We’re talking about it, at least a lot more than we used to.
When I was struggling with infertility (I’m still infertile, but it’s a moot point these days), I felt so isolated. I isolated myself.
Of course I knew I wasn’t alone – I’d meet plenty of women at the fertility clinic, faces that I’d barely scan and could only recognize as if in a nightmare – I didn’t dare recognize myself.
Our infertility journey began eons ago, in the early days of the internet, before blogs and long before FB was even heard of.
As time wore on and I ticked off the cycles of failure and loss (and counted needles, so many needles) I found a yahoo email group and forum (remember those?). But by this stage I’d cut myself off from talking to anyone. I’d lurk, but suffer in silence, and I selfishly didn’t offer my support to strangers who were travelling the path I trod for so many years.
Only at the end did I come out of the infertility closet, so to speak, to talk about things openly with people other than family and close friends – I even got involved in organizing an event and media to support infertility awareness.
Then our long and winding journey became one of adoption and I tried to put infertility behind me. There was a new online support group to join and I ended up becoming involved on a national committee for a while, promoting adoption awareness and fundraising for orphans. I became absorbed in the busyness (and normality) of parenting. I breathed.
When I started blogging I didn’t know how much I’d reflect on our experiences of infertility and pregnancy loss – I’d already written a memoir that languishes in the bottom drawer, although I have shared some excerpts here. I don’t know if it is still my story (or the one I want to tell). I don’t know what to share. I don’t want to bore people like a broken record. Blessed with two beautiful adoptive kids I question my right to write at all.
Yet our struggle has shaped me and I was always going to draw upon it in my writing. It’s my duty to do it. My gift maybe?
What I didn’t know was how many others would be brave enough to write about their experiences of infertility and pregnancy loss. So. Much. Loss.
I certainly don’t feel alone anymore.
I do feel in awe of the strength of so many bloggers who’ve shared their stories. Lauren my heart breaks for you and your poor stillborn babies and all the losses of your infertility journey. Sonia, how you endured repeated pregnancy loss in the midst of so much physical pain is beyond me. Kelly, four miscarriages in a row is a burden no-one should have to bear. Aroha, Aleney, Eva, Jody the list of us goes on.
I think I have unique experience (each of us does, even if my story is more complex than most) to provide insight into the gamut of emotions that accompany infertility and pregnancy loss (and adoption as the story goes).
I have the gift of perspective too, from the long time that has passed, the losses and the gains that have come my way, as they do in life.
While a huge number of bloggers chart the day-to-day drama and heartache of infertility and IVF and far too many words have been written, yet failed to convey the enormity of soooo much loss, I’ve stayed mostly silent, wordless, reflective.
I came late to the blogging party and who knew but an American blogger called Melissa with a site called Stirrup Queens (appropriate for the IVF rollercoaster) maintains a blog-roll in which 3196 blogs are linked up, believe it or not, in 52 categories (covering infertility and all its variations, pregnancy loss and its litany of sorrow, adoption in its frustrating complexity, and post-all-that parenting and surviving or not).
What could I possibly add?
Yet almost 18 years after our journey began, coming up to 16 years since the loss of my only pregnancy, I can’t help but want to write, to connect. We’re approaching the 10th anniversary of adopting our daughter, and still there are things I want, need to say.
But mostly I want to connect, to share our insights, heal with each other. And so I want to set up a monthly link-up on Infertility & Pregnancy Loss. I’d love the link-up to be a place for solidarity, hope and wisdom gained. I’d love it to be space for perspective, even when the grief never really goes away.
There may be many other words out there in the blogosphere, but this can be our shared space, once a month, to remember. (I’d like to start on 18 August, the anniversary of my ectopic pregnancy loss – link up a post, new or old, perhaps share a story of a friend or family member, with permission, and let’s be there for each other and those that read and draw comfort).
Meanwhile linking up with Essentially Jess for another lovely IBOT (and realising I’ll have to work out how to actually DO a link-up).
PS – love your feedback on my new (and still evolving) blog design. Check out my home page for the fancy, schmancy slider I managed to create (should mention I also managed to crash my site altogether at one stage!). Let me know if it loads slow. X