One mom defends taking over 4,000 photos of her baby’s first year, including this one of Kai in the bathtub. (All photos by Ariel Rivera)
My son Kai was born on December 31, 2013 at 7:10 pm following 43 hours of labor and an unplanned C-section. His debut photo — posted on social media just before midnight — got 207 “likes” and 57 comments and I liked the way that felt. In fact, I’ve posted (at least) one photo of Kai per day since he was born and I’ve never thought twice before clicking “share.”
However, there were people on my Facebook friend list who cared deeply about how often I posted photos of my baby but they were de-friended. One in particular bragged about antagonizing a mother who was on a red-eye flight with a crying baby.
Another friend shared an article about the dangers of posting photos of children without their consent. An image of a baby in his high chair with food all over his face might embarrass him later, the article noted. Well, good! I’m banking on it. I can’t wait to laugh with my kids over the funny photos I’ve taken during their childhood.
Kai can’t wait to get his hands on some lobster. (Ariel Rivera)
Here’s why I post: In the ten years that I’ve lived in New York since graduating college, seven of my closest friends have moved away. Sharing photos of my kid online and seeing their families grow through photos on social media closes the distance a little bit.
Posting has also led to unexpected opportunities. In addition to acquiring 60 “likes,” an Instagram photo of Kai sucking his thumb while he slept received a comment that led to an incredible job offer. I also reconnected with a childhood friend after we began following each other on Instagram and eventually met each other for a playdate.
(Photo by Ariel Rivera)
My almost 90-year-old grandmother bought an iPad solely to log on Facebook each day to “check the pictures.” She thanks me weekly for giving her a way to see her great-grandson grow.
Recently, my mother had her own take on my social media habits. She called it an outlet for a creative person — and she was right. I style my baby in cute clothing and I post about my feelings.
We always hear about how screens are taking over our lives and ruining interpersonal communication but I see the sharing of family photos and personal stories as a way to combat that.
On December 30, the eve of Kai’s first birthday, I posted the following message on Facebook: “According to my library, I’ve taken approximately 4,134 photos since Kai was born (you guys are like IS THAT ALL). These photos are my attempt to hold onto moments that I’m already nostalgic for before they’ve even ended. Being a mom is not unlike trying in vain to read the credits at the end of the movie before they scroll out of frame: there is so much to consume and never enough time.”
I share because it’s just not enough to keep this love to myself. It’s not possible. This love cannot be contained.