Healing Salon: Some Unfinished Business

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Welcome back. Pardon me while I tidy up a bit. 
peace_dove

I need to get some of the dust and cobwebs off the furniture so I can offer those involved in the Healing Salon a place to sit, ponder and participate.

For those new to this blog, here’s some background on it: The  Coming2Terms posts were initially written under a pseudonym. This allowed me the freedom for cathartic writing about my futile trying to conceive (TTC) experience and the losses associated with it. I could experience and process all the raw thoughts and emotions in a safe place and express things I wasn’t comfortable articulating in my offline life. Through C2T, I connected with women who have profoundly influenced my life.

My blog began at the end of a decade of TTC, unexplained infertility, unsuccessful treatment followed by more unsuccessful treatment, followed by anger, sadness, grief and, ultimately, acceptance…

In the early days of TTC all I’d ever hear about were the success stories. The infertility (IF) blogroll maintained by Stirrup Queen Mel and the community it fostered offered a place to let my hair down, but after treatments failed it was hard not to feel like an outcast. I couldn’t hide (in real life or online) from, at times, pain-inducing pregnancy announcements or joys of motherhood stories.

At times it felt as though the IF blogroll was a living room with three doors. Door #1: in treatment; door #2: on the path to, or actively parenting, by way of pregnancy/adoption; door #3: the door no one wanted to open — reconciling a life without once sought after children. The world beyond door #3 became my little niche of the infertility blogosphere.

After several years of thrashing about I concluded that part of my inability to move forward and find peace was the lack of real life, relate-able stories of women who had walked in my shoes, stumbled and gotten back on their feet.

In time I went public with my story. I also wrote a book called Silent Sorority.

My “outing” brought about a new responsibility and accountability.  I not only became more measured in what I said, the nowhere-to-hide-nature of my writing forced me, further, to think about the impact of my words on others. Did I become less provocative and colorful in my blogging? Perhaps, but because I was more circumspect I also began to explore the motivations behind what I thought and felt. It was no longer just about me, but about me and the infertility experience in the context of the world in which I lived.

As longtime readers know, a few years ago I retired Coming2Terms and set up a
new blog called A Fresh Start.  The break was symbolic on many levels. It gave me an official way to declare an end to my infertility crisis days. The impetus for my new space? To no longer wrestle with the “what ifs,” and instead to live the “what is” — my life after infertility. It’s a life that doesn’t involve parenting, but it does offer a whole new world of discovery and a different series of enriching experiences.

So why am I participating in Mel’s Healing Salon? It began with a dustup involving a set of infertility bloggers who, after becoming mothers, made a move to create their own community called PAIL (parenting/pregnant after infertility and loss), separate from the larger infertility community that includes some 3,000 blogs categorized further into a variety of smaller subsets.

My initial reaction to the catfight had been, Seriously…?

But the more I read, the more I found the spirited “can you believe what she said?…” “that is so not what I meant…” “how dare you?” nature of the commentary sort of refreshing. I also found it curious that the alienation each group was claiming was, in fact, universal.

Silly me. All along I thought it was just those of us behind door #3 feeling left out.

I would preferred the bloggers and commenters used their real names (as I think that would have made it even more honest) but, nonetheless, I think the discussion blew the doors off what has long been a set of dirty little secrets within the larger infertility blogging community. Here are my observations gleaned over the years:

– most of the women who enter the infertility blogosphere come to it with blinders on
– many of us don’t know how to offer support to those on different paths
– some of us are better equipped to handle the truth than others
– alienation occurs in every community — even those created to provide a haven for those feeling alienated
– it’s easy to overlook the grey when you live in a black and white world (e.g. there are those “ttc or those parenting”)
– many of us arrived with preconceived ideas (prejudices) and our writing tends to reflect accordingly, but for the most part we do our best to grow from this infertility experience
– we ultimately gravitate toward those we have the most in common with …

I fully recognize that it must be hard to resist falling into the all things mom (or Momzilla trap) after working so hard to achieve motherhood. There must be great temptation to “pass” and disregard the scars of infertility.

