6 months and 101 posts…
All right, I’m back. First off, thanks for making M feel so welcome here. How sweet is that? He read his post to me while I was in the airport bathroom, and I couldn’t help but shed a few tears. In at least this aspect of my life, I am so very fortunate. Many thanks for your wonderful comments, which I made him read to me over the phone before going to bed. We both appreciate your kindness and support. I only hope M is willing to come back and share more some day soon…
So I’m home from kiddy ground zero, returning to over 200 google reader posts and tons of emails in various in-boxes. The trip is a whole other post (or three). Next time.
For now, I just need to reflect on the fact that it’s been just over six months since I started blogging, and the momentous 100th post was what I wanted to say but from a different perspective.
I started lurking reading blogs long before I was compelled to start my own, leaving a comment here and there. It was oddly comforting to know there was a universe of women out there (and a few men) who had been there, done that, and lived to blog about it. I was awed and inspired by the sense of community that was being cultivated. It was nothing short of a grassroots revolution in shared experience.
I felt connected almost instantly. I’d discover a post that resonated deeply, nod my head in agreement, shed a tear in silence, or think to myself “yes, I know.” Sometimes I’d be compelled to comment (as with this post from Zee, which I found when I googled “everyone is pregnant but me” — so perfect). Other times a post would touch my heart or I’d want to reach out and hold someone up in a moment of need. Every so often a post would bring laughter despite the heartache.
It was so affirming to encounter these stories, to read reactions in comments, and offer support. There was nothing quite like it. It’s no wonder that blogging recently made the news as an invaluable form of therapy.
Like many, I started blogging as an online journal. I needed to document my IVF experience and process the emotions — the hopes and fears — of my long journey to parenthood. For years I had experienced infertility with little support. I was still finding my way through the grief of losing our only child. I was facing the unknown, an uncertain future.
I had so much hope for that first IVF. But deep down I was afraid of failure. I knew the odds. Our options were dwindling. This was our last best chance. Despite what support I had, I felt alone, alienated from most friends and family. I needed an outlet. I found a community.
I had hoped to learn from and find comfort in the words of others. Many had already been down this path. I had no idea if anyone would read. But I knew from infertility and loss bulletin boards that if I connected with just one person, it would be worth it. I was encouraged by M and inspired by you to reach out and share my story. I did not anticipate the immeasurable benefit that would result from jumping into this conversation.
In “real” life I am such a private person. There is so little I share unless you get past my “wall” — i.e., the defense system I have subconsciously built over time to try to avoid exposure to vulnerability. It’s hard for me to let someone in. I was raised to be so independent that I find it difficult to rely on the kindness of strangers, or to even accept generosity from loved ones at times.
As a child, I journaled and wrote poetry, I looked inward. This behavior was reinforced when I was 16 and my dad was dying of cancer. My best friend at the time — who understandably had no idea what to say about his treatment after recurrence — said to me, “well, it will either work or it won’t.” Hmmm. Sensitive, insightful, thanks. I was fortunate that a tight bond with my brothers helped me through that transformative experience.
I realized pretty early on that I was probably better off keeping to myself in tough times. I learned that people don’t know how to deal with illness and grief, that suffering makes them uncomfortable, and they just want it to go away. I learned that genuine compassion is indeed rare.
Infertility has been no different, really, only more invisible.
Beginning a blog was a leap of faith. But I had nothing to lose and much to gain. So, with my first few posts in December (here and here), I jumped into the unknown. I started blogging on what would have been my father’s 72nd birthday (though he died just before his 50th). It was the day before M’s 41st birthday and my first IVF baseline appointment.
A few days later, I wrote the post that had been swirling in my head for months — the things I wished I could say to the expecting women in my life. Then Pamela Jeanne and others linked to it and I started getting hits, and the comments kept coming once I included it on the Creme de la Creme of 2007. If I didn’t know it before, I realized then I was not alone on this journey. This became even more evident after the devastation of my failed IVF and FET. Every kind supportive word meant so much.
Now, 101 posts and more than 22,000 hits and 1,200 comments later, I truly appreciate the importance of this space to my healing 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 me.