BlogHer Video: When The Road to Motherhood Is Anything But Smooth

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Join Pamela Tsigdinos, Lori from Weebles Wobblog, Monica Mingo, and Melissa from Stirrup Queens for a frank discussion about what it’s like to realize you are not on the fast track to motherhood. These women are in different stages of dealing with infertility issues, but there is one common thread. They all want or wanted to become a mom, and have found roadblocks and detours obscuring what seems to be so easy for others. Is infertility one of the last things that nobody wants to talk about? Not in this blogging community.

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It’s here.  It’s finally here!

I’ve been waiting for the video file to be made available following our panel concerning infertility at the BlogHer conference July 19.  (You might note the irony of the baby fussing in the background the minute I start to talk.)

The intent of the session, being part of the “MommyBlogging Track,” was to build a bridge to the Mommy Blogging community and open up a dialogue about the diffiiculties that women who can’t conceive easily (if at all, as in my case) face, often unexpectedly, in their daily life. I hoped we might shed some light on what it means to be misunderstood at best or marginalized at worst by those who conceive without ever having to consult a reproductive endocrinologist.

You can read other comments about the session (also available to view) on Lori and Bella Vida‘s blogs.

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Always one to expand on a good idea, Mel has followed up on the notion of bridge building and initiated work on a new site called simply Bridges to share information and enable online conversations about a range of topics that can be hard to discuss or understand from infertility to cancer to addiction.

In Mel’s words: “There are a lot of sites that are built to both build community and share support and resources intercommunity. Yet I couldn’t find any that were bridges for the outsider: those who knew someone affected and wanted to understand yet didn’t know a way in or those who had gained empathy from their own experience and wanted to better understand someone else.”

Since I’m passionate about reducing the stigma that shrouds infertility and the difficulties associated with living in the wake of unsuccessful infertility treatments, I’m going to be a contributing editor for the Living Childfree After Infertility portion of the site (Loribeth is, too).  If you are writing about this topic and would like to have your blog added to the site’s Blogroll please let us know. For those readers who don’t have blogs but have interest in this subject, I’d also welcome thoughts associated with this topic you’d like researched or developed further.

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Finally, I’d like to thank Dr. Bad Ass for choosing my blog to receive an award. This from a college professor no less! I’m going to give some thought now to others I’d like to recognize in turn.

brillante_blog_award

22 comments

  • Thank you so much for posting this video. I wish I could have been there with you.

  • Thank you for sharing this. I was really moved by so many of ladies–especially you. Brilliant job 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing this video and posts from previous days. It means so much. I only wish I had this type of support when I was dealing with my infertility and struggling with my loss due to infertility. I have been writing my story the past three days on my blog. I hope my story will be help at least one other woman feel not so alone. Friday, I’ll be the final chapter thus far in my journey to motherhood. Please stop by and check it out if you like. Thank you again for sharing. NEVER GIVE UP!!! ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

  • Just finished watching. Thanks SO much for posting this!! It didn’t seem like more than an hour, & I wish it could have been longer. (Hey… you guys really ARE real! lol)

  • Just finished watching the discussion video and I found it extremely interesting and informative. I wish I had this type of community when I was going through my journey. Thanks!

  • Pam, just about 30 minutes into the video and I have to go out, but I just wanted to say thank you for interjecting about the baby shower and being too sensitive thing. If I had been there, I would have said something as well. Infertility may only be a small part of someone’s life, but it’s also a very important part of their life. And I DEFY ANYONE that is going through their 2 week wait or after a BFN to sit through a shower graciously while women constantly ask you when you’re going to have a baby or the night they got drunk and got knocked up. Being a best friend works both ways and if your friend can understand why you can’t be there, then that’s all that matters. Cause as a friend, you’ll still be there when it counts and not have to sit through a torture session just to prove how strong you are.

  • I still have a hard time listening to the fussy baby when you begin to speak about the difficulty of living child free, but the baby shower discussion is even harder. still, thanks for posting this!

  • Thank you for posting this video. At the beginning, when Melissa was listing all the different types of people even within each major category comprising the ALI community, I was struck by the fact that I don’t quite know where I fit in. I know I don’t have children. I know I’ve never conceived, in spite of a two-years-long relationship in which we weren’t actively preventing pregnancy for more than a year of it. I was told since early childhood that pregnancy would be very dangerous for me, so I “should not” have children. I have friends who were told they couldn’t or shouldn’t for the same reason, and they have children. I am pretty sure it can be done.

    And I wanted to try, anyway. I think that if I can keep my weight up (a lifelong struggle), that I would be fertile. That was a theory I was just ready to start testing when my boyfriend decided to end our relationship because he wants kids and he wasn’t sure if he loved me enough to “go through all that” with me. No amount of talking about it would get through to him, so I had to ask him if he loved me. He said he did, and I said “not enough”. He said, “I guess not.”

    A week after The Breakup, I was at my doctor’s office for a checkup and broke down in tears all over again when I stepped on the scale to discover I’d finally gotten up to my target weight of 95 pounds for the first time in my life. Too late.

    None of that really has anything to do with the panel discussion. So I’ll get back on topic… I appreciate the courage it took for the four of you to get up there and talk so openly about your experiences. I also appreciate the women (and man!) who attended this session and shared so openly. I wish I’d been there, but I have a feeling I would’ve been crying throughout most of it, so I would’ve missed a lot. Maybe it’s best that I watched this way.