There was so much indignation from the two dominant groups (those still TTC and those now parenting after infertility) that quite a number of us in the minority were drowned out in the conversation that followed. Here’
s the
comment I left on the initial thread.

Now, as part of the Healing Salon discussion, a couple questions to consider. The PAIL initiative provoked strong reactions. Do you see other underlying issues — abandonment, guilt, a wish to forget? If you’re parenting after infertility or not: Do you make an effort to empathize or to keep relationships alive with those who are outside your current tribe? If not, why? If you are or are not raising children, how might your writing/reading habits be different?

Update: You can read more and participate with all who are hosting Healing Salons here.

38 comments

  • tiffany

    i’m a little confused as to the problem with PAIL. in real life and in online forums, i’ve seen the grieving childless express pain over having to hear from people who’ve crossed over, people who now have children.

    i became a biological parent and this dynamic changed personal relationships i have with people who are still grieving not having a baby. to me it makes sense that people would start a forum for this next step in their journey. i wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about the difficulties of parenting a baby in front of people who desperately wish they could have one. wouldn’t that be like complaining about your new boss in a forum for the unemployed?

  • It was quite the dustup, wasn’t it? I didn’t feel that slighted by it all, people are going to do what they want to do anyway. I can’t quite forget about infertility altogether. For better or worse, it changed who I was and there’s nothing I care to do about that. I do write about my parenting/kid quite a bit. Maybe 30% of the time. However, my blog is more about the impact of parenting on my life. I sometimes feel that not only did I survive the ravages of infertility, but also adoption in a sense. That continues to impact our lives. It’s the reason I continue to password protect certain posts because I feel the need to keep certain things on the down-lo. I have gained a profound respect and compassion for those who have struggled to have children, struggled to live without their children and those who struggle to just move on.

    • Pamela Tsigdinos

      “I have gained a profound respect and compassion for those who have struggled to have children, struggled to live without their children and those who struggle to just move on.”

      Couldn’t agree more…it’s the struggle that creates such a tight bond.   

  • i emailed Mel about what i would like to see covered in the healing salon – here is an snippet of what i sent her:

    “I did want to bring up something I would like to have included in the discussion post you are going to write. It touches on people feeling excluded and not included, and yet it’s not about ttc or parenting after IF, it’s about having to live childless after IF.

    There are a small group of us who are doing this and yet I feel and have for some time, that I don’t really belong in the ALI community, when in fact I do. I’m still infertile, I have suffered multiple losses and I will forever be grieving for a life I’m never going to have and yet we don’t seem to get support or coverage etc.

    I know why, it’s because we are living the life that people in the ALI community want to talk about and think about the least – we’re the losers of the group, in every definition of the word – we fought and got nothing. Those still in the trenches don’t want to acknowledge our outcome can and does happen – we didn’t walk away with the prize. People who DID walk away with the prize, can’t relate to us because they did walk away with the prize.

    I guess I would just really appreciate it if, when the topic of exclusion comes up in the discussion, living childfree/childless can be mentioned too.”

    at times i really feel like i don’t belong in the ali community anymore but in reality i always will because even if i come to terms with living a childfree life, i’m not sure i will ever have true closure because i will always be infertile, i will always never have children. at times i feel like we’re pushed to a dark corner so people can try to forget that OUR situation could even happen, become a reality for anyone else.

    i’m wondering if i’m alone in feeling like this?

    x

    p.s. glad to hear [and read!] that you enjoyed your holiday down here so much x

    • Pamela Tsigdinos

      I hear you, stinkb0mb. In some sense I’ve grown so accustomed to being invisible in the larger ALI community that I’ve grown somewhat innoculated against the hurt.

  • battynurse

    I try to pretty much stay out of much of the drama on line these days so I don’t know a lot about what happened, just what I read on Mel’s blog. I don’t know what I think about a lot of it and I purposely didn’t go read further or check it out as I didn’t want to feel bad about something.
    I do really like the above comment that stinkb0mb wrote though. So very true.

