When I started blogging back in 2010, I, like most, was reaching into the void, attempting to send some communication that I was here. I felt extremely isolated at the time, after that second miscarriage, surrounded by those telling me it was for the “best” or even worse, those who were so disappointed they could not speak at all.
The Lost World
Like Jodie Foster in Contact, I longed to see what was out there. Where there others feeling as alone, as isolated as me? Did they want to communicate? Could some soul out there possibly feel some empathy for my infertility and loss? I was skeptical, but some part of me must have felt there WERE others.
And then my lonely sole signal was received by Mel, who shone a light back. Through Mel and her community, I discovered a blogosphere of writers talking about infertility. Some were in the beginning of their journeys, some would over the years attempt treatments and ART. Some would move onto adoption. Some would decided to live childless/childfree after infertility. Some were telling their stories from a distance, with a sense of time passed but never forgetfulness.
As a child I had often had fantasies of discovering a lost world, a type of world that would exist if I climbed the neon green hills higher and higher in the spring during hikes with my parents. I imagined that suddenly beyond a vista a mysterious land would appear and I would discover like-minded children: ones who would rather hide behind a book than chase after a soccer ball, a place where quiet would (mostly) prevail, but where my strange sense of humor, centered in the absurd, would lead to laughter not bewildered stares.
The infertility blogosphere ended up being that lost land in many ways. At first it seemed a mirage, an illusion: there couldn’t possibly be so many souls out there like myself. But there were.
Of course this new virtual world ended up to not be a utopia. There were rules, alliances, cliques even among the utopia. And for a while I got lost.
On my vacation I had time to consider what it is about blogging that is so important to me. Why I return to it again and again. Why, even though I’m “done” with infertility, I won’t cut the tie.
A Hogwarts of Sorts
It’s because, like Harry Potter when he finally received his letter, I discovered Hogwarts that iron gray day back in March of 2010. In the midst of pain and anger and sadness, somehow I was initiated into this magical world of those like me. I know that sounds bizarre. No one would wish for infertility and loss. I would not wish it upon anyone. Yet, there is a magical world of sorts here, invisible to the fertile, the muggles, if you will, bless them. Our meetings with others ARE magical, and I always enjoy reading about them from other bloggers. We have super powers of empathy and sympathy and we cheer each other on.
I once compared BlogHer to Hogwarts, but I wasn’t accurate. I met and connected with my fellow ALI bloggers there. THAT’S why it was Hogwarts.
It is not a perfect world. Hogwarts wasn’t either. We are human after all.
Yet, every time I connect to you all and read your stories and comment, I feel distinctly LESS alone, more accepted, more understood.
For Everyone Here, There are 1,000 Who Are Not
I spoke to a woman on vacation who had undergone IVF four times. I recognized the telltale signs of parenting after infertility: the fear, the gratitude, the guilt. I’ve connected to a number of women in real life who are going through/have gone through infertility and I try to offer them what I (hope) I offer you: empathy, sympathy. But mostly: the sense that they are not alone.
It’s a message that needs to be amplified.
Not everyone reads blogs. I often forget this, but it is true.
However, some of the best things in mainstream media about infertility, adoption and loss COME from bloggers. And this week is a good reminder of that.
This week, Lavender Luz had a soft launch of her wonderful and much-needed book about Open Adoption, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole. I urge you all to please consider buying this book. Making this awesome tome a must-have, must-read book, a bestseller, would be a huge boon to us all.
The RAD Kymberli penned an excellent and accurate article demystifying surrogacy for CNN. She was also in the latest Essence issue, included in a sympathetic and accurate round-up of infertility.
A Mission Statement of Sorts
In the end, this is what I believe comes from blogging: I believe that each one of us who blogs makes a difference. Each story has the potential to encourage one person to feel understood. I heard a report on NPR about the importance of telling stories, from a Middle East think tank who studied how individuals responded to issues. You’d think that the overall statistics, the logical dry arguments would be the more powerful methods but it turned out that wasn’t the case. The only way to change a person’s mind about a particular issue was to tell a story about an individual who was living in the midst on it: what happened to them.
I believe this is true for infertility too.
Do you agree that telling your story makes a difference? Why did you start to blog? Why do you blog now?