Pregnancy update: My cervix is stable! I had a negative fFN! And the boys are all looking great, practicing breathing and I have a growth scan on Friday.
A few months ago, I read an especially appropriate post by Cassandra at Baby Smiling in Back Seat about using images and identifying information of oneself and one's children on a blog or other Internet-based forum. The question she posed to us: Do you/will you post images of your children on your blog? Facebook? Why or Why not?
At the time, I was at a loss. I have read many infertility-followed-by-healthy-baby blogs and always pictured myself following the progression of many of these. The entries sometimes begin with the IVF protocol (or the pregnancy), move to ultrasound and nursery images, belly shots and then when the miracle of the birth occurs: baby pictures! Sometimes pictures of tiny ones hooked up to wires in isolettes and sometimes bigger babies sleeping on a parent's warm chest.
Because I am 28-ish weeks pregnant with triplets, I seem to be especially excited to see photos of these threesomes when they come out on others' blogs. It is helpful to me to see what babies born at 29 weeks versus 34 look like so I can prepare for the birth of our own boys. (Aside from that, it is insanely cute to see triplets snuggled together in their crib.) Perhaps I am looking to see that they can really be born and come home into our family, which I still struggle to believe. At any rate, I look forward to these photos, and I somehow assumed I would post photos to share with my readers.
Cassandra's post, however, caused me to reevaluate this assumption. As you all know, I have a three-year-old daughter whose name or image has never been revealed on the blog. I have posted a picture or two of her back, but have protected her face, just as I choose to post headless belly pictures of myself. I made a conscious decision to never show the face of any of my family members. I do not refer to my husband or daughter by name, either, and never plan to.* Yet I somehow had imagined announcing the birth weight and name under a perfect picture of each of our babies.
Why the contradiction? Why did I assume that I would share photos of the babies, while protecting the likeness of everyone else in our family? Do I think it is some kind of reward for readers who have followed our journey, and support me immensely? Perhaps I felt that people would not want to follow our lives anymore if there was not photographic documentation along with my words. What I have come to realize is, once these boys (God willing) make their entrance into the world, I will be as fiercely protective of their faces as I am of my daughter's and I will not post pictures of our sons.
While I will want to shout from the rooftops and the Internet, "I had real babies! They survived! You want proof: here they are!!" if the boys do arrive safely, my desire to protect these innocent faces will override my desire to share pictures. I understand completely why parents would choose to share these images, also. Our friends and families read my blog, checking it for updates on the pregnancy, and it would be a very simple way to share pictures of the boys, and how they are changing. I personally love to see the adorable images of babies as they grow, and blogs are wonderfully easy to access (usually) and anyone you direct to your blog can see them.
What frightens me is what can happen to the images once they are online. I know how easy it is to "right-click" on an image and save it to my hard drive, allowing me to do with it what I wish. I never want anyone to have a picture of my child's face whom I do not know and trust, and the only way to avoid that is to not put them on my blog in the first place.
Many have suggested alternatives: use Facebook or another social networking site. Create a new blog and make it invitation only. I think for now, we will plan to share images of six little feet in snuggly socks, or a tiny hand curled around a grown-up finger, but not the identifiable faces attached to them. Unfortunately, this means the people whom I do trust and know, many of you, will not get to see their little faces.
This leads me to the next conundrum I am pondering: what will happen to this blog if the babies arrive safely? It could remain my home, and morph into a parenting-after-infertility blog, one that tells the story of our family as a novel with the many chapters of miscarriage, infertility, treatment, pregnancy and (hopefully) parenting multiples. I could also write somewhere else but leave this blog intact as a resource for anyone who many find it useful. Obviously, these musings warrant another post on another day.
What are your thoughts on the changing nature of an infertility blog? Should bloggers continue to tell their story, wherever it leads, from their original URL, children and all? Does a blog need a label like "Infertility" or "Parenting Multiples"? Should they set up shop somewhere else to spin a new narrative? What have you done? What would you do?
*I have realized how awkward it is to refer to my daughter as "A" and my husband as "My Husband", so I will be coming up with more appropriate pseudonyms for each of them. The babies will also be given some nicknames which will only emerge after I have the pleasure of getting to know them outside the womb a bit. Mel at Stirrup Queens has maintained nicknames for her children and it works seamlessly as it allows her to share stories and updates without revealing identifying information. Much to consider.