Tuesday, December 8, 2009

quotable

Reading through blogs. Always, always lots of food for thought. There's the simple joy of reading some mundane observation by a stranger of a part of your everyday reality that you thought nobody else had ever experienced or understood (I think it was Megan at Bottoms off and on the Table who wrote, back whenever it was, about hiding her underwear under her clothes when getting changed at the doctor's office, and I thought, "Other people do that too?" Why would I assume it was only me? Why does my brain create isolation for me in this insane world, when my dysfunctional body has caused isolation enough? And her comment about bringing a black lace thong - that she had not worn - to display proudly on the top of her stack of clothes was one of those moments when I uncontrollably laughed out loud reading blogs).

And there's the deeper reward of reading some turn of phrase that ties up in a perhaps imperfectly-neat package some part of the absurdity of the IF experience you had never before found words to comprehend. In the last day or two, I've read two blog posts with lines that leapt out at me, for reasons perhaps unrelated to each other and probably not obvious to anyone but me. My brain is weird; clearly, weird things will resonate with me. But I offer them for such edification as they may provide.

One was from the blogger who wrote the wordpress blog "What to Expect When You're Not Expecting" - I know there were several such blogs, this is by a gal who lives in Israel. When I searched for the title, google kindly gave me the blogger version far earlier in my search results (shocking). It ended in mid-December of 2007; I read her last posts before following the link to the new wordpress blog. Her last blogger posts were about how she had been living her life "two weeks at a time" - unable to invest in long-term plans or anything that might be incompatible with having a baby. And she had been doing so for four years.

And she wrote, "As all of you know, infertility is where dreams go to die." I mean - bitter, yes; cynical, yes. (Obviously, I can work with that.) But in addition to having just the right amount of bile to describe this highly unpleasant process, it's poetically and otherwise true. Fertility is the fruitfulness of love and generosity, the bearing of the next generation, our hopes for good and humanity enfleshed by the young. Infertility doesn't strike those who have no dreams; it takes them away from those who do. I sensed a kindred spirit, someone whose perspective - balanced, by the way, not entirely black - would be a welcome companion on this road. I clicked through to her wordpress blog and found it had been closed down, rendered to archives, and her readers directed to some sort of mommy blog. Well, it's been two years. Fair enough. But then I saw the birth announcement - September 2008. I frowned. I did the math. I went through the archives from the IF wordpress blog to the latter half of December 2007. She got her BFP within a week of writing that post. She must have been pregnant at the time. Laden with irony, of course, and to be sure wonderful news. But I feel I've lost a friend, you know?

The other quote was from Megan as well. It's her blogoversary, and she changed her header to a picture of her dog. In her post, she said, "Imagine how annoying I would be if I had a real kid." That's funny. (Obviously.) Also, not about her specifically, but isn't it true? Maybe IF makes us deeper people. Maybe looking deeply into suffering gives us perspective. I haven't really lost interest in my IRL friends who've had children (though anyone who can talk only about onesies I spend little time talking to. Seriously, God gave you a brain for a reason, and that is not it). But as for bloggers, well, there are a few (though treasured) examples of those whose ideas still interest me post-baby. I don't think this is entirely prompted by resentment on my part, either. I have listed some pet peeves before - listen, lady, it's no more of a chore to read a post about your life than before you had the little bundle of joy. I don't need to be "rewarded" for my perseverance by six pictures of him/her/it. But if that's how you're going to write posts from now on, I don't need to keep reading.

I harbor no special concerns that Megan will become dull after she has a baby, and I feel reasonably prepared to read the announcement any cycle now. But I have found it generally to be true, at least a significant portion of the time, that many IF bloggers who have babies lose (at least the appearance of) their unique perspective. That kindred spirit, that second sight that made them so precious to read, isn't discernible; and what I find instead is questions about bottles and diapers, the most prosaic of the prose of new motherhood. If I have to endure conversations in which I am at best an active listener, better I should save the stamina to do so for existing friendships I need to keep up. Because I only have so much energy for that sort of thing before I am emotionally exhausted.

And so, I suppose, my reflection on Megan's interesting turn of phrase: inside each of us IFers, is there a terminally tedious mother just waiting to escape and bore the rest of the world beyond endurance? Indeed, absent my (in my view) incurable fertility problems - and, God forbid, even if I should ultimately conceive - would I just have become some other doe-eyed Catholic girl in flowered skirts holding a baby, prattling on about God's blessings on little John Paul and how we have the sweetest white crucifix from his baptism hanging over his bed and I wrote "JMJ" in Sharpie onto the tags of his onesies and it's given me a new closeness to the Blessed Mother and he particularly likes the First Joyful Mystery?

Because if God gave me the scourge of infertility to kill that young woman, you know, I might be OK with that. But I would have thought it was sinful to think so - before I was infertile!

8 comments:

  1. Great post...so insightful. Often, I read posts by IF bloggers who have since become pregnant where they worry about how the "still IF'ers" will view them. Then, there are also the "former IF-new mommy" bloggers who fully admit that they know they'll lose readers or that they don't have anything particularly insightful to talk about.

