February 3, 2007 marks a turning point. It’s the day I decided to reach outside my head, to wear my heart on my sleeve, and to seek some answers. Minutes after publishing my very first Coming2Terms blog post on that stormy night six years ago my stomach turned queasy.
After years of suffering silently in the wake of infertility I decided it was time to venture out, to try to find women I could relate to and who, in turn, could relate to me. In surveying the nascent IF blogosphere in 2007, I quickly learned that turning away from the path to motherhood left me in a distinct minority:
There are lots of discussions out there involving those in the midst of infertility treatments, but I think there is much to be aired and shared about what happens when it’s clear that no amount of money, medicine or prayer is going to produce the impossible.
This is about coming to terms with what comes next…
Amid all the cyclesistas swapping tips about how to reduce bruising when jabbing a needle full of hormones through thick skin (been there, done that), grieving alpha pregnancies that never made it to beta (awful beyond imagination), I searched for those who were unloading baggage on the way to a life that didn’t involve parenthood.
There was no Loribeth, no MLO, no Emily, no Mali, no Klara, no Jody Day, nor LaBelette Rouge or Lisa Manterfield. (They had yet to enter the blogosphere.) It would be many months more before I had a chance to meet, in person, Christina, Dr. Wendy or Dr. Marni — all of the above well-versed in course corrections, all now treasured friends. There was just me and it was, I will admit, pretty darned lonely.
The years since penning my first blog post have delivered not only new friendships, but hard-won wisdom and some valuable lessons. It seemed only fitting that I share a few of them this week. So on the eve of my blogaversary, here’s lesson #1.
Virtual casseroles feed the soul
Finding my place in the blogosphere didn’t come easy at first. In fact, I still recall the first time I publicly declared, at a BlogHer meetup, just what exactly I blogged about. That awkward encounter is described here.
While I was hungry for understanding and camaraderie, my appetite and expectations were in for some fine tuning. Not all the virtual casseroles proved to my liking — at first.
Did I get snarky when I encountered infertility bloggers who went on to successful pregnancies serve up blog posts or comments:
- declaring, with certainty, how they would have found happiness if the unthinkable (no child) had happened to them?
- encouraging, as a way to move forward, a celebration or commemoration of the decision to stop treatment?
The simple answer: yes. The well-meaning ideas seemed, like salt in my raw wounds, disingenuous. While their intentions were good I had to allow time to develop my palate. Today, as I have sampled more of what life has to offer, I hold a different view. Support of any kind delivered with goodness, as well as attempts to understand this less-discussed path out of infertility does smooth the road for those coming behind us.
Sure, it’s easy to dismiss those who haven’t developed the same blisters or encountered the same prejudice we have on our road to reinvention, but I have a new appreciation, six years on, for those who want to include us, prickly as we might appear at first blush, in the wider circle of bloggers serving up comfort food and wanting to make the world a more compassionate place.
Also on tap this week:
- Tomorrow (my actual blogaversary — how appropriate is this?), I will join Loribeth and the fab gals behind the Bitter Infertiles podcasts to discuss what host Cristy aptly described as “a very misunderstood path of resolution from infertility and loss.”
- I will riff further on the Bio-Psycho-Social syndrome that Tracey Cleantis (aka LaBelette Rouge) referenced during her talk on a panel called Letting Go of Having Genetic Offspring — a panel that also included valuable insights from Lisa M.
Meanwhile, as always, I welcome your questions, comments and ideas.
21 thoughts on “What I Wish I’d Known Then: Virtual Casseroles Feed the Soul”
Congrats, Pamela! I remember how scary it was to publish my first post on failing to conceive. I was terrified too. And actually, I started blogging on LBR on 10/2007. But I didn’t blog about infertility until January. I’m so glad you dared to blog about this and I am so glad that our community of voices has grown.
I’m so sorry that it took so long for us to find each other but better late than never.
I look forward to your riff based on my comments at Fertility Planit. And I very much look forward to the podcast.
