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.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Blog Roundup

Some people have already noticed it, so I thought I should explain...

Okay, I'll give you a second to look around the blog and try to find the change.


It's the new forums and more button under the header.

I was speaking with a new friend this week and she asked me if I knew about Ning, which I didn't, but now I do because I created a space over there for anyone in the ALI (adoption/loss/infertility) community to use. It is a website of bulletin boards, support groups, videos, photos, events--pretty much a spillover space (and more interactive space) for everything we do on our blogs and especially LFCA.

How does it work? Well, you click here to access it (you can also use the button under the header).

Stirrup Queens
(yes, I named the space after my blog. I just wasn't feeling very creative)

But wait! Before you go over, let me just explain the space. You do need to sign up to use it. I'm moderating it to ensure that the space is not taken over by spammers (or 14-year-old boys with nothing better to do than sign up for infertility sites), but it is open to everyone. What's that, Melissa? It's open to everyone. Let me repeat it one final time: you do not need to have a blog, you do not need to be a reader of Stirrup Queens, you can be at any stage of the game from newly-diagnosed to parenting to living child-free: it is literally open to everyone in the ALI community.

Since people have already signed up, I'll address something that has already come up. The sign up asks for a state and city. I didn't fill it in and had no problem. Another person wrote and said, "The initial set up question gave me the impression zip was mandatory. When I went to change it - it gave me an triangle warning/error but despite the warning I saved the changes and it let me." I can't figure out a way to change the information required for sign-up--it's set by Ning--but you don't have to fill out the full profile to use the space.

I am going to approve every email I recognize instantly. If you've never emailed me before, I'll send you a quick note asking for either the name of your blog or the names of a few blogs you read (if you're a blog reader and not a blog writer). You can also be proactive and email me that information as you sign up so you can have access to the full site even faster. Sorry; I am trying to let everyone in and keep spammers out, though it's not a perfect system.

Once I approve you, you can start playing around with the site. There is a discussion board where you can pose questions, just as you would any bulletin board system. You can join a discussion group--I am moderating the groups too to make sure that people go into the correct group. In other words, the "living child-free after infertility" group is literally for those who have resolved their infertility by living child-free. It's not for people on a break. That's simply one example--I've made the groups pretty specific. Again, they are open to everyone and I'm going to approve you if you fit or I'll email you and suggest another group that you may have overlooked if you don't truly fit.

You can also start your own group. For instance, those with uterine anomalies may want to start a support group whereupon you can discuss uterine anomalies, surgery, pregnancy with a uterine anomaly, etc. We can start a preemie support group, an open adoption group, etc. I've set up a few groups to begin, but there are no limits to the number of groups we can have and I'll approve all groups as long as I can foresee another member or two wanting to join.

There is an events calendar if you're scheduling a face-to-face meeting in your area and want to let others know they can join along. There is a place to upload photos or videos. You can personalize your page, downloading applications that only apply to you (I haven't played with this part yet, but apparently, there are hundreds of widgets such as a Twitter feed or a blog feed that you can put on your page to personalized it). I believe there is also a space for people who are blog-less to put up a post or two. Or people can use it for those times that they don't want a post connected to their own blog.

The only thing I'd like to request is a balance with baby pictures. I'd like people to choose a profile picture that isn't a baby, though I do think that parenting after infertility is part of the community therefore, we can designate the photo area as a child-photo area. So if you're not up for seeing babies or pregnant bellies, you can still navigate the site and avoid the uploaded photos. And if you have a picture you want to post, you can still do so, just in this designated area. Is everyone cool with this? I don't want to set any limits, but the largest problem I hear with Facebook is the onslaught of baby photos as profile pictures when you're not up to seeing them. I'd like this to be a space that everyone feels they can navigate on any given day. Please weigh in with your thoughts.

This is sort of Facebook. But for infertile people--either biologically infertile or situationally infertile. So join along, and play with it, and spread word that everyone can join, and start connecting off-blog with other members of the ALI community.

The Weekly What If: What if everyone in your family (siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents) all converted to a different religion (in other words, if your family is Jewish, everyone converts to Catholicism. Or, if your family has a host of different religions, everyone switches to a single new one)? Would you convert too? Would it make any difference if they were very actively practicing the religion together; attending weekly services, celebrating holidays, going through daily rituals?

One more day to sign up for March's IComLeavWe. Commenting starts tomorrow and runs to the following Saturday.

And now, the blogs...

Learning to Accept My Infertility has a post about finally cracking in the face of a pregnancy-related email. She writes: "I don't know why I can't accept this. I never will. Never. I spout out all this shit that I don't believe. 'I'll be a mother one way or another and then it won't matter.' But it will." It is an amazing post, full of raw emotions. And you will both be touched and nod your head as you read it.

Life After Infertility & Loss has a post about why she has been quiet lately. She writes: "Sometimes I think they removed my creativity along with my uterus. (Either that or my muse. Perhaps there is a great deal more tied up in that particular organ than I previously surmised . . . hmmmm.) Trying to write, and write like I remember being able to, is not coming as easily as it once did." It is a post about the afterwards that comes with such a huge life change.