    So thank you.

    • Pamela Jeanne

      I just know that there are those who know the pain of wanting very much to conceive — something that most of the world takes for granted as easy and possible — but can’t. The reasons we can’t or don’t conceive vary dramatically but in the end, regardless of the outcome, we carry with us a lasting emotional scar.

  • It’s so odd to observe us.

    Watching reaffirms that you did exactly the right and needed thing in making this panel happen.

  • I wished you had spoken more. You are so interesting, intelligent and intuitive. I always kept the bridge of communication open. Even when I received the calls from friends telling me they were pregnant. They deserved to be happy and I felt I owed them that right. However I also controlled who I told my story to and how much I was willing to tell. I didn’t build a bridge with everyone. The Catholic part of the conversation was hard for me to deal with. Yes I’m catholic and there is so much guilt placed on us from the catholic church. However in my quest for motherhood, the catholic church wasn’t going to tell me what I could and couldn’t do. Thanks for listening!

  • Thank you for posting this. Just watched the whole thing. Such a rich and multi-dimensional conversation. I am really sorry it wasn’t more widely attended.

  • Jenniferk

    The next best thing to being there!
    You represented us beautifully! And don’t worry about the attendance – it’s only the first step. Like you, I feel we’re at the beginning of a wave that will eventually break the taboo – and this event will be part of that. You should be very proud.

  • Dana

    I still can’t bring myself to watch the video. It was too emotional the first time. But I’m so glad I was able to attend the panel and learn so much from you and the other panelists, as well as the audience.

  • Wow PJ

    Like the others have said, Thank you so much for putting this up. I was also surprised that the session wasn’t packed!

    It was fascinating to watch and see an amazing number of different women come together and wrestle something out. I applaud the efforts at building bridges and could see, even in the conversation, the push and pull of individuals wanting to claim the audience as theirs “us” (with the unspoken assumption of “them”) as well as people trying to genuinely listen and understand difference and give it respect.

    I applauded you in my heart for the generous way you counterbalanced the comment on baby showers. Being a person that says “no” often and regularly to such events (my sisters included), i reacted strongly to the definition of “us” as being drama queens. I was so impressed by your courage and warmness.

    I am also thinking too about your comments on invisibility. I think PJ you are at the front of the wave. In your advocacy for people with infertility, and now for people who do not have kids. I can understand that the feeling may have been reinforced by the session – I mean the title of it even was “When the road to motherhood” assuming that that is the end. Which it isn’t for you. And it was clear amongst the audience (as in our blogging community) that “motherhood” is where it’s at – which seems obvious when your community is built on trying to parent – but I can see that it is alienating when you have reached a point where you have chosen a different road.

    So you are at the front of the wave of women making known that space where “motherhood” is not where it is at. I empathise that being at the front of a community breaking new ground is tiresome and by and large thankless work. I have worked for years and years in disability and seen parents do this work for 30 years to make this world a better place for their kids with disability. And it is a similar job you are doing – only you are doing it for people you don’t know, and may never know. As well as for yourself.

    I want to encourage you in that. (I can’t think of how to offer support in a way that sounds stronger than “encourage”). But I believe the world does need you.

    Stay strong.

    And much love
    Barbs

    • Pamela Jeanne

      Barbs,
      Your comment touched me deeply.  I often feel that I’m pushing a rock up hill. Given that motherhood is the place so many people fighting infertility perceive as the end point, arriving where I did sometimes feels like a very lonely place.  It’s reassuring to know that you and others can see that there is more than one place to arrive. Just knowing that I might be in a position to help one (and hopefully many more) women know that it’s okay to be someone other than a mother on this planet and still have value and still contribute in a nurturing way means more than you know.

      p.s.  Thank you for pointing out the irony of the session title. It wasn’t lost on me either.

  • HeidiM

    It was so great to be able to see what you all did at BlogHer, thank you so much for sharing.

    I like how you said, “we want to talk about it” in the beginning. So true.

    I like how Lori said, “honor people where they are.” Good advice.

    I like how Mel said, “you can’t talk somebody else out of what they feel in their heart.”

    I was disappointed to hear the lady who felt distanced from infertility blogs because she experienced hostility towards mothers who conceived naturally. I mean, it’s great she was honest, but disappointing to hear that a perception of hostility is keeping people from joining in our conversations.

    You are incredibly articulate, I could have listened to you talk much longer!

    • Hi – I’m the one who said I felt distanced – it’s not a general distance from the community, which I still feel a part of, even though I’m “on the other side”, but rather I felt that some women let themselves become hostile toward women who had conceived naturally, as if it were inexcusable. I read blog posts that were filled with so much anger that I couldn’t continue to read those blogs. I don’t think I really got my message across well – my point was that it’s not fair to automatically assume that a woman who conceived on the first try is insensitive or doesn’t understand how horribly painful infertility is.

  • Watching this made me cry all over again… All of you were great. I think the session was really important.

  • I enjoyed watching you at the panel, and I wish we’d had a chance to speak more.

    Just wanted to let you know that the mother of the fussy baby? Is an adopted child herself–and also a birth mom. She really wanted to be there to remember why she gave her daughter up.

  • Hi, Pamela. I’m not able to get the video to work. Do you have the direct link?