    I fully admit to "ignoring" some of the blogs in my Reader once they get past the heartbeat stage...for the exact reasons you mentioned.

    And, yet, I can't help but think, that when we (hubby and I) make it to the other side, all of this will make a hypocrit out of me. I've seen it happen too many times to think I'll be any different. Like you, I'm just not sure how, for that brief moment before we start trying for #2, I could walk that careful line while still getting all I need to get out of my blog.

    Glad I found your blog...will be following your journey!

    oursomedayfamily.blogspot.com

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  2. I know what you mean about the uniqueness of IF and how most people who go on to have children lose that uniqueness and become just another mommy blogger. Thanks for your advice about the pre-surgery bowel prep stuff.

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  3. Good points to ponder Misfit! Love it.

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  4. IF is an obsession. It's all encompassing, and frustrating, and painful. Pregnancy is a big deal, but besides the worry about miscarriage and morning sickness and getting big as a house and then preparing for an actual baby to be born, I can't imagine it takes up quite as much of an emotional toll on your day-to-day. Drama/pain/suffering usually equals good blogging material(not in all cases of course), and I'm just not sure most people are experiencing enough drama in pregnancy to engage their audience as often (obviously excluding those who have suffered through a miscarriage or other baby loss). I post a lot of every day stuff on my blog, but always in the context of infertility (well, most of the time). I can't imagine how much I'd have to say if I became pregnant this month and then went on to have a healthy baby. The only reason I ever blogged before my infertility blog was to keep my family & friends who don't live near us (all of them really) updated on our life. I can't imagine turning into a mommy blogger....I'd probably just stop blogging. But, it's all just idle speculation at this point. So who knows. I know I've continued to read adoption blogs after they've brought the baby home, because I like to hear how they're dealing with all of the issues that can arise from having an adopted child, but there are only a few IF bloggers gone on to be mommies that I regularly read. I don't find myself commenting as much either - mostly because I feel like I can't offer anything since I haven't been there.
    Good post, by the way...

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  5. I always hide my undewear under the rest of my clothes when undressing at the doctor's office. :) And I wear light colored socks or no socks so I don't look like my grandfather with black socks and pasty legs sticking out from under the sheet.

    I occasionally wonder how things will change blogging-wise should I ever be fortunate enough to become a parent. I'm determined to dote on my child while retaining my own right to be noticed as a human being, not simply little Katie or little Matthew's mommy. I'm fairly well convinced I'll never have to worry about that, be should it ever come to be, we'll see how far I get with it.

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  6. It’s all interesting. I do not think many former IFers would have the same “unique perspective” after having a child. How could you? While the memory of all the things you went through are still there (and you can’t get back those years), there is someone else now that needs your focus. Furthermore, for a lot of IF bloggers, it seems that it is their infertility (which is itself unique – a fact that we have to deal with every time we are in public) that gives them their perspective. Infertility is unique; parenthood is not.

    I do believe that suffering of any kind makes you a deeper, more reflective person. When I was younger and dealing with some serious turmoil, I seemed to be a more than capable writer (by my school-aged peer standards; I’m not talking about real talent here). I won writing contests, prizes, was shipped off by my school to a young author’s convention, etc. As things resolved (or I learned to deal with them in a more productive way), my writing suffered and I eventually realized that I wasn’t depressed anymore. I just didn’t have the deep reflections that I used to have because I was happy. I could not write any more (at least in a creative way), but I was happy and that was what I wanted more than the ability to put suffering on paper.

    Will I turn into that girl if I become a Mother? Probably – or at least some version of her (I never wear flowered skirts so that seems like a far stretch for me). I’m OK with that. I would love to be able to focus on someone else’s “suffering”/needs (be it a needed diaper change or a bottle) rather than my own. I know if I continue a blog, I will lose readers and that’s okay too. I understand why. Of course, all of this is a great big “If” that may never be.

    In regards to your first commenter . . . . I understand the self preservation, but do wait a little longer before dropping your blogger friends if you can stand it. Heartbeats stop as quickly as they start and it is just devastating to anyone, but particularly someone who’s been battling IF.

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  7. I love this post :) I don't read a ton of mommy-blogs, and the pregnant-after-IF blogs I keep up with are fairly hand-picked... but I think your comments are really spot-on about the minutea (how do you spell that?) that those folks can end up posting about. I'd like to think that when I become pregnant-after-IF (now, hopefully...), I'll retain some of my individual spirit!!

    That being said, the main reason I started blogging was not to have a central place that nationwide family can navigate to in order to see what our baby's spit-up looks like...I started blogging as an outlet for my journey through IF. So, if you go by that, and God-willing our baby is healthy, I might not have a need for an anonymous emotional outlet. Unless I'm complaining about a diaper brand..HA!

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  8. This was a great post - thanks for sharing! First of all, I was glad to know that others think about their time "on the table" - and if I am ever brazen enough would love to put a pair of lacy panties on top of my clothes. LOL

    As for writing/reading after parenthood - I worry about that a lot. I wonder who will be next and what that will be like for everyone who blogs. I was even worried with our IUI that I would be "excommunicated" from this support net. In the end, our blogging is give and take... and hopefully it continues as long as it is useful for each of us.

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