Thursday, 22 May 2008

Baby Blog Fodder

So I had a baby and I write about him a bit. You’d think I was the first woman ever to give birth and raise a child, the way I go on about it. Some days I’d dearly love to let a picture be worth a thousand words, not least because it would save on the finger leather. But I feel nervous about putting snaps of dear Wriggly on this here blog. I don’t use his real name, why should I use his true image?

Several of the bloggers I really respect, in particular bluemilk, put up pics of their children, and I guess this post is really a non-critical question to them:

If I share photos of my child am I just using them as blog fodder, particularly when they are too young to even understand that the shiny box with the red light is being used to record their embarrassing moments for humiliating enlargement later in life?

I am truly undecided on this matter and would appreciate some feedback – what say y’all, be you blogger, commenteer or lurker?


Amanda said...

On the whole I wouldn't but I think it somewhat depends on the type of blog you have. If it's mostly just for family and friends it's probably ok- if you are going to be going anywhere near any controversial topics you run the risk of unpleasant people making nasty remarks about your children and offensively photoshopping them- I have seen this happen on a music related forum incidentally- crazies are everywhere . This might not bother your children if they are very young but I know I would find it upsetting. Also once children are at school and likely to have friends looking at stuff on the internet I think it becomes important to respect their right to privacy and to not embarrass them.Well that's what I think anyway.

Steve Withers said...

My blog is my blog. It's not my family's blog. I haven't asked them if they want to be part of it and they have not asked to be part of it. Whether videos on YouTube or posts to my blog or any other thing on the Internet, my family is not in it other than perhaps in an anonymous supporting role in a story I may be telling. You won't know their names or their faces or how many of them there are.

I see it as an invasion of their privacy. I can say what I want about a lot of things, but I don't talk in detail about the who, what, when, where and why of family life. That's my policy. if there was an exception to it I would feel bound to ask the family members concerned if they wanted to "appear". I haven't done that so far. I know the answer would most likely be "no". Which is why they don't appear anyway. One child does Bebo like there's no tomorrow and is very creative and thoughtful about what is presented there but avoids mentioning anyone else in the family. It's not their place to give away that information about others. I guess that is the bottom line and it would be followed most closely where the family member concerned can't be asked or make an informed a young child.

Does that help? :-)

Stephanie said...

Another high-profile blogger in the states grapples with this issue here:

Anonymous said...

I would (and do) on a private friends only journal/blog. Public blog - no way! A freind who has a 'famous' mother put family photos in lots of her publications without asking. It still upsets them YEARS later

stargazer said...

i'd have to agree with others. it's an issue of consent, and until your child is old enough to give a thoughtful and reasoned consent, i'd say you have no right to put up pictures, names or other private details into a public forum.

having said that, i know i've mentioned bits and pieces about my kids, but i try to be very careful and think about how they'd feel reading that stuff ten years from now (or in your case twenty years!)

Anonymous said...

I have posted pictures but usually with their heads cropped off or turned away etc but my blog isn't really controversial I just do it to protect their privacy. I try not to write anything that they will hate later.

Nikki Elisabeth said...

Against the grain and ready for the criticism... (well, sorta)

I blog about the kid. In fact, it's named after her! I post pics of the kid... use her as blog fodder... it's public... sometimes embarrassing.

I'm about as open as they come on the internet. Overly trusting I guess... potentially dangerous. I'm just counting on people having better things to do with their lives! (Yes, I know some will be appalled at my [lack of] logic)

I am relying completely upon Hannah turning out even relatively similar to me and not minding that I've told the world about her life. I guess I am inclined to agree with Heather/Dooce (whose post I had read previously) about the sharing, being cathartic for me, positive for other women who might be struggling with their "devil children" and a nice record for Hannah of the good times and the bad. I don't think I would record it otherwise and I wish my mum had some sort of record of my childhood beyond her dim memories and a few pictures.

Joanna said...

I don't have a kid, but I know I would love it if my mother had written about me when I was grown up in the way that Dooce does about Leta. There are photos of me as a kid, but I have no idea about how anyone was feeling at the time, y'know? I think that's priceless knowledge.

Julie said...

Thanks for all the feedback, sorry it has taken me a while to get back to this. I really enjoyed reading the link on Dooce too, thanks te-e.

On balance I think I'll stick to just writing about Wriggly, and continuing to give him a pseudonym. Like Nikki I want to keep a record of this strange new experience for me (motherhood), at least in part so that Wriggly has something to look back on that describes his early days. When I was preggers people told me that I would forget what it was like, forget the birth, forget the hard times of the first few weeks, etc. I scoffed, mentally, thinking that I could never forget this stuff, this was the Stuff Of Life! But it's true. There is so much going on in my brain now, more than ever before, and there isn't room for everything. I hope that I can capture some of it here for preservation, but in a way that doesn't open Wriggly up for ridicule or embarassment.

I went to a meeting the other night and took the little tyke. One of the first people I saw came up to me and said "So this is Wriggly!" I was quite taken aback because I didn't know she read this blog (I don't refer to him as Wriggly anywhere else), and thought I had misheard. But on reflection she had called him by his pseudonym and that gave me a bit of pause. It made me realise that the people out there reading this are not just people I don't know, but also people I do. It was a timely reminder.

(And Hi LR!)

I really enjoy reading what other mothers write about the realities of motherhood, and I hope I can contribute to that too. I just need to find the balance that I'm comfortable with, as we all do.