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Wednesday, 02 August 2006

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Louise

Right on, Thalia!

I am most sad to see blogs disappear completely, with even the archives deleted.

I think that is so unfair, to do a complete disappearing act.

When I am having a rough day or feeling like "it" will never happen, I love to look thru the archives of now-pregnant bloggers, and see that it *can* happen.

fl

De-lurking to say that you've laid it all out perfectly here. Well done. :)

flygirl

Geez. Sorry, that shouldn't say "fl". It should be flygirl.

fisher queen

I'm not going to disagree because I like the optimism of your theory, but I have to mention that my readership, as far as I can tell, has changed drastically since the early weeks of my pregnancy. Very often I feel that I am not in my old community at all, but rather in a new one. As much as I like my new friends, I miss my old ones all the time.

Don't get me wrong, I completely understand why many have stopped reading or at least commenting. I stopped reading PG blogs after a certain point myself. But I think my role in the community has changed- should my obligations change as well?

Likewise, I often wonder if I should comment on some blogs, and on certain kinds of posts. I know some people have expressed understandable resentment towards PG bloggers, and there are many times where I wonder if I would just be throwing salt in the wound.

I do sometimes refrain from commenting, but the posting is a purely theoretical question on my part. I have to write or I'll go nuts, and am happy to have everyone and anyone come by.

fisher queen

Oh, another thought - *I* would like more posts from PG bloggers just for the support. These conflicting emotions you mentioned are tough to deal with and are usually, it seems to me, very specific to PG after IF. A lot of it often feels to taboo to admit (thoughts like 'did I make a mistake' -Really.), and it would be a comfort to hear more about how others are feeling.

Spanglish

Oh Thalia very well put... and thorough!

Suz

I wish this post was around when I got pregnant because it would have made things easier for me. I just remember having a terrible time with the tone of my writing; I had perfected this lovely snarky rant, which I could no longer sustain, or felt I could, when I had the boys. So I stopped. And then I started again. And then I stopped when I had them. And then I started again. Although it's hard for me to know which community I belong to (I'm not sure how many infertile readers I have and I'm not very much at home among the mommy-bloggers), I, like Fisher Queen, have come to grips with the fact that I just have to keep writing. I don't know why we need communities, or categories, but it seems to be a fact of how we, as human beings work. Regardless of what new community I slowly come to join, I know that I will always think of myself as infertile. It will always be part of who I am, why I write, and what I read, even though I do have difficulty integrating it sometimes.

Cali

this is SO well said. thank you!
(totally about to make my readers read this!)
xo

Serenity

Exceedingly well spoken!

Hoping

Thalia, well put and very thought provoking. I have always enjoyed your posts as they are straight forward and blunt. Thank you also for adding me to your list over to the left. I am honored.

Leggy

Very good post. I came to blogging a bit late (it didn't exist when I was going through primary IF) and so have always struggled with telling cute kid stories vs. secondary IF is killing me posts. To me, it seems like a primary IFer that crosses into pregnancy (that sticks around) is a similar place. You still struggle with IF in some sense (how will I have a second kid? or else, how do I let go of the scars that haunt me?), but at the same time are profoundly grateful for the good and wonderful things in life. I hope more people try to live in the balance because I miss people when they just disappear.

pixi

You know, T, this is a tough one. In the months since I got pregnant, there has been so much heartache in this community (as there always is, sadly). So I find it hard to go on about everyday pregnancy stuff, when I know that others are hurting and wishing they be in my condition. It feels disrespectful to me. So I tend to wait until I have something of broader interest (like when they found the cyst in my baby's brain) and/or something that relates to infertility/rpl, like my feelings about being an "older" mom. But I have to say, it is exactly my keen awareness of my place in this community that holds me back at times.

I feel as though I've done a fairly good job keeping up with and commenting on people's blogs. I still want to do what I can to offer support and show that I AM grateful to those who have supported me. But it gets tricky. At times there seems to be a backlash against bloggers who are pregnant after IF/RPL. And I completely understand where it's coming from. I'm not so removed that I don't remember how painful it is to watch others move on. But now that I seemingly have, I feel that I'm in a bit of an awkward place. I mean, I certainly don't want to be the source of someone else's pain, but I also don't know any way around it.

