can I get a witness?

Today marks just one month since I started blogging, yet it feels like so much longer. I had been a longtime lurker/reader before feeling compelled to (finally) create my own. When I began exploring the blogosphere, I was astounded by the number of amazing women who were suffering through the trials and challenges of infertility and sharing their stories. I was struck by the incredible network of support that had sprung up and flourished with healthy cultivation and encouragement. I found it to represent a virtual grassroots revolution in global community support.

This did not exist when I began my journey some years ago. Like many others at the time, I was drawn to various bulletin boards for information and support. Naturally, my progression reflected my personal journey. Over the years I made my way through boards on: fibroids, ttc, over 35, tubal issues, clomid, combination infertility, pregnancy with fibroids, pregnancy complications, PROM/amniotic disorders, poor prenatal diagnosis, loss after infertility, ttc after loss, male factor, and finally IUI/IVF. I found some wonderful people there. I was lucky to form some lasting friendships with a handful of incredible women who had also suffered late term losses and were trying again. But eventually I faded from the boards as others moved on and I was left behind, unable to keep track of new names that were just passing through, and frustrated by “drive by” commenters. I needed a new “home.” I had lost interest in telling my story. And it wasn’t over yet.

Thankfully, my small virtual circle of support stepped in to hold me up. And I am fortunate to have an amazing husband who encouraged me to write and keep on writing. I knew as I was stepping out into the brave new world of IVF that I would need an outlet to express what I was feeling, and to document my story.

The powerful act of storytelling serves so many important functions. It can bring people together. It can educate and inform. It can amuse and enrich. It can nourish the mind and spirit. It can inspire. It provides a forum for shared experience. Stories can document history. Telling our own stories further serves as critical cathartic release. It helps us process, it gets us through. In sharing our stories—our fears and disappointments and pain as well as our hopes and joys—we can begin to overcome the isolation and alienation we experience in our solo journeys. We connect with others who “get” us, and a community is born. In the act of supporting one another, we serve as witnesses to each others’ stories and our own experience is affirmed at the same time. And that is a beautiful thing.

Not many travelers on this long road have a strong support system in “real” life in which they truly feel understood. Even among those who love us, few can really appreciate our ordeals and as a result may only be capable of limited support, if any. For some, no one is even aware of our struggle. I continue to be touched by the way this community embraces its own and by the incredible expressions of support among our sisters in this journey, from those still struggling to those who have made it to the other side (wherever that may be). Of course I must give a well-deserved shout out to Mel, who does so much to create and sustain this strong sense of community. Worlds of thanks Melissa, for all you do. I’ve always felt that Stirrup Queens was sort of like the cozy family kitchen, where we all inevitably end up gathering…

I think the shared experience of blogging is what pulled me in. For me, it’s been a lot like journaling online, an important part of my process and healing. It’s been a safe haven in the storm, where I can reveal my hopes and fears, where I can ponder or vent or cry. So if my posts seem too long or reflective, it’s because I’m writing for me too. And while I’ve only been an active blogger for a month, it has been quite a month. I have so much to be grateful for in finding you all. Now, 22 posts later, there are so many words, and so many thanks. 


~ by luna on January 11, 2008.

10 Responses to “can I get a witness?”

  1. Wow. I think you just managed, very beautifully and concisely, to set out all the reasons why I started blogging. I write to make sense of things. And yet blogging gives me more than that – as you suggest, it gives me witnesses to my story. It gives me a sense that I do not stand alone, that there are others who recognise what I am going through and who are there to offer not pity but support.

  2. You got one here!

    Yes, Mel is the one who brought it all together for me too. I was a member of a public ttc message board, but I had to deal with too much there – drive by ppl – ppl who were clueless – the same questions all the time – emotions – blah blah blah. But blogging was my way to be able to tell MY story and just putting it out there. When I’d put my story on a message board, I’d feel like I was ASKING for support. But with a blog, I wasn’t asking for it, but I got it. It’s AMAZING the girls I feel connected to through blogging. It’s amazing the support I get. It’s amazing how the little comments I can give to others end up meaning so much. It’s all awesome.

  3. Yep, that’s why I started throwing my two cents out into the blogasphere.

    I love the support that I get, I need that support. It fuels me through some pretty tough times.

    THANK YOU, for writing, for commenting, for just being around.

    Happy One Month!

  4. Happy one month anniversary! I’m glad you found the kitchen.

  5. I completely agree with you. Once I started blogging, I left those message boards and never looked back. There is such an amazing support network here

  6. Have you really just been blogging for a month?? I feel like I’ve been reading you for much longer. I still hang out on message boards. I think of them more as a conversation. With my blog, I feel like I’m writing more of a journal. If people read it & respond, that’s fabulous, but even if they don’t, it’s still a release, as you said. Happy blogoversary!

  7. Amen, sister! Reading your recent entries reminds me so much of the headspace I was in when I started blogging. You’re in the middle of such a painful time. Keep writing. I love reading your words, and look forward to more!

  8. I am inspired by our little community. And I feel so supported. I get way more support “virtually” than I do IRL.

    Oh, and happy anniversary Luna! I am already addicted to your blog and have only been reading for, like, 10 days. You express so much of what I feel going through infertility and the struggles associated with it. Thank you for sharing your personal experience. And keep it coming girlie : )

    – Angela

  9. […] as my secret haven, my safe place; and second, because I had just written about the importance of telling my story and the critical support the online world provides, particularly my “virtual” friends […]

  10. […] process. And while I don’t know where this story will lead, I am so grateful you are here to witness it and help me through. I only hope I can be as supportive of you as you’ve been of […]

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