  • I started writing a response & I actually exceeded the character limit (erk!!). So I have published my response as a separate post on my blog:

    http://theroadlesstravelledlb.blogspot.com/2012/03/healing-salon-comment.html

    I did want to say thank you, Pamela, for hosting this discussion for the CF part of the community. I told Mel I would do it if no one else came forward; as it happens, Aunt Flo picked this weekend to visit & I have been, to use an old-fashioned term, “indisposed” :p so it was a relief not to have to worry about getting something coherent posted in time. ; )

    I am glad we are having this conversation, & even more so that our own corner of the community is taking an active part. Looking forward to hearing more from others.

  • I, too, like what stinkb0mb wrote – very true. I am also one of those who didn’t walk away with the prize, and am still struggling for the most part to make peace with this.

  • I’ve already blogged here on a lot of this (http://nokiddinginnz.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/why-i-blog.html) – including Stink-bomb’s comment that we are the group no-one wants to be in, and that no-one even wants to think about. We’re their worst nightmares!

    I share a lot of your views, Pamela, in particular your “Seriously?” reaction. “Try being US!” I wanted to respond to all the posts about feeling marginalised. But I didn’t. Till now.

    I understand the need/desire to compartmentalise, to be with people who understand what you’re going through. After all, that’s why I’m here. What I don’t understand – and this is in response to Tiffany – is why there is any need to be separate. Yes, we’re a separate group here. I found the other no kidding blogs I read through a variety of sites, including Mel’s SQ list. The group who read my blog have arrived organically, and include women without kids by choice and not by choice, fertiles (gasp!), and those who have kids or are pregnant after infertility. I love that mix. I love that women with kids want to know what life is like without them. I love that they make the effort to read and comment. Too many don’t. As someone said – “it’s as if we’re contagious.” I can live with that – but I won’t say it doesn’t hurt a bit.

    I read other blogs too – pregnant or parenting after IF blogs, and on another forum, I have become very close to women who have gone on to parent. And I feel close to their kids. If I know and love the person and their voice, I don’t mind hearing about their pregnancies and parenting adventures – the problems and the joys. In fact, I want to hear about them. We’re excluded enough in real, every day society, without feeling we’re excluded on-line. Wouldn’t it be the same for those parenting after IF? Wouldn’t they want to stay in touch with women who’ve gone on to live a life without kids, or those ttc, if they’ve made a connection, even at the same time looking for women in their situation?

    The irony – and I’ve often thought this – is that Mel’s blog is a classic example of someone parenting after infertility, and the large majority of those who comment there (at least on one topic when I actually counted) are women who are pregnant or parenting after infertility. So I guess I struggle to understand how they can feel isolated. But to be fair, I guess it’s all relative.

    After all, all of us who are in the IF blogging community have been or are still vulnerable. And vulnerable people are hurting. And hurt people hurt other people. That’s hard to avoid, as we saw last week. But the wonderful thing is this effort to redress that hurt, to try to understand each other. So I hope that we find women who are pregnant and parenting after infertility commenting here too. And I’m off to the other salons.

    Aside: If I can find them. Is there a list somewhere of the other salons too? I only knew that you were hosting this here through Loribeth’s blog.

  • Jo

    First of all, I agree with you wholeheartedly — those living childfree are underrepresented in the ALI community. It scares me to think about that option, and I avoid it for the most part. That doesn’t mean I think it’s not valuable — I absolutely think it is one of the MOST valuable contributions to this community, as those of us who find ourselves facing this reality really have nowhere else to turn.

    I also think, as others have stated, that ALL of us feel left out in some way. Personally, I have been TTC for 10 years, which is a lifetime in infertility years. Most bloggers find success 2-3 years in, and by six years almost ALL have found some sort of resolution. I am in the minority. I also feel resentful at times that I have BOTH infertility and RPL. Most fall in either category — but both is rare. All of this to say not that my pain is greater than anyone else’s — just that I “get” feeling left out. I understand WHY parents who have experienced IF might feel that way, too. I don’t, however, think that separating ourselves is the answer. I think we need to find a way to make sure that EVERYONE understands their relevance to this topic. ALL of us have something to contribute — and we need to remember that. Self-censoring on our blogs out of fear of hurting others does not solve anyone’s problems. Writing from the heart, about wherever you are in the journey, is the best thing any of us can do, for ourselves and for our readers.