So what's the answer? Blather on about being pregnant on my blog, or stop blogging altoghter? I guess, I'm trying to find the "happy" medium. I can't say that I truly have yet, though.

S

Well said, Thalia!

Just a thought-you mentioned in your posting about how women who are PG might feel that not as many people in their normal community are reading their posts or commenting (I'm paraphrasing, so forgive me), and they shouldn't use that as a reason for not posting.

You mentioned that we are all a community, which I really do agree with. I still regularly read blogs by women who are PG or given birth after IF, and they are still listed on my blogroll (although, I don't subcategorize them-I personally don't feel comfortable doing that), but I sometimes feel awkward commenting when the subject matter is about a pregnancy-related symptom or child rearing, because I feel I have nothing worthwhile to contribute, and I know that I'm not the only one out there who does that. Maybe we should still comment, regardless. Perhaps (and I'm trying to look at it from the perspective of the PG after IF blogger)these women don't feel that same support system that they had before becoming pregnant, because their normal commenters aren't actively commenting anymore, and they also don't feel they fit in with the "mommy" bloggers (who may or may not be infertile themselves) that are now coming on and commenting on their blogs.

We infertiles are so naturally hyper-sensitive to each others emotions (rightly so), given what we've all been through. PG after IF women don't want to hurt an infertiles feelings by posting details of their pregnancies, and infertiles refrain from commenting because they don't feel that they have anything of value to say-it's a sort-of vicious cycle. Not that I'm saying that it's true all of the time, but it's just another angle to throw into the mix.....

Hope all is well with you-it's SO hot over here!!! Hopefully it's wont migrate your way anytime soon.

zhl

I don't have a huge problem with IF bloggers getting pregnant and no longer posting. I think your post identifies why--it is very dfficult to achieve that tone you mentioned--the one of empathy and joy.

I don't necessarily want pregnant IF bloggers to always coddle my feelings, but I am turned off by those who go from infertile to pregnant in zero to sixty seconds. I need more time than that to go there with them. (Let me just say though that most bloggers don't do this, and the PG bloggers I continue to read don't.)

And one reason I stop commenting on many PG blogs after the initial posts is that I don't have a lot to say other than "Hope things continue to go well."

The blogs work as a support system because we know what each other is going through. When someone gets pregnant, I can guess what they are experiencing and can feel happy for them but I have no personal experience and therefore feel that I have nothing to add to their new community.

But I do like to hear their stories and see picture of their babes so I know which ones I would like most to steal.

elle

I think that's totally fair. Of course, I hardly ever post anymore. But you are right.

MoMo

Thalia...thanks for this post.

I try to keep up my blog...writting at least once a week. Sad thing is that there are some people who don't stop by anymore...and I am okay with that, I knew that will happen. And also, sometimes I feel like the only thing people can say to me is that they are really happy for me. I know this is a nice thing to say, but a part of me feels like I am sticking it to their face that I am here and they are not.

I continue to comment on blogs...I am not sure if some people hate me for it, but I want them to know that I am still here for them cheering them on. I haven't forgotten what this entire journey is like--being p doesn't let you forget it.

Demeter

I started blogging to cope with my infertility, shortly after I got pregnant (thankfully for me) but the pain and the scars don't go away when you are pregnant. You always feel that burden in the back of your mind. When I got pregnant, I decided to create a new blog because I felt there was a new "me" a "new beginning" in my life. I viist blogs related to infertile women that I know that have yet to get pregnant, and others that became pregnant and others that have nothing to do with either subject. I simply visit them because they have become friends. I don't care about statistics, or who comes to my blog, whoever is touched by my story, or my words will stick around no matter what the story. What matters is that bloggers feel the freedom to write about their stories without the pressure.
Along the way you will have people who will support you and people who will simply won't come back and such is life in the real world too.
The last thing one wants is to apologize for getting pregnant (as you may understand), imagine that, you suffer endless months to get pregnant and then when you do, because you have a whole line of IF followers, you have to be cautious of your own happiness?
People who truly love you, and wish the best for you, will want your happinesss, not the contrary. The rest is not worth mentioning.

Jennie

Very well stated. And very thought provoking. I'm glad when bloggers continue posting after becoming pregnant.

