There’s this new show on NBC called “Guys with Kids“. The other day the Hubs and I were watching an episode, in which one of the “Guys with Kids” leaves the kids with the mom so he can go to a football game. She calls him from the ER, and when he asks her in a panic what’s wrong with the kids, she responds by saying that she looked up the symptoms online and she thinks one of their children has Crohn’s Disease.
“The Internet always leads to Crohn’s!” the dad responds.
Now, Crohn’s Disease is not a laughing matter. I have a few friends who suffer from Crohn’s and it is nasty, awful business. I recount this scene from a mediocre television show not because I think it is hilarious, but because it illustrates a good lesson for us all:
Too much time on the Internet rarely has a positive outcome.
When I first became pregnant, I spent a lot of time researching what was happening “in there.” I devoured pregnancy literature, downloaded iPhone apps, etc. etc. etc. The Internet was this wealth of information just waiting to be tapped into – to see if other people experienced the same things I did, to find someone or something to equate my experience with. Women have been having babies for thousands of years, but I felt like I was the first one. I needed to bone up on my baby-making knowledge.
After we lost Hudson, I turned to the Internet yet again. I devoured grief and loss literature, flirted with joining the local chapter of “Compassionate Friends,” read through obscure forum strings from 2007 of women who had also lost a child. I wanted to find out if other people experienced what we had, find somebody whose experience I could equate ours with.
I felt like we were the only people who had ever lost a child.
This, my friends, is a dangerous road to travel. The wisdom of “The Internet always leads to Crohn’s” had not been imparted on me at the time, and I found myself discovering all kinds of “Ways things can go wrong”.
Women who got abortions when they were teens, only to have difficulty conceiving years later.
Women who experienced multiple losses.
Bringing a healthy baby home, only to lose that child to SIDS.
And then when the doctor told me to wait 6 months before we try for Baby Dub Dos, I researched that online, too. Variations of “How long to wait between pregnancies?” littered my Google search history.
I discovered stories of healthy babies as close at 10 months apart. But also…
Low birth weight in second babies born too close to their older siblings.
Stories of uterine rupture,
Anywhere from 3 months to two years were recommended to wait. Throw in the C-Section angle and you discovered a thousand more stories, good and bad.
My brain can’t process the multitude of possibilities, competing facts, conflicting data. It was especially dangerous for me to read this stuff at night before bed… my mind would inevitably wander down that dark path to the night we went into labor, how if just a few things had been done differently maybe I wouldn’t even have time for Googling stuff right now because I’d be taking care of a rambunctious red-head.
A friend of mine is a family practice doctor, and had a beautiful baby girl this year. I asked her how she made it through her pregnancy without having a complete breakdown – she’s privy to far too much medical data, she’s seen how things can go wrong with no warning. And it was comforting to hear her admit that it was pretty hard. Me, I can discount all the stories I’ve read to this point as “Internet myth garbage.” She had scientific facts to work off of.
I gotta cool it with the Googling of things related to pregnancy and labor and infant loss.
Worrying gets you nowhere, and the Internet always leads to Crohn’s.