The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Follow Up to Secondary Fertility

I have to be honest with you, I was pretty nervous posting that last entry. The response put my mind at ease so I thank you for taking the time to email or comment.

A point I think I never made well in that last post was that I also believe that our ability to give support to another person waxes and wanes depending on where we are in our cycle or where we are in our journey. And we have to be understanding of that. The same thing occurs in our real life--we sometimes can't support our friends because we have limited emotional reserves and we need to use them on ourselves. I think the difference is whether the separation is temporary or permanent--tied to our own situation (which should be a temporary cessation of reading or commenting) or based on the fact that they are now pregnant or simply not infertile enough (which would bring a more permanent departure).

And, as DD pointed out, the other factor is how vested you are in the online friendship. Again, similar to real life, we sometimes pull away from acquaintances as they become pregnant--especially if they don't exercise some sensitivity in sharing their pregnancy--but our real friends usually bump through their nine months with us, understanding that there are times when we simply have to use limited emotional reserves on mourning a BFN or a loss. We always come back when we can. But with acquaintances or even blog acquaintances, there does need to be a balance. At what point are you spending more energy on the emotions of other people than on yourself?

It wasn't really the loss of readership I was worried about. It was the loss of community that made me anxious--the what-happens-next aspect to trying. You succeed and if you have a blog that is entirely your own story, you move along to pregnancy and then parenting. I've never seen my blog as entirely my own story. I think of it as this community space that I use to explore my emotional responses to infertility and loss. I continued to have those feelings after I had the twins and I continued to have those feelings as we started trying again. I knew that the blog wouldn't change if I became pregnant again. But I wasn't sure if other people would understand that it wasn't going to change. And if I would be still infertile in my own head, but standing in an empty room wondering where everyone went.

A few years ago, I had a student whose father bought a storefront and tried to create a living room. "Is it a store?" I asked him, a bit confused. "What is it going to sell?"

"Nothing," he told me. "It's just a living room. You can come in, hang out, watch television with other people, read the newspaper, drink a cup of coffee. Anything you want. It's a living room, except it's public. Because too many people hang out in their living room at home all alone and need a space to be with other people."

It was a great idea. Unfortunately, it was closed as a health violation. Apparently, when you have a store that brings in no money, you don't have the ability to get the space up to code. There was no money for running water hence no bathroom. But it's suffice to say that people hanging out in a living room still need to use facilities when they are consuming the cups of coffee they brought with them. It turns out that the city doesn't love the idea of a crap bucket. But I digress.

This place--this blog--is my public living room. Where I come and hang out and talk about what is happening with me emotionally and hear what is happening with you emotionally. And having this space gives me a place to go mentally when I'm stuck in the real world between two women on a sofa springing their pregnancy announcements on me. I hope you feel like you can mentally jump here too in addition to your own blog when you are in a shitty situation. It has made the journey manageable this time. It utilizes the best parts of what I heard in my student's father's idea--without the crap bucket.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm glad you're all sitting in this living room.

The second part of this post mixes with the third part of this post (by the way--the stuff above, that was the first part of this post). Larisa raised an interesting point: "I wish I had an answer. Yes, your friend needs support. But I don't know that I am strong enough to give it. I volunteer with RESOLVE as well, and I try to give support - but it's hard when I need so much support at the same time." And it's true--when you're struggling, you can sometimes help someone else who is struggling beside you simultaneously. Think Titanic going down and you help someone to put on a life vest as you put on your own. But when you're treading water and someone floats by you, shivering on their plank of wood, you might feel badly for them as well, but at the same time, the jealousy of seeing them out of the water, getting by even if they are cold and in the middle of the sea, is sometimes too much to bear.

The question I have is if pregnant-after-infertility bloggers extended the same circumspection on their blogs that they extend to fellow stirrup queens in real life (breaking the news of a pregnancy carefully, giving people an out to their baby shower, not being offended if friends would prefer to not talk about the pregnancy while they're still in the middle of a cycle), would it make a difference?

