I ROTFL. Nope, not even LOL.

Long back story here, but Mr. O’s family has been after us to have babies since before we were married. Yes, BEFORE we were married. I’m not one to stand on morals, but I always thought there was something weird about that. Like “I’m not so concerned about your ability to commit to each other, as long as you pop out a few cute babies for us.”

So here we are, 10 years later. Still very much committed to one another. Still very much in love. And still selfishly not producing children for them to be Crazy Aunts/Uncles/Grandmothers/Grandfathers/Cousins to.

Mr. Ostrich has told a few people on his side about our IF woes, but not every one. He comes from a large, extended, nosy-but-well-meaning family. He is a private person, so has wanted to keep it to himself mostly. Evidently, he has not told his sister. (For reasons I will not go into, I respect his decision.) Of course, in the meantime she continues to be in-your-face rude, though without even knowing it.

It doesn’t make me mad, as much as it makes me wonder. There are so many things we “assume” people can do. Or will do. Or even want to. I mean, let’s say that Mr. O and I decided not to have kids, based on some principled stance on overpopulation. (Whatever, I’m setting up a hypothetical, okay?) Should we have to make an announcement? Like the opposite of birth announcements, maybe. “We are pleased to welcome no children to the world. Ever. Join us in this celebration.”

At some point, I thought people who just mind their own business and stop asking. But these are not people who seem to understand boundaries or subtleties.

In the meantime, I wait.