This afternoon, Murray sent me a link to a post in When Eggs Go Bad about how she had turned off the comments section on her blog. She wrote: "When I found myself worrying at 2.30 this morning about the dearth of comments, and feeling angry and hurt that the only time I get a lot of them is when my heart has been ripped out by a miscarriage, I knew I had fallen into the trap of letting this blog be for other people instead of for me." She was frustrated by what she deemed the popularity contest taking place within blogging.
My initial thought was that she was commenting on the idea of a blogging heirarchy. There are certainly "celebrity" bloggers--even within the IF world. Which is...frankly...great. Because I like the idea that we're tuned into other people's lives outside our own. And I've learned many things from reading blogs--things I was able to apply to my own life (reproductive immunology a case in point). And frankly, the celebrity bloggers have not only been at this for a long time, building up a fan base, but they're also damn good writers.
Then I stepped away from the computer for a few hours, but I kept thinking about this post. And a terrible thought hit me. About the fact that people pop out of the woodwork when there is a miscarriage in order to comfort. And is the comforting entirely empathetic or is it like looking at the charred remains of another person on the ground and thinking, "this time, the lightning hit her, therefore it can't be hitting me."
Please hit me for thinking this way.
Please tell me that this commenting phenomenon is not a case of shaudenfraude.
I haven't experienced this phenomenon yet (having not had the ups and downs during the course of my blog--seeing that it is only three months old), so it was really off my radar EXCEPT that Thalia mentioned something like this in a post about why infertile bloggers stop writing once they become pregnant. She wrote: "The demotivation of losing your audience is hard, too. I know that my audience has gone from about 800 a day when I was about to miscarry, to more like 350 a day now - just above where I was before this last cycle." Which also touches upon When Eggs Goes Bad's other point--that people are around when all is terrible, but they scatter once the person becomes pregnant.
When I returned to the computer, Murray wrote this in the comments section: "It's not the popularity thing that bothers me (though I do think that's super weird - do you blog for comments or to work out your problems in a written way?). It's more the support being there for her when she was hurting and now not so much. I understand it of course. If you're doing well then presumable you don't need the support as much. But what it probably feels like is kind of being abandoned now that she's pregnant... I don't know. It's all just so complicated sometimes."
It is complicated. Do you stop reading someone once they become pregnant? Do you think you're more inclined to comment if someone is discussing something upsetting like a pregnancy loss or a failed cycle? And please tell me that my dark thoughts are entirely wrong and that when you're comforting a fellow stirrup queen, it is entirely out of trying to remove some of their pain in order to lighten their load rather than penance as you wipe your own brow for having the loss happen to someone else that day other than you. Please please please tell me I'm wrong. What drives you to comment on the loss and withhold on the happy pregnancy updates? A lack of words beyond a head nod? Frustration that your neighbour in the Land of If is currently packing up to move to the mainland?
Like Murray said, it's complicated.