I obviously have children and I mention them from time to time--it's impossible not to because they exist and are a huge part of my world. But I try not to go on and on about them. The reason is two-fold: (1) I feel a bit squeamish about putting too many personal things about them out there on the Web. It's my choice to blog; it's not their choice. When they're older, they can put their own stories out on the Internet about how much I messed up their life. (2) I know when I was in the throes of primary infertility, I wanted to read success stories but I didn't want them rubbed in my face--much in the same way I wanted to hang out with friends who had been through the same clinic and had been successful, but I didn't want to spend all day listening to stories about their children.

I try to exercise the same restraint on my blog that I practice in real life with other people (since you don't always know who is trying to conceive and having trouble). If they ask, I tell. If they don't ask, the twins still come up somewhat because they are a huge part of my life and I can't talk about myself without mentioning them. But I keep stories to a minimum. There are always the friends and family members that I know want to hear about the twins nonstop so I tell them the stories. For everyone else, they get a pu-pu platter of our life: a little infertility, a little book update, a little bit about the twins. And that's sort of what happens naturally on the blog.

I think there are two types of blogs with a third category that blends the two. The first is written entirely for the writer. It's their space to process their thoughts and they don't care if anyone reads it. They would love to get feedback and answers to their questions, but if no one ever read it, they would still write it. To be honest, I have another blog like this where I record all the stories about the twins. It is really a record for them, and no one reads it but myself. It is really on the far end of this first category--I not only don't have any readers but I currently don't want any readers.

On the other end are blogs that tell stories and present slices of a person's life. And they are written with an audience in mind. And if they had no audience at all, they probably wouldn't continue. They speak directly to people--either passing along information or collecting information. Or they're humourous accounts that are meant to be read. They are a space for storytelling more than processing. They may not have started as this type of blog, but they've certainly grown into this type of blog. And these bloggers sometimes have smaller blogs that are more intimate, more for themselves.

The third category is a blending of these two extremes. I think most blogs bridge these two categories. They are written for the blogger--a space to process emotions, get feedback on situations, gather information, and connect with others for emotional support during difficult times. But at the same time, they are written with the hope that someone else will respond. Blogs are interactive. You receive that feedback in the comments section. You need other people to be reading and responding in order to gather that information. Few people like the idea of shouting out their emotions to the blogosphere and hearing a tinny echo in return. When people need the response and aren't receiving the response, they tend to stop writing.

This blog is firmly in that third category. I write it because I need to write it. But if everyone stopped reading...well...I don't know if I would dedicate this level of time. Because the purpose of my blog has always been to build the community and garner the support I didn't have the first time around. I was really lost the first time around. I didn't have the energy to drag myself to a support meeting, but I definitely needed one. I used the bulletin boards religiously, but I never felt connected to those people because you only knew their stats. They posted their negatives and they posted their positives. But no one spoke about the waits or their fears that their sister-in-law would announce a pregnancy at Thanksgiving or how much they distrust their RE. I didn't get that sense of the world until I started reading blogs and then I started my own. The reality, for me, is that I don't usually need the stat-like information anymore. I may once we return to treatments, but right now, it feels like I know more about my body and what should happen than my body apparently does. But I need the emotional side. I need to talk about anger and I need to talk about depression and I need to talk about moments of peace.

Which brings us back to Larisa's question and my own: if pregnant-after-infertility bloggers used the same tactics on their blog as they use when interacting in real life with other stirrup queens, would you be more likely to keep reading. Or is it the fact that regardless of frequency, the pregnancy stories are going to pop up from time to time?

If you blog fits firmly in category one, it shouldn't matter if people keep reading. Therefore, this question doesn't really apply. But for categories two or three, I think of it in the same way I think of all writing that is geared towards an audience--I keep the audience in mind and it imposes certain limits. My private journal is my space for limitless writing. Everything else has limits whether I'd like to admit it or not.

And if the audience that you wished to maintain was an infertile audience, would you be able to interact in your blog in the same way you interact with stirrup queens in real life? Or are those limits too restrictive and step over the line of who controls the blog?

