A Look Back At How We Got From There to Here in the Blogosphere

This past weeks’ events and recent reading, as if added to blender, poured forth some new insights.

In the days and weeks leading up to a busy set of family festivities (June birthdays and both a niece and nephew’s high school graduations), I received several warning emails from GoDaddy informing me that my Coming2Terms blog — all 279 posts and 5,033 comments generated since February 2007 — would go up in smoke on June 25 if I didn’t find a way to move them from a product they were discontinuing to a new blog platform. To add insult to injury I had paid in advance to archive it through 2017, and oh yeah, there would be no company support for this mandatory technically intensive endeavor.

After a brief panic — and just before my 75 and 80 year old parents arrived from Detroit for an extended stay — I secured the talents of our next door neighbor’s tech savvy college-aged son (who shall be known going forward as my knight with shining coding skills).  As a result of his intrepid problem-solving software acumen, theComing2Terms blog has been relocated in its entirety to a new platform.  Talk about a terrific birthday gift.

blogComin2TermsIn the process of saving me from a few more gray hairs, my knight also got what can only be described as an immersion course on infertility. Can you imagine the conversation he had with his friends over beer, “yeah, so I’ve been coding the past few days in order to move this, uh, blog…”

With Coming2Terms safely backed up and in its new home, I’ve had a chance to catch up on some of my earlier most read posts, many of which range from self-conscious (Hi, I’m an Infertility Blogger) to searching or emotionally charged. You’ll find a few of the most read entries linked below:

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The last post in this list had particular significance when I read The Fertility Diary hosted by The New York Times Motherlode. Amy Klein shared the heart-wrenching outcome of a conversation with her doctor and husband about my whether to pursue more IVF treatments titled: “You’ve Done Everything You Can.”

Those of us who have faced particularly devastating treatment outcomes know how difficult it is to confront whether to continue or cease IVF. I also appreciate her confession:

In the past, I’d never understood people who said they were done, who gave up on their dream of having their own genetic children. But as I thought of the future, I could not picture myself taking any more shots. I could not imagine pumping myself up with more hormones. I couldn’t see how we would freeze more embryos for testing, only to find they were all chromosomally compromised.

There are the usual calls in the Motherlode comments beseeching her not to give up on her dream of motherhood. To those commenters I say in the nicest possible way: You are not helping. You can no more prescribe or guarantee someone else’s happiness than I can. Only Amy and her husband, after grieving their loss, will know what’s next in their lives.

To further amplify why we can’t let our myopic perceptions color someone else’s life, consider this description of the four stages of perception in Carolyn Hax’s Washington Post Q&A column:

Stage 1. When all you know or notice is yourself;

Stage 2. When you think everything that you have felt applies to others as well;

Stage 3. When you realize that others can go through the same thing as you but not feel the same way as you did;

Stage 4. When you can put yourself in other’s positions and understand what they feel.

Hax goes on to say: Everyone knows Stage 1 is obnoxious, but people stuck in Stage 2 can almost be more so, because they think they know something about you.

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Well said! And that’s why you won’t find those of us in the family-of-two-after-failed-infertility-treatment category actively proselytizing our way of life. No, what we want for anyone at the traumatizing crossroad following failed IVF or prolonged infertility is what we wish others had held out to us: supportive wishes of healing strength and sufficient time to grieve. Following that, we hope for a return to joy and in the best of all worlds, peace.

My heart goes out to Amy and the many others in her shoes as they wrestle with what comes next. As I said in my very first blog post

…not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what our child might have looked like, what longstanding family traits we might have passed on and how our lives might have been different.

The early days of coming to terms with a life different than the one we planned for were particularly difficult, but with each passing year we’ve found strength and, yes, even a sense of humor in the face of even the most ordinary awkward moments.

To wit, this past Sunday Mr. T. and I took our 15-year-old nephew out for a round of miniature golf.  The young man in the concession stand not only enthusiastically wished Mr. T a “Happy Father’s Day,” he comped him a game since on that day, we were informed, all dads golfed for free. We three looked at each other, bemused, shrugged and said, “why not?”

The silver lining in the frustrating and headache-inducing blog shift was that I was able to see how far I’ve come (with the help of many of you, dear readers) since I first sat down, nervous and a bit nauseous, to create Coming2Terms. If I could climb into a time machine and meet with 2007 Pamela, I would say with certainty: while there is no way to alleviate the pain of letting go of a dream, new beginnings and the peace you long for do indeed await.

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18 thoughts on “A Look Back At How We Got From There to Here in the Blogosphere

  1. Very appropriately, my anti-spam word for this comment is “healing.”

    As I wasn’t around in the blogging world to read coming 2 terms, I’m looking forward to going back to read your posts.

    And I loved the four stages of perception. I see people I know in every stage. And you’re right. We don’t proselytize our way of life. But we do let others know it will be ok. And I am sure that it helps. So I thank you for doing that for so long.

  2. I love the message you give to your 2007 self.

    I do enjoy looking back at posts from my own early days of blogging. I like that I’d been in on the discussion on some of the links in this post!

