Why Blog?

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?

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Why Blog?

  1. Good question, I feel like I answer this a lot (probably don’t at all) in various thinly-veiled guises and would love to draw all my answers together over time and see what changes.

    Does it make a difference? Externally, probably not. Internally, yes. I believe everyone should tell their story (if they feel so inclined, no pressure, and no expectation with whether they are telling it to someone or keeping it private, just the act of ‘telling’ is important) and I find it useful to frame and reframe certain things/topics/situations.
    I initially started to blog because I think I wanted to reach out on some level after miscarrying, and because I was sick of being in my own head. I’ve always journalled, stream of consciousness, private and embarrassing collections of words that serve no other purpose other than getting the mindspew out of my head and somewhere else.
    I’ve always enjoyed the act of writing, and wanted to practice how I wrote – quite simply. When I started blogging there was no one concrete reason I could hold on to for starting, other than it seemed exciting to follow the blogs of others, and I wanted to be part of this too.
    Why do I blog now? Well, I don’t, that much, anymore – once a week is doing well for me. I don’t feel like I want to report blow-by-blow on this pregnancy, (while still wanting *some* account of the gestation there), my life is pretty mundane and doesn’t feel like there’s much to write about, and the stuff I DO want to hash out, I don’t feel I can or should write about on the internet (other people!). I guess I don’t really have that much to say when I’m not crisising . . .

  2. Is it wrong to say I primarily blog for myself? Because that is the primary reason. I feel clogged when I haven’t written in awhile. Writing is a way to help me work out my feelings. Get them down on paper and out of me.

    But why broadcast it? Why share it with others? I could keep all my “posts” in a secret file for no one to see. On the one hand, I like getting feedback on what I’m going through and feeling the support of a community. On the other, I do think my story, my unique journey, might help others out there, and I get notes all the time about how some particular aspect of my story has helped someone else. That does bolster me and make me want to continue on when the going gets rough.

    So while in part I blog for myself, I also agree that there’s value in telling your story, and that for every story told, there are so many others that are not.

  3. Your analogy of The Lost World is spot on for me, too. Sending out a signal and finding people with whom you resonate, omg it gives such a feeling of validation and fullness.

    Thanks for the shout out about my book. It should be available by this time next week. Finally!

    YES! Telling our stories makes a difference. I suffered IF in the days before ALI; I found this land only afterward. I can only wonder how much more navigable it would have been for me had I known others’ stories and outcomes.

    I still love the stories — IF and non-IF. My Reader (sigh…) is full of good storytellers….

    I blog to process, to be more mindful (if I’m to share something, I really have to pay attention!), to connect with others, and to keep up with friends.

  4. The reasons I blog change almost daily. Sometimes I blog because I need to write, and writing in a public space makes me feel accountable. When I started blogging, it was because I wanted to connect, to see if other people could help me process my story and come out making more sense of it than I did before. Sometimes I blog as practice, like sketching. And more now than before, I blog because I feel like I’m part of a conversation, and I miss my fellow bloggers if I’m not here, too. In that, it’s what you describe above: I want to feel like my story matters, even if my story is not so overtly about infertility any more.

  5. Mel

    I love the idea of a mission statement for a blog (or simply stepping back for a moment and reminding yourself why you do something). I blog for the community, for the connection, for the exchange of information (which I could get even if I didn’t write). So I guess I really blog to make sense of my thoughts (though I could also do that offline). I need to mull this over more 🙂

  6. You’re right, not everyone who has experienced infertility, loss & adoption blogs, and even among those bloggers, not everyone takes part in the community we’ve built around Stirrup Queens. I can remember when dh & I facilitated our support group, being amazed by how little some of our clients knew about some of these things, even when they were directly affected. So much misinformation and myth out there. :p I’ve always (& especially since the Internet) tended to research the hell out of everything that captures my attention & imagination — like right now, I’m Googling and YouTubing Mount Everest & George Mallory like crazy, after reading a book about it (reviewed on my blog). It’s hard to remember sometimes that not everybody is like me.

    I agree that telling my story makes a difference… I’m not sure how much of a difference it makes to others — but it does make a difference to ME — it’s cathartic to write about my experiences and feelings, and to connect with others in a similar situation. .

  7. “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.”

    So true. I read your post at the time you first shared it and am glad to return today and comment. Being such an important time in our nation’s history when it comes to marriage equality/civil rights this week, your quote here resonates with me beyond its natural connection to my experience with secondary infertility and loss.

    As I shared in my post today about how I came to change my mind about marriage equality, it is exactly because old friends of mine shared openly about their lives, love and families on Facebook, among other things that I was exposed to, that I was able to see marriage for gays and lesbians as a civil right and not something that should be reserved and only legal for same-sex couples.

    I whole-heartedly agree that telling our stories/my story makes a difference.

    I began blogging to share my story and experience with doing IVF. I invited a select group of family and friends, who I knew supported our decision to try this path in effort to expand our family, after years of struggling with SIF and loss. As you know, it evolved from there when our fourth ART cycles grew to be our daughter Molly who had a rare, severe and fatal combination of congenital heart defects.

    Six years later I blog for the love of writing, to process my life and parenting after SIF and loss, to connect with others whose lives haven’t gone as they hoped, dreamed and/or planned (whether due to IF, loss, illness and/or other circumstances) and I hope, as you shared, that by doing so I am able to help others, as a wounded healer, to cope and find joy, one day, one hour and one step at a time.

  8. We think we’re such rational, logical creatures who make decisions on the basis of facts when truly, we are messy and illogical and are swayed by emotion. In that case, it makes perfect sense that a story would be the best way to change a person’s mind. But then again, maybe stories provide that human face. It’s a lot more difficult to refuse an argument when there is a human face attached to it or our empathy is piqued. It’s the power of storytelling that makes me believe blogging is so powerful. Instead of reaching only a few people, we can reach many with our stories. Who knows what minds we are changing every day.

    I started to blog as an outlet for my IF despair, and now I blog to quiet my brain and to feel connected.

  9. I think I felt so misunderstood and when I read blogs, I started to feel like I really wasn’t going crazy in the fertile world. I felt validated and continued to feel that way when I started to write my blog. It gave me a voice and then it became a platform where I could reach out to others to provide that same connection that I felt. I really did want to encourage others to know that what they were feeling was real and that there were people who understood. I thought about quitting – maybe I could channel my time into other things – and then I come back.

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