It's an interesting question about ownership since blogs are both written by a single person and added to by many. I've read complaints about bloggers who delete comments from old posts due to storage space and how those comments are part of the piece of writing and how we're all part of the process. What do we owe our readers? What do we owe each other? Where is the line between where my blog ends and our blog begins (and this question is aimed at everyone's blog since most of us have our comments section open)? If I'm trying to practice this sensitivity in maintaining a pu-pu platter approach, can I control (and is it my place to control) what is written in the comments section insofar as other people discussing their pregnancies?

I am well aware that these questions are too huge to answer in one fell swoop and they comprise many of the ethical dilemmas that are affecting all blogs--not just infertility blogs.

And here is the third part to this post: All communities have a tendency to set their boundaries of who may be included and at the same time, look for ways to differentiate all the members and create "us" and "thems" within the same group. Josh recently told me about this fractioning of those who lived through the Holocaust. All survivors bond together with shared emotions--the fear, the sadness, the anxiety, the loss. But then there are the people who went through the camps who tell the people who were hidden in a cellar for two years, "you didn't really experience the Holocaust. You didn't really know what it was like."

While there are some people who can firmly be placed outside the category of survivor--for instance, someone Jewish who was living in America at the time or even people who were living in Europe and perhaps thought they would be taken into a camp at some point but were never really a targeted group--what survivors who fraction the group are forgetting is that within all groups, the experiences are each unique. Two people can both be in a camp, but one has their mother in the same camp and the other had both parents killed in front of them. At what point does the fractioning stop when it's based in experience? It can't. And when you're fractioning based on experience, you tend to create an imagined, subjective hierarchy that affects whether people feel they belong to the group.

Every Jew during that time suffered through loss. They may have been sent to the camps and lived in fear and horrible conditions. Or they may have been hidden by a sympathetic Christian family and lived in fear and horrible conditions. They all suffered losses, they all suffered delayed dreams, they all had their world turned upside down.

Sometimes the limitations are imposed from those who were in the camps: you didn't know how shitty it truly was or how fearful a person can get. Sometimes the limitations are imposed from those who were hidden: I feel guilty that I was only hidden and didn't experience seeing the atrocities first-hand. Yes, I lost everyone I loved, but I was never raped and tortured while I was hidden therefore I didn't suffer enough.

You see the point I'm trying to make.

I know there are going to be people who disagree with me, but I think groups that are based in a crisis should create insiders and outsiders with set criteria (such as trying for over a year or an infertility diagnosis or the necessity to use ART) and understand that all insiders share the same emotions though not the same experiences.

We are a group that fractions ourselves as well while drawing in members. If you've received a diagnosis of infertile, you're part of the group. You're a stirrup queen. But then there are the ones who have been successful with treatments and the ones who haven't. The ones who became pregnant naturally after four years of trying to conceive and the ones who became pregnant on their first round of IVF. The ones who have the money for IVF, and the ones who don't. And at times, we lash out at each other and point out who doesn't belong anymore, forgetting that every experience is unique and the only thing we have in common is our emotions. That at the end of the day, someone who has been trying for four years unsuccessfully and then miraculously conceives naturally has gone through many of the same emotions--the frustration, the sadness, the anger--as someone who conceives via IVF on the first try. We can never understand how easy or how hard someone else's journey is unless we walk in their shoes--have their same limits or their same experiences.

I didn't mean for this to be such a long post. But when you wish to start a public living room, you do it because you want to use it yourself. Because you don't want to be sitting in your own house alone. Now that you're all sitting here watching Grey's Anatomy with me, eating chocolate or having a French martini, and urinating in my fancy imaginary bathrooms (no crap buckets here!), I would be devastated to lose this if/when I gain parenthood again. I just needed to say again how much you all mean to me.


carole said...

I have read this blog for awhile...after seeing a comment on a m/c blog a long while back. You write with such passion...that it really speaks to me. I have not been in the land of If...but I've had my own losses...and what you write here...has helped me immensly.

Tigger said...

I think I fit firmly in category 3. It's why I don't blog much - I've been writing for almost a year and very rarely have comments left. Since I joined your list my readership has increased...but still only have a few commenters. It makes me sad - which makes me feel silly, because I feel selfish. It's validation - someone cares, I touched someone, I was able to light a path or let someone know they weren't alone. If I start getting comments, I start writing again. Glad to see I'm not alone in that, I guess.

