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!