What’s up with the oversharing of baby photos? You don’t really notice it until you have a reason to be actively uncomfortable seeing them at times, but people share photos of babies and kids under 10 WAY more than any cat lady I know has ever shared their cat photos.
I love my cats, and I am totally That Girl with the cat photos on the phone and the cat as phone wallpaper, and desktop wallpaper, and knitting sweaters for my cats. It’s over the top, and I know it, but upon meeting a fellow cat lover, we definitely pull out our respective phones and share our cat photos.
I have never, however, just whipped out my phone without being asked or prompted to show someone who doesn’t even like cats, or maybe has just had to put down their cat, photos of my cat. Or, my favorite, photos of SOMEONE ELSE’S CAT.
Why, oh, why, do I need or want to see photos of babies belonging to people I don’t even know? This only feeds my feelings that everyone in the entire world, total stranger or otherwise, seems capable of doing that which I could not. And these aren’t strangers showing me the photos – it’s everyone I know, all of whom know that I very recently had a baby, and that baby died. But oh hey don’t I want to see a picture of your neighbor’s 1 year old niece? She’s so adorable! Well, frankly? No, I really, really don’t. And I’m not sure why you’d think I’d want to, except that apparently this is just an accepted practice in our society. I just never noticed it before, when upon being shown a photo of a child I have no connection to, my internal monologue was one of complete ambivalence and occasional “oh, cute,” rather than “I hope one day I’ll get to have a little girl just like that, I wonder what Amy would have looked like at that age, why did she have to die, life, unfair, woe.”
Baby photos are not cute, they are objects of jealousy. Not I want to kidnap someone else’s baby – I want mine, thanks – but I am jealous that yet another person got to have what I did not. A live baby. A normal pregnancy and birth. The feeling, how wonderful it must be, of getting leave the hospital with your baby.
For people I know, and care about, this is different. I am jealous still, but I also care about you and I care about said baby by extension, and that tempers the jealous. So it’s not like I don’t want to see pictures of my actual friends’ babies – I’m not unreasonable and I do want to know your children! But your distant relative’s baby? Your friend’s baby? Your hairstylist’s baby? Random, generic baby on the internet oh how cute? No. And what I don’t understand is – how in the world is this not totally obvious??