Thanksgiving gets all the attention and big league association with gratitude, but it’s the quiet, daily acknowledgement of thanks that actually serves us best.
That’s one reason I want you to know that not a day goes that I don’t give thanks for the friendship, insights and kindness of all those who have taken the time — over the past nearly eight years — to drop by and share here (and, previously at Coming2Terms).
In today’s noisy, fast-paced world of social media with ‘drop in and out’ online communities, 24/7 news feeds and in-the-moment shares, likes and RTs, blogging, well … it can feel so last century. Wouldn’t you agree? It’s harder and harder to find time to settle in and move through the blogroll. And, who hasn’t laboriously typed comments on smart phones or tablets only to have them disappear into the ether?
Many other long-time readers are in different places in their lives. I totally get it. (If you’re still out there and reading, no need for a long comment, feel free just to say, “hey.”)
My blogging frequency has also decreased as I’ve spent more and more time researching, writing and editing longer pieces for audiences outside the small walled garden of the ‘infertility blogosphere.’ Coming2Terms was once an isolated island for women exiting fertility treatment and embarking on a life that doesn’t involve parenting. I’m happy there is a new generation of blogs (full list in my blogroll — let me know if yours is missing) fostering supportive conversations as well as more communities and forums for women who are not mothers by chance or circumstance.
Makes me wonder how much shorter my own recovery time would have been had these resources been there a decade ago.
Social Awareness Moving To a Bigger Stage
Broader interest in fertility treatment myths and misconceptions and in women who have faced trauma, recovery and reinvention in the wake of failed fertility treatments is moving out of a niche audience and onto a larger stage. And with that movement is more interest — often from unexpected places. This past week a Princeton student reporter interviewed me for a health and policy article. There is great satisfaction in connecting with a new generation of young women. We talked about the hard knocks and life lessons that came with being part of Generation IVF and what it was like to ‘gut it out’ as a non-mom in society that glorifies motherhood.
My new passion lies in addressing the audience of 21-34 year-olds. Recent conversations demonstrate that they are uniquely suited to hear and contemplate (without motherhood-infused bias) the societal shift from the Women’s Movement to the Cult of Motherhood and all it entails. They are curious about the growth of the Fertility Industrial Complex and the co-dependency that exists today for women locked in a sense that they will be ‘less than’ if they don’t achieve successful pregnancy and motherhood. Fertility, as many of us have learned the hard way, is fickle and not always ‘fix-able.’
The message that we each possess great value and are ‘whole’ regardless of whether we are married or single, parents or not parents, that’s an important truth — particularly for girls and young women — to hear early and often.
When I look back and recall the days of feeling lost, angry — downright misunderstood — there was great comfort in knowing I had a place where I could go to be heard and validated. I appreciate all Silent Sorority blog and book readers in ways that are hard to express. I know I would not be the fully formed ‘whole’ person I am today without a patient and forgiving community. You gave me room to grow and the capacity to stimulate positive change.
And in the vein of how we’ve each helped each other here over the years, below are a few links to some best discussions tagged with lessons:
We Don’t Heal From Suffering We’re Changed By It
Casting Off the Chains of Infertility
You Sanity Matters Much More Than You Think
We Have to Believe It To See It
Feel free to link to your favorite posts.
For those still struggling to get your footing and looking for more tips and inspiration, check out the Life Without Baby Holiday Companion.
19 thoughts on “Silent Sorority Gratitude and a Look Ahead to a New Generation”
Blogging does feel very last century, but at the same time it is a platform that allows for anonymity (if desired) and much more elaboration on complicated things than a platform such as Facebook and Twitter. That being said, I find blogging…hard. I LOVE the reading part but writing is hard. Part of that is because writing doesn’t come easy for me and I’m not particularly good at it, but the other part of it is that I’m not good at examining complex emotions. All that said, I’m impressed by (and extremely grateful for) those of you who have blogged for years. The act of writing for so long on one or two blogs is impressive, but the timeless relevance of the posts is definitely a lasting legacy.
Ironically I fall into the age range of your new target audience, but I feel different (older?) if that makes sense. But oh how I wish that you, someone would have been around a decade ago preaching a message of empowerment and being the best woman that I can be, regardless of my ability to reproduce. As someone who has daily contact with young women in the 18-25 age range, I can tell you that your voice is very much needed, and I’m glad that you are rising to the occasion.
Your comment truly warms my heart, Kinsey. Thank you. You are a beautiful writer. It also means a great deal that a new generation is paying attention and is invested and interested in what many of us have shared in the past and continue to share. It’s not surprising with all the latest social media tracking, distractions and the “out there” nature of the subject matter that there has been a dropoff in the blogosphere. All that said it’s good to know that, while old school, blogging still delivers value. xo
Hi Pam- Have been checking into SS and C2T over the past several months since I discovered that there are women actually writing prolifically and honestly about my “secret shame”. It’s funny to put it that way, but I know you’re all too familiar with the delusional, painful psychological trappings of IF.
