What I Wish I’d Known Then: Virtual Casseroles Feed the Soul

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.

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blogaversary+4That was then. This is now.

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.

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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.