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LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Friday Blog Roundup

Updated at the bottom

If you need to skim or skip the rest of my blatherings in this long post, I understand. But please don't jump over the first two sections...

I stated in the comments last night that I wasn't going to hold or participate in another UTERUS fundraiser in the future. This isn't due to Jane's questioning, but it certainly cemented it in my mind. It is too hard to fund raise for a person rather than an organization. Which is a funny thing to say because the original idea behind UTERUS was that it was also important to help individuals directly; not just give to large organizations. I'm not really changing my thoughts on that, but right now, UTERUS is not a good fit for me. It's not just the economic climate and time commitment (dear Lord, it is a huge time commitment), but also the fact that it is too large a leap of faith.

The three people helped thus far with UTERUS were all people I read and communicated with off-blog. The most important part for me was that they didn't ask for help. They didn't hint that they wanted support or could use support. The decision to step in and help came from me, therefore, first and foremost, I felt comfortable that the idea originated with me rather than the person. I could stand behind the people we helped because I knew their real names--their full names--and knew addresses before we began in two of the three cases. The fact that the trust flowed towards me made a huge difference in my mind. I was helping a friend rather than stepping in and helping a stranger, even though, yes, these friends via the Internet are technically strangers. If that makes any sense. But I think I felt comfortable taking responsibility because I felt like I had put forth the best effort to ensure that the people being taken care of were who they said they were. And I felt comfortable putting my name on it. I can't speak for Helen and Jen who originated UTERUS with me, but both knew Cali and it simply made sense to the three of us and I have to believe it made sense to us because we trusted Cali and were invested in her story and cared that she did something with those frozen embryos if she wanted to do something with those frozen embryos.

So, yes, UTERUS will continue--though without me. In fact, others have plans in the works right now. And I will be posting about it on LFCA and supporting their efforts. But it's time for others to take the reins and help the people they can stand behind. It's a big blogosphere and people have those that they trust and feel comfortable saying, "I can vouch for this person." I am really glad it's continuing because I do stand by that original thought that it is important to support individuals; not just organizations. And I will always be cheering UTERUS on from the sidelines.

I'm putting this out there both to explain my response to the anonymous comments last night, but also to let you know that when UTERUS things pop up in the future, questions should be directed to the people in charge because I won't know the fine details. Though I hope the future fundraisers are as successful as the last three and wish those working on them the best of luck.

Wellsphere seems to be hitting the ALI community hard these days, therefore, even though I put this in the LFCA this week, I wanted to repeat it here:
Blogger Beware: DD had a post last week about Wellsphere and since they seem to be leaving comments on blogs and since a lot of us are health bloggers, people should understand how Wellsphere works and why you may not want to give permission for them to use your RSS feed. There was a post last winter on the Wall Street Journal blog about the site.
I am not against free blogging--which is what this is. They are having you write content and removing it from your blog and rerunning it on their site in order to make money. There are some great sites out there that get writers to work for them without paying them (I see no difference between writing original content for another site or taking your content via an RSS feed even though one is more time consuming than the other. My feelings cover both scenarios). And certainly, there are non-profits I would help in a heartbeat by writing original content for free. I think of it as pro-bono work with the skill I am giving them being writing.

But I do think you need to get something out of your work and if it's not financial compensation, then it needs to be emotional compensation. For instance, I am thankful for the work Resolve does with things like the Georgia bill and I would feel good helping them if they ever asked me to write content for their site. In fact, I have pitched content to them for their site so I'm not just waiting to be asked--I want to help. But I'd get emotional compensation in that situation. Emotional compensation can be either walking away feeling good or building a relationship with another person or organization. I think there are plenty of good reasons to work for free.

One reason I think sucks though in regards to free work is the promise of increased traffic. Because no one can make that promise to you. Regardless of how many visitors they have to their site each day, they cannot promise you that people will click over. There have been enough media studies out there showing how often and why people click through from a link. And unless Wellsphere (or any site) is promising that they are going door to door to each reader and standing there until they watch them click the mouse on the link and watch their eyes as they scan your words...well...that's just not a promise anyone can take seriously. Is it nice when a site links to you and you get some traffic that way? Certainly. But I will state it here: I can link to you every single day from LFCA and Twitter your content and write full posts about you. But I cannot promise that you will get any visitors to your site from that. You probably will get some, but I can't promise you any.

I believe strongly in linking--not just to give credit or to save myself space by not writing out the whole thing, but because that is the beauty of the Internet: to direct people to good ideas or good writing or interesting projects. If Wellsphere wants to highlight different blogs, writing their own original content (hmmm...sort of what I do with the Roundup each week...) and directing people to great blogs, I could stand behind that site. But simply taking content from your site and passing this off as a favour to you...that sits poorly with me.

And though I cannot promise her one extra reader with this and would never tell DD to "stick with me, kid, because I will make you a star, a star, an Internet staaaaaaaaaaaaar!," I really do think you should click over and read her post as well as the additional links within to make sure you understand how the site works before you respond to an invitation (and this holds true for any site that approachs you to write for them or use your RSS feed).

