When I was in the throes of infertility, I was desperate for support. I looked to every single human being for some modicum of understanding – whether that was my best friend or the freakin’ mailman.
One unexpected place I found a lot of support was social media. I joined a few Facebook groups but was always low-key paranoid that my IRL friends would be alerted by a notification like “Elyse Ash joined a Facebook Group called ‘My AMH is Garbage and I Cry Every Day.’”
So I started my own anonymous Tumblr account and messaged other women across the world. I kept the blog updated based on my diagnosis and decisions. It was awesome! But also a lot of work to keep everything up-to-date.
It wasn’t until we’d already gone through 2 egg retrievals that I discovered the TTC Instagram community and started dipping my toe in…and, oh boy…I had no idea the gold mine that lay in that square, purple little app.
If you haven’t already done so, I highly encourage you to search the hashtag “#TTC” on Instagram right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait. There are THOUSANDS of other women just like you on Instagram! Sharing their successes and failures, trials and tribulations, fear and frustrations. There’s a beautiful, thriving, pineapple-filled community! In fact, many women have secret/anonymous TTC-only accounts that only exist track their physical and emotional journey as they navigate the fertility world. You can get support from so many other women who know exactly what you’re going through…whether you’re going through a huge trauma like a miscarriage or just having a bummer day after a coworker announces a pregnancy, these people get it!
The only issue? If you start liking infertility-related content under your regular/personal IG account, you could unintentionally “out” yourself to family and friends…obviously it’s hard to keep things private on social media, so if you’re sensitive about your fertility hiccups, then it might feel intimidating.
That’s why I recommend creating your own private TTC Instagram account! This way you can build a new support system, track your journey, follow other women’s experiences and feel wayyyy less alone…all behind the mask of a private, anonymous account. It’s the perfect way to celebrate wins and commiserate over losses.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating your own private TTC Instagram account…
How to Create a TTC Instagram Account
Choose a Cute Fertility-Related Name: Get cute and creative by coming up with a fun, username. Maybe it’s about your stork being lost or being a pineapple princess or waiting for your rainbow…whatever it is, sometimes it’s nice if it at least nods to infertility. That way it’s clear to other potential followers in the TTC Insta community that you’re an ally and friend.
Write a Clear Description (Complete with Emojis!): If your new IG account is dedicated primarily to your fertility journey, then it’s important to communicate that to prospective new followers. Give a few details so your followers have context to where you are in your journey. For example you could write, “Elyse, 35 years old, TTC 3 years.” Or you could get even more detailed if you want and list the treatments you’ve tried like “Clomid, IUI x2, IVF now!” But because of the character count limitations, some gals get pretty creative and use emojis to tell their story. Here are some common emojis used in TTC profile explanations and what they usually mean…
You could also consider calling out, “TTC-only please,” in your profile, which means you’d only like other women trying to conceive to follow your account.
Follow Others: The best way to grow your TTC IG account is to follow others! Try to find a good mix of other newbies to the community who have a handful of followers, as well as influencers who have a larger following. It’s also very helpful to try and find people who are located near you, geographically. Perhaps they have thoughts on different clinic recommendations nearby or are familiar with how local health insurance laws work. Either way, it’s good to get a diverse group of women to follow! (If you’re not sure where to start at all, here are a few of my favorite TTC accounts: @funny_girls_of_fertility, @fertilegirl, @natalie_adele, @myttcjourney2018, @journey_to_baby_g, @mamatoabel, and of course @fruitful_fertility)
Start Posting: Share your TTC story either in the IG feed or in IG stories; let people know about your life. Your partner. Your struggles. Let people into your world! You can blur your face or other defining characteristics if you’d like. Oh, and if you’re borrowing content from other accounts, be sure to cite proper credit and tag the original creator of the artwork.
Use Hashtags: If you’re trying to get more followers or find new accounts to follow, using TTC-related hashtags on your posts is a great place to start. Here’s a list of popular fertility-related hashtags to both include on your posts and also search to find others just like you!
- #Infertility Warrior
Lastly, a word of warning. Here are two things to always remember about social media:
1) Not to sound like a total mom, but try to remember that nothing is ever really *truly* private or anonymous online. So even though making a new account just for trying to conceive is great…also make sure not to post anything that’s *so* personal that you’d die if it got back to your regular circle of friends. It’s better to be safe than sorry, ya know?
2) Social media is an incredible tool that can really bring people together, but it can also sometimes be a really intense trigger. The “problem” with making friends with women who want to get pregnant is that oftentimes they *do* become pregnant. Then your feed could be filled with positive pregnancy tests and ultrasound photos. So if you’re sensitive to that kind of imagery, be aware that Instagram might feel like a bit of a landmine at times…