    Thanks for such a thought-provoking post. I will be adding you to my reader. Even though you’re not my current tribe, you’re still my people.

    Hugs,
    Jo

    • “I also feel resentful at times that I have BOTH infertility and RPL. Most fall in either category — but both is rare.”

      And this is one of the main reasons why I relate so much to you Jo because I fall into the exact same category – I suffer from infertility, I’ve experienced too much RPL and now I’m falling into the dreaded category of living childfree.

    • Pamela Tsigdinos

      Appreciate your sentiments, Jo. I have always been particularly conscious of the fact that most don’t aspire to join this particular tribe. After all the rain, though, sunshine goes a long way if we’re to bloom where we’re planted. That’s all the more reason, as others here have said, that this little slice of the IF community wants to be heard and respected. Whether online or in real life, we all flourish when we are accepted for who we are.  

      p.s. Be sure to add A Fresh Start (http://blog.silentsorority.com), as that’s where I now actively blog.

  • After there was a falling out between myself and a certain very popular blogger (over what I consider a total misunderstanding between what I wrote and what she perceived), and therefore I no longer felt welcome within the ALI community so I no longer felt the need to connect or offer the support I had for years up to that.

    My blog then became more about general family shit, interspersed with rants, and rarely – VERY rarely – I’ll mention IF, ART, miscarriages.

    I stay connected on Facebook with those who supported me through our treatments. There are a dozen of the hundreds I use to read that still blog, and even less who blog about infertility.

    BTW, I didn’t read in details the whole brouhaha that went on with this PAIL business. I read one of the follow-up posts and I thought it was rather egotistical to believe that everyone was “happy” with the way the things were before or that changing it would make everyone satisfied. You can’t make 100% of your audience happy.

    • Pamela Tsigdinos

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree that no community is ever 100% harmonious. Assuming we want to maintain a presence of some kind within a particular community we need to strive to make everyone feel welcome — or at least heard. It’s a two-way street, though, and some days it takes a major effort to make it work … 

    • Squeee! yo-yo, I thought about you and that situation while all this was going down. I’ve ALWAYS thought that what you wrote was taken completely out of context to how you said it.

  • Hmmm…I consider myself “an outcast” as well ‘coz we’ve stopped TTC, never tried anything, never been pregnant, did want to have kids SO much for a period of time, but now we’ve surrendered to life without kids. However, I’m still considered “young enough to breed” as I’ll turn 34 this year.

    I wrote an IF blog, but mostly as a diary for myself. I was a bit hesitant in the beginning to reach out to others ‘coz I wasn’t sure how “committed” I would be to this blog of mine as I have another main blog.

    That’s why I don’t really have so many “IF blog friends” compared to the amount I get from my main blog. When I first read the post in Mel’s blog, my initial reaction was the same as yours, Pamela. After reading so many comments, though, I could understand more of why some people could have strong reactions to the topic. However, not having been involved so much in ALI blogosphere (mostly just a silent lurker, though I’ve commented in some blogs more regularly than others) and having just recently found out about PAIL, I don’t want to get too involved in all this.

    However, I agree with Mali that vulnerable people are hurting and unintentionally hurt other people. When I was TTC, I browsed through many blogs of those who were TTC, but now not anymore because that’s not the phase I’m in. I do still comment on a few blogs that I have started reading since when I still TTC, but I prefer to read IF blogs written by someone like you and Mali nowadays.

    After all, I do have mommy close friends and other mommy blogger friends as well as mommy Facebook friends so I don’t need to add reading about mommy IFers to my list ‘coz I just can’t relate too much. I do want to learn more about parenting, but each case is so different and I always end up feeling helpless ‘coz I’ve never spent too much time with kids. That said, at least my close friends still share their parenting struggles to me, so I get a glimpse of what their lives are like – at least not being completely in the dark about it. OK, enough rambling…

    • Pamela Tsigdinos

      Thanks, Amel, for your thoughts. Like you and Battynurse, I didn’t want to get directly involved at first, but it seemed like a teachable moment — a chance to remind that there are more than two camps in the infertiility community. I marvel at the ALI bloggers — even those participating in the “healing salon” — who seem so oblivous to the alienation started long before PAIL for those of us who weren’t actively TTC or parenting after infertility.  

