september 2013 monthly theme – why we blog

When I started my blog, it was a place to post pictures and hilarious anecdotes about my kid because I had quit Facebook.  I had been secretly reading IF blogs when I was pregnant with him, hoping to find someone mirroring the difficult emotions I was feeling not only being pregnant after experiencing infertility and miscarriages, but also how to cope when you are pregnant and your infertile friend is not. I found a few people that today I call my friends. These people saved my life.

And then… then I starting to write about my journey on my very public, very NOT anonymous blog. I needed to get some of that agonizing weight off my chest. I needed the people in my life to see it. I needed to be recognized. I needed to come out of the shadows. When the PAIL blogroll was first started, I added the button so quickly you would think my life had depended on it. Which honestly, at the time, it did. Even through all of the difficulty in getting this niche space together, I felt very strongly that this space had VALUE. I still do. I always will.

Each of us here at PAIL has a different interpretation of our mission statement. Mine has always been “Just keep talking.” Just keep talking. Or don’t. Or just listen. Or close up shop and move on in a different way. Every path to resolution is valid, as is every path we take with our blogs. You need to do what you need to do to process, to move forward, to heal from this. When I say “just keep talking” I suppose what I mean is that I think it is a disservice to the community as a whole to not talk about what it feels like, IS like, when the baby comes home.  We need to be able to find people further down the path to follow, to lead us through the tough spots, to hold our hands, to cheer us on, to understand.

I am not one to blog about blogging. To be honest, I usually skip posts about it. Ah, but then I entered Blog Identity Crisis #187346 and started to really, genuinely think about my space and what I want to do with it now that I am (99%) sure that family building is behind me. It’s a tricky place to be in, when you feel resolved in your heart, but you aren’t sure how to let go. But I’ll write more about that on my own blog in my submission for this month’s theme.

Suggested Writing Prompts

  • Did you start blogging before, during, or after your journey though infertility/loss/adoption? 
  • Why did you start blogging? What has kept you blogging?
  • When you became a parent did you transition your blog or start a new space? What were your reasons for doing so? How do you feel about your decision now?
  • Have you ever felt pressure to blog about certain things and not others? What influences your writing, if anything?
  • What did you hope to achieve by blogging? Do you feel that you have done this?
  • Why is blogging important to you NOW?
  • What value do you see in blogging the “after”? 

As always, these questions are just a guide. Please feel free to write anything and everything you would like to on this topic in whichever way suits you best. If you have previously written on this topic, feel free to link away in your post, or submit any previous post on the topic as you see fit. And of course, if you do not have a blog of your own, we are happy to hear your thoughts in the comments and will link to your comment in the full post list for all to read.

Entries for this month’s theme are due Thursday, September 26th at midnight, EST. The full list of links will go live on Friday, September 27th.

Please submit your posts using this form:

Share. Visit. Read. Comment. Support.

 

featured post: “my pregnancy & my truths” by bohemian transplant

This is the first post I read by Brittany at Bohemian Transplant. I “met” her last week on Twitter and became acquainted with her story through this post. She was hesitant to post it, and after reading it I could see why. Many bloggers struggle with the fine balance of trying to be sensitive to their friends “in the trenches” and celebrating their own joys. It hurts when people move on and you are left behind. It hurts when others get what you want. And it hurts when others lash out at you because of it.

Brittany’s post touches on a lot of things I struggle with in the ALI community. The desire to be as sensitive as possible to those still in the throes of TTC. The need to be true to yourself and your feelings. The guilt that you were successful and those you care about haven’t been yet. The way we censor ourselves trying not to be insensitive or inadvertently hurtful. The way some folks lash out at others, using their own pain as an excuse or justification.

Recently, Brittany announced that she is currently expecting her second child:

We are incredibly excited, although a little nervous about having two children (just one babe in there, we checked!) but excited none the less. The post has since been removed because, well, it was kind of depressing. As excited as we are, it was a tough pill to swallow, knowing that I have hurt some people that I love who are still very much in the trenches of infertility.

