Blindsided – why some days I wish social media didn’t exist.

Trigger warning: Miscarriage and baby loss mentioned. Please be kind to yourself and don’t read this if you have been affected by any of these issues.

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Blindsided: To catch or take unawares, especially with harmful or detrimental results.

It has been nearly four years but it still has the power to jump out from nowhere and sweep my feet from under me.

Logging on to Facebook this morning, the last thing I expected to see was the photo of a dead baby. However, someone, I have to assume well meaning, had re-posted a story about the dangers of choking (there might have been more to the story but I couldn’t read on) in one of the forums I belong to, which was illustrated with the picture.

Now, obviously, this is an issue that is very important – as is raising awareness – but, as it turned out, this post was fake. Someone vile created a story – I can’t even think why – and used a photo of this poor baby, which people, clearly without properly reading it or checking its truth, reposted. I know they probably thought that it would somehow help prevent the same thing from happening again – although, from my brief look, it wasn’t that sort of story.

For me, its impact was instant. And brutal.

I felt blindsided.

Sick to my stomach.

I’ve been shaky all day and now have a headache. I’m angry, furious even. I can’t get the image out of my head.

I suffered Post Traumatic Stress (albeit mild) after my first pregnancy ended with a medical miscarriage at 12 weeks. (I’ve written about that here). For months following, what happened replayed it my head every time I closed my eyes. Every time.

For a while, I lacked a filter and kind friends received more detail than was probably right. I desperately needed to explain the full horror of what happened without really thinking about the impact on them. The details clawed at me. I feel a bit like that with this post. Should I be writing it? I can’t tell today.

Much has happened in the interim – another loss, yes, but, joyfully, also a healthy baby, now toddler – and I felt like I was finally walking with less tentative steps on legs that were sturdy.

Of course it still hurts, it always will, but I have been working to create some more positive associations with that time – a project to help other people, mothers, in similar situations, for example.

It was working.

Until now.

Now the image is back and my legs feel like jelly.

Is this what the creator of the post wanted? I simply can’t fathom what would make someone do this. Did they want to see if people would simply repost? Are they ill? Have they lost a child and are in desperate need of help themselves?

Clearly, there are tough issues in the world, heartbreaking situations, which should be highlighted – and sometimes only a specific image will do it. I understand that and accept that some things will upset me.

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” they say. It’s up to the creators to gage whether the good outweighs any harm that might come of it.

But I would urge everyone to check the story they are re-posting and, even then, try and be sensitive.

Even with this story, the poster could have issued a trigger warning and posted the story in the comment section so that if people wanted to read it they could.

It’s days like this where I wish Facebook had never been invented – or at least I had the willpower to leave it – but I have to remember the good it can also do – especially that particular forum, which has been a lifesaver for me.

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9 thoughts on “Blindsided – why some days I wish social media didn’t exist.

  1. Much hugs and love! I flipping hate facebook. I took a long break from it last year and since I’ve returned it’s just full of crap being shared. ‘Share this picture if you are against child abuse.’ Who isn’t? Seeing this poor child’s battered face helps no one, especially the child! Systematically deleting all my acquaintances who take part in this farce for likes. Argh!
    So sorry you had to see what you saw. 😔

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    1. Thank you. I’m feeling much brighter today. Completely agree, so much crap on there. I’ve also been deleting “friends” who share certain material. Maybe I really do need a break!

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  2. A lot of children already use facebook too (which I really don’t agree with, especially when its obvious they aren’t supervised on there), so some of the vile posts some people share find there way back to those children! Kids don’t get chance to stay innocent for long enough as it is 😦

    I have to watch my mouth on facebook…online in general! People can be extremely stupid and extremely insensitive. I’m all for saying no to censorship, etc, but there is a time and a place for things and people don’t read things properly, check facts, or just think! They just blindly follow the herd.

    Sorry you have had to see such crap, it would of made me very angry too, but good that you have spoke about your feelings and hopefully it’ll make some others think!

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    1. Thanks, Mands. I still can’t understand why someone would create a fake post like that but then perhaps I will never understand? I’d like to track them down, you know like that woman did recently with a Twitter troll? Something must be wrong there. And then there are the people who re-post it. I sometimes get really frustrated with Facebook (and I hadn’t even really thought about the children that use it) but then the reflux forum I am a member of really REALLY helped me. It was the first time I had other people who understood what it was like and who didn’t make me feel like it was all down to something I was doing wrong. It was such a relief. They are really the only reason I stay.

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  3. Oh dear this is awful, I hope you are feeling a little better, I can’t see how photos like that are allowed on Facebook, there should be some ‘cover’ on them so that only if you click to read the full post that it comes up (if even then).
    I cannot believe that someone would make a fake post out of this? I mean did they literally have nothing else to do? Why did this even occur to them? Disgusting.
    I am not a massive fan of facebook to be honest, but things like this just make me glad I don’t use it much.

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    1. Thank you, I’m feeling much better now it’s been a couple of days. I know! What in the world are people thinking? And then for other people to share it. You have to wonder about it all really.

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