      • oh yes THANK YOU!! there ARE indeed more than two camps in the infertility community and your comment is what i was trying to get across in my comment. i know why we are excluded so much but that doesn’t make it acceptable, nor should it be tolerated. no one likes to be or feel excluded, regardless of their circumstances.

      • THANKS for bringing up the topic in this blog and for giving me a chance to join in and for giving me a voice, too. I didn’t feel like leaving a comment in Mel’s blog post ‘coz she’s got too many already. 🙂

  • Wow. I rarely visit the IF world via the internet anymore, but I get an email when you post something so I stopped to investigate.

    I didn’t read the comments enough to really understand why it got people so upset. I do think it is important to be inclusive rather than exclusive. I get that people parenting after infertility have things to say that may not be appreciated by those TTC #1 or living without children.

    I think it really is coming from all the grief that surrounds IF. And ultimately, each one of us is alone in his or her grief. No one can make it better and no one knows exactly how you are feeling.

    But to answer your questions.

    I do stay in touch with people outside my tribe, but 4 years into parenting after 6 years TTC, one baby loss and 3 miscarriage, it is still not easy.

    (While I don’t visit the online community too much any more, I do host an IRL support group.)

    It is not easy to sit with someone who has just failed an IVF cycle. God, I relive my own experience and it is so painful all over again. Sometimes I think I should walk away and not look back.

    I still find I hate most other parents. So even though I am parenting, I have a hard time opening my heart to other mothers who did not really struggle to have children. So outside of people I have met who also deal with IF and friends I made pre-infertilty, I don’t really have any mom friends. (yes, I am bitter like that. 🙂 )

    I also don’t have the time to blog and connect with other women like I used to. I miss that and hope it will come back.

    I still get sad sometimes about not having our mutually genetic child. I don’t think there is anything bad about that. It’s just the way it is. But it can make it hard to relate to people who are sad because they can’t have 2 or more genetic kids. I find my own feelings of failure can be triggered. This is where it helps to meet IRL – because you can know the person better and can feel their pain even if you can’t directly share it.

    In a nutshell: It isn’t easy to share grief and I understand people wanting to move away from it. At the same time, I think it is important to be with people who do not share your views / situation 100%.

  • I absolutely empathize with those still in the trenches. I have not forgotten what that feels like and would be happy to provide any support I could, but I don’t feel like my support would be appreciated because I am parenting. One thing I’ve realized recently is that parenting after infertility brings its own issues. I don’t feel guilt. I feel amazingly fortunate, yet I will never disregard the scars of IF. It’s part of our story. What I despise are those who succeed and actively try to forget their IF struggles.

    I like to think that I my writing is not “all mommy.” I post about my son, but I’ve started posting about IF issues again too and whatever pops in my head. My blog is my brain dump, and I like to think it is as weird and varied as I am!

    • I’m really glad to hear that you empathise with those still in the trenches. What about those of us (many who are commenting on this particular blog) who have climbed out of the trenches, and who are living life without children? We don’t so much as need your support, as your understanding, or your perspective as a parent, or your perspective simply as someone who shared part of our experience too. As you say, once infertile, always infertile. We can relate to that, even when we’re celebrating the joys of being childfree.

      I think this is why we feel so invisible in the community though.

      I’m going to pop over to your blog to visit. 😉

      • You are so right and want to kick myself for constantly overlooking those who are living life without children. You are definitely an overlooked group, and I’m happy to give you understanding and empathy. While our choices and outcomes were different, you are a fellow IF sister who deserves my respect.

