This Is Your Life: Reading Your Blog In Full

I’m doing some housecleaning over here, and as a result, I have re-read every post I have written, up until July 2011.

One word comes to mind: Angst.

It’s not that there weren’t real challenges that I faced: there were. But this blog mostly unfolds (so far) like a painful year-long infertility and loss hangover.

I know that I delayed grieving and dealing with my losses and treatments until 2010, three years after the twins were born, and right after my second miscarriage. But why did the confrontation with grief have to be so long and pronounced and confidence-killing?

Reading my blog made me realize that I have pretty low self-esteem. Nothing I do seems to be good enough for me, while I’m constantly building up other people. In a way, this blog is the exact opposite of my overly-confident, pretentious European travel journal from my early 20s. Why did I think I knew everything then and why do I think I know nothing now, in my late 30s?

The only time I seem remotely self-confident here is when I am railing about the way the Adoption/Loss/Infertility community is treated. Then I sit atop my high horse, guns a blazin’. There is an undercurrent of anger in my writing that is surprising.

No matter how you resolve your infertility, there seems to be a reckoning period.


The Smartness wrote a series of posts about Emotional Infertility that I really connected with. At the heart of the series were these statements:

“Mental infertility is a continuum of emotions. Your position will fluctuate depending on where you are in your current journey and how you are coping with that place.”

I finally think I’m blindly heading out of the fog of my grief. I will never not be infertile. But day by day, I really hope that infertility can and will release its hold on me. In Mexico, I felt an ebbing of its power. I keep hoping it will fade, into something I can look at from a distance, like Guernica. I can behold the power and terror it smothered me with and I should never, ever forget its devastation, but perhaps I can become at peace with it and spend more time in the present, with those I love. Guernica can remain in the museum of my heart, another exhibit (along with my wedding, the twins births, my travels) that I can revisit when I need to. But I don’t need to stand in front of it 24/7 anymore.

It was moving and beautiful to read the comments readers left. So many “I get this” statements, gentle reassurances, sometimes some kick-in-the-asses. (Sorely needed, no pun intended.) Somehow, though, I had missed reading one comment when it had originally come in, from May, at Problem Uterus. Maybe I hadn’t been ready to accept it, maybe I just didn’t comprehend what she was saying. But I think I am ready to, now.

For me, the key to letting go of the past was to fill my life with things that make me happy, in addition to my children. My friends, my book club, my part time teaching job, spending time getting to know my neighbors and become part of the neighborhood, volunteering at my daughter’s kindergarten…I am a people person, and I surrounded myself with fun people in real life, as well as the blogosphere. Now my horrible stories are more of a Murphy’s Law Funny Anecdote than a The-World-Is-Out-to-Get-Me kind of thing. It took years, though. So I guess time was a big factor as well.

There is a post I think of often, by Lori. It’s a story of many women of many ages gathering in a meadow. One is starkly different than the others:

A very sad woman enters our circle. She’s in her 30s and she’s been crying, crying, crying. The losses she has endured have sucked the very life out of her. She has beautiful, glorious child-bearing hips, which are going to waste. Her dreams have evaporated. She feels alone (although, still well-loved) and without hope. We instinctively move toward her, trying to sense if she will allow us to comfort her. I barely recognize this woman — the toll has been so drastic. Can’t she see that this chapter, like all the others before, will end? Her hands hold only tissues full of tears.

Gradually as the story concludes, we realize that the women are different versions of herself, at different times of her life.

These are my Selves. They have come to honor the fact that I have been on the planet for another turn around the sun. They bring me their tokens and dreams and insights. I envelope them and am enveloped by them. One by one, I welcome each into my heart, accepting the gifts they have brought. I acknowledge the gift she is, she is, she is, she is, she is, she is.

I am.

I am. I think it’s finally time for the sad woman to be surrounded by the others, comforted.

And that’s what I’ve learned today.

What would you discover, if you were to go back and read your blog in its entirety?