So, this weekend is Mother's Day in the US. Is there really anything more to say about that? We are spending the day at waterfalls outside the city. It would require a long explanation for why this is meaningful to me, but it is an act of gratitude, it is fulfilling a promise I once made. Oh, and it's a good, tiring walk that sometimes even contains snakes. And snakes spell excitement.

This Weekly What If comes from a friend's real situation: what if you were offered a job that was perfect eleven months out of the year and sucked for one. In other words, it was excellent pay and you could work very few hours a week--all from home. BUT for one month, you had to go somewhere you didn't really want to be and work twelve hours a day every day for thirty days straight. Would you do it? Would it be worth having the rest of your year essentially free but have a hellacious month once a year?

Yes, I was on television this week and I had to drive into scary, scary Virginia to do so. Getting off the GW Parkway made me start to hyperventilate. There are two places I can't drive: Arlington/Rosslyn and New York City. Everywhere else, totally fine.

I think there will be more of these in the future. Next time, I will wear make-up.

I'm posting things over on the book site.

Speaking of the book, there are a lot of people I want to thank this week. There are five people who have put a review on Amazon so far: Another Dreamer, R. Golden, Carrie Barta, E. Schlaefer, and M. Bussolati. Thank you, thank you, thank you if you're reading this. I'm not sure how reviews on Amazon work, but I know they're important. You don't even need to write something original. If you post on your blog, you can cut-and-paste it over there. So thank you so much for taking the time to do that.

Next, there are a lot of people who put the badge on their blog. Thank you so much. It literally makes my heart jump when I click out of Reader to go to the blog and then see it on the sidebar. Thank you so much (and I'm really worried I'm missing someone right now so please please please let me know if I missed you):

If you want to help and put the badge on your blog, you can get the code here.

And now, the blogs...

Our Surrogacy Adventure has a post about how infertility changed her life. For me, the most moving part came mid-post: "I would guess that this is what it is like for someone with a substance addiction to function in the world, constantly searching for the next fix. My life has become an endless search for becoming a mother, I read, research, and thrive off this quest. At times, I understand that it is destroying my relationships, my future, and me; I am unable to give up." Not only will you nod as you read this, but it is so beautifully written that you will want to forward on the parts that apply to you with a note saying, "me too."

Maybe It's Just Me... has a post about comparative pain. She wonders what right she has to complain about infertility and PCOS in the comparison to other terrible things that can happen in life and she lists the things she has witnessed that others have endured. It is about the role of the observer and how it affects you. All in all, it was a really interesting post.

Sluggish Butterfly has a post about the worry gland. She writes: "
I feel like my anxiety is flowing from a special, newly awakened organ or gland, something that ensures I consider all the wretched, horrible options. I've noticed I'm more easily threatened or startled, more easily shaken by an extremely remote possibility." And I love her final question comparing it to the Braxton-Hicks of the mind.

Lastly, A Little Hope has a story about a t-shirt that sent chills down both arms when I read it. It is an amazingly moving story and I cannot do it justice by summing it up, therefore, I encourage you (though promise nothing, A Little Hope!) to click over and read it in full. And consider your own way to draw those types of bridges between two people.

The roundup to the Roundup: News about UTERUS and Wellsphere; thinking about everyone with Mother's Day; the Weekly What If; video footage from an interview; many many thank yous; and lots of great blogs to read. See you here Saturday night to show and tell.


Someone emailed asking if the two posts--the one from yesterday and the start of this one--were connected. No, no and no. I had the one on emotional fraud on my mind since I read Niobe's great post and knew I would write about it for BlogHer for two weeks. I decided to cross-post because I thought it was interesting and Niobe deserves a lot of credit for throwing the topic into my head.

The start of this post comes from writing the responses to Jane last night and feeling that it deserved a longer explanation for why I wasn't participating in UTERUS directly for this next go-around. I know I've been involved in UTERUS in the past, but I wanted it clear that I'm not doing this one. I say so only to stave off the inevitable emails. Because it's a lot of emails. I own and can speak to the UTERUS events from the past, but it's only going to grow and thrive in the future in other hands. But they'll have the information about taking donations or where to send help and I won't.


babyinterrupted said...

You read my mind - thanks so much for addressing the Wellsphere thing. I had no idea what the heck that was about when his 'invite' showed up on my blog. I did some research but your post and DD's really helped.

Cara said...

Mel - as always a great source of info! I have you badge up..have for a couple months you published author you!

sunflowerchilde said...

Mel, thanks so much for your comments about my post, that was difficult to write and I really appreciate being noticed! (But now I wish I had taken some time to polish it a bit more!)

Also, to answer your Weekly What If - I think I would take that job. To have a wonderul, blissful, happy 11 months out of the year and sacrifice with one month that sucks, I think it's worth it. I have never had a job that I really loved, so to have that even part time would be priceless for me.

S said...