    Thanks for sharing Carolyn Hax’s 4 stages. And happy belated birthday!

  3. I agree with so much of what you\’ve written in this blog. So much so that I’ve written my own book (not yet published), my inspiration for writing is my teenage daughter. I don’t ever want her to feel ‘less than’ or empty because of the way society treats women who are not mothers. I’m new in the writing and blogging world; but have my 1st article published at RoleReboot, which is a website that questions society’s ideas about what roles women and men are “supposed” to play. I wish you peace. http://www.rolereboot.org/family/details/2014-06-motherhood-every-woman/

    1. Thanks, Melanie. Just read your piece. Very refreshing!

  4. So glad you were able to save your old blog & its contents! There is a lot of accumulated wisdom there. I remember how glad I was when I found it — someone else out there like me who’s writing about her experiences, yay!! :)

    I was actually thinking of your old blog when I stumbled on this opinion piece in today’s Toronto Star: apparently the phrase “as a parent” has become so ubiquitous in Canadian politics lately it is now being used sarcastically as a hashtag. Reminded me of how you used to take articles that used the phrase “as a mom…” and then change them to “as an infertile…” sometimes with hilarious results. :)

    http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2014/06/20/justin_trudeau_peter_mackay_should_avoid_parent_trap.html

    P.S. Mali, my anti-spam word is “empathy.” :)

  5. Kinsey

    I also love your message to your 2007 self. I changed it to 2014 me. I am so thankful that there are women who went through all of this before me and were courageous enough to bare their souls on the internet. I know I’m new here, but thank you so much for all you have done and continue to do.

    I’ve actually been reading all of your old blog posts. I started at the beginning and am now up to 2009, and it has been very therapeutic for me. I’ll read your book eventually, when my work schedule gets not quite so hectic and I have the time to read the book and deal with the emotions that will inevitability bubble to the surface.

    1. Thank YOU, Kinsey. Very much appreciate your willingness to explore. Admire your courage and willingness to tackle the many complex emotions. xo

      1. Kinsey

        I don’t feel very courageous and this week I really wish I could not deal with the emotions and not see reminders of my infertility everywhere I turn. I can’t tell you how much it means that you took the time to personally respond to me.

        Reading through Coming2Terms, I’ve laughed, cried, and even ugly cried a few times. It really is fate that I found your blog. I mean, how often do you find a blog written by a fellow six foot tall, wine and chocolate loving almost birthday twin who writes in a manner that speaks directly to your heart?

        1. Ah, sweet Kinsey. Wish I could give you a hug in real life. I know whereof you speak. You will dig deep and you will find strength you never thought possible. Meanwhile, may I offer you some chocolate or wine?

          1. Kinsey

            A real life hug would be great, but a virtual one is pretty great too! Just knowing that there are others like me is a huge source of comfort. I could go on-I’d love to go on and do a brain dump of everything that’s on my mind to people that actually understand-but I don’t want to clog up your comments section with my rambling. I’ll be ok, eventually, just like always. :)

  6. Pamela, I am so glad you were able to save the old blog, I’m looking forward to reading it! Since I am in the process of coming to terms with my ‘enough is enough’ decision myself, I am very thankful for the opportunity to meet other women who are or have been in my shoes.

    1. Glad you’ve discovered this very special community, Obie. xo

  7. Oh, Pamela, I’m so glad you could save your Coming2Terms blog, because it was one of the blogs that helped me a lot. I kept on rereading some of your old posts during my darkest days.

    Love that 4 Stages of Perception and what you’d say to yourself in 2007. Oh, and my anti spam word is Kindness he he…

  8. Thank you for the post. I loved your 2007 message to you. So true!
    I read Amy’s story. I remembered how difficult it was for me to stop the treatments and step out of IVF-addiction-rollercoaster.

  9. Pam — you were ahead of your time with Coming 2Terms. It doesn’t “happen” until it’s in the New York Times. I’ve been glancing at Amy Klein’s column every now and then, expecting it to end with the usual “Baby and Happily Ever After/I did it you can do it, too.” Now it’s official — you can’t achieve a baby by willpower alone.

    1. You were right there with me, Christina! Your intelligent and insightful comments kept me encouraged and writing on many a night. So happy we had the chance a few years back to meet and get to know each other better in person. Makes me wish we didn’t live on opposite coasts!

  10. OK, now I can see that Pamela has pre-loaded the anti-spam words. Wish I could do that on blogger. Mine here is “wisdom” – an aspirational one for me, yet :). I must add to the thanks for Coming2Terms, which I found in 2009-ish, not long before it transitioned to Silent Sorority. It was a great source of healing for me, then in the throes of fertility treatment but (though I didn’t realize it then) not long from crossing over myself. And finding mature, wise, joyful, and well-adjusted women in this family-of-two community here has been a great blessing for me as well.

    1. You are correct! I preloaded the anti-spam after seeing Lori use this delightful widget on her blog. Many thanks for being such a long-time loyal part of this wonderful community. ox

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