Pinterest, I like you. I really do. But seriously, it took you how long to realize that people wanted (and needed) secret boards?
When I joined Pinterest two years ago, I was in the midst of transitioning out of infertility treatments and into the world of domestic, open adoption. With all due respect to all of our amazing doctors and nurses, infertility treatments are absolutely bananas. It does not matter what you do or don’t do; they are emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially draining.
So, in order to bring some semblance of normalcy to the proceedings, I began to peruse the Pinterest “Kids” category (and of course, immediately found hundreds of things I wanted to create, find, sew, bake, purchase, and remember for when we had children).
The challenge is that only a handful of people knew about the infertility treatments, let alone that we were trying to get pregnant. When we did tell people, it was sad. It felt like a discussion about failure. And there was a lot of crying. Rumors online suggested that secret Pinterest boards were on the way, but in the interim, I worked out a ridiculous two-pronged system which consisted of taking screen shots and emailing links to myself. I did consider starting a second account with a pseudonym, but I didn’t because I knew that one day I would want everything in one place–because one day, I would be a mom.
In July of 2012 we began the adoption process and immediately, telling people felt different. It was an exciting announcement. It was a discussion about our future. There was still some crying, but it was the happy kind. We looked back on the year which had passed and saw that we were relatively unscathed. We knew we would need much more support as we entered a world where we had even less control over our fates and so we crossed the magic line from private to public and started a Facebook page. We laughed at things which had previously been upsetting (like standing in line behind Kevin Federline and his extremely pregnant girlfriend at the OBGYN). And in November, just one month after we officially went “live” with our agency, Pinterest announced they would be offering secret boards (and much pinning ensued).
During the last 15 months, I have moved slowly (I think the nice word for this is “organically”) from not wanting anyone to know to telling everyone I meet (warning to all friendly Trader Joes cashiers: when you ask me if I have children, you are going to get a lecture about open adoption). And yet still, my “Baby” Pinterest board remains secret.
(Let me pause for a minute to say that one advantage to this extended waiting period is that I have actually done many of the things I have pinned. I know, a Pinterest miracle! And some of them even resemble the original pinned item!)
In the world of adoption, things are liminal. It is this strange waiting place where any second (literally) you could become a parent, and yet being a parent still feels incredibly intangible and very far away. Being in this liminal place is really difficult and not just for a type A person like myself. Not knowing when, how, or where things will happen would send anyone’s brain into overdrive (even my even-keeled, patient husband). I often feel like a boat at the mercy of the waves; always alert to the gentle rocking so that I don’t fall over, but still caught off guard, every now and then, by a large wave crashing against me.
And even though I know it is silly, for me it feels karmically strange to have a baby board when there is no baby. I know, I know, there will be a baby someday. But as we wait in this liminal space, where nothing is real until it’s really real, that Pinterest board remains secret.