Mel, your information about Wellsphere couldn't have come at a better time for me: Dr. Rutledge just left a comment on my blog yesterday. I was still deliberating about what to do, but after reading your post, have decided not to participate. (I was leaning in that direction anyway.)

And in response to the Weekly What If: I would take the job. Few jobs are great 100% of the time anyway. I've certainly endured bad situations for longer than 30 days to get to what I really wanted before.

Kim said...

Great interview, Mel! Your answers were great and you didn't let her steer you away from the book and the realities of IF with sensational questions. You go!

Weekly What IF: I would take the job. I can handle 30 days of crud if it means I get 335 days of bliss.

CJ said...

I'll go put your badge up on both my blogs. :) That reminds me I need to order it!

areyoukiddingme said...

I have that job now...more or less. For the (added up over time) 30 days a year when I let things get to me, or consider that I work with amoral people who claim to be good Christians, or when I have to look at one particular manager, this is the worst job in the world. Then I consider my excellent paycheck, my almost complete control over my work, my flexible schedule, my excellent job security, and I realize that there are not too many jobs like this. The minor annoyance of having to watch my back all the time is a small price to pay.

Kristin said...

You are such an incredible spokeswoman for this community. You should be very proud of your TV appearance.

As for the what if, I could definitely put up with one month of a hellish job for 11 months of fabulousness!

Fertilized said...

Mel - SO poise and well versed. Excellent Interview. I enjoyed it very much.

I have turned down so many sites like the Wellsphere. Thank you for this commentary.

I may not always be timely - but I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts and am in great awe of all that you do for each of us in this community.

You Deserve only the best

Eve said...

Yes, thank you for the info on Wellsphere, I got the email from them yesterday as well.

I thought you did an INCREDIBLE job with the interview, especially when she kept pushing the 'designer' families type thing. Isn't that what others want to think? That we IFers just are selfish perfectionists who want exactly what we want in a family?????

As for the What IF? I would definitely take the job. No job is perfect all the time, but a job that is perfect 92% percent of the time would suffice for me!

one-hit_wonder said...

Thanks for the warning about Wellsphere - I got an invitation yesterday, too.

Lori said...

Thank you for what you've done for UTERUS and for the wise counsel on writing for others.

Just put up a review on Amazon. Loving your book!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous job on the interview! Very articulate, focused, and pretty too! No need for makeup!

jenn said...

I went to the big bookstore and geuss what?! They were all out of your book! i know *gasp*! I will try agian this weekend.

annacyclopedia said...

You are so insanely great on TV, Mel. Good on you for just sticking to what you wanted to say and shutting her down on the whole fictional "recreational IVF" people.

And I have the badge on my blog - I haven't ordered my copy yet but will do so this weekend as well as marching in to my local bookstores and demanding they carry your book!

Cassandra said...

What if: I've had that job. Except that the pay was not good. And instead of 1/12 bad, it was 1/4 of the year miserable (12-14 hours a day doing work that I hated surrounded by horrible people), 3/4 fine. I will never go near a job like that again. 1/12 would be easy in comparison, esp. if it came with financial compensation for the hours.

I have a couple of friends who have another variation on that: 90% or 100% awful and intense (as in 14, 16, 18 hours days). But, the pay is beyond incredible -- annual salary is literally what I make in a decade. One of them sees it as no big deal, and the other keeps wishing he'll get laid off.

I asked my husband how much money he'd have to make to have their work hours and his answer: $70 million!

We both work very hard when we're working and love what we do, but we're a household that values quality of life.

Kathy said...

Just watched your interview Mel and think you did a great job! Way to go! :)

MrsSpock said...

I signed up for Wellsphere hoping to improve my traffic- and have gotten on 2 hits in several months. Now I'm rescinding.

And about UTERUS, because I am the person who nominated the next person we are fundraising for, and I am one of the gals in charge this go round- I will say details will likely be upcoming on Monday.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

Three cheers to that, Mrs Spock. Er...the UTERUS thing, not Wellsphere. There are no cheers for Wellsphere.

Christy said...

I read every word of this post, and I'm glad I didn't miss a single one.

I'm intrigued by your Mother's Day plans, and hope to hear more. Sounds like you will enjoy it.

As my first mother's day approaches I'm feeling all jumbly about it, so I love that you have a meaningful plan.

Jill said...

wow... thanks for including me in the round-up! I was wondering where all the extra comment love was coming from :)

As for the What if: I'd TOTALLY take the job. having only 1 month suck as opposed to 12 is totally worth it in my book!

ms. c said...

Awesome interview, Mel.
Mazel tov again!

Jen said...

Dear Mel, I have just now put your book on my sidebar and I suck for not doing it earlier.



docgrumbles said...

great interview!

nonlineargirl said...

The wellsphere "invite" didn't sit well with me either - hmm, let's see, I write, you benefit? Sounds, um. No thanks. (As a little fish blogger hit-wise, I am already skeptical of such "offers" to help me boost my readership.)