Musings on babies, blogging, and privacy

Posted by

Baby legs and bootsI feel like I owe y’all and apology. For those of you who got to know me via Offbeat Bride, you’re used to a certain kind of writing from me. My wedding planning process and wedding day were, quite literally, an open book. I spilled the beans about my partner, my family, our friends, my feelings, and getting baked while watching rainbows. It was fun and awesome and allowed me to get to know so many of you. Honestly, the offbeat community is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. All because I was a blabberface about my wedding!

But when it comes to my son and my new experience of motherhood, I’m finding myself clamp-mouthed with a brick wall around my stories. I have tons of baby photos posted on Flickr — but they’re all viewable to friends & family only. I have lots of videos on Vimeo — but they’re all password protected. I have stories I want to share about the five years we spent trying to conceive and my experience of childbirth, what it’s like when you baby bed gets recalled, and soooo many other things … but rather than share them on Offbeat Mama, I post them on my members-only private blog.

And for that I am sorry. I want to share these things with you, but I also need to respect that while I’ve made decisions in the past about sharing my life online, my son has not made those decisions. If he wants to be an extrovert like his big-mouth mama, he can make that choice for himself someday. I don’t want to force the decision on him by sharing his stories online before he’s even figured out how to hold up his head.

Another issue (and I’m loath to even mention this, because I strongly believe in DNFTT) is that I’ve dealt with my share of trolls over the years. One is so doggedly devoted that she’s followed my writing and photos all over the web, leaving bitchy “you’re fat/ugly/stupid/irrelevant/etc” snarks on almost every site I’ve posted on for the last four years. I’ve been online since 1992, so I’ve got a thick skin with this stuff. But my kid? I’m just not going to expose my son to that kind of petty bullshit. I’m sure he’ll deal with bullies — but it doesn’t need to start at age 1 month.

All this means that I’m dealing with serious privacy issues when it comes to writing about my son and experience of motherhood. I anticipated this early on in my pregnancy, and it’s part of why I made my personal blog private last year and was very clear when founding Offbeat Mama that it was NOT my personal mommyblog.

But I feel like I may have gone too far — I’m a little walled off, and I feel like it’s affecting the relationship I’m able to have with y’all, my beloved offbeat mamas. Where does my son’s experience end and mine begin? Which stories are mine to share, and which are his? How vulnerable do I want to be on the internet these days?

Then again, I love reading other people’s stories — is it fair that I’m greedily gobbling up all y’all’s forthcomingness while keeping my own narrative to myself?

This is all to say thanks to each of you for your patience with me as I fumble around trying to figure out the balance between doing what I love (sharing stories with my ladies) and feeling safe and like I’m respecting my son’s privacy.

Comments on Musings on babies, blogging, and privacy

  1. I would love to hear about your experience trying to get pregnant, since that is where I am at right now. Is there space for that on OBM?

  2. Absolutely — I've always intended to do stories about trying to conceive. My personal story is VERY long, and I'd need to do some serious thinking about what aspects to share. But the topic is definitely appropriate for OBM!

  3. I am ENTIRELY the same way. I am the biggest loudmouth I know. I have a rant blog where I'll post about how much my mom or husband have pissed me off, but come the birth of my son- my Facebook page was set to "friends only" for EVERYTHING. I do not blog using my son's name, I just say "my son", and no pictures of him are posted anywhere that isn't privacy protected.

    Kudos to you mama. Let him decide for himself if he wants to be online or not.

  4. He's adorable!!

    My bff has those same rainbow leggings for her 5 mo old–I LOVE those leggings! (I want some…haha)

  5. Certainly impressive that over 50 people commented on this blog post, Ariel, a sign that your writing inspires people and your transparency about this issue is provocative. Good job!

  6. No apology necessary! I had read your blog ever since you chopped off the dreads and was pretty sad when you closed it to the public, but totally understood the reasons. Crazy online stalker people suck and you definitely have to protect yourself and your cute little man from them!

  7. Ariel…. you have no need to apologize. You've made a space for a huge number of people to share and find support, and the impact you've made on some of the most important moments of life (marriage, pregnancy) is immeasurable. Trust us — your presence is felt.

  8. I used to read your personal blog (we went to high school together) and found it password protected one day. I definitely understand why you wish to protect your son from the harsh comments of a troll. I can barely post photos of my kids on Facebook without feeling like they will be violated and *I* know full well who is viewing those photos.
    I am glad to see you here and want to wish you a congratulations on the birth of Tavi! He's adorable as expected 🙂
    Congrats and Go Spartans (!),

Read more comments

Comments are closed.