It's also why I try and make it a point to comment on the blogs I read quite a bit. Even if they don't know me, I still let them know that someone out there read and understood...or has some assvice for them. :) As long as I'm around, Mel, you'll have at least one reader. I check your site several times a day, looking for updates!

May said...

This post made me feel weepy - in a good way. I find I do care deeply about fellow bloggers who get pregnant, and I get a great deal of vicarious pleasure from their happiness and delight, and worry right along with them too. (Right up until they stop posting. Ah well). So I'd still be here. And I'd be happy too.

At the moment I still like babies and pregnant ladies enough to not really resent them much. Unless they're related to me and drowning me in assvice, but that's a whole 'nother story. I sometimes worry that I'll stop being able to care and rejoice, if my own infertility goes on too long, or gets too hopeless. But I hope, very hard, that I won't let my own bitterness spoil my ability to be, if not happy, then at least empathetic. (Alas, alas, we shall see).

The other reason your posts on this subject moved me was: I tend to feel rather left out of the IF community myself. Yes, I know I am a 24-carat infertile - I have PCOS and fibroid and polyps and possible endometriosis and only one ovary and my uterus is glued together with scar tissue. But I'm not cycling, I'm not taking the drugs, the injections, the repeat wandings. I know I can't help the fact I may not try until I've had surgery, but even before I knew I needed surgery, I always felt that my sitting about hoping to ovulate solo made me not really a true Infertile. I couldn't discuss the side-effects and the needles and the RE's clueless receptionists. I couldn't do 2 week wait. I never got to weep at BFNs or because my period had turned up. I felt completely different, alien even, to all these other infertiles. The message board I used to be on was particularly painful, as all my comments on my 'different' experience tended to be ignored in favour of women who were being text-book infertile. It hurt a lot. Blogging is better for difference. Bloggers are better at difference.

And this is turning into a twenty page essay. Sorry. I shall shut up now.

KarenO said...

I share your thoughts and emotions on this issue. Thanks for putting them into words and making me think even more about the importance of being accepted and belonging somewhere.

Bumble said...

I LOVE the public living room idea! Not so much the crap bucket, but hey.

Great post on Saturday too by the way, sorry I missed it. I totally agree that IF we can manage it, we should definitely continue to support our IF friends who strike it lucky. I know I for one will NEVER feel a part of the mommy club myself, I'll always be part of this club. Even when I'm pregnant, I know how much I'll need my blogger friends then. As you say, we'll be much more nervous and scared, and thats something most fertiles take for granted during their pregnancies.

Rachel Inbar said...

I try to keep my blog more newsy and less about my life, but I'd like to think that people can look at mine as a story being told at the end. Lots of years of infertility, yes, but a happy ending too.

Suz said...

I really like this blog because it stands outside the cycle - when we were going through infertility, there were a bunch of bloggers going through it with me. Although some are still slogging through infertile hell, most of us have moved onto parenthood (through pregnancy or adoption). In our place have grown up another crop of infertile bloggers who, in their turn, will hopefully and eventually move on to something else. What I like about this space is that it's focused on infertility and the infertile community. It stands outside the cycle and will be here not only for those bloggers who are infertile now, but the sisters who come after them.

Ellen K. said...

Since we stopped TTC and are resolving without children, I've noticed a change in my readership compared with when we were doing IUIs. Some don't know quite what to say, and that's often how I feel about pregnancy blogs.

I agree with suz; your blog is more community based, which makes it very comfortable and welcoming.

Mindy said...

I only just starting reading your blog, but the living room analogy seems perfect. To me this just feels like a safe place to be at a a really hard time. While I am new, I imagine I'll be visiting for a long time to come.
Thanks for being here!

Bea said...

I think you hit the nail on the head with your "write to the audience" approach.

If you want to journal your pregnancy, complete with ultrasound images and belly shots, well that's ok and you deserve to, but some of your former readers are going to find it a bit much.

