Your Baby's Facebook!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
A few months ago, my friend Donna posted on Facebook that she was sick of everyone’s Facebook page suddenly becoming their baby’s Facebook page. The comment caused quite the to-do; people unfriended her because of it. I found I agreed with her. It seems like babies have taken over Facebook profiles this past year and whether or not that’s because the country’s in the midst of a mini baby boom or because my friends and I are just at the age where it become perfectly acceptable to get married and have children, I can’t tell. Whatever it is, it isn’t sitting well.

People have every right to post their children’s pictures on Facebook just as they have every right to reproduce. I like baby pictures as well as the next person, but could we agree to cease tagging babies in Facebook pictures with their mothers’ names? While I realize I’m prone to somewhat curmudgeonly ways, let me say once and for all, your baby is your baby. An extension of yourself yes, but an individual in its own right who is less likely to set things right in your life and more likely to make the exact same mistakes you made.

Maybe it’s just, as Emma Thompson’s character says in Love Actually, that all of these babies throw our lives “into rather harsh perspective.” Donna and another friend are in medical school. Another friend works fourteen hour days as an auditor. I’m out in here in the woods, well removed from the conventional suburban lifestyle. My friends and I are just barely clamoring onto the marriage bandwagon, let alone the “lets reproduce” bandwagon. We blow it off marriage and parenthood as passé, but could it be, lurking at the bottom of our cynical talk of bandwagons, an unspoken fear that the ship has sailed?

Yes, at nearly 25 years of age, the ticking of my biological clock is faint. Like the humming of a refrigerator, the noise is consistent but I only hear it when I listen for it. Once in a while though, the biological clock goes off like an alarm: that’s when I remember that as a ten-year-old girl, I was positive I’d be married at 25 and a mother by 27. (Then, I also thought I was going to have four kids, including a set of boy/girl twins, and my flower of choice for my wedding ceremony was lilacs. Everyone knows lilacs are crap cut flowers.) Remember what Linda, the grief counselor in Little Miss Sunshine says when the father explains they need to get to a beauty contest in California in a matter of hours? “Ain’t gonna happen.” Ditto on the babies at age 27.

What is it about babies that makes us all so edgy? People without babies often assume those with children have settled for some sort of contrived happiness. Parents often view the childless as selfish. There’s got to be a better middle ground.

I have no middle ground, just worries. That I’ll push forward with my career and forget to have children. Or that the maternal instinct simply won’t kick in until I’m 45 and it’s too late. And if I do have children, will I raise them in the woods? As someone who was homeschooled through the majority of her academic career what will it mean if I send my children to public school? What will it mean for me personally if I homeschool them? At the root of it all lies the frustration that none of us have quite figured out what’s most important in our lives.

For now every baby on Facebook reminds us all of how unsettled things are in our hearts.

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