And then I got no response. Not even one congrats. Which, you know, is fine. It’s not about that. But I poured my heart out in that post as well, about the guilt I was feeling, and I didn’t even receive any thoughts on that, either.

When I broke the news on twitter, as gently as I could, it was mostly positive responses. But there were a few. Some harsh words were spoken. Words that hurt. Words, honestly, I can’t get past. They are in the throws. The very ugly throws of infertility. They hurt. They are in pain. I understand this. But it sucks, mostly, when I have been so supportive of others, through good news and bad, no matter how hard it has been to me in the past, to not receive that support in return.

What really struck me about this, was how heartbreaking it is when this happens. I think we can all agree that a BFP, no matter who it is from, can hurt like a bitch. But I would wish we could all agree that it is not okay to be an asshole about it. If you need to step away, step away. But if you need to say something shitty, step away.

Brittany’s post, however, spoke to me on another level. She makes some astute and insightful points about the give and take of support, URL to IRL friendship, how our circumstances change, and the conditional nature of support:

Whether some like it or not, there is this mentality in the infertility community (not among everybody, but among some) that your struggle does not count if it is not the same as their struggle. Many seem to forget that pain is pain, no matter what form it comes in, but if it’s not the same level of pain, if you haven’t gone through the same treatments, then sympathy or support is not required. It’s expected to be received, but not given. It’s also unfortunate.

And as somebody on the bottom rung of the infertility treatment, I fall often into the category of having to give, but never receive. As somebody who has gone out of my way to send love, strength, hope, care packages, gifts, cards, words of encouragement and all the hugs the virtual world can offer (and sometimes in real life) sometimes I want that back when I am feeling down.

These are tough things to write, to read, to acknowledge, and to work on. This post stirred up a lot of my irritation and discomfort with the “just be grateful” attitude in this community, but it also reminded me that I can always be doing better to be supportive. It is a reminder to us all that support, sensitivity, and understanding are needed on every step of the journey. To give what you can, when you can. To treat each other as we would wish to be treated.

I’m still thinking a lot about this post. If I am being honest, I have a lot of things I am thinking and feeling about the points Brittany is making, but I find myself afraid to say them too. Maybe that is the point. That we shouldn’t be afraid. And as much as I say “just keep talking” I keep mum on things too. Let’s keep working on that, one post at a time.

Please head over to Bohemian Transplant to read Brittany’s post “My Pregnancy & My Truths” and leave your thoughts with her.

*****

Brittany in her own words:

I am 31 years old and a born and raised Seattle girl, although currently living in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I work in the public relations field to pay the bills, while moonlighting as an aspiring photographer, designer and wanna be chef to help keep my creativity afloat. On top of that, I am a full-time mom to a baby boy and three awesome pooches, a military wife to a loving husband and a woman who is continually trying to find her place in this world… But then we started trying to have a baby, a process that turned out to be not so easy for us. After a miscarriage in January of 2009, just two months into my husbands second year-long deployment, suddenly talking about sperm counts and ovulation didn’t seem so appropriate for all the people that I knew in my real life. Our miscarriage was followed by another year of trying to on our own before starting fertility treatments, we were blessed with our extremely handsome baby boy via IUI. Our infertility journey was simple compared to most, something that we are incredibly grateful for.

Ironically enough, I have been on two sides to the infertility journey. In 2004, I donated my eggs to a family member who was unable to conceive on her own, resulting in two beautiful twin girls that just started first grade. The irony comes from us having our own struggles years down the road, but we are still blessed with what we have. I love my infertility community and will do what I can to help promote the amazing things that comes from it.

*****

Share. Visit. Read. Comment. Support.

healing week: the afterwards

Being present in your own life movie

A concept that I love and that I really only just started actively participating in these past few months.

I had to stop blogging. And I had to put a firm boundary in place between the ALI community and my life. It is the absolute best thing I have done for myself in such a long time. I still read my friends blogs but I have to admit they are now parenting after ALI blogs and my reader has dwindled down to those people whom I have formed a really great connection with over the past few years. The reason for the distance – that’s my life now. Parenting after loss and living after loss.