If your primary interest is keeping your readers, you have to take their sensitivities into account.

Maybe some of this is about prioritising and deciding what kind of blogger you are? Negotiating a mutual agreement with your readers: "Ok, I'm pregnant, but I promise I'll eg link to pictures rather than post them on the page (or whatever) because I really want you to stick around" vs "I'm pregnant, and I want to blog about it in gory detail, so I understand if you unsubscribe at this point".


serenity said...

Hrm. I just emailed you a response. This is a good post too.

I started my blog as a place for ME. And mostly it is still a place for me, but now that I've talked with people and met people and seen how my blog has helped people feel less alone, it's no longer just for me. And I don't take my responsibility to you all lightly.

That includes reading and commenting on BOTH still-in-the-Land-of-IF as well as the traveling-to-the-Land-of-Parenthood.

Anyway. I like Bea's idea about setting ground rules once you become pregnant.

And I echo your last sentence too. I do not know how I would have survived these past two years without you all... and it would kill me to lose you all too.

Rachel said...

I am in the second category leaning towards the first. I post as a way to journal. I enojy feedback, but when I don't get it, I am OK.

I appreciate your blog so much. I guess I am not truely an infertile, but this place is where I feel I fit in the best.

Beagle said...

I read you pretty regualrly but I don't comment as often as I visit. I sometimes just don't know what to say. Lately I have so few answers, only more and more questions!

If you have a successful cycle, it would not send me packing.

Sami said...

I'm not sure what category I fit in... right now I struggle with what to write mainly because I a) am very thankful for this pregnancy but b) don't feel comfortable enough in it to be all sunshine and roses... most of the readers I think understand that and go with the flow. So I talk about my dogs and my in laws and my family and well my pregnancy I keep it as low on the radar as I do in real life. I haven't forgotten where I've been and what I've lost and that more than anything makes it hard for me to write right now.

Sami said...

I should have read the comments if I had I would have said "EUREKA" to what Bea said - because that is exactly it. I have u/s photos etc on another website and I do plan on posting eventually the link - I Just haven't gotten around to it. No gratuitious belly shots for me - I have a hard time with them so I wouldn't want to google - faint line on hpt at 17 dpo or beta of 4? and find a belly shot it would have sent me over the edge.

SusanG said...


Thanks for creating this living room for all of us. You always have such thought-provoking topics and you really have created a sense of community. And you post so regularly! It's always interesting and I also enjoy the comments that your other readers leave. Keep up the good work!

Furrow said...

Good analysis of the different types of blogs. I struggle sometimes with my needs and desires for my blog. It started out completely as a private journal. I didn't even have comments turned on for about 6 months. And then I commented on this blog, and folks started trickling in. I got pregnant shortly after that, and I think it lost me some potential commenters. They simply hadn't known me long enough to stick around. Most of those who do stop by are also p-after-IF.

I have done the sensitive, fretting, gentle, unworthy, quiet thing in many posts, but how long can that go on? My blog is changing. Right now it is about the experience of being where I am (though no u/s or belly shots, yet), and in the future, it may be about how I want to parent. And then it may be an IF blog again if we try for #2. Whether or not I retain any audience, I don't know. I'd like to, but none of us can be all things to all people. (This blog gets pretty close, though.)

DD said...

You asked if pregnancy bloggers would use the same tact with their on-line community as they use when interacting with real life infertiles by giving them the option to decline baby showers and such.

I would tend believe that the diplomacy displayed by newly pregnant IFers is towards their real life counterparts, and less to their blogging community. Recently, I've noted how some newly pregnant bloggers post belly shots weekly; display new baby clothes purchased; and add tickers to their blog. I couldn't even imagine they were being as "enthusiastic" towards their real-life lady-friends still in the trenches. Flaunting seems like a very harsh word, but that's what it feels like to me.

Good for them. Really. They deserve to memorialize this very special time in their lives, but they can't be upset if they find their readership either dwindle or morph into something else.

While I appreciate Bea's suggestion that pregnant bloggers should link or give warnings, and I certainly appreciate them when they do, we have to remember that the blog is not ours to suggest to the author how to make it more appealing w/o getting the "it's my blog, I'll do what I want" reply.