I’m still hurting on a daily basis, to be honest. It’s enormously daunting that the biological drive to reproduce seems to outlast the physical capacity to actually do so, for me. Actually, I’m 25 years old and I don’t have a menstrual cycle- and the unexpected, early loss of my fertility has been traumatic. Today I’m functional, relatively emotionally stable, participating in society, and undaunted. But there are still days when I can’t move, have reached a stalemate with God, and am utterly desperate in my pleading for reincarnation into a body that actually works.
Thank you for being here in such grace and camaraderie. This ended up being slightly more than a ‘hey’- just to let you know that your words are much appreciated.
Struck by your comment and the description of what you face. I wish I had a magic formula to take away the shock, hurt and pain in the ‘secret shame’ you describe, or for the processing of the trauma. Even on the worst days, please know that you’re not alone. we understand. xo
Thank you for continuing to be a clear, intelligent voice for our community. We’re still out here, keeping an eye on you. ;-)
So glad to be in league, Lisa, with women who exhibit such grace and nurturing spirit. Look forward to catching up in person soon! xo
It’s so strange to me that blogging is considered so outdated. In a world where Twitter, Instagram and Facebook rule supreme, it’s nice to actually see someone put together their thoughts in more than a few sentences.
All that said, I agree that there’s a new generation that is pushing back against the motherhood cult. And it’s nice to see this as I truly believe that this cult is damaging everyone involved, be they parenting or not. Frankly, my hope is that as time goes on and we are able to talk more openly not just about infertility and miscarriage, but also the truths of fertility treatments, adoption and the different paths to resolution, more and more women will be able to make informed choices about reproduction and how to resolve infertility/loss. And I think with role models such as you, Pamela, they have a good roadmap for the journey ahead.
Will always count our podcast interview, Cristy, along with Loribeth and Mo to be among the highlights. The conversation and ideas exchanged led to some breakthroughs and new understanding. Honored to be in the company of such genuine, thoughtful women. xo
I couldn’t agree more that it’s a noisy world online but I always love reading yours because you are one of the most eloquent and insightful commentators on this subject that I’ve discovered. So thank you and bless you! Jessica x
Sending the love right back to you, Jessica. Felt the kindred spirit connection within the first pages of your book. So proud of your honest and well spoken media engagements. You bring great credibility and perspective in your writing and public speaking. xo
Hi there Pamela,
I’m still here and always read your blog posts. I don’t comment much anymore but still like to keep in touch with what you are up to. Your blog and your book were truly saviours for me and were a light in the dark for a few years there. I do not think I would have come through as well as I have done without you. So, yes I’m still here and reading and living my life and I am very grateful.
So nice to know you’re reading, Charlotte!! I remember after our first communication how much I wanted to tele-transport myself to give you a big, long hug. xo
“And, who hasn’t laboriously typed comments on smart phones or tablets only to have them disappear into the ether?” Yes!!!
I read your blog with some trepidation, fearful that you were about to announce your departure from the blogging world. I am so glad to find that you haven’t.
I also love that you have a new focus on the younger generation of women. I am so glad you are doing this – it is the age group of my nieces, and I sometimes despair that they will be persecuted by the Cult of Motherhood, as at least one may have difficulties conceiving, and another may not find that is her path in life. They need voices like yours, and I very much appreciate your voice and ability to translate so articulately what is happening in society in personal and policy terms. Whilst I tend to focus on the personal, emotional side, I have a background in public policy, and very much appreciate those who work in this area.
So I am thankful for you – I think you were one of the first no kidding bloggers I read, and look at me now! I hope one day to be thankful with you, on our deck, with a glass of NZ sauvignon blanc or syrah, serenaded by tui in the trees.
I’ve considered more than a few times in recent years moving away from the blogosphere, but the ability to stay connected and explore such wide-ranging issues and emotions keeps me coming back.
So thankful, Mali, for your perspective and discussion of ideas.
I eagerly await the opportunity to meet you in person in New Zealand — and to fulfill the slogan you and Klara coined: “become an infertility blogger and see the world!”
My passport has stamps from Slovenia, Australia, Rhode Island, Switzerland, New York City, Boston, Santa Barbara, and many places around the Bay area … not to mention great online conversations that touch several continents.
Together we are constructing a beautiful tapestry of voices …
Right back atcha, Pamela! Thinking of you with warm gratitude this week. For all you’ve done, and for all you continue to do.
Thanks, Sarah! Great to get to know you better through your writing this year! Appreciate your courage and honesty. ox
After all this time (I believe I discovered your blog, and started my own, in 2009), I am STILL in that age cohort you describe – though not for long. And I now consider myself to have “come out the other side,” after suffering through seven years of failed fertility treatments, and now facing early menopause at 32 (it’s bittersweet – there’s so much more relief there than I would have expected), having healed from a lot of the anger and hurt, and starting to rebuild a view of my future with a truly hopeful and joyful outlook. You are so right that it is not a matter of “getting better” but embracing how this has changed me. It is a journey, for certain, but I am grateful to be on it, and grateful indeed for inspiring companions to share it with. Glad you’re still here.
Ah! You are wise beyond your years. So glad to hear that you’re on the rebuilding path. Look forward to hearing more …
Always glad to see a new post from you, Pamela. :) You continue to educate and inspire all of us, no matter what stage of the journey we’re at! Your voice is (still) much needed — long may you write! ;)