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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Barren Advice: Thirty-Three

This is the 33rd installment of Barren Advice. You can ask questions that are fertility or non-fertility related.

Barren Advice is posted each Tuesday-ish. If you have your own question for Barren Advice, click here to learn how to submit. Please weigh in with your own thoughts in the comment section and indicate which question you're addressing if there are multiple questions in the post.

Dear Mel:

I've been blogging for three years now and really love the ALI community. Problem is, my family reads my blog and it causes me to censor myself regularly (for instance, I don't really want my mother-in-law reading things that I know IFers are totally immune to). I'm interested in starting a new blog so that I can not only "get it out" but also show a more accurate picture of what a person going through what I'm going through as accurately as possible. Can you provide suggestions of how to start a new blog but carry over the ALI community but not my family? I love them and appreciate their interest and support (I really do!), but I need a place where I'm allowed to get it all out without second guessing what I publish.

--Leslee

What? You don't want your MIL reading about your vagina? How crazy!

While I'm teasing, I also do want to ask a question: you mention that you want to give a more accurate picture, but you also mention your family's interest and support. Would it be possible to try letting it all hang out on your current blog, writing as honestly as possible without worrying about what family members are thinking about your dIUIs? I only ask because I think many people will self-censor their own reading if they become uncomfortable, but if you already have their support and interest, it feels like a good place to step forward with more on your end rather than creating a whole new space.

That said, I am guessing that there is more to this picture and you have a good reason for wanting a place to write knowing that you can speak without feeling self-conscious. And going with that decision, I think that you should simply start the new space and send out the url in an email to readers, never mentioning it on your current blog. If you don't have email addresses (because, with blogger, the email address only shows up if you have it added to your profile--just a hint to those who wonder why they don't get a response sometimes when they ask a question. You need to give people a way to reach you so add your email address--even a brand new gmail account you make up for this purpose--to your profile), perhaps leave a few comments this week on other blogs explaining what you're doing and asking them to contact you.

In addition, send me the new url so I can list it on the blogroll, put it in the Lost and Found, and people will find it accordingly. Honestly, a big reason why the Lost and Found was created in the first place was to serve as a centralized spot for people to disseminate information. So if a person had to close their blog suddenly, she could post a message that would hit many of her readers who were looking over there for information. It's not just a way to notify who needs support or partiers for a celebration--it's also quite literally a lost and found box. You can post messages to someone who is lost, asking them for information about their new blog, or you can post messages so you can be found.

So post a message there so your new blog can be found. And ask it not to be linked to your old blog. Usually, I write "old blog; new digs" when I add it to the Lost and Found so that those in the know can usually figure out who it is, but those googling won't necessarily find the trail of bread crumbs.

No really, the beauty of a blog advice column is that you get to weigh in with your two cents too. Let the questioner know if you support the advice, add to the response, or dispute it completely.

Leave a comment in the reaction box below--only keep in mind that conflicting advice is embraced and rudeness is not. Want to ask your own question? Click here to see what you need to send in order to be included in a future Tuesday's installment of Barren Advice
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Bonus Barren Advice coming later today!

10 comments:

WiseGuy said...

Leslee's question is very pertinent. I am all the time aware that as my blogging journey continues, I am bound to reveal something about the people that I call family. Sometimes, what I want to write is not very flattering. Lost and Found is a good idea.

Leslee could start a new blog on blogspot, and 'hide' it on her profile page, so that people normally cruising do not come to know. She could also start a wordpress one where she can protect some of her posts.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I had been thinking about a wordpress move for her, but I wonder if people have ever gotten pressure from people when they don't want to give them the password. In other words, would it be more awkward with family if they saw there were password protected posts they couldn't access vs. not knowing about the other space at all.

What has been the experience from those with wordpress blogs where only certain posts are password protected?

Leslee said...

Mel, you rock. Thanks so much for your insight. I am taking your suggestions and WG (and can't wait to hear more ideas) and will be putting together a new "stealth" blog to see how it works.

I do need to clarify: I'm okay with my family reading about my vagina... or, really, I've accepted the fact that you can't talk about infertility while avoiding anatomical discussions. It's more about feeling uncomfortable talking fully about donor sperm, inseminations, etc, knowing that my husband's family reads the blog. It's kinda awkward to formulate a post knowing that I have an audience out there that doesn't really need to know what can sometimes be personal and/or gross, and an audience that really needs to know as much as possible to prepare themselves for the same situations.

Annie said...

