Some Difficult Truths

There’s been a lot of talk recently in the infertility blogosphere about how we aren’t as supportive of one another as we used to be back in the day when we all realized “hey, I’m not alone in this.” And I agree with the statement that things are more fragmented and people seem more apt to disappear these days.

Here’s the thing, and I say this with the understanding that it’s going to be an unpopular statement. The bloggers who’ve “made it” then complain that people aren’t supportive enough have lost perspective. Because many of the people who’ve come out on other side with exactly what they hoped and dreamed and worked for, have ceased to have the sensitivity that they once had towards those of us still in the trenches or giving up.

As someone who is probably done trying, and trying to come to grips with that, who has been there time and again for others in the midst of cycles, when they get BFNs, when they miscarry, when they succeed, it’s extremely difficult to be chastised for disappearing when someone’s blog or facebook feed turns into a minute by minute account of pregnancy and then infancy. It’s honestly incredibly hard to continually subject myself to their space. Does that make me bitter and unsupportive? Maybe. But where is the accountability for those who turn their spaces into pregnancy/new mom blogs to say “my blog has changed and therefore so has my audience?” Why is the responsibility only on those of us who’ve felt the need to shrink into the darkness because those spaces no longer feel safe for us?

The reality is, I’m incredibly happy for those who get what they’ve worked so hard for. To many outsiders, I’m one of those people. But I know as someone who’s lost and struggled and tried and failed for the past three years that seeing someone’s facebook feed turn into a constant stream of belly shots and breastfeeding statuses hurts like a constant knife in the side. Opening my blog reader to find half of my “infertility” blogs posting pee sticks and beta numbers makes it hard to breathe. Why them and not me? Why couldn’t it be me too? What did I do wrong? What’s wrong with me?

And it hurts to constantly feel inferior. To feel less than. To feel unworthy of “getting there.”

So yes. We disappear. We stop commenting because it’s too hard. We go out of our way to avoid. We hide people we love on facebook. We take people out of our blog readers. We create subgroups of people who are in the same place we are. We don’t seek support from people who are living through achieving what we want because it hurts too much.

And while I want to apologize on some level for it, for contributing to the fragmentation, I’m not sorry for protecting myself. I’ll never forget, a fellow twin mom and infertile, who sent me an email while she was pregnant with her twins and I was in the throes of darkness. I had commented on her post about being disappointed she was going to have a c-section. She emailed me and thanked me for my support knowing how hard it must be for me. It’s that kind of awareness that’s too rare. She didn’t have to acknowledge me at all, nor did I expect her to. She just did, because she cared enough to be aware of something other than herself. Which made it so much easier for me to see her belly and her babies and to participate in her joy. I never hid her on facebook or stopped reading her blog. One of my best friends in the world specifically told me when she was pregnant with her third, “Hey, if you need to hide me on facebook, you do what you have to do, you won’t hurt my feelings. I love you and I know this is hard.”

Before I make it sound like the world has to cater to those of us who are hurting, I don’t believe that at all. What I do think is that getting angry at some of us for fading into the background because it hurts to much to be present in certain spaces is unfair. I don’t know what the solution is, but I felt the need to put a position out there because there seems to be no shortage of “how come we’re like this” posts and nobody saying the hard stuff. If we truly want to support one another, we need to see that it’s not as simple as “where did everyone go?” and care enough about each other to break it down to what’s too hard to talk about. Maybe we can’t do that as a larger community, but maybe we can do it with individuals who are in our spaces, on our blogs, in our facebook feeds. And if we all do that on a micro level, one on one, maybe the larger space will feel more like it used to.


6 thoughts on “Some Difficult Truths

  1. This post, as you know, is true for me as well. I had to leave my IF blog and blow up my google reader because all I saw was what I didn’t have. I’m making peace with my I’ll-never-have-another-child self, but I couldn’t in the IF space. It reminded me too much of what I didn’t have, what I’ll never have.

    The most damaging posts, for me, were the blissfully happy women who fought really hard and succeeded at getting the family they always wanted. You know the posts, the “Finally, I feel complete.” And I know it’s not aimed AT me, of course, but what bitterness that thought evoked in me. Because I DON’T feel that way, and I am now trying to make peace with this sense of incompleteness, and it will never be that easy for me to resolve our infertility.

    That doesn’t mean I’m not happy for those women who shared the trenches with me and moved on when I didn’t. I am thrilled for them. But seeing so many people get to complete their family puts MY incompleteness into sharp relief. And I found that it just wasn’t healthy for me to stay in that place.

    Anyway. Wanted to know that you aren’t alone in this.


  2. What bothers me the most about these statements is that there are certain bloggers who have written these posts about “fragmentation and lack of support”. I have been one of their commenters and supporters yet they never ever comment on my blog. I’m frustrated by all of it and understand why people would disappear or just unplug. Sorry to hijack your post. :-p

  3. I completely understand why people leave, or stop commenting, and I don’t feel it’s unsupportive or selfish; I feel that it’s the way we protect ourselves. On the other hand, the ALI community feels like one of the few where readership can change like that, and for someone who started life as an ALI blogger, it’s hard to know where to go next. We’re not parenting bloggers, even if we talk about parenting. That label is too simple for where we come from, and who we are. That readership doesn’t quite “get” it. And I realize I don’t speak for everyone … some people make that transition more easily than others. I guess that’s what PAIL was started.

    I know that sometimes people say, too, that “I read x for her writing, not for her specific content.” That was start out identifying with content, and somehow commit ourselves to following because love the writer. Not everyone can do this, but it’s another dimension of the blogging relationship to consider after we “cross over.”

    It’s tough to decide what’s too hard to talk about … to censor who we are. I think that if we want to retain our readership we need to think about them, but I also think that if we want to be true to our blogs, we need to be able to speak what’s in our heart. It’s a difficult balance to strike.

    Thanks for writing this.

  4. I’m surprised that the blogger you cite took others’ absence so personally. For me, I know there are various blogs that I’ve started or stopped following for a whole host of idiosyncratic reasons. There was one that I couldn’t read anymore after we were cycling at the exact same time and she got a baby and we got a chemical pregnancy. There are other folks who I started following because we did get pregnant about the same time. And still others who I continue to follow even though we’re in really different places in our family journeys. Because of all this, it makes total sense to me that the folks who read and comment on my blog would change over time. And that it can be tough to read about people who have gotten to the place you really wish you could be.
    Thinking of you. That “probably done trying” place sounds incredibly hard.

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