Again, happy blogaversary!!! Keep up all the good work. Your blog has made a difference in my life and the life of countless other women.
You always give me so much to think about, Tracey. I’m still mulling over your last two posts! Equally glad that our paths ultimately crossed. I look forward to our next meeting face to face. Soon, I hope!
Congrats on your Blogaversary! Thanks so much for the mention. Your blog (AND your book) have gotten me through some difficult days. I’m forever grateful for finding you and your blog.
We’ve shared and grown together, Emily.
Happy blogaversary, Pamela! The blogosphere is a better place because you broke your silence, and we are better people because you challenge us all to question our assumptions, to shake (again) the foundations of our beliefs about infertility, to step outside of our comfort zone. Thank you for being here.
Likewise, Justine. Your generosity of spirit makes the world a better place.
Happy blogoversary, Pamela! : ) I remember being so glad to find your blog; I think it was around the same time I started mine, later that year. Our little corner of the community sure has grown since then, hasn’t it? Thank you for being one of the trailblazers!
Looking forward to chatting with you & the Bitter Infertiles tomorrow. : )
Pretty soon, our little corner may need condos! My life is greatly enriched by the warm and wonderful role models who have come online since 2007.
“Virtual casserole bringers”: what a great term! I’m so glad you have shared your wisdom and experience so eloquently here. I really enjoyed your book too. I’ve learned so much about living childless/childfree from you and Loribeth and Mali and others. I look forward to the podcast very much…Thank you for being here and sharing your experience.
Your blog has made a huge difference in my life! I will be forever grateful for that. I am so happy that I came across your interview in New York Times – that’s when I started to read your blog.
I keep all of our wall calendars from the last 7 years years kept. So I checked where I was on the 2nd and 3rd of February 2007. We were in Oviedo, north of Spain, wisiting my friend. And getting positive energy and strenght after 3rd failed IVF. Sad to think that I had to go through another 7 failed IVF before I could embrace my childless life.
Meeting you & the love of your life really helped. With you I realized that there can be happily-ever-after.
Can’t tell you how me and my DH are looking forward to May & meeting you again!
lots of love from Europe!
Happy blogoversary. Here’s to another six years.
Happy Blogaversary Pamela! I will toast you tonight, as I will be out toasting another anniversary too. ;-)
I so wish I had found your blog in 2007. I had just started blogging, but was blogging for blogging’s sake, rather than focusing on my infertility/no kids state. I would have relished having a sister travelling the same road then – just as I am so pleased we all have each other now. You are our undoubted leader – such an experienced blogger, offering intelligent and thoughtful perspectives on life. We are so lucky to have you.
Happy blogaversary, Pam! You’ve added an important voice here. I remember running across you shortly after I began blogging and thinking how smart and cool you were (are :-) ).
And many more……
Happy Blogaversary – thank you for all you do and continue to do!
HAPPY blogaversary, Pamela! Your book and blog have helped me A LOT. Can’t wait to watch the podcast!!! :-D
Happy blogoversary! And thank you – I am so grateful I found your blog and this community
A very happy sixth blogoversary to you!
I am joining the chorus of those who are grateful that you broke your silence six years ago and for all that you have shared and continue to share helping those of us who have resolved our journeys through infertility and loss in different ways to try to understand your perspective.
In April I too will have been blogging for six years and that seems very surreal. I am proud of all of us who have stuck with blogging for as long as we have, as I think veteran voices are important for those who follow in our footsteps, whichever paths they are on related to ALI.
Congrats on this milestone! Cheers to you! :)
Thank you for being you in the blogosphere. And, thanks for the shout out. I’m sorry I’m late to the congratulations – been a bit preoccupied.
Yours is a voice that will always be needed in this corner of the world.
Congratulations Pamela on both your blogs since 2007. Your blog and book were the first I found and continue to be my favourite ones today. I could relate to your story and feelings a great deal. I always appreciate your intelligent, insightful and challenging posts. You have been a great comfort to me in dark times and you cannot know how much of a role you have played in my recovery. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and well done.