Treasure Trove of Truth: Blogging Infertility

nine

Nine years ago tonight the blog Coming2Terms arrived on the scene. It started with a hesitant point and click … PUBLISH.

The blogosphere in 2007 was still relatively new and more than a bit wild and disordered. It seemed the perfect place to explore taboo topics. Discussion about infertility and failed fertility treatment was, indeed, not discussed in polite society.

It’s not altogether different today, but then most reproductive subjects are hard to broach.  Complicating matters further in the aughts: who can forget the cultural smothering emanating from the ‘mommy movement?’  Fearful about being discovered and shunned, I wrote under the alias, Pamela Jeanne.

Ahead of today’s milestone, I reread quite a few of the 276 Coming2Terms posts and 5,024 comments. Revisiting those angst-y sometimes cantankerous posts filled me with a mix of discomfort and gratitude. Discomfort due to the rawness of some post content and gratitude for the generous understanding and compassion.

The first post, Just The Beginning, was tentative, searching and hopeful.

As more posts poured forth readers arrived with new insights on the bio-psycho-social front. Extraordinary sharing resulted.

There is no soft landing or social etiquette when Mother Nature and science fail you. Click To Tweet

Together we’ve re-framed stereotypes about women without children and established a new body of knowledge. We have confronted sacred cows. We have explored thorny societal biases. We have elevated bioethics concerns. We have raised important questions about the safety and health implications of artificial reproductive technologies. We have built a platform for valuable dialogue that reaches around the world.

On Coming2Terms alone there have been 92,920 readers from 179 countries and 315,768 page views to date.

Truth from the Front Lines

The online conversations here and across my blogroll reveal not only where we’ve been but how much we’ve achieved.  We’ve set a new truth benchmark in an era marked by fertility medicine misunderstandings and misinformation.

We've amassed a treasure trove of firsthand accounts detailing the trauma of infertility &… Click To Tweet

We’ve also discovered how immensely therapeutic it can be to give voice to our stories as revealed in this groundbreaking UPenn research.

The healing first began in early 2007 with posts and discussions like these:

Putting Emotions Into Words

The First Step to a New Beginning

In Search of Peace and Strength

Laughter and Lessons

There has been levity along the way. Take, for instance, this amusing post detailing search terms, You Found Me, How?  Or this this awkward blogger encounter: Hi, I’m an Infertility Blogger

And, there were uncomfortable moments when we encountered the ‘mommy bubble,’ further summed up in this post: Can a Six Foot Tall Woman Be Invisible?

Longtime blog readers will recall I abandoned my anonymity in June 2008 and stepped into the klieg lights. In doing so I discovered new levels of vulnerability. I also developed a thicker skin.

Just before retiring Coming2Terms in 2010 there was this television interview. The ABC morning show in Sacramento invited me on as a guest to discuss the experience of coming to terms with infertility and what I’d learned. (Extra points if you discover the producer error. Hint, my face on camera just as the segment begins says it all).

After several years of exploring sadness, anger and complicated ‘non-mom’ identity issues and associated societal taboos it seemed time for a fresh start. That’s when I initiated this current blog, since renamed, Finally Heard.  From those early days we’ve had 61, 940 readers from 171 counties and 253,058 page views. Answers from a reader survey in 2011 offer added perspective.

Oh, the lessons we have learned being part of ‘Generation IVF.’ We continue to explore and plumb the depth of many complex emotions, the impacts of disenfranchised grief and fertility treatment scars. Let’s not forget the simmering culture clashes:

Infertility Community: A Microcosm of Society Misunderstandings and All

Infertility Community’s Black Sheep: Women Who Don’t Achieve Motherhood

Wisdom, as we know, comes with experience. As I said in this blog post, Strong At the Broken Places:

When we open ourselves up and share lessons about coming to terms with loss, dreams unrealized or the hard work of reinvention — we do so in the service of others.

In the spirit of sharing new perspective later this month you’ll find the first guest post authored by a man. Until then, hearty thanks for your friendship and your many contributions. It’s an honor to be part of this community.  Now, welcome your ‘truths‘ …

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11 thoughts on “Treasure Trove of Truth: Blogging Infertility

  1. When I think of you, I think of the following Isaac Newton Quote: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Not a literal giant of course, but trailblazers like you (and Mali and Loribeth), giants, blazed one heck of a trail for women like me (and Klara and Sarah and so many others). You didn’t have any support or places to turn, but we do because of you. So thanks for that!

    Happy 9th Blogaversary! Here’s to many more!

  2. Happy 9 years, Pamela. What a trail you’ve blazed. I’m so glad for those early days of blogging. My life is much richer for meeting you and some of those early bloggers.

    I found the error. Egregious!

    xo

  3. What an incredible feat and I know I am just one of many who thanks you for blazing this trail for all of us and allowing our voices to be heard. Congratulations!

  4. Congratulations! Happy 9th Blogaversary!
    I am so very happy that I found you in NYT’s article!

  5. Congratulations Pamela, and thank you so much for all that you do.
    You’re a mentor to many of us coming along behind and reading what you’ve achieved makes me stand a bit taller and be a bit brave.

  6. Mel

    Congratulations on hitting this milestone!

  7. Nine years of inspiring, relevant, thought-provoking and insightful blogging is a real achievement. Congratulations, Pamela! I wish I’d been around to read you nine years ago. I know I’d have found your sisterhood here helpful. But I’ve found you now, and I’m very grateful for that.

  8. Quite a milestone, Pamela! You should be proud for all these posts, filled with honesty and candor. This community and this world still need those who are bravely writing not only about infertility and the reality of fertility treatments, but also countering this idea that those who don’t experience pregnancy and birth are somehow less. Thank you for being one of those much needed voices. And thank you for your continued support and friendship.

  9. Congratulations on 9 years! Your voice has been a much-needed one in the infertility community and in the wider world. I’ve been grateful for so many of those posts.

  10. Pamela Tsigdinos

    Many thanks for the kind words, all! You’ve each been instrumental to a whole lot of growth and healing.

  11. (Very) late to this party, but I had to offer my congratulations on NINE YEARS of supportive, thought-provoking & influential blogging! I well remember how happy I was (a bit later that year, I think) to find someone else out there whose situation, thoughts & feelings so closely mirrored my own. Your blog & your friendship have enriched my life enormously in the years since then. Thank you! :)

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