We all want to be there and I am always sincerely hoping that I will become pregnant AND that other IFs will become pregnant. So after hoping for something for someone else, I don't want to turn my back on them once it happens.

Yes there are down days when I just can't handle the topic, so I just stay off those days, but most days I am happy that there is one less person going through the continuing hell of infertility and I want to continue to support them and hope they will me. I know that when I do become pregnant, I am going to need a lot of support myself, so I know others probably feel the same way.

electriclady

Really well said, Thalia, especially the whole idea about our obligations to each other as members of a communty. I always got really annoyed when pg bloggers stopped posting. I felt left out. I even liked reading the happy excited posts--it always made me feel like there was hope. I just knew which blogs to avoid if I was having a bad day. I never had any intention of stopping blogging or updating less when I got pregnant.

I do feel hesitant sometimes about commenting on blogs of folks who are going through something difficult--the whole "throwing salt on the wound" thing that fisher queen mentioned. But I try to look at it from the point of, a supportive comment is a supportive comment, and it doesn't make the support mean any less if it comes from someone who's pg.

Excellent post, Thalia. Thanks for laying it all out so thoughtfully and with such compassion.

I started blogging because I wanted to contribute to this community, and I agree that we do have responsibilities to each other and to keep the conversations going, even the hard ones.

Nevertheless, I must admit that I don't read pg-after-IF blogs because of my experience with perinatal loss. It's too hard for me to read posts by pg bloggers who reach out to their readers for answers about weird or alarming pg symptoms because, in my experience, they don't actually want to know more about pg complications or how to prepare to deliver prematurely or emergently. What they want is reassurance that it will all be okay. And, knowing what I know and having seen what I've seen, I just can't give that to them.

Kay/Hanazono

Whoops! That post above was from me. Sorry :(

bri

This post came at exactly the right time for me - I'm newly pregnant and feeling out how to keep the blog good. I have absolutely no intention of stopping - I have blogged almost every day since 2002 and even if I have my head in the toilet in a few weeks, I will still be typing and griping.

There were blogs I avoided over the last year. Sadly, some were people I started out with and then couldn't handle anymore. However, even when I pretended I wasn't reading them, I usually stopped by and caught up every couple of weeks to see how the babies were. So I guess I was avoiding because I thought it would hurt but in the end it didn't hurt that much. There's jealousy, but then there always is. I don't think there's anything to be done about that.

But I am 100% with you - disappearing bloggers really bug me.

Lori

Another incredibly eloquent post. Yes, it is frustrating when the newly pregnant disappear from their blogs (even though I disappeared but for other reasons).
As FQ mentioned, it would be wonderful to read more from the newly pregnant to take comfort in the knowledge that the conflicting emotions are par for the course. Just as we muddle through IF treatments together, I see it as a continuance of the journey.

Lisa P.

This is an interesting post, Thalia. I have a different perspective (seeing as I started blogging after I'd been pregnant/had losses), but hopefully it will add to the discussion.

I used to be afraid to comment on the IF blogs that I read, because I had gotten pregnant right away (even though I'd lost both of them). I was afraid that even though I was trying to understand the community that I would still come off as saying something inappropriate or dumb.

When I make my own blog posts, I have to be sensitive about the fact that there are people who read me that have had losses, but may have one or more living children. Although I know I should not compare levels of grief, etc., I feel weird posting my true feelings about the way I feel about having no children because there are people who have gone through more difficult scenarios than I have even though they are not childless. It's a fine line to walk sometimes.

It just so happened that the last time I thought I might be pregnant, I didn't post in the days ahead (mostly because I have had bad luck about posting "maybe I'm pregnant" and then getting my period). I didn't even want to post something mild along the lines of "I wonder" in case I was getting my hopes up by doing so, but then I read another's post about how they hate being shocked by pregnancy announcements. I know they weren't talking about *me*, but then it felt like I should post something brief at minimum so as not to shock anyone should I get a BFP. (As it happens, my period came the next day, but that's par for the course it seems.)

At the core, though, my feelings (no matter how much I censor myself) is that as a community, we are all here, blogging, because we want children and don't have them. Our struggles to get to that point (or to resolve that we are not having biological children, or are not having more children after we achieve one, or WHATEVER) are what make us want to speak out, to get our feelings down, to hear a voice from afar say "I understand why you're hurting." I think that when we become pregnant, the sense of not wanting to hurt someone else might be even more present than it is now (for those of us who experience it) and I don't know how to resolve that. Maybe I just need to grow a thicker skin, but I am still pretty worried about what other readers may think. It's possible that some of the pregnant-post-IF bloggers may be feeling some of the same things.

Just my $.02 as usual.

waiting line

as usual Thalia, very, very well put. I have to admit that I really miss infertile bloggers who go on hiatus once PG. I just want to know how they're doing. I don't expect them to post often (or post at all) but I sure would like to "check in" once in a while at the very least. Their stories give me *hope*.

I have to admit, however, that I have some of my own guilt. Once our sisters become PG, I don't comment as frequently. I can see why - from their perspective - this must be discouraging.

Thanks again for your thoughtful post.

BOTTOM LINE FOR EVERYONE: KEEP ON POSTING!

Pamplemousse

Brava, brava! This is the exact same furore that rose up a couple of years ago and I am sure there will always be that divide.

I am always perplexed as to why some people start blogging, get pregnant and then poof! they are gone. If you wanted to journal, why do it in a public forum?

You are right, there are blogexpectations and as we are not robots, some people fail and it is disappointing. That is life, I guess. But I expect more of people. How naive of me.

I understand new mothers being too busy to post because of the whole new baby thing but why does being pregnant mean you cannot blog?

Pamplemousse

PS the people who felt got-at by your previous post were mainly galvanised into one knee-jerk post but then back to radio silence.

DD

I think another major issue to consider is that before one starts their own blog, they get a feel for where they are comfortable and what relates to them. So, if someone is first reading blogs on infertility and finds that repoire, depending on their "enthusiasm" for the topic, they start their own blog. They get into a groove into infertility. They know the jargon and all the acronyms, which we all take for granted everyone knows.

Now let's say after a year that blogger becomes pregnant. They have now officially left their comfort zone. Physically and emotionally they are on completely foreign territory. Naturally they have to step back, regroup, and find their footing. Some don't. Some do with a vengence.

This isn't limited to pregnant bloggers, either. Adoptions, once the families have officially united in the home, sometimes cause longer than usual breaks. Again, equilibrium has been shook. Finding balance again is tough.

I will be the first to admit that I have stopped reading pregnancy blogs, especially if I hadn't allowed myself to become too emotionally invested. I feel guilty being the foul-weather friend, but I also know I have to keep up on self-preservation. Sometimes it just hurts too much.

But what everyone should remember is that no matter what changes (or stays the same), we all have something to offer. Blogging doesn't have to have a theme. It just is.

Mary Ellen

Very well said Thalia.

StellaNova

Another of the conundrums that IF throws our way. I must admit that I find it hard to keep reading pregnant after IF blogs too often as they are a contant reminder of where I'm NOT. I don't feel that I realy have anything to say because I can't share their experience (after about 8 weeks, that is).

Despite that, however, I do believe that they shouldn't stop. As Fisher Queen said above, a pregnant blogger become a part of a NEW community. The old friends will still drop by, especially if they get there too, but it is often difficult for them.

I know that I will happily jump back on board if I ever win this battle because I will want to learn from their experiences (exactly like I do now - I just need to look to different experiences). They become the trailblazers - the givers of hope - the winners.

Thanks for provoking so much thought.

Mary Scarlet

Thanks Thalia for writing this. I agree. Writing as a slowly disappearing incurable infertile blogger, I can attest to some similar very conflicted feelings (that the pg infertiles have) from the complete opposite perspective. We're just so vulnerable ... even when we try to be happy it preys on us. It's good to think it through. I missed those girls when they faded away.

Heather

Delurking to say that was really well-said. Thanks for this!

annmarie

Well said, Thalia. To me, this blogging community is a bunch of friends -- friends I know from their words, friends I may never meet. Because our experiences are so similar, I think it's fantastic when they are able to make it thorugh to the other side. I can only hope they are comfortable sharing their high points the way they shared their low. It's what friendship is about.

Kath

Dear Thalia, that was a great post -- I'm sure you've helped a lot of newly pregnant bloggers find a way through the awkwardness. I like checking up on pregnant bloggers too, although I admit that once they're relatively late in their pregnancies, I do tend to concentrate my support energies elsewhere -- not because I think about them less, but because I worry about them less. But I do like to know how everything is going.

Meredith

I agree. Fully. I agree as I remember who I was during those many years post-pregnancy. I agree as who am now, 8 weeks pregnant and scared. And, heck, it even made me feel better to know that perhaps the mundania of these first weeks (Sick. Scared. Sick. Scared.....repeat ad, well, ad nauseum.) isn't too terrible to post about anyway. I haven't gotten to guilt yet (because I'm still not totally sure of this), but I know that I will.

I also wanted to relay to you an odd post that I got in my own guestbook. A couple of years ago, I confessed to taking a break from reading the journals of my friends when they were pregnant. I would briefly skim to make sure nothing momentous had happened, but it was quick in and quick out and nobody gets hurt. Because I knew full well that I could get hurt. Once my friends had their babies, I found that I could come back to their journals and be supportive and a friend again and it was okay. But I still felt guilty about my nine month reading hiatus. (But, you know what's funny? I still expected them to post. I was similarly annoyed if they didn't, even if I wasn't really reading with much attention anyway. Can't please me.)

A few days ago, I got an anonymus entry in my guestbook that said "Since you didn't used to read pregnancy journals, will you stop posting now that you're pregnant?"

Very odd. I won't bother to point out how this makes no sense, how I never suggested that women SHOULDN'T post once pregnant, just that I SHOULDN'T read it because it made me too sad for myself. But, it did make me realize what a touchy world we write it.

Meredith

Ummm...I seriously need to edit my comments before posting. That should be "pre-pregnancy." And I'm sure there are other typos, but I won't read beyond it.

T

Pixi captured how I feel exactly - unfortunately, when I got pregnant, there were constant posts about pregnant bloggers and sentiments that they (we) should stop blogging etc. (funnily enough those bloggers are apparently pregnant or have had babies now - but still blogging). It's hard to get over your guilty feelings while reading this (so I stopped reading) - and these were not one off posts, a couple of bloggers posted constantly about this.

As for the guilt - oh, it was intense in the early days, I did eventually get over it because I had been through so much. Yes, that's right - I had been through 3 iui's and 6 ivf's and that was the reason I no longer felt the guilt - that's crazy, I realize. I am surrounded by infertiles, that's the way I want it, but not only does it hurt when you're left in the trenches, you hurt for those still left. Having been in that dry and dusty trench - while so many others got out, 'I wish you were pregnant too' is a hard thing to hear.

Anyhoo - well said as always Thalia. Also - I completely understand having hope of getting pregnant again. After my chemical my husband said "we're getting close" - ha!

Please forgive the total all over the place, rambling post.

Stephanie

Another unique sitation is those of us who are close to bringing an adopted child home. We are still infertile but will have a child. I don't know where I fit in. I continue to read a few infertile blogs, mostly because I connected with that person and want to cheer them on as they continue. I rarely read blogs where an infertile has gotten pg, especially when they get all "yay me little johnnny did a poopie today, isn't that great??"...I get enough of that in real life thank you very much and no matter how nice the person is, it still hurts. I've stopped talking about infertility on my blog (which was mostly about knitting anyway) and started a new adoption blog so that people can follow along with that if they so choose. It doesn't bother me if I've lost readers...I think it's just natural. You can't do anything about the guilt on both sides (leaving infertiles behind or not cheering on a pg blogger). That's just life...and don't we all know that life just really sucks sometimes!

hopefulmother

Great post, Thalia. From a non-pregnant IFer's perspective, I feel left out when those that become pregnant stop blogging. I need that hope that it can work, to keep going forward, but I do understand that there is a "genre" in which you write your blog, and when it changes, your readership/community changes along with it.

I guess the bottom line is that everyone does what they feel most comfortable with, in terms of reading and posting...

Jenny

I agree with you. I like to get enough updates so I can share in a bit of your joy. Even if they are talking about morning sickness, that sounds like joy to an IF'er who is still waiting. Great post!

soralis

Great post! I am glad to be part of the community you reside in, I am hoping that one day we are all blogging about our families.