Aurelia said...

Hmmm, I don't know what category I fit into. I started my blog for several reasons, personal story-telling and also looking for community and friends. Also, I wanted to post my story as a way of helping get the word out about pg loss and IF accurately as opposed to the crappy way the media does it. I'm tired of seeing bad news reporting and poorly done TV & movies.

I have limited hope of ever getting pregnant again, and my kids are getting older, but I still consider myself IF, and sometimes I can see pg women IRL and sometimes not. (Depends on the time of the month!)

As for pg bloggers, I find myself dividing them into the categories of deserving and undeserving, (I know, v. bad.) And as someone who has concieved both the natural way and the assisted way, but never eligible for IVF, I know there is a ranking and a hierarchy. Which sucks. I try not to do it myself.

I try to comment and read everyone, but practically speaking, I can't do it all day and all night. I have had to limit myself sometimes.

Interestingly enough, I've edited myself about adoption and donor gametes. As an adoptee I have some pretty strong feelings about it, but I don't want to hurt IF people's feelings, so I shut up, which doesn't help me or others.

But among the adoption community I'm not completely accepted either because they see me as an infertile and are nervous about my intentions. Mel, talk about lack of support, you'd be floored if you saw the former IFer's, turned adoptive parents, who now troll birth parent and adoptee blogs. And I mean TROLL. It's embarassing to read, and sometimes I think, geez, this is a very public example of why we need to get counselling for our issues as we go through IF and loss.

And among political or feminist bloggers, gahhhhh, we are really dismissed as "breeders", and our stories minimized, even though many of them are going through the same problems, just not talking about it on their blogs.

(And about that secondary fertility issue, my most famous example is Brooke Shields, who couldn't get pg because of cervical dysplasia, but after Baby #1 arrived, her cervix worked again. I know a few other women with cervical dysplasia this happened too.)

Aurelia said...

As a followup, I realized I left that dangling about what I call deserving vs. undeserving pg women, and guess I just wanted o say that I feel like any woman is deserving as long as she knows just how precious her pregnancy and child are.
Fertile or infertile, it's attitude that matters to me. Kindness to others, joy in the event, awareness of how lucky you are.

And you are in that category Mel of course!

es said...

Your blog is so wonderful. Thank you for creating it!

Natalie said...

I'm a mix between category one and three. I started it as a blog for myself and my very best friends, I did not expect responses very often if at all. It started long before I even considered we would have problems conceiving.) And it's grown from there because of the community I found myself in. I do now try to keep my readers in mind.

However it is first and foremost my journal, for me. It was meant as a record of my progress, a sounding board for my emotions, and just generally a place to collect my stories from this journey.

When I get pregnant I plan to continue writing exactly how I am now - writing about my progress, my life, my emotions. I know my readership will change in large part... I know many IFs will move on and more mommies will move in.

I wanted to respond to DD's comment:
"I would tend believe that the diplomacy displayed by newly pregnant IFers is towards their real life counterparts, and less to their blogging community. Recently, I've noted how some newly pregnant bloggers post belly shots weekly; display new baby clothes purchased; and add tickers to their blog. I couldn't even imagine they were being as "enthusiastic" towards their real-life lady-friends still in the trenches. Flaunting seems like a very harsh word, but that's what it feels like to me."

To me it's two different things. I guess I've always viewed blogs as "this is my life, you're welcome to come or go as you please." To me it's like walking into someone's house and complaining that they have pregnancy photos on their walls. There's a difference between being sensitive when outside your "home" (whether it's out in public with your friends, or visiting others' journals, or posting on an IF forum) and what you do at "home". Our blogs are far more public than most homes... but I would never expect or force anyone to come visit... people are not intentionally subjected to anything anyone posts in their own blog. There's an implicit choice to read. Maybe it's just because I fall on a different side of the continuum.

Sunny said...

Once again you amaze me with your thoughts and words. I have thought about this before. I have struggled with this. I read both blogs, infertile and now pregnant. I don't always comment on both. It really is a mood thing or a connection. If I connect I comment. If I don't then it really isn't worth hear.

