Facebook targeted ads and how to disappoint a robot.
Marriage and the magic baby making timeline.
My husband and I were married in 2012. The first time we were asked when we were going to have kids was by a family member, at our reception.
At the time, I was a mature student, entering the second year of my undergrad. Unbeknownst to us, I would continue on to do a double major in English and Creative Writing. This took me 5 years, going full time, including during the summer. When I graduated, I then went back for two more years (plus one semester) to complete my MA. When that was finished, my husband decided to go to school so he could change careers. His program took two more years.
It would seem, at ages 36 and 41 (how old we are now), we are late bloomers. I was pretty happy with our life, though I do long to have children to love and care for. I fill that void with the smothering of our dog when I'm feeling broody.
During the time I attended school, I also discovered I have PCOS and do not ovulate properly. This, combined with my IBS (I have that too) and mental health issues (GAD and Depression), I have known for a long time my body was not created to carry life. However, I am created to LOVE life. We plan on adopting one day, when we are settled, and have more than $0.12 in the bank. I'm excited for the day when this comes. We will make our family. We will work hard to see it grow and flourish.
But, back to my story about Facebook. The day my husband and I changed our statuses to "married" on our profiles, I began getting ads for: diapers, strollers, fertility treatments, bassinets, rattles, baby clothing, blankets, bottles, booties, cribs... you name it. If a baby could spit up on it, there was an ad for it in my time line. My husband's time line? No ads for babies, whatsoever.
Facebook sensed "The Panic". If you don't know what this is, this is the moment when a woman turns 30. Suddenly, her eggs are shriveling, powdering, drying up and blowing away. I was married at 28. My time for panicking was upon us. Facebook needed me to click, and click fast and furiously on those ads. A married woman, of nearly 30, surely she must be ready to pop out those babies!
But time marched on. I did not click the ads. Other friends got married, had babies. I did not click the ads. I kept going to school. I still didn't click the ads. I worked at my job on campus, tutored on the side, came home to my husband and dog. The ads persisted. For three years, I had ads on top of ads for baby stuff.
Then suddenly, just like that, they stopped. I had failed the test! The turning 30, married woman, needs to procreate, click this ad, test. Apparently Facebook's robot knows something I don't about myself. That, if after three years of marriage, you haven't gotten pregnant, we must assume you are sad and barren, or... ugh... some kind of feminist, environmentalist, conscious planet lover who chooses not have children for ethical reasons. If that's the case, you obviously suck.
I had failed Facebook, and now, they didn't know what to do with me. So, when all else fails, they trotted out some weight loss ads and called it a day.
Way to phone it in guys.
Whitney Sweet is a body positive researcher, mental health awareness activist, poet, novelist, and artist. She used to be a chef, but that's another story. You can find her publications on Amazon, or check out her website. Drop her a note sometime, she likes making new friends.
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