  • May

    I am still TTC, but I’m still childless seven or more years in, and I am increasingly considering the strong possibility that I’m not going to come out the other side of this with a child after all. I’m not by nature a ‘joiner’, and I’ve always felt a tad alienated the idea of people dividing up into groups based on similarity of situation above all else. After all, some of my favourite bloggers are living child-free, or are parenting and wrestling with secondary infertility, or are parenting and ‘done’ with family building. Only a few of ‘my tribe’ are still childless and struggling like me. I even read a couple of parenting blogs by people who didn’t struggle to conceive for even so much as a week. The thing that attracts me and makes me want to keep a relationship with a blogger is their personality, their voice, their own ability to empathise (which is ENTIRELY DIFFERENT from self-censoring so as not to upset people. It’s the ability to write you own story AND be aware of other people’s). To be brutally honest, I’m put off mostly by poor writing (I don’t mean grammar and spelling AT ALL. I mean cliche, thoughtlessness, unclear thinking, lack of empathy for others, pettiness and humourlessness) regardless of the match in situations.

    That said, I’m a rotten-bad commentator. I read a great many blogs I only comment on occasionally, despite the fact I like the blog immensely (like yours, Pamela (sorry!)). This is almost entirely to do with my own apathy and exhaustion (I find being chronically ill chronically tiring, go figure. Writing my own blog makes me feel worn out), and nothing much to do with the blogger.

    One thing that really puzzled me about the whole brouhaha is the quantity of parenting-after-IF bloggers complaining that they had to censor what they said and felt alienated. Censor for whom? More than half the ALI bloggers in Mel’s great big blogroll are parenting. That’s nearly 2000 blogs. What are they doing, alienating each other? Asking each other to refrain from blogging on certain subjects? And given that parenting bloggers are the majority now, in the ALI community, surely the logic of majority alone means that if anyone is being alienated it’s the childless?

    • Pamela Tsigdinos

      Great to hear from you, May! Lots to chew on here in your comment when I’m more coherent. One thought comes to mind: I also don’t think of myself as a “joiner” in the classic sense, but I do appreciate it when doors are open …

  • Oy. I commented the other day from my phone, but I see that I must have missed the security code.

    Anyway, it’s wonderful to be here. I have fond memories of C2T 🙂

    Your observations are great, especially “many of us don’t know how to offer support to those on different paths.” Although I am parenting, I never did experience pregnancy. My eyes now tend to glaze over when I see some of the TTC acronyms. They don’t apply to me, they never applied to me, they never will apply to me.

    Yet. Though I don’t get the specific details, I do remember the general feelings, wondering if it would ever “work.”

    There is a time/age element, as well. PAIL doesn’t appeal to me because it is for new parents, not me. Its first topic is breastfeeding, which excludes most adoptive moms. Although I’m on the same side of the TTC bridge as PAIL, it is not my tribe.

    I do enjoy reading good thinkers, good writers. Which is why I’m FINALLY remedying the situation and switching my subscription from C2T to SS.

  • Bea

    Hi Pamela!

    Do I keep up relationships in blogland? Well, clearly not as well as I’d like. But that’s pretty much across the board – I don’t think it is specifically about having or not having children. Although I guess it does have a lot to do with the response I get back from readers, and those facing similar battles are more likely to respond… so maybe there is a bias towards MABI after all, especially those with kids born in 2008 (how’s that for narrow?). You (and other currently/perpetually childless/free bloggers) are still on my blogroll, when I get around to reading and responding.

    I wanted to comment and say (somewhat off-topic) that I actually did gravitate towards those childless/free after infertility during my journey, contrary to what some have experienced above. I guess I found it a real lifeline to learn that it was possible to build a good life even without achieving the stated goal. That, in fact, building a good life should be the stated goal, in whatever version came to be. So, you know, keep trucking, because I’m not so unique as all that! There are others who want the no-kids “tribe” in the community just as much as any other “tribe”.

    Bea

    • Kat

      I wanted to leave a comment but I also specifically wanted to respond to you because I feel the same way. I’m still TTC, no pregnancies or kids yet, but I’ve never avoided childfree-after-infertility blogs. I find them to be some of the most thoughtful of all. I can only imagine the journey and growth you must go through to come out the other side of infertility without the “prize,” and I’ve always felt I could sense that in the bloggers who write about it and I’m very drawn to it. And in my darkest moments it’s comforting to know that, yes, your deepest fear is legit, sometimes you don’t get what you want, but, life goes on, and you will go on, and there are others out there who have had to go on with their life too.