With the pregnant blogs I find myself skimming. I can't read all the details but I do want to know that everything is okay. I comment little here and there but I don't want to quit. I might go a week without reading but then the skimming begins.

I remember when I was pregnant I struggled on what to write about. I didn't want to be the insensitive blogger. I wanted to keep my readers. Then of course tragedy hit and it made it easier to blog about the pain to all. I know that when it happens again I will have to do some thinking about my blog. There are many good blogs which started out as infertile blogs that still make me think and not gag.

Onto something else you got me thinking about. My friend just m/c her 3rd baby in 18 months. My heart breaks for her. We have been walking this together for the past year and half. When we had a heart to heart the other day I told her I had no clue what it was like to be in her shoes. She said the same about me. She even said (I was thinking this) which would she rather want. 3 m/c in 18 months or 4 1/2 years of trying with one loss? NEITHER! It hurts. All hurts. When I try to compare it gets murky. I get into the pity. When I leave it as hurt we bound.

Thanks for letting me sit in your living room and share today!

TeamWinks said...

I've had many people ask me what the purpose of my blog is lately, and so your question is right on que. I started a blog for myself, and it didn't matter if anybody read it. Well, I was found out by real life friends, and all went down the crapper. So, I had to re-evaluate why I blog. I then allowed my family to know it exists, but I still continued to write for myself.

What that means is that I write to get out the emotions I have. It does allow me to connect with others going through similar situations, and that has been so beneficial I can't even describe it. As far what would happen if I do manage to get pregnant/parent, I would most likely spring off a second blog for all those details about that. I would keep my blog I have now for the real nitty gritty of my emotions I have (written with sensitivity to those going through IF though.) There would be no belly pics, sonograms, etc on it. That would be put on the other blog with what I'm sure would be a different readership.

Man this is long, sorry. I love comments, but would most likely continue to blog even if there weren't any. Oh, and I continue to read blogs of fellow infertiles who cross the finish line (no matter how into detail they go, bellies, etc.) Amen.

Pamela Jeanne said...

I'm definitely category three -- if readership or comments dried up, I'd go back to keeping a traditional journal. It's the community effect and knowing that I'm not alone in my thoughts/experiences that makes keeping a blog worthwhile. Like Miss E and others have noted, when we move outside the treatment realm and into new categories within the infertile community (e.g. for me accepting that childfree is going to be my life whether I wanted it that way or not) it's nice to still be included.

Bea said...

Just to follow up on DD's comment: I'm not suggesting the readers should tell a blogger what to do on their blog - not at all. I think that's ultimately the blogger's choice and they can do what they like.

But what you write will affect your readership. It might not be a reader's place to demand a certain type of content from you directly (unless you specifically ask) but they will let you know what they're comfortable with indirectly through how much they read and comment. Then you have to decide how important it is to keep your current audience, as to whether you change to accommodate them or not.

And I think changing to accommodate readers and *not* changing to accommodate readers are both "right" answers, depending on your purpose for blogging.

And I think letting readers know up front that you will try and accommodate them (*if* that's what you plan to do) will help keep your audience intact.


shazz said...

Thankyou for making me think about my Blog. Your always such a great read, your my grab a cuppa sit down and relax read and I thankyou for it.

thirdtimelucky said...

Really nice post. To begin with I thought I was writing my blog for me and I didn't tell anyone in "real" life about it. I realised very quickly, though, that the fact someone else is reading and commenting means so much and is now an important part of it for me.

DD said...

I'll add a follow-up also.

Bea, I completely agree, it's nice to have that warning label on those blogs. I know it's difficult to bridge that area as I struggle with that myself since I mention my son frequently and I don't give a heads up. I don't wish to hurt anyone by not doing so, it's just that my son is integral to everything else that is going on in my blog. To avoid his existence is impossible, just as assuredly a pregnancy is impossible to sugar-coat to those still waiting/watching when it follows IF.

