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Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Blog Roundup

Updated at the bottom:

You know that feeling right after you've done a massive house cleaning, where you walk from room to room, breathing in the leftover scent from the cleaning solution? That's how I felt about our blogroll after it got the Brazilian. Go click on over and enjoy it for a moment and come back to hear about the new stuff and to weigh in on a few options.

The long list of stirrup queens from last week did the initial plucking. Then, the incredible Jen from Here We Go Again went back in shaped and tweezed the list to its current state. Some categories will keep its residents indefinitely. For instance, uterine anomalies lends itself to wanting to read both the stories of those who are fellow bicornuate IVFers AND the stories of those who had a septate removed and became pregnant (at least, that was my understanding based on requests that others made about the blogroll in the past). Other categories are simply an entrance point and those people will move on to other categories down the line. Such as "in the beginning."

Here is the first place where I'd like you to weigh in: in categories where occupants will not necessarily move out (unless they desire the move), I've marked those pregnant or parenting with the appropriate parentheses after their name. The idea behind this was to give readers a heads up before they click on a blog so they know they may encounter baby-related posts and avoid those blogs on certain days when they're not up to it (of course, the list isn't perfect and people who announced pregnancies today are obviously not marked yet so...always take the parentheses or lack there of with that idea in mind). BUT looking at the list, it made me wonder if occupants who did not have a parentheses next to their name felt like shit now looking at their category. And that wasn't my intention at all. So...weigh in and let me know what you think about this development--do you like it or not and why or why not. Pregnant/parenting or something specific to the category (as seen under uterine anomalies) is all I'm doing insofar as parentheses. It would take uber-long to add in parentheses for additional items next to everyone's name and make the list unreadable.

Next, the divine Meg from Rememberella came up with a fantastic idea this week that I built on and I'd like to run by you. I'm calling it the Virtual Playdate. It would be a sort-able online spreadsheet, linked to within the blogroll, that has the online name of the child (only first name and only code name if that is what is used on the blog), the birth month/year (not day), blog name, blog url, and category for every child of every blogger listed under all of the parenting categories. Here's the idea behind it: (1) you could find and hook-up with other bloggers who have children around the same age and are therefore going through the same developmental stages or special situations and (2) you could have the equivalent of an "online" playgroup--at least the adults socializing part.

As new children are born, they will be added to the list. And hopefully, one day, your children could even go online and perhaps "meet" the children of people you knew in the online sense. Which is sort of neat. The ChickieNob and Wolvog could find your kids and they could bitch about us and how their parents only talk about their hoohaahooteruses and aren't. they. sick.

This idea also keeps us as one community rather than having people jump over the trenches and disappear with all the good advice they could have passed behind.

So, again, weigh in and let me know what you think of the idea. Each child gets their own entry on the spreadsheet so some blogs may be listed multiple times. If you would like to help us out and make our job a little easier (especially poor Jen who has been picking through all of these projects and will be begged to help out with this one), send this information about your child(ren) so we can cut-and-paste it into the Virtual Playdate list and get it started. Also, if you do not want your child listed, let me know so we keep them off the list. Again, privacy is important so only first names or code names (whichever you use on your blog) will be used.

Information needed (fill out twice for twins, three times for triplets, twice for two different ages, etc):
First name only or code name
Birth month/year
Blog Name
Blog Url
Category on the blogroll/specific situation (eg. adopted from Guatemala or conceived via IVF)

So those are the two new ideas--let me know what you think. One is done. The other is starting. And if you want to help out with the Virtual Playdate, let me know because there are many people in those parenting categories on the list and we could use extra people compiling this list.

Loss was definitely a theme for me this week, I don't know why. I read a lot of loss blogs, but I also found posts about loss on non-loss blogs. The first was by Ahuva Batya at The Anguished Corn and it was simply titled "Loss." She writes about reading the loss blogs: "In addition to infertility, many of these women are dealing with loss. Horrible, crushing, heart-wrenching loss of a child before that child's time. I have found myself engrossed in reading their stories, and find myself unable to stop thinking about them and what they are going through. Their grief reaches out of the computer screen and touches me, and I find myself crying on their behalf. I wish I could take all of their pain away; how could anyone be subjected to such unfairness, to have a life given to them, and then taken away?" And the new fears that she has considering all the possibilities that have always existed but she was blissfully tucking under the rug. The post contains a gorgeous story about her great-great-great-grandmother, but you must click over to read the whole post to get to experience its ache.

Niobe at Dead Baby Jokes had a post about love. She begins: "What would you do if you were lying in someone's guest room, alone and sad, but not crying, because you knew that people who claim that a good cry always makes them feel better are just as big liars as those who claim that a good talk helps clear the air." I warn you before you click over to read the whole thing, you will want to sit with this one for a while. It is brief, but powerful. I am also in love with Niobe this week because the title of one of her posts comes from my favourite Sylvia Plath poem, a villanelle, a mad girl's love song.

Julia from I Won't Fear Love has a post titled "Not Yet" which discusses a Jewish ritual that marks the end of the year of mourning. A yahrtzeit is a remembrance on the anniversary of the death. She writes: "It wasn't the yahrtzeit itself that I was dreading, but what it stands for-- a transition. Transition from a mourner, from someone community recognizes as still dealing with a big loss to just a regular person. It's the withdrawal of my official sanction to grieve that I wasn't prepared for. What is the difference, I thought, between me today and me on Monday? I am still the same, and my child is still dead." There must be flexibility in the ritual when the person still needs to mourn. And, as Julia points out, there is a difference in burying a parent vs. burying a child. The ritual was never built for this unnatural act of losing someone so young. The anniversary is coming next week and she is struggling with the date. It would be wonderful if you could go and support her.

