Friday, June 10, 2011

Comment whore shipwrecked on a desert island

Twenty three plus of the writers of  blogs on my blog roll, I met on Baby Center around 2007 - 2008. In fact most of those twenty three plus I met in the first year of my trolling around on BBC looking for ideas, support, advice, a clue!  At least one other I met on another Yahoo group. Many  of them are now Facebook friends - in fact I have a lot of FB friends who all "know" each other even though  most of us have never met. We were all in various  stages of TTC from 2007 - 2010. In the early days I commented on people's posts on BBC, I kept track of where every one was in their cycle and made appropriate remarks; I was invested in the people who stuck around and who were there for me. One day I came home from seeing the movie Happy go Lucky at the movies feeling anything but carefree and experimented with setting up a blog out of some kind of dull desperation. I only wrote a small post and would probably have taken my sweet time to come back to it, but An Offering of Love commented on it, and spurred me on to write something more than just a throwaway post.

I have always prided myself on being a caring and careful commenter both on BBC and blogs, as well as FB. On FB, I don't just tell people Happy Birthday, I make it into something fun and witty and make sure that I am saying something that speaks to the person. I do the same on birthday cards. I never just write the same  boring thing ( one of my co-workers would write the same thing on every sympathy card we ever shared - "May God bless you in this difficult time", which to me is almost as bad as not signing a card at all...)

At some point I discovered Melissa's Stirrup Queens blog and LFCA - it took me a lot of Googling before I figured that acronym out.  I  built up readership and followed others blogs by lolly gagging around on others blogs. I picked up blogs carefully - either because someone had commented on my blog, or something clicked with me in someone's writing, or circumstances. Many of the blogs I read are written by lesbian moms, or women dealing with infertility, loss and adoption - the ALI community. There are a couple of outliers that are random things I like - cooking, knitting, free range parenting, etc. Just like many of you,  I would comment on your  posts, ones that struck a chord with me, ones I was led to by other bloggers.  I did ICOMLEAVEWE and  I would scroll down people's blog rolls looking for interesting blogs. In the old days I would write and ask a blogger if I could put their blog on my list, and then I realized that I didn't need to ask because in a public forum, people want you to read them, they want you to advertise their blogs and they want to hear from you. Blogging and reading blogs was probably my most time consuming activity during the years of TTC and waiting and the 9/10 months of pregnancy. My work was so stressful and busy that I rarely got on or blogged at work, which seems to be the chosen place of most bloggers, so that most of my activity happened on the weekends and evenings.


I don't write a journal; I only did that once in high school and I burnt it soon afterwards ( something I really regret).  I didn't like journaling because basically it was like me talking to myself about how miserable I was and how I needed to get a grip. But the thing I like about blogging is the reciprocation. You don't get that with a journal. Especially when you burn it. I don't think I would have continued blogging had it not been for the community and the comments. I received support during hard times and when there was finally good news there was glee, celebration and more support. 


I have never really wrung out my heart and soul on this blog, I don't think. I gave too many people in real life permission to read this blog, which makes me protective of the people in my life that I care about and disinclined to complain about them or to really say what's on my mind about others. So it is pretty self focused. And now it has become Isobel focused.

I never really addressed the change that most people feel acutely of moving from infertile without baby to infertile with baby. I don't think I felt it so acutely as some. I think that deep down I have always believed that it's my own fault for waiting so long to TTC and I am not a real  "infertile" - just a late and lazy one. When I found out I was infertile because of the likely lousy amount and quality of my eggs, I was really upset, mad and pissed off, but I was also relieved because I had an answer after less than  a year of the first T part of TTC. It still took me  over another year to conceive, but there was something concrete about knowing the source of the problem for me. And having always known we were going to use donor sperm, when I fairly quickly came to the realization that I wanted to use donor eggs, it was not a big leap or a huge loss. At that point anyway. I had already come a long way from my fantasy of having a little Tireegal running around the house. And using donor eggs really took the pressure off my body for me.

Most of the original twenty three plus bloggers that I follow / ed have at least one child by now. Not all; I can think of two that stand out in the heartbreak section that do not. And it is so sucky. Most if not all of the other bloggers I picked up along my way in blogland either have a baby or two or are pregnant. Others are pursuing adoption, a few are choosing to be childless. My blog roll is full of busy moms and a few TTCers. My argument as to why I have so few comments on my blog goes like this:
I don't write much anymore. I don't comment as much any more. I post lots of pictures and that is very hard for the still TTCers to deal with. Most of my fellow moms are really busy and therefore would not be commenting as much.  Bloggers new to TTC or battered and bruised through procedures and losses would not be interested in my story and especially those in the depths of despair would not touch me with a barge pole. I have let many juicy life experiences go past without blogging about them. I have still not written Isobel's birth story. Not that it was traumatic, because it wasn't. The pregnancy - I wrote about that and it was stressful and stressmaking. I haven't written about the swings and dips of being a full time mother, about the changes in our lives since S was laid off, of my identity switching from high anxiety social worker to semi-laid back mom who mumbles and doesn't always get the right noun when she is speaking. I haven't really written about motherhood, except in superlatives.  I haven't written about my thoughts about  having a baby with two donors.  Or about having another child. Except I will say that like many of you, I am torn.