Filed under Discovering joy, Family, writing

17 responses to “This Is Your Life: Reading Your Blog In Full

  1. Tears fill my eyes after reading this. What a beautiful post. What a treasure of insight. Hugs to you! ❤

  2. “why did the confrontation with grief have to be so long and pronounced and confidence-killing?”

    Not being funny, but aint that the nature of grief?

    Loved that story from Lori, thanks for linking to it. Loved the Smartness’ posts too, new follower there recently as well. I kinda know, on the intellectual level, about the continuum, but still beat myself up when I find I’m at the ‘less desired’ end of it

    If I read my blog in its entirety, I think I would come to a similar conclusion as you: Angst! Also I do wonder my proclivity to detail my inner reproductive workings and tendency to bleed, so anonymously and yet so thoroughly. I took it offline for a while as I just hated how whiny it all was, and I didn’t like who it feels like I am becoming/have become (take your pick) from what I write about/focus on.
    But with awareness comes choice, I guess, and its better out than in!

  3. Made me cry too. You have a beautiful soul.

  4. What a powerful post with a message I really need to hear right now. If I looked back at my blog I would be struck by how, at the time, every struggle seemed almost insurmountable and I couldn’t imagine being past it. But now those struggles are distant memories, at least most of the small, specific ones are. And some, that seemed so horrible at the time, I hardly remember without reading about them. And that is an important reminder, that in time even the problems I’m having now will be resolved and will release their hold on me. Reading my blog also reminds me that the things I really want don’t always bring me the happiness I assume they will. Also an important reminder.

    Sorry if there are typos, relegated to my phone right now.

  5. Hmm, very interesting, I guess everyone deals differently with these things although much of it seems to be a ‘me too’ sentiment more or less. We would of course be better off leaving the grief behind, everything has its time but I think like you write that it will forever change who you/we are, that we will always remember. Can we really expect to be back to our care-free selves that were present in our 20s? I’m not sure, so much have changed since then.
    If I would read my blog and describe it with one word it would be fear, and it doesn’t go away too easily, even if I want to.

  6. Maybe I should ask you, since you also just read through MY entire blog for the Faces of ALI feature, lol. ; ) (And I can’t believe you did that!) My blog was started well after I went through stillbirth & infertility — but I like to think I would still see evidence of growth & progress.

    What would probably be interesting would be to go back & read my posts to my pg loss e-mail list, which I joined shortly after losing Katie & gradually drifted away from after we decided to stop treatment. I still have most of them, although they are not in order any more, for some weird reason (??). Or my childhood diaries, which are all in a box, somewhere in the depths of a closet at my parents’ house. Now THOSE would be a hoot. (Cringe inducing, actually…!)

  7. This is a really wonderful post. Thank you.

    I’ve gone back and re-read many posts, but I don’t think enough time has passed for me to see them from afar. Yes, I can acknowledge some of the things I’ve learned, but I’m not sure I have any great insights yet. It makes your writing all the more helpful and important…

  8. I adore the analogy to Guernica. Yes, YES, that.

    And I’m humbled that my Meadow post meant something to you. It was so powerful to me, experiencing that Wholeness. Thank you for sharing.

    The funny thing is, I’ve been reading along with you for awhile now, and I would have said that you have healthy self-esteem and that you have appropriate anger aimed at the injustices you see. More than that, you back up your emotions with ACTION, with raising awareness.

    I went back to the post on which May commented. She is so wise.

    I’ve been learning (what a freaking long process) that many of us see ourselves at the object of the Universe, or God, or whatever. Things happen to us, things are done to us. We are small and powerless and dependent on the whims of said Universe/God/whatever.

    What some have come to understand is that we are the subject. We are the creators of our lives. But when we create unconsciously, from a place of smallness, shame and disconnection, we appear as the object. And when we create consciously, from our connection to Source, we are able to create what we WANT rather than what we FEAR. And creating is done in a way that serves not just us, but the Whole that we are connected with.