Chandra mentioned in her post that “Society tells you, you got pregnant/you adopted/you had your baby after multiple losses – now move on” and I have to agree with this ideology to a degree. You do have to move on in and accept that whatever happened in your movie to the point you are at now can’t be undone in order for healing to happen. Living in the past kills the present and the healing process. It truly does. I’ll never forget what happened to us in 2010/2011. We went through trauma like no other, my husband and I turned into shells of our usual comedic selves. We lost and began resenting family & friends and we couldn’t see a way out of the hell that we were stuck in. There’s no way I could forget how my movie started but I do wish it hadn’t happened on a daily basis.

We got through the horrible beginning though and we have found a way to live happily again. I think that’s the most important part about the afterwards when you come from a past of loss.

Living.

Quite honestly, I forgot how to do that until our daughter was born.

Josey mentioned in her post that she was “sad people from an ALI background seem to feel that they are not allowed to have the hopes and dreams that your average pregnant woman takes for granted”. I really have to emphasis that for us – coming from loss – our hope never went away, our dreams never really died, they just got edited in our movie. Do I care now that my original script included a midwife, giving birth within months of all my friends, a joyous maternity leave filled with mommy and me classes with said girlfriends, a fat belly with no stretch marks and curly haired half-Italian baby? Nope, it got edited and the remnants of the original script that I wrote are on the cutting room floor.

The editors changed my script so drastically and what we got put in its place was 10 days to prepare for another woman to relinquish her child to me. Say what! I watched her give birth the most beautiful baby in the world out and have her placed in my arms. My family grew to include the most amazing people and my appreciation for life grew to include all those people.

Those editors…you hate them when they mess with the story until you get to the good part ;)

The good part: I became a mom. Just in a different way than I thought.

Occasionally though, like every good drama, there are references to the past in our movie.

We visit the daughter we lost often. We don’t make a point of doing it, but she just happens to be resting in a pond that is on our usual dog walk route. We wink, we kiss on her bridge, or throw some bread to the ducks and their babies and we remember her. However, once the dog sees the ducks and decides he wants to kill chase them or Ky starts screaming protesting in her stroller because WE STOPPED (OMG) for a second, we gotta move on.

And so the story of “us” keeps on moving.

Forward.

Now if you aren’t sick of my movie analogy yet here’s the scene at the end of the movie after the credits roll as you are walking out the theatre.

The girl (errrr me) stands up in front of a large group of people. She starts talking about things like – child loss, adoption, open adoption, grieving, and stillbirth. She opens her entire life/past up when people to who are in similar loss circumstances ask her questions about how she moved on through/after loss. She tells them that its okay if the story they thought was going to happen gets changed and they aren’t alone on the pages. She says

“scripts get changed all the time and you have to believe that the movie is going have a happy ending”

How do I heal? I talk about my story and I try my best to help people not feel alone when they arrive at the decision to adopt a child because their original script got messed with. I think my own personal healing is flourishing now because we are done with our family building.

So, I’m still here. I’m just waiting to see what else the editors have in store for me, not being scared of potential change to my movie, and trying my best to move forward despite the past.

Be sure to go back and read the healing posts written by: Josey, Chandra, Julie, and SRB if you haven’t already done so.

*****

Share. Visit. Read. Comment. Support.

tpicTracy is a mother to a gorgeous girl whom her and her husband adopted at birth in January of 2012. She holds a Master’s degree in Guidance Counselling and is a high school counsellor by day, self-admitted know it all by night, and gate-keeper of three enormous families on the weekend. She formed her new family by way of an exceptional open adoption and now spends her weekends making sure her family, her husband’s family and her daughters birth family all get to shower her with as much love as she can get. She can be contacted at theyalllived@gmail.com

january 2013 – where do babies come from?

