Facebook and Infertility Don't (Always) Mix: How to Cope

Hide What You Don't Want to See and Create More of What You Do

Woman looking upset at cell phone
Facebook can be a source of stress when you're struggling with infertility. Westend61 / Getty Images

Facebook can be a place of misery when you’re trying to conceive. In the real world, you’re unlikely to face pregnancy announcements more than a few times a year. And you will likely only get shown baby pictures by your closest friends and family.

But on Facebook? It can feel like someone gets pregnant every single week, and the baby photos never end.

On the other hand, Facebook can also be a source of support.

Before you throw out the baby with the bathwater (haha), here are some ways to cope on Facebook when you’re struggling with infertility.

Hide What You Don’t Want to See

As if seeing a friend’s ultrasound pictures once isn’t enough, Facebook will often keep feeding to you the same photo until you LIKE it. Sometimes it will show up again and again your news feed every time a friend comments on it.

There is, however, a way to not see it again.

In the right-hand cover of every Facebook post, there is a downward facing arrow. Click on it, and one of the options is “I Don’t Want to See This.” Click that, and you shouldn’t see that post in your feed again.

(Temporarily) Unfollow the Worst Offenders

What about the friend who constantly posts baby pictures?

That’s what the unfollow option is for.

It used to be that you had to unfriend someone to keep his or her posts out of your feed.

Unfriending can lead to awkward situations.

For example, your cousin or sister may notice you unfriended her and feel hurt.

On the other hand, if you unfollow someone, they don’t know it. You’re still “friends” on Facebook. They can still see your posts, and you can see theirs if you go to their Facebook profile page.

But their posts and pictures will no longer show up in your feed.

Currently, there are two ways to unfollow someone. You can either click on one of their posts (that faded arrow on the upper right corner) and choose Unfollow.

Or, you can go to their Facebook profile page. Next to the button that reads Friends is another button that says Following. Click on it to unfollow.

Facebook is always changing how friending and following works, not to mention their continuous tweaks to the news feed algorithm.

So while this advice is good now, it might not work in a future update.

Hitting the Unfriend Button

Sometimes, there’s no reason for you to be Facebook friends with someone.

If you get nothing positive out of the relationship (online or off), or they are some far removed acquaintance, go ahead and just unfriend.

Fill Your Feed With Friendlier Posts

You can add more understanding posts to your news feed by "liking" fertility focused fan pages.

You won’t see all of the posts posted by the pages, but if you like enough of them, you should get a few each day.

It’s good to be reminded you are not alone, and this can help.

Turn Facebook into a Source of Support

Facebook can be a place to find support.

You might “come out” of the infertility closet to your friends and family via Facebook.

If you feel comfortable doing so, you may even share your personal experience.

That may mean posting about your current treatment cycle, your adoption journey, or even your decision to pursue a childfree life.

If people can post ultrasound pics of unborn babies, certainly you can post ultrasounds of your follicles or embies.

Use Facebook to Advocate for Infertility

While some people keep their Facebook pages mostly personal, others use them for advocacy. I’m sure you’ve seen people post about political, health, and social issues.

You could use your personal Facebook page as a way to raise awareness.

You might share relevant articles and basic fertility information, participate in National Infertility Awareness Week (#NIAW), or bring to your friends’ attention relevant legislation that threatens (or supports) those with infertility.

Avoid Facebook on the Worst Days and Weeks

You do not want to be on Facebook the week of Mother’s Day. Same goes for Father’s Day.

Holiday times can be trouble. Christmas with the photos with Santa, and Halloween, with all the kid’s in costumes.

The start and end of the school year also comes with lots of kid posts, but usually those kids are older. (Which is less upsetting for some than seeing baby pictures.)

Oddly enough, April 1st can be a major trigger for infertility due to people who think it’s “funny” to post fake pregnancy announcements.

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