      As for my blogging relationships, I absolutely continue to follow bloggers throughout their journeys, no matter how they change. Because really, even if you’re a parent, even if you have a healthy newborn, are you ever really homefree? Maybe you’ll have secondary IF. Maybe (Gd forbid) your child will become sick as they grow. You never know what life is going to throw your way. I think that’s part of what turned me off about PAIL. I got a sense of…welp, we have kids now, so we have kid problems, you know, breastfeeding, sleeping, whatever it may be. And all that stuff is important but it’s also so…normal. Most of us here in ALI land are here because we *aren’t* normal, at least reproductively. So while I get the list aspect of it, I don’t really get some of the other aspects of it. But that’s just my opinion, and I don’t really begrudge anyone who likes it.

  • Mel

    So I looked at my Reader and found… zero themes. I mean, the majority of my personal Google Reader are blogs found on the ALI blogroll, but beyond that, they are a mix of child-free after IF bloggers, adoption bloggers, treatment bloggers, GLBT bloggers, parenting bloggers, loss bloggers, surrogacy bloggers… there was literally people from every single room of the blogroll. While I enjoy reading blogs from Jewish vegetarians parenting twins after IF, it would be boring to only read reflections of my own life, even if the person had their own unique experiences. It would be like traveling… to NJ. I prefer to travel to India — to see someplace different from my own neck of the woods. And hopefully learn something by being there.

    Thank you so much for hosting this.

  • Reading some of the comments on the Healing Salon posts, & on Mel’s Friday Roundup, it’s been gratifying to see an uptick in awareness of the childless/free viewpoint in the broader community. Thanks again for hosting (& commenting), Pamela — I think it has made a difference!

    • I’ll second that!! Thanks so much for hosting this Pamela. I think some healing has come from this – even from those of us who thought we weren’t involved in the initial fracas.

  • Valerie

    I still mourn the fact that I did not give birth to any children. But my situation is even worst in that I was pregnant way back and reluctantly had an abortion. Turns out I got some sort of infection after the procedure and was never able to get pregnant again. This happened over 31 years ago, and yet this morning I woke up and started crying again. I live everyday with regret and and it is not comforting to know it was my own doing.

  • Wow, this post really spoke to me. I’m new at reading blogs. The reason I am now reading them, is because I am writing one. I just began writing mine a little over a week ago. My story is one full of becoming a mother only to be haunted with secondary infertility, miscarriage, and the horrific pain of stillbirth. I considered writing under a different name, but decided I needed the freedom of writing as myself, even if fear was involved in the process. Thanks for sharing your thoughts; they are quite encouraging.

    agirlonthedoorstep.com

  • Heather

    Thank you for your book. At times I wondered if there were secret cameras in our house. You told an all to familiar story. Thanks for sharing the truth and pain behind IF.

  • It seems odd that I should be sitting here looking at a story of alienation and realize that I was fortunate in some ways. Conceiving a child and carrying it to term was one of those things I just accepted as normal until my daughter has a stillbirth. That was 15 years ago and she is still not recovered from it, she tends to be over protective of the three she did bring to term.

    I was a young single mother in the late 1970’s and I didn’t want to be. I had a chance to give my children to a woman who couldn’t have her own and I refused, she could not give birth what could she possibly know about taking care of a then 2 & 3 year old. I have regretted that decision since, I can not ask her forgiveness but perhaps I can ask you to forgive those of us who are fertile, we do not mean to look down on you or cause you pain we sincerely don’t understand the emotional pain and I suppose embarrassment you must endure in order to conceive a child. For some of us it was something we never really wanted but once it happened we could not let go.

    • Thank you, Cheryl, for your honesty and your openness to a new way of thinking about the infertility experience. You have my admiration both for acknowledging and sharing your regrets as well as your willingness to learn and grow as a result…

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