Here are the posts for our January 2013 topic “Where Do Babies Come From?” Each of us had a unique path to tread to bringing our children home, and it will be interesting to see how we each plan to share the story. Both the “usual” paths, and the “scenic routes.”

If you mention any specific resources in your post, it would be AWESOME if you could also link us up in the comments on this post. We would love to add them to our Resources area.

In a week, this post will move to the drop-down menu in the pink toolbar, so you can check there to come back and see what you missed. It is never too late to leave a comment.

Suggested Prompts:

  • Have you thought about when your child(ren) might ask the “Where do babies come from”” question and what you might say?
  • Do you plan to talk to them about ALI in general in an age-appropriate way at that time, or wait until they are older? When they ask?
  • Have you thought about sharing your specific infertility/loss experience and treatments with your child(ren)? Why or why not?
  • If you brought your child home through adoption, what will this process look like for you? Have you previously written on this topic?
  • Do you consider the gender of your children to be important in what you share about your unique set of circumstances? Why or why not?
  • How do imagine your thoughts on this topic might evolve over time?
  • Do you have any tips or advice on how to make this topic (general reproduction and/or as it relates to the ALI journey) age-appropriate?
  • Do you have any resources (links, books, podcasts) etc. that you could share in the comments to add to our Resources page?

Contributing Bloggers:

  1. Allison of Allison’s Wonderland says “Mostly I ramble, but conclude that the most important thing when telling Henry the Story of Him is to reinforce how much my boy was wanted, and how loved he is” in her post, Having That Conversation.
  2. Lulu at The Wild Rumpus brings us “…thoughts about telling your son he was conceived in a petri dish, among other things” in her post, Made in a cup, like soup.
  3. Christine from Believing in June “…posted about how creating our daughter through IVF was a really special process for my husband and I, a process that brought us closer together and, we believe, makes Piper’s story all the more interesting!” in her post where my babies come from…
  4. Brittany at Infertile Mormon Mommy shares “Thoughts on what I will tell my kids when they finally ask “Where do babies come from?
  5. Ms. Future PharmD from Mom PharmD lets us in on “The basics on what we’ve told the kid so far about where babies come from.”
  6. SRB of Little Chicken Nuggets explains that babies come out of your butt, obviously, in her post where do babies comes from?
  7. Josey from My Cheap Version of Therapy tells us “How to talk about EWCM with your daughter… err, someday” in her post What Makes a Baby.
  8. Courtney of All the Sun For You shares her policy of “No secrets – just honesty.  Starting NOW” in her post Where Our Babies Come From.
  9. SLESE1014 at Mommyhood After Fertility Frustration tells us that “It wasn’t a stork…
  10. April of R. Sativus says “Where our babies come from isn’t as important as why they’re here.” in her post Where Do Babies Come From?
  11. Keanne from Family Building With a Twist shares a post she wrote last year about her son, surrogacy, and “Telling Him How He Came to Be.
  12. Jules from How I spend my Dash tells us that now she has something to think about in her post Where Do Babies Come From?
  13. Dresden from Creating Motherhood shares The Infertile Version of the “Where do babies come from?” question, including her personal story.

**If we missed you, please give us a link to your post in the comments below (with a short blurb) and we’ll move you to the list above!**

*****

Share. Visit. Read. Comment. Support.

featured post: “post partum” via miss conception

Just after the new year I got an email from a blogroll member pointing me to a post I had literally just read. What she had to say about it was more or less what was percolating in my own mind:

I read this post today and thought it would make a great featured post, as so many of us have felt the guilt associated with daring to complain about finally becoming a mom, and yet it is so freaking hard, especially the hormonal and emotional aspect mixed with sleep deprivation. It’s something I think most new moms are not properly prepared for, and we need to talk more about it.

Whew. There was a lot for me to unpack there. In the last two weeks I have written about perspective, “at least” and “just be EMOTION X” statements, and how this can all contribute to guilt and shame over the perfectly natural and healthy negative emotions that come with being a new mum. I remember reading once (and MAN, I cannot remember where) that having a new baby in the house is some seriously shell-shocking shit. Um, pretty much. No amount of reading prepared me for what was about to happen in my life. I was put through the wringer, a few times (and then once more for good measure) both physically and emotionally. And I felt like I could not talk about it. To anyone.