I don't know if I told you this before, but I  am a bit of an I-phone addict. I spent many hours when Isobel was an infant with her on my lap or shoulder, reading blogs, looking at email and Facebook. The sad news would endlessly reduce me to tears. And dealing with my post partum depression and paralyzing fear of SIDs meant that I had to stop reading the really hard news. Which made me feel guilty and mean and privileged.

Recently I realized that I was looking at my I-phone way too much and not paying enough attention to Isobel. Even though I spend most of her waking hours with her, and tend to her endlessly, I would sit with her while she played and just obsessively go through email, FB and blogs. Over and over. I realized that my phone was becoming a bit like a  cigarette.  A crutch to stop me feeling my feelings and thinking my thoughts. It was like having constant chatter in my head but nothing that was of substance or meaning. So I cut back and as I did this I realized how dependent  I had become.  Then a couple of weeks ago I decided to stop. To put the phone down - and as I did that I realized how many times in an hour my mind would stray to my phone and the constant stream of information, connection and gratification I was "missing". I felt terrible for not being truly present for Isobel. And also a little worried about all the radiation I might be exposing Isobel to. So  I left the phone out of the bedroom in a similar vein  to banning the tv from there.  Sometimes  I left the phone at home when I went out. Sometimes I simply forgot it. I had a moment of panic when I realized that I had forgotten it, but I got over it. Since that day, I have been down in my usage and  trying to be  much more conscious about my use of the phone and of my presence in real life moments. I don't want life and my beautiful daughter to pass me by while I am scrolling through Facebook. Even spending so much time reading about all your wonderful important lives was impeding my ability to live my real life too.

So while I explain why I need to be away from the Internet more, I am also wondering where you all are. I know that  sounds weird."Er, I haven't been here, where are you?" Classic borderline personality disorder traits. I get visitors to my web site. Quite a few. Not astronomical numbers, but a fair amount.
Maybe people can't figure out who I am. I don't have a bullet pointed story of my TTC life, or any explanation of where the hell Tiree is and why  I am her gal!  Maybe I am too full of good news? That seems odd, I know, but it makes  a certain kind of sense that the people with the good news don't need as much support and those with bad news need more. Yes, I have a  mostly wonderful real life, and yes, I still need reassurance from an external source.

As for my real life, yes it's quiet and quite hum drum. But also spectacular and wonderful taking care of a tiny being  who demands all my attention and delights in so many small light filled moments. She slows me down and speeds me up.  I have made leaps in my real life life. I need company; I don't do well at home alone.  I have mommy friends and baby friends. I see them a couple times a week. I keep them all together by emailing and texting them and setting up walks and play dates and checking in on people. I am kind of the den mother of my meet up group. I go for walks with Isobel, and S and I do stuff together. My sister is an adoring aunt and sees us about once a week. She comes over for a "fix" when she is missing Isobel.  We have friends that come to visit. I wish we all lived in the same part of town. We are all spread out. I enjoy my quiet down time. I mostly watch tv in the evenings. I need to start looking for a job. I have a to do list that I haven't touched in weeks. My daily routine comprises baby care, house care, laundry, wife-tending and when and where I can get my next latte.

And I also feel compelled to keep this blog going, not just for the reciprocation and the pats on the back and the sharing, but to give Isobel some history, for those moments when she might feel that she does not have enough. It's the same reason we take lots of photos and make up albums and write in her baby book, and keep all the information we have about her donors. The whole family tree, now there's another subject for blogging. Will Isobel put my parents and grandparents on her family tree? And S's parents and grandparents? Of course she will. More of that another time. I promise.
And did I tell you how grateful I am for all of you? I am. Thank you.

13 comments:

Fran said...