Natalie - What I wanted to examine in my comment about the difference between the txmt of blogging IFs and IRL IF, is that there is probably more sensitivity to the IRLs then to the blogging/virtuals because our blogs ARE extensions of much of what we feel, no so much of what we do. In that respect, I was just thinking the opposite of Mel in how that sensitivity is maintained when it comes to IRL vs. Bloggers.

Stacie said...

I want to tell you how much I love your blog. I don't always comment because, falling into the "parenting after infertility" category I don't always have a lot to add to the conversation and I don't want to rub my success in people's faces. But I think that this is a hugely valuable community and I am glad you have created it.

Isabel said...

I've gained a great deal of comfort from IF blogs, especially after that BFP. I read about 100 IF blogs. I used to read them every day, now I try to read them at least every other day. Now I also try to comment often, to show my readership. I always assume the blogs I read are category 1, and try to treat them as such.

That said, I had a hard time being excited about my pregnancy and posted a very plain countdown ticker and kept belly shots to a minimum. My blog isn't an IF blog, but I tried to be as out as possible about the IVF when mentioning my pregnancy. The pregnancy type posts were mostly for my husband's family, who asked for belly shots specifically. If my blog were for the IF community and not for family, I would never have posted them.

And now that I have a child, I post pics of him every day almost, mostly for my own parents who would never see him otherwise and who send links to my blog to their families. I wish I had the kind of family who would visit and share photos or the kind of mom who could figure out email, but I don't. I hope I don't offend any IF bloggers, and I do wonder if they visit my blog after I comment. I've definitely avoided commenting for fear of offending someone who might visit my blog after reading my comment or changed my front page or blog tag line after commenting about a recent loss or disappointment.

Foreverhopeful said...

I always love coming here because you have such great topics. I was away on the weekend and realized I missed on so many great posts from you. Still catching up on them now...

But to comment on this post...
I started my blog just for ME as well. It was a place to vent my feelings. It was only recently I started reading and commenting on other blogs and allowing others to find me. And its been so helpful but I do find that when I'm down and going through a rough patch, more people seem to comment and offer support. I'm not cycling and just waiting right now so I find I have much less comments. I think that maybe people tend to relate to a post when they are going through the same thing or have gone through the same thing. Maybe when someone does get pregnant, people continue to read the blog but don't know what to say because they can't relate. Or they are at a point where it is hard to read about it. I find I relate more with people still suffering right now because its where I am. I do read a pregnancy blog right now who had a very simliar history as mine and felt an instant connection and somehow hers gives me hope rather than pain because she went through what I did.

I'm still new in the blog world as well that I don't have a lot of loyal readers like some of you. I think it may just take time and I'm ok with it. I do love the comments though because I feel like I'm slowly developing a relationship. Like any friendship, I think it takes time and you can't completely connect with everyone. There are so many out there that its overwhelming and you just have to narrow it down to people who are more like you or who you can relate to.

M said...

Completely unrelated-- I tagged you over at my blog.

Piccinigirl said...

this was a great post on lots of levels.
I think that when I started to blog it was for me and I was testing my own writing skill(Could I write? etc) but soon I realized that the community I didn't have in real life (and didn't really want) could be here in cyberspace for me.
For me, every single IF woman I got to meet IRL and got close to, has gotten pregnant and I cannot be close to them anymore.(sure that is selfish and childish but it's the way I cope) So the blog really helps me to gets things off my chest, to share what is happening with someone besides my mom and Mr Kir and still be ok. I consider my blog my public living room and if you want to come and sit down, please do and if you don't...that's ok too, more PRINGLES for me.
I often feel really guilty when I don't post for a week or I post that something is happening and then it takes me 4 days to tell you all about it. Somedays I feel like "do they even care? " and other times I'm just too swamped to even think about starting to write. So I read your blog and everyone else's and wait for the words to come.

I agree with Bea and Serenity that some limits have to exist once you get Pregnant and if you are writing to an audience you still need to be sensitive to them , if you want them to keep reading. I go through that all the time in my head. I would be so sad to lose this community and so I will work hard if my life changes to continue to write from my heart (and that is the heart of an infertile) and hope that someone stays with me.

thank you for this post, it was wonderful.