The main reason that I volunteered to help take over PAIL is this: This journey did not stop for me when I got pregnant. It got harder. I was alone with it all, and it nearly cost me. Until I found the odd blog where the woman was in a similar place to me and was touching on some of what I was feeling. I felt less alone. After I gave birth, and AAAAALLLLLL the emotions of the journey up until then caught up with me, I had to stop reading everyone for a while. I couldn’t take it. But then, I started to feel better, and I started talking more. Now, I can’t STOP talking. So really, my main raison d’être at PAIL is this: Keep telling your story, in whichever way you need to tell to tell it. Somebody needs to hear it, and you will both find healing. 

Which brings me back to the post “Post Partum” by ADSchill at Miss Conception. She begins by saying “birthing a baby is not roses and sparkles…” and then breaks it down physically and emotionally.

Physically: I am hurting. I’ll be honest here…my nether regions are a mess. Women don’t really talk about this side of post partum, especially on an infertility blog. But I feel that to be authentic and honest, I need to represent this part of being pregnant and giving birth.

…I had two tears. One in the obvious place (the perineum) and one on the side of the vagina. I was considered a 3rd degree tear. Of course there were stitches placed and lots of swelling…Oh yes, trying to poop with stitches…enough said.

And some other stuff about swelling and weight, and well… yes! The things nobody tells you!

Emotionally: Those post-pregnancy hormones are NO joke.

I am feeling a bit more stable now at 2 weeks past, but the first week was harsh. People don’t warn you about that first week. Well, I will warn you now, because even if you haven’t given birth I hope that you will.

There were a lot of crazy mixed feelings that first week…and well I guess there still are.

I’m going to leave it there, because I recognized so much of myself here, and I wish I had known that it was normal. I wish I had read this, or had someone say it to me. Now that I am about to give birth again, I read this and I remember. I read this, and I remember to be gentle with myself. And I thank A for writing it down for all to see.

This is brave stuff to admit for *any* new mum, but even more so in this community. There is such a pervasive fear that we will look like we are complaining and as such we sanitize or omit things out of sensitivity to our readers – to our friends. It is difficult, and brave, to truly not hold back and tell it how we see it. She does a MUCH better job of capturing this in her post than I can convey here – even if I quoted her. Truly. (My personal feeling is that sharing *all* parts of the journey is important for a realistic management of our expectations. And when we can’t read, we must also be brave and step away. It’s okay. All of it.)

Wherever you are in your journey, I encourage you to head over to Miss Conception and give this post (and its follow-up) a read and a kind word. After all, knowing we are not alone helped to get us this far. And we have miles and miles to go.

*****

ADSchill @ Miss Conception in her own words:

My hubby and I have been married for 6 years and together for a whopping total of 13. As high school sweethearts, we did everything in the so called ‘order’ you are supposed to: Date, college, marriage, cohabitate. We even started with the obligatory puppy to raise and waited 3 years before considering our next step. Fast forward 2 years – here is the picture… Polycystic ovary syndrome, meds, infertility, exhaustion. I have always been healthy, but it turns out PCOS was always hiding in the wings, waiting to rear it’s ugly head the moment I ditched the birth control. If I could kick my ovaries in the junk, I would.

UPDATE: Our first IVF produced two beautiful babies – a boy and a girl. I developed a hematoma which in turn began wreaking havoc in my uterus causing me to go into pre-term labor and deliver my precious twins at 20 weeks. We miss our angels desperately and are still hoping to see a rainbow after the storm.

Baby ‘Raz’ is expected on January 3rd, 2013 after a frozen embryo transfer. Raz was our last surviving frostie baby. (Cooper born December 18, 2012)!!!

*****

Share. Visit. Read. Comment. Support.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 446 other followers

%d bloggers like this: