Friday, March 9, 2012

Why I blog

Baby Smiling in Back Seat poses a different question to her readers each week on "Thoughtful Thursday." This week's question (stemming from some controversy in our ALI blogging community this week): Why do you blog?

I posted a comment that was pretty much as long as a post (erk, sorry, C.!), so I figured I would post an adapted version over here. : )

This is a great question (& probably worthy of discussion in the salons this coming week). I can relate to a lot of what BSIBS said, as well as the comments she received.

My situation is obviously quite different from someone who started their blog while going through infertility (or a loss), achieve & go through pregnancy (by whatever means) or adoption & is now parenting. I started blogging in late 2007, nine years after my daughter was stillborn and six years after we decided to stop treatments & remain childless.

I had participated on listservs & message boards at various stages of my journey, and still do. Blogging is (or can be) a different kind of writing. When I post on a message board (especially these days), it's often in response to something someone else has posted or to pose a question to the group. It's more of a conversation.

Blogging can be a conversation too -- but I think of it more like writing a mini-essay or a newspaper column — more thoughtful & analytical (& yes, usually longer). I like developing a theme (particularly on my longer posts), thinking about WHY I feel the way I do, what words I should use.

Whenever anyone asks why I blog, I usually start out by saying, “I blog for myself.” That’s true — but I would be lying if I said I didn’t also have an audience in mind.

If I think back to the very beginning, one BIG reason I started the blog was specifically to connect & participate in the community Melissa had built up at Stirrup Queens . I LOVED reading the book club posts in particular, & was dying to take part & add my $.02. ; ) I was doing some commenting, but realized I’d get a lot more out of the whole experience if I had a blog myself.

Also, anyone who is travelling the childless/free path quickly realizes that there’s not a lot of support out there for this particular option. Pamela Jeanne was already blogging on this topic at Coming2Terms and was a huge inspiration to me. I thought she captured our experience so well — but I knew there were more of us out there, and felt we should be speaking up more about our experience & lighting the path for those following us.

And now there ARE more of us out there in the blogosphere. Not nearly enough, of course (I believe there are many more of us out there than our numbers on blogs & boards would indicate) — but it’s slowly evolving & getting better. And people aren’t just writing about the sad stuff; they’re writing about the ways in which their lives are good, even though they are not parents.

And of course, it’s nice to get feedback (particularly the positive kind). Really — who doesn’t like to get comments & to hear that their work has resonated in some way with readers, whether they agree with my point of view, can offer an alternate opinion, have a similar experience to share, learned something new or just plain liked my writing? Yes, I would probably still write without the comments, but they sure do make the whole experience a lot more fun & rewarding.

But I don’t specifically write to get comments, or worry if I think they've dropped off (well, not too much...) or about offending readers by writing about certain topics. Of course, as I said, I’m coming from a different place than most bloggers.

I’ll be frank — I found it kind of interesting to hear the parenting after loss bloggers saying how isolated they felt & how many readers they lost when they got pg/had their babies, that nobody wanted to hear their stories.

As I commented to Esperanza:
...there are parallels that could be drawn between PAIL (Parenting After Infertility & Loss) & the CF community. The CF community is certainly not as big as the parenting after infertility/loss group — but we do have a few “hubs,” like Pamela’s Silent Sorority & Lisa’s Life Without Baby. The difference being that everyone aspires to become a member of PAIL (metaphorically speaking, if not literally). I don’t think the same can be said about OUR “club.” ; )

I started my blog post-loss & infertility, but I can only imagine the drop off in readership, had I started when I was in the trenches & then made the decision. Nobody likes to think this will happen to them, but the hard truth is that not everyone comes out of this with a baby.

And it’s also true that it’s not the end of the world.


  1. I'm finding these post, the ones that answer "Why do you blog?" to be really intriguing, because people blog for so many different reasons that I had realized. It's be so interesting to see why others do it. And it makes me think long and hard about why I do it too.

    I have written about this a lot on my own blog. I feel my reasons for blogging are constantly evolving. When I started it was just to get things out and I had little hope that others would read (which is good because no one did, not for a long time). Now I blog more to challenge myself and my readers to think about things that are hard to figure out, to make sense of things that seem incomprehensible, to ask hard questions and hopefully get some answers. But there is more to it than that. I need to think more and then maybe I'll answer this question on my own blog.

    Thank you for sharing your 2cents. I for one am very grateful you are out there, lighting the way not just for others following a similar path, but for those of us who want to know what your path is like, so that we might be more understanding and empathetic towards the people in the world who are have similar journeys.

  2. Thanks very much, Loribeth, for this candid assessment and for the shoutouts and for continuing to share your ideas on The Road Less Traveled. You were among the first to join what was in the early days the very smallest niche of the IF blogosphere. Because of you and other courageous pioneers, this path is no longer lonely. Glad to see more and more women stepping forward with their stories of reinvention and renewal ...

  3. Your voice is so important in this community. I always like to come and see what you've got to say, and I especially love checking out the links you've posted for further reading/thinking.

  4. I think writing is a huge talent and blogging is way for writer to be heard. I will I could express myself the way you do so that's why I like to read your blogs.

  5. "And it’s also true that it’s not the end of the world"....I LOVE that you said this...I know you wear this statement proud and your blog is a true reflection of your spirit. Keep bloggin' because you are right...not everyone comes out of the trenches with a baby and in my belief that there is life on the other side of the trenches sans baby. And you are living proof of it...

  6. There are so many reasons why people blog. Whether it is to have their opinions available for a (potentially) large audience or to fill time for the lonely, or provide a sounding board, or any of numerous other reasons, it has it's place.

    Even if it can be trying to come up with fresh new content all the time!

    Great post :)

  7. You, Pamela, and Lisa were the first blogs I started reading when I ventured into the world of IF blogs. I was looking for like-minded people. And I found them, and so much more. I think I feel a post of my own coming on!

  8. I think you bring up a really great point about no one wanting to think about "this" happening to them when you reach the end of the road. I wrote a post about why I don't believe I will ever pursue IVF again. It got a lot of backlash, but when the dust settled I recieved an e-mail from someone who had initially been hurt by my post (and who I had previously formed a pretty good online friendship with). She said that she realized one of the reasons my post hit her so hard was because she was terrified of the day she might come to the conclusion that she couldn't try anymore. She said she wanted to believe she would try until she got her baby, no matter what, but that she had known me and been reading me long enough to know that I had once believed that too. So seeing me now change my mind and step back from treatments made her face the reality that someday, that could be her as well. And she didn't want to face that. She didn't want to believe it to be possible.

    I'm not ready to say I will be childfree. One way or another, I am determined to be a mother. I am just at a point where I feel trapped by my lack of options and stuck in my circumstances. So currently, I'm in limbo. Knowing only that after exhausting feritlity treatments - I don't want to go down that path again. And I do think that for a lot of people who connected to me as I was trying, that shift is something they no longer want to follow along for. And that's OK. I understand it. But I still have to be true to me and where I am. If nothing else, I learned from my IVF post that there are a lot of women who have felt the same way but didn't know if they were allowed to say so. I received so many e-mails from women saying they were in the same place, that it really helped me to see the benefit of owning where I am now. Both for myself, and for THOSE readers who could relate. It made me feel less alone in the state of limbo I'm in now. And there is definitely something to be said for that... At the end of the day, I guess THAT is why I blog. Both to get all this frustration and emotion regarding infertility out of me in a healthy way, but also to somehow reach those who may be able to relate, and to allow them to reach me as well.