Take care

Katty

I have tried several times to write the post I want to. It's not coming out right, so for now I'm going to give up. But I wanted to say that there are parallels between this and my real life community of 'fertiley challenged' women who meet monthly to discuss our common concerns and support each other. We have often asked ourselves what would happen if someone became pregnant. Should they stay or should they go?
And yes please to the juice!

Lut C.

Another balanced and thought-provoking post from you.

What is then in your view the responsability of the readers? (I know this has been hotly debated before, but I wasn't reading blogs then).

From my viewpoint, the still IF reader, I think it's only natural that I choose whether I read PG blogs or not.
But should I comment? Always? Perhaps I should, if I decide to read. But I don't.
The fewer comments there are on a post, the more inclined I am to comment, though.

Often, all I have to say is "glad to hear all is well". I'm genuinely glad when I can write that, but how many times does the PG-after-IF blogger want to hear that?

In a community, there are common experiences and expectations, but that doesn't mean everyone has to do exactly the same with military discipline. Not that you suggested that, but it seems to me that discussions about blog etiquette tend to go in that direction.

Frances

Bravo Thalia, though I have to insert that when I saw this topic come up again I groaned. I think it all comes down to the personal blogger and the type of relationship she has with her audience. For the most part, my readers are an intimate group and we'd just e-mail each other for updates or issues or whatever. When you're talking about a big forum, perhaps you'd need to apply some general philosophy like you've outlined. Having been on both sides of the IF coin now, I know it can get uncomfortable... but if you are close and honest with your readership you can navigate the whole thing quite easily. As for bloggers suddenly packing up and leaving their readers high and dry, I think that's just the nature of some people and can't be changed.

Ornery

Damn, you're persuasive! Every time I feel like I'm a blog slacker, I will make sure to return to this post for extra motivation!

candy

Delurking to say thank you. But I'm the third option - the adoption option. And even worse, they are family members that landed in our laps so fast we didn't know what hit us. I didn't have many readers from this community, mostly friends I see every week or so anyway, but I felt so guilty to the few who would comment when I would post something about my girls. We have put treatment on hold, perhaps permanently (which has its own post as long and thorough as this one coming to my blog near you very soon) but I still read various blogs to keep up. I wonder if I've chosen the right path, even if I let it choose me. I still hurt. I always will, whether we are done trying or not. But I know how I feel when I click on that blog I haven't seen in a while and there's news that I wish was mine. And I don't want to do that to someone else, even if my news is something they want to hear. I'm just so glad you addressed this. I chose to keep blogging, though I moved addresses and emailed just a few of you who would comment, but I do always have this community in mind when I blog.

millie

I think this post was incredibly well thought out and well written, like everyone else has said.

I know that I hate it when bloggers stop writing, for whatever reason. And especially hate it when we lose their 'voice' forever and they take their blogs down. I still think of some of the best posts from some of my personal faves that are gone to the women (and men) that follow later. How sad they can't share the wisdom.

I do think of it as a community and we are all better for being able to learn from and support all our journeys. Wherever they may take us.

Mel

You said this very well. It's so important to continue those blogs because it's a heads up as to life after infertility. And once my neighbour, always my neighbour. I want to hear about your shitty times, but I also want to hear about your good times too.

A friend once told me that she was there for me if anything terrible happened, but she didn't have time for me on a day-to-day, good time basis. Which isn't a friendship.

Thanks...I'm going to go post about this on my blog. Spread the bloggity goodness all around.

Liz

Thanks for bringing this up...very well said. For me continuing to blog hasn't been that easy. During the 1st trimester I didn't want to constantly write about my fears and wouldn't post as often. Now I update as things/milestones happen but each time I do there is some ambivalence. It's nice to know PG infertiles are still considered part of the community.

Nico

Yet another incredibly well put together post! I can totally believe Kath when she says that you are amazing in person.

I have continued to blog with reasonable frequency since becoming pg - I've always taken the attitude that if people aren't in a place where they want to read, they don't have to. I do try to be sensitive though - not posting belly pics front and center, for example.

I think I'll leave it at that - you (and all the commenters) have already said everything way better than I can.

Please do keep pontificating!

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