My dear dear friend, I'm always so happy to read your updates, even if they don't come often. I understand very well all the difficulties in keeping up with all the blogs and the addiction your iPhone (for me is the laptop) gives you. And the racing heart when you read sad/devastating news. I have that too. Sharing with you the terror of SIDS, I too just could not participate or report on my blog about other bloggers' loss. I feel for me it's important not to lose contact with this mazing community who has been so so supportive during my difficult years. Sure things change, there are many cyberfriends who are now in the parenting blogroll who may write a post every 2 weeks and others who have not updated in many months. I miss them. I want to know how they get on with the baby, I want to know if they have the same difficulties as I have/had how they cope. I miss (though not to the same level) the fact that they don't comment/read my updates anymore. It must be like when I went to college and after the first few months I only remained in touch with one friend from high school. I felt really sad, but I also knew you can't force a friendship, same as I know now you can't force a cyberfriend to blog and be present. Maybe these are the new relationships, but the dynamics have not changed.
Much love, Fran

Illanare said...

I read every post you write and I love seeing photos of Isabel (who is just so cute). I don't comment much any more, but it's not for lack of interest. It's because I feel I have nothing original or insightful to say because, well, I'm not a mother to a living child.
I am so glad you aren't going to step away from your blog, though. I would miss you hugely!

It Is What It Is said...

I have followed your blog for as long as I've been following blogs. As I was reading your missive I shared your thoughts, so much so that I want to pirate this and post it as my own :).

I followed the blogs of others for years before starting my own and mine was born our of the angst of indecision. It is a lot easier to write & find kinship about a struggle than just the ebb and flow of life.

I am guilty of using technology at the expense of being
fully present and it something I'm trying to titrate down. I already regret cycling away my son's infancy with nothing to show for it.

I'm thankful for you and your thoughtful post.
http://itiswhatitisorisit.net/

insertmetaphor said...

It's hard to keep up with everything. I'm slowing down on reading and commenting and our baby isn't even here yet. I think re-prioritizing is essential when you get the beautiful thing you've been writing about for so long.

I'm glad this isn't a closing up shop post - just an acknowledgement of restructuring. I've loved being part of this community with you and hope we know each other for a long time.

glamcookie said...

I value the friendships I've made during my TTC/baby having days, and count you among my closest friends from that time. I'm sorry if I've fallen down on commenting - I definitely read everything and I know how it feels to wonder if people are still following along.

I also totally feel you on the iPhone thing. I often feel guilty about that as well and try to cut back to only going online when baby is napping or at night. It's hard! I love the Internets!

Carrie and MJ said...

I also read every post, and will admit I have been a bad commenter! It is so hard now with the Little Man around to do all of those things I used to (like commenting!) I too love to read comments from others and hate when they are lacking. Keep blogging, and know that you still have readers out there! Enjoy your little one too - summer will be tons of fun this year!

Dreams and False Alarms said...

I think your commenters all went the way mine did--to people still in the struggle. It's very much an angst driven thing. Susan at sprogblogger gets about 4 comments a post, but sue used to get 20!
I have lots of posts in my head, but I need time to let them marinate, and that times all taken up withbabies!

-C- said...

Yes, please keep blogging! I promise we are reading. (pineseedling from the BBBBB boards!)

tbean said...

Always faithfully reading, although time to comment is in shorter supply.

bwub said...

I really love this post. It says so much, and echoes many of my own thoughts and experiences. I blogged fanatically while TTC. It was my greatest hobby at the time. Once my baby came, I tried to keep up, but just couldn't. It's difficult b/c I find that I now only am able to keep up with blog sisters intermittantly. And I miss them. I miss knowing every detail as soon as it is posted. But I still care so deeply for everyone with whom I traveled this journey. And although we don't post or comment on each other's blogs with the same frequency anymore, I am SO very happy for you, your family, and the joy Isobel has brought to your lives.

Mina said...

I stumbled on your blog months ago, and commented a few times. I am guilty of not commenting much on blogs lately, and my blog doesn't get as many comments as it used to. Like you, most of my blog friends are now busy moms or are pregnant. So I definitely understand, especially when I am guilty of the same. I always check in on my favorite blogs, though. I am very invested in my blog friends updates, I have been reading many of those blogs for years now!

I love to read your blog, especially because our little ones are very close in age. I keep writing on my blog because I plan on printing it into a book someday to give to Dylan when he gets older and wants to learn more about how he was conceived. I don't keep an actual baby book, so this is my form of a modern day baby book.

Billy said...

This post.. I could have written it! And you know, I've been trying to read this post for some time, and NOT because it is long.. but because, well baby.... Anyway just like you I don't write here (well in my blog..) often enough and more so I really don't comment enough, though I do read posts (albit always late..), I'm just all the time trying to catch up. And like you, the reason I do update my blog is in thought of Butterfly in the future, if ever she'd want to know...

Thomezz said...

Hi, good post. I’ll definitely be coming back to your site.
Beautiful! You are very talented.