I'm a Smart One made me laugh so hard with this post. I can't really say anything more without ruining it.

Uppercase Woman has a memory about talking to others waiting in line at the fertility clinic about the loss of the twins and what happened next. She begins with listening to another woman in her support group and is mentally transported back to the beginning of the FET cycle she did after the loss. With the other women asking her story, she wonders if she should tell them and how much. And erring on the right side of her heart, she learns the troubling truth of how other women react to hearing about loss. It is an important and moving post.

Finally, Life From Here has a post about all the posts she should be writing. And by setting down these thoughts in small blurbs, she releases so much information, so many answers. As I read it, I not only got a sense of how scattered she has been feeling, but also, how much our small thoughts can help someone else see the world in an entirely new way.

The roundup to the Roundup: Come check out the forums et al; answer the Weekly What If; sign up for IComLeavWe if you want to join along; and lots of great blogs to read. See you here on Saturday night for Show and Tell and pictures from a tea party.


Guera! said...

My family is already a mix of religions and if they all converted to a single one there's not much of a chance I would too. We are all very much individuals in that regard.

luna said...

thanks, mel! the new IF FB page is cool -- thanks for setting it up.

thanks for the shout out. I already have a whole other post of things I can't seem to write about...

Kristin said...

I don't think I would convert religions even if my family did. I am presuming they would still be open minded and accepting people and I would still be able to celebrate with them despite the religious differences.

Jess said...

I'm pretty sure I would not change religions if all my family did. I would want to know what was up and why so many people I trusted wanted to change to that religion...make sure it was both safe for them and not something I have missed (since they're all Christian currently) or didn't understand. I'd check it out, but it would have to be a miracle (hehehehe) to get me to change, I think.

JuliaS said...

I doubt I would switch - I'm pretty happy and content where I am at Religion-wise. :0)

Though, it would really really be odd for my entire family to change like that - I would definitely want to know what was up . . .

Thanks for the mention. Kymberli completely kills me - that was HYSTERICAL!

Io said...

Well, considering that my husband is Muslim and I didn't convert for him and I was raised STAUNCHLY Catholic and really have only kept the guilt from that, I don't think I would change at all. I might become alarmed and think they had all gone cult and try to intervene though.

So all this forum stuff (which is awesome btw) makes me think of a couple weeks ago when I was giving my husband a "tour" of Stirrup Queens and LFCA and he was amazed that you did all this. He thought perhaps we should pay you.
So um. I have no money and honestly, nobody is getting my firstborn, but I would like to reiterate that you have my undying love and appreciation.

Parenthood For Me said...

sounds great. can't wait to check it out.

MrsSpock said...

The only thing my siblings and I have converted is away from religion. I am from a family of freethinkers, and we don't mind what the others are doing, as long as they don't try to convert.

Nic said...

My whole family is not religious but if they became so I would def not become religious. I feel you can not change your beliefs. Cant believe it is IComLeavWe already, cant wait!

Cassandra said...

Similar to Io, I didn't convert to Judaism when I married my husband, despite strong pressure (from certain members of his family, never from him).

I don't care what religion my family is.

I will say, though, that if my husband converted to another religion, I would stop practicing Judaism to the extent that I do and harboring thoughts of conversion in the back of my mind.

But, I wouldn't stop making latkes, challah, hamentashen, etc.!

Andrea said...

SWeet, I'll be checking out Ning right now!

nancy said...

Coolio. I signed up. And I'm off to go read the blogs in the roundup.

As for the whatif, that's a hard one. I don't think I would. The reason is I am a very personal thinker. I have quite often been the ONLY one with a differing opinion, sometimes it's even considered a very wrong opinion conpared to everyone else. And I end up sticking to my opinion even more fiercely when I see EVERYONE going to the other opinion. Sure, it'll make me think about it more, but if i believe in my opinion/decision, everyone picking the other option won't get me to change.

Beautiful Mess said...

Love love LOVE the new site! It's a lot of fun! Great work, as always. I do have a question you EVER sleep?

A Mom in Jacksonville, FL said...

This is my first time participating in ICLW. WAY cool! Also love your new forum link.

Mel---seriously---your blog is a wonderful source of info. I appreciate your organization! :)

Natalie said...

When you said it was "like facebook" I didn't realize you meant it really was like facebook!! Awesome awesome awesome!!

Natalie said...

Oh, and about the weekly what-if: I would absolutely not convert or even consider doing so. My family (parents, sibling, husband and I) are all athiests... hubby's family are of varying religious persuasions. I think if anyone from my family found religion I'd think they were crazy.

Bea said...

That's what that ning thing is.

Ok - I wouldn't convert *just* because my family converted, but if they all did, I'd have to think seriously about it, because why would they all convert without good reason? I think practising might make it easier to convert. Religious people have that spirituality. Atheists don't understand the whole concept. Non-practising members of religions might find it easier, if they are spiritual but just haven't found the path to lock onto, but harder if they're actually de facto atheists who just haven't really got around to thinking it through and denouncing religion officially.