Lastly, Dianne at Flutter of Hope has a post about the decision she made to stop treatments and live child free--a loss in and of itself too. She writes about the general happiness and the relief of getting off the roller coaster, but also the moments that make her doubt the decision as she still navigates this transition. She writes: "Moments when your heart breaks because what you want most isn't happening and wont happen unless more treatments become the plan. Moments that you should be happy and for the most part are, but you always have to fight tears on your way home. Because you are happy for their blessings, you love their blessings, but you still want your own." I don't know how one moves themselves on from loss. I think loss and mourning have their own timetable that is outside our control. And I wonder if there is any way to control those moments regardless of the level of peace she reaches with life overall.

Not to make the whole roundup sad. It wasn't sad, in my opinion. These posts were realistic and beautiful and I feel honoured to be included in another person's loss.

The roundup of the roundup: be still with these gorgeous posts, weigh in how you feel about the new parentheses popping up in the blogroll (and they can be limited to certain categories and not to others if certain categories would like them removed), and weigh in on how you feel about the Virtual Playdate (whether you have children now or in the future), information to help us kick off the list, and whether you'd like to help create the list yourself.

Started the Virtual Playdate list--it will grow a lot quite soon, but I wanted to at least give people a sense of what it will look like. I'm having trouble with the chronological thing--it keeps sorting it strangely, so this is the easiest format for quick scanning (it's listed by year and then alphabetical instead of chronological by month). Also, some people have begun adding in EDD for pregnancies. I'm all for it. If you'd like your EDD listed, send it to me with your in-utero name or blog name for your child. It's actually helpful for the Lost and Found too to know when people are due!


Lori said...

Switching up the order:

April, 2001
Weebles Wobblog
(and Drama 2B Mama,

February, 2003
Weebles Wobblog
(and Drama 2B Mama,

As for the categories...I have no opinion. I will go with what others want/need.

Mel. Thanks. Just thanks.

Heather said...

While I would probably feel pretty lonely if I am the only person in my category without parenthesis, I have to say that I think it is a great idea. I always love a heads up if there is going to be baby talk. Also, I like the idea of Hope that it might give some - that people with your condition have gone on to have children.

Heather said...

Also, if you go to the list and want to see who has had babies, you can go to their blog and see HOW they managed to get pregnant...and see if that might work for you. Just a thought.

Jen said...

No begging necessary. :)

Not on Fire said...

I love this idea.

January 2005
Don't Yell unless the house is on fire!
Parenting after DI, DE, or Surrogacy

December 2002
Don't Yell unless the house is on fire!
Parenting after DI, DE, or Surrogacy

katedaphne said...

Mel, I like the parens. They don't make me feel any worse than any given thing on any given day already does -- and they DO help me find what/who I'm looking for. I vote to keep using them.

Rachel said...

Little Guy (LG)
Nov. 2007
Raspberry Chip
(and Diary of a Miscarriage which has not been updated since December)

TeamWinks said...

April, 2007
Are we there yet?
Category: Domestic Adoption

xavier2001 said...

Mel, I'd be happy to help with the Virtual Playdate List. Just let me know when and how!

September, 2007
Sean and Mary's Family
Conceived via ivf/icsi

September, 2007
Sean and Mary's Family
Conceived via ivf/icsi

sky girl said...

I'm in for the Virtual Playdate. What a great idea!

April 2007
Chasing Blue Sky
Parenting after IF
(IUI baby)

Barb said...

The parentheses don't bother me at all.

I like the idea of a playdate thing when we either adopt or gift birth to our child.

Delenn said...

Count me in for Virtual Playdate:

February, 1999
Slaying, Bloggin, Whatever...
Sibling of ivf/icsi child

Conceived via ivf/icsi)

Jess said...

Hey Mel,

I emailed you my info on the Play Date...perhaps adding Mom/Dad's first name/nickname and their email addy would be nice?

I think the parenthesis are a good idea. Heads up are always nice. Then again, like Lori said, I am not in need of a heads up, so whatever everyone else wants is fine.

alison said...

For what it's worth - I'm sans kids myself for now, but I really, really like this. When I read blogs of those with kiddos and the child is mentioned, I often wonder how old the child is if it's not specifically mentioned so that I can get a visual for the particular situation. For instance, you talk about the ChickieNob and Wolvog quite a bit, but since I just started blogging last fall I missed out on many of their milestones thus far and didn't really know if they were 2 or 6. So anyway, thank you. It looks fantastic!

Drowned Girl said...

I'd like the DE category to include thos eof us who are pg or have had a child...

I'd actually like DE/donor embryos and DIVF to be separate if possible


Bea said...

I can see how I would feel like crap if I was the "last (wo)man standing" on any particular list, but in reality I think the chances of this occurring are quite low. Unfortunately - since this points to how many couples are joining each group each day. I don't think you'd ever be alone on a list (and if someone was, I'm sure you could use the blurriness of people's categories to shift things around a bit).

So I think the benefit of having that head's up outweighs the risk of making someone feel crappy and left out.


Dianne/Flutter said...

Thank you for acknowledging my grief. When I wrote that post, I didn't recognize that is what I am doing. Still grieving.

niobe said...

Many thanks for the kind words about my post.