    The thing is, you don’t just get this and — poof! — become an enlightened creator. You only “get it” one moment at a time, and you have to keep getting it and living it.

    Anyway, you made my day by including my post.

    By the way, where was that photo taken?

    • Thanks Lori. I really like what you say here about being the creator and not the object…where are you learning about this?

      I believe the photo was taken in Estonia? Darcy is a prolific photographer and has traveled everywhere! I’m lucky he lets me use his huge library of images 🙂

      • It’s in a class I’m taking this year. I’m wishing we lived closed enough so that we could talk about it over a glass of wine. Or two 🙂

        Love the pic. Looks like one my husband took in a different city. Makes me wistful for those traveling days!

  9. This is so lovely, jj. I’ve often wondered if you realize just how amazing you are. I hope that if you don’t believe it fully yet, you can come to embrace that truth.

    I appreciate the link to Lori’s post, too. I wonder who those other women are, in my own meadow.

    I think if I read my blog from beginning to end there’s an undercurrent of searching, being lost … maybe wishing someone would find me so I didn’t have to find myself. I just realized that, reading your post. Not sure what to do with that information now, though … hm …

  10. I love this post.

    I don’t know that I’ve been blogging long enough to have a theme emerge, other than whining! Maybe one day I’ll go back and re-read the whole thing. I haven’t read all of yours, either, but you don’t sound angsty at all to me. And I love love love the Faces of ALI posts!

  11. Beautiful post!!!! I think that you are incredibly brave to read through your entire blog. Actually, I think that you are incredibly brave period. Although I haven’t even been blogging long, I wouldn’t want to read through the entire thing. Blogging, to me, feels a bit like having naked photographs taken of myself. It feels liberating to let it all out in the moment but I can’t go back and look at the images without feeling overexposed (not to mention noticing all of the unsightly flaws).

    Like you, I also delayed grieving for quite some time. Like you, I see myself slowly inching toward a place where I can look at it from a safe distance.

  12. such a gorgeous post, J. really beautiful.
    I’ve always loved that post of lori’s, it’s one of my favorites. and I love her comment too. *she* is a wise one. I agree though, your anger seems well directed at injustice and infused with action, which is a very healthy form of anger, I think.

    I’ve only re-read certain posts of mine, but couldn’t go back and read the whole thing (since 2007 and once upon a time I was a more prolific writer). also my blog is interesting because it chronicles the evolution of my family building, though it started in the middle (ie, after a few years of infertility and loss, before our children came to us). if anything, those early days represent despair and anguish, which later turned to hope as we pursued adoption, then it turned into something surprisingly different altogether. maybe the one right word is that: evolution.

  13. “Why did I think I knew everything then and why do I think I know nothing now, in my late 30s?”

    Someone mart said: the more I know, the more I understand how much I DON’T KNOW

    so there you go 🙂

  14. “Reading my blog made me realize that I have pretty low self-esteem. Nothing I do seems to be good enough for me, while I’m constantly building up other people.”

    I can relate to this statement, but I also echo Lori and the others in that not being my impression of you. I also agree that you seem to be an action oriented person, when it comes to issues/causes that you really believe in and I admire that about you.

    I had the “opportunity” to re-read my entire blog around this time last year after I “came out” and some loved ones discovered it (not that it was a secret really) and weren’t too happy about some of what I had shared over the years (that involved them). I had the best of intentions when I wrote it, but never foresaw at the time where I would go with blogging and who might be reading my words some day. A very hard lesson learned.

    In the end I edited a number of posts to make the references to loved ones and my experiences with and related to them more general. This “exercise” was an awesome chance to see how far I have come since I began blogging in April 2007. It was painful and inspiring for me to read all I have written about my journey through secondary infertility and loss.

    Anyway, since I get emails with your posts now I often read them in my inbox and then forget to click over and comment. So I read this soon after you posted and have been meaning to get here to share my thoughts and I am glad that I finally did. A very thought provoking post!

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