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.