It occurred to me recently that my Facebook newsfeed has changed so much over the last year. Over the last few years, really, depending on what’s happening in ‘real life’ at the time in question.
When I first joined Facebook, I was heavily pregnant with H. I only had a handful of ‘friends’, most of whom I knew in real life through school and work, and some lovely ladies I met through crafting forums I was part of long before Facebook came along (in my previous life, B.K. (Before Kids), I made cards and wedding stationery for a sort of living, and also did some scrapbooking and jewellery making. I miss those days…)
Once I had this teeny newborn, my newsfeed began to veer towards this new life event, as I began to ‘like’ baby-related pages, groups and blogs. My whole world revolved around this new little being, and this was reflected in my feed. The child-related content continued for a few more years, until I became pregnant with Tink. By now, ‘Due In…’ groups were a thing, and I joined a fabulous group called ‘Due in March’ – the most wonderful, supportive, bitchy, understanding, amazing, disgusting, hilarious,brilliant group of women I have ever had the pleasure to know! We have been together for almost five years now and I know many of us feel closer to each other than our friends in the real world. Some of us have met up for real too, and our ‘babies’ enjoyed a joint 4th birthday party earlier this year. Once Tink was here I had also become immersed in the worlds of baby wearing and baby-led weaning ( I think I went a bit crispy around the edges for a while – not quite full-on crunchy though!), so my feed was full of beautiful slings and ‘how to feed your baby’ ideas.
So, more baby/preschool stuff was occurring in my newsfeed, as well as my now growing circle of friends’ news and photos. By now I was friends with many people from the various jobs I’ve had, ‘mummy’ friends I’d met through meetups organised online, parents of H’s nursery friends… A couple of years ago, when I had ventured back into early years management, my feed started showing more and more news, articles, advice and info related to child care, development and management.
Then, pretty much exactly a year ago, the autism stuff began. I tentatively joined a couple of support groups, liked a couple of blogs and pages… and now? BOOM! Some days it seems my entire feed is made up of autism stories, photos and memes. It really has taken over! A lot of this is to do with me having my own blog page on Facebook, and reciprocating ‘likes’ from other page owners (not because I have to, but because I want to! And it’s only polite if they’ve liked my page, right?) But most of it is because there is just so much out there! There are literally hundreds of pages, groups and blogs devoted to the autism spectrum. Hundreds and thousands of people – either on the spectrum themselves, or relatives, carers and teachers of people who are – who want to reach out to us all. Who want to share the highs and lows that they go through, day in, day out. Who want to share information and knowledge gained through experience – good and bad. Who want to raise awareness of the condition and its associated difficulties – as well as the positives – in order to, hopefully, increase acceptance of our people into society. To make every day life easier and, well, live-able.
Sometimes, all this information, all the memes and the questions and the ‘ugh, my son did this…’ and ‘yay, my daughter did that!’ can get a bit overwhelming. Sometimes, particularly if I’ve had a crappy day myself, I don’t really want to see all the autism stuff. I want to switch off and not have to think about it for a while (and yes, I know I could just not go on Facebook, but…. really?! Do people actually do that?!) I do still have lots of posts from friends, and colleagues, and mummy friends and TV shows, and news sites….and so on… And I do want to see that stuff, to kind of remind me that life goes on… And then I remember that yes, life does go on, and now autism is a part of our life. It’s not going away. It will always be there, and it’s important for me to immerse myself into this new world so that I can do the very best I can for my daughter to help her navigate her way through it.