I've thought about doing the same thing. It's hard because there are some IRL people I would be okay with reading the new blog, but how do I let some people know I have it out there and keep that info from other people (like my MIL who does read my blog). It's a hard one.

I've thought about the wordpress/password thing, but I really think I'd have a lot of friends/family pressuring me for the password and if I don't give it out it could cause a lot of hurt feelings. I know they would wonder if I didn't want them to read it because it was about them or if I was trying to cut them out of my life, etc. I think it can be hard for people to understand that blogging can be a fine line between sharing yourself with the world and a private diary.

I really think an entirely new blog is the way to go...

Elizabeth said...

When I severed the connection between my family blog and my IF blog (originally both were on blogspot, I moved the IF one to wordpress and delented the blogspot version), I combed through the comments in the archives and contacted as many commenters as I could to notify them of the change. If they had an e-mail address I would e-mail them, but if they didn't I'd just leave a comment on a post. I did lose a lot of readers - but I think part of that was because I did this right around the time I got my BFP. (Getting a BFP doesn't necessarily mean losing readers, but it can.) I also had Mel list the "old blog, new digs" on LFCA. And I put "the blog formerly known as [insert name here]" on the banner at the top of the new wordpress version.

As for starting a new blog on blogspot, that is precisely how my family discovered my IF blog in the first place! One of my cousins checked out my profile and I was OUTED!!! I wouldn't recommend that.

I like having a stealth blog precisely because it's also a space where I can vent about my in-laws when necessary!

infertilityrocks said...

I guess I'm lucky because I have a 'stealth' blog that I have given to SOME family members, but not all. That said, I do think about what I say knowing that my dh, sister, and brother-in-law read the blog. But in general, knowing that keeps me in line to not put anything out on the internet that I might regret at one time or another.

My in-laws don't know about my blog that I'm aware of, but I wouldn't mention them anyway...I have fears that she has hired spies that live in my computer!

I think a second 'stealthy' blog is the way to go! Also, I'm much more free on my infertility message board. I feel much more 'anonymous' there than on my blog. So I tend to vent with those ladies more!

Eve

annacyclopedia said...

On the wordpress thing and password protected posts - while my family doesn't read my blog and so I can't comment specifically on this, what I've found is that people are generally reluctant to ask for the password, even if they read and comment fairly regularly. My recent post announcing my pregnancy, which was also posted on the LFCA, got over 200 hits, but probably fewer than 30 people actually emailed me for the password and actually read it. Granted, I wouldn't have had 200 hits if it wasn't for the LFCA, but my point is that people tend to be shy about asking for the password. It may well be different with your family - I'm guessing mine would probably just roll with it if I refused to share private posts with them, but of course everyone is different.

I've been struggling with this question over creating a new blog for my pregnancy and hopefully, eventually, my child. Blogs are such a great way to keep in touch with people, including family, but I sort of feel like I have two audiences I want to write for - my current readership (none of whom I knew in real life prior to having the blog) and my family and friends in real life. My instincts are to keep them separate, but it's definitely tricky. For me, dealing with DI, too, is a big part of it. It's different information for a child to go through life with than having been conceived through IVF, but being genetically related to both parents, for example. There are taboos that I don't want to pass on to my child or to my family for that matter, but at the same time it's not just me that's involved in the story. Tough stuff to negotiate.

itsazooaroundhere said...

I'm really glad this was your featured question today! I completely agree with Annie, that having password posts not intended for family would cause some hurt feelings, curiosity, assumptions, etc. I'd rather just have a completely stealth blog, where I could feel really comfortable writing anything I wanted to.

My situation is especially difficult because we're working with my BIL as our donor. So sometimes expressing all the natural emotions and frustrations about working with a donor might cause some tension if that person or his wife or his mom were to read everything. A short example is that recently our clinic didn't receive the notarized forms that BIL was supposed to mail. I half-believed that he didn't really mail them, and was venting on my blog. I couldn't have done that if I knew he was reading...

Having a family member actually involved in my IF journey adds another layer of complexity and sometimes difficulty, all the more reason I'm glad to have an anon blog.

Leslee, just let us know where you end up and I'll be following along :)

Phoebe said...

After having a semi-anonymous blog, I decided to go completely anonymous. I created a new blog and a new gmail account that readers can e-mail me, and I forward those e-mails to my personal account. I can then decide who I want to reveal myself to or not. I thought it was going to be a major hassel, but it's actually pretty easy.

Barb said...

I would start the new blog and not mention it at all to family members. And then if you don't want both blogs, just start posting less and less frequently to the old one. Phase it out slowly and you can claim lessening interest in it if they ask.