Thursday, January 27, 2011

it's all i can write

Each of us have felt this at some point during our journey - the feeling of being outside of a circle and not knowing how to sympathize or respond. A string of pregnancy announcements comes along while we are dealing with a failed cycle. A few of our friends are experiencing losses on the same week we find out the gender of our baby. It happens to all of us.

I am grateful to those of you who, despite achieving pregnancy or becoming mothers, have stuck around to support me. But there are some who haven't. In the same sense, there are times when I simply cannot be there for those who are pregnant or new moms, not even so much because it's painful, but because I don't understand. I can't relate to those experiences, so I don't know what to say. Sometimes, the only response I can come up with is nothing. Sometimes, I can only reply "Congratulations on reaching ___ weeks in your pregnancy!" before I sound like an insincere, broken record. (And, for the record, I'm very sincere. It's just all I know to say.)

And it's no ones fault. None of us are to blame, or all of us are to blame. We all do it. We don't comment on a blog post about a difficult pregnancy or reach out to someone going through a tough time with their child because how can we relate? We don't offer words of encouragement to someone still battling with infertility because we have survivors guilt. We do all of these things to protect ourselves and one another.

But in the end, are we only causing more pain?

50 comments:

A said...

you know i feel the same way from what i wrote yesterday! sometimes one of the reasons that i feel so speechless on newly-pregnant formerly-IF blogs is that it seems like they have NO rememberance of what it used to be like. like they don't even MENTION it and instead only post about their pregnancy and/or baby and how great it is (especially when they get past the 1st trimester). i guess i don't want people to dwell in the (not so fun) past, but that is one reason why i feel alienated- like they don't even remember what it used to feel like to look at pregnancy blogs.

i'm sure this isn't the case, and like i said, i don't want people to always dwell on the past, but every now and then a little reflection on where they are now versus where they used to be would be welcomed...

manymanymoons said...

I think all we can do is our best to be be happy/show comfort/have understand/send love/etc. No one can ask more of you than that and I truly think everyone understands that sometimes you just don't have those things to give at the moment.

*Jelena* said...

I haven't been in this blogosphere long enough to know whether and what I would write to someone who has beaten IF, but I do know that in RL I feel crippled. When my brother told me his g/f was pregnant I didn't say "Congratulations." I just said "Okay." It took me a few hours until I realized that they should be happy, and not sad because of me, so I congratulated them. It made both me and them feel well, so yes, I'm going to say that we do cause more harm and pain if we "protect" aka ignore one another.

serenity said...

It's always hard to know what to say when you can't really understand. But it's nice to get a virtual hug anyway, even if the commenter feels like she's saying the same thing over and over.

As a commenter, I really try to not comment ONLY when it's something where I really disagree and can't politely do so without seeming to judge. Or if it's too painful for me to read (lately it's been surprise pregnancies where I have a hard time commenting).

Still though. You raise a really good question about our responsibility to each other in this community. Very thoguht provoking.

xoxo

Arlyne said...

I hope you know that I am & always will be there to support you. You are never far from my thoughts & I completely understand not being able to relate. xoxo

christine said...

What a good post. I think it expresses perfectly how we have all felt at one time or another. I deal with it my personal life too when trying to a friend who wants #2 and is expecting it to happen on the first month. Um...I hope it happens for you?? Sometimes we just won't have the perfect thing to say and that's all right. It's impressive to say anything at all!!

Rebecca said...

I find myself in the same place sometimes. I try to come up with something to say and I know it sounds trite. Sometimes I don't feel comfortable commenting because I'm afraid it will remind the person of my situation and may make them feel worse.

Generally, though, I think that I just try to be supportive and understand when those who are in different situations can't figure out what to say -- because I know there are times when I truly can't.

Kakunaa said...

I think you are so right. There are days when I feel that my comments might cause more harm than good, coming from the place where I am now.

And there are times I can't read certain things, just like before.

No one can be supportive 100% of the time. We all have our own demons to fight, and we do that the best that we can. To be dismissive of that would be more harmful than attempting to comment on everything we read even if we are feeling removed. We all do our best, and that's all any of us can ask.

The point of our community is to be supportive through all aspects of our journey, and for it to be a cathartic experience as best it can. That means self-preservation sometimes.

someday-soon said...

I think you do a great job at supporting those of us lucky enough to make it to the other side of IF. It is understandable that sometimes you can't read or comment. I remember how I use to feel reading pregnancy or new baby updates...and I think you are so strong!

Glass Case of Emotion said...

I agree with Kakunaa. It's so hard. I can say, as someone still in the trenches, it hurts when people who are pg stop commenting. But, I imagine if I ever do get pregnant/ adopt a baby whatever, it would hurt if people that I liked stopped commenting. I just don't know what that feels like. But I think I can certainly relate to being supportive and not being able to know what to say. And other days, where I need to stay off blogs all together. Tough stuff!

EC said...

I think it is hard. I always try to congratulate newly pregnant bloggers, but after that, I think my comments start to dwindle. I'm happy for them, but it's like you said - I can't really relate. I think that's ok, though, in some ways, because they are in a different stage of their lives, and the type of support they need is different. Some that are newly pregnant continue to need support, while others don't. At the time time, I think there are limits to how much we can give, and that's ok, too.

Christa said...

Every time I'd get pregnant I'd be scared of offending anyone. When I'd lose the babies I'd be mad at all those bloggers still pregnant or those who'd moved onto parenting with me. I have my own neuroses about blogging, commenting, and sticking with those whose journeys made me uncomforable to follow or support.

I hope you do what makes you happy and/or comfortable. Don't force yourself to cheer someone on when it makes you hurt. But your strength and committment to this community has been incredible, Katie.

I promise to never stop supporting you, whether I'm a parent or continued infertile. You're the best. :)

Gurlee said...

I am here, I read all the time but don't always comment or even blog lately for that matter. The IF community is a tough place to be. I have found it difficult to get where some people are coming from and therefore have a difficult time commenting. I think it is understandable and if it's not..then, whatever.

Another Dreamer said...

I feel that way sometimes, and wonder. I know I have low points, where I'm not blogging or commenting like I used to. Where I don't have the emotional reserve to deal with things. We all do. I try my best to comment, but I know I struggle with it sometimes. I read along and try to comment, but I don't always have the words. It's even harder as I move to a different path, and everyone I follow moves onto others as well.

Whitney said...

one of the hardest parts of infertility is the being left behind by those who were once in your shoes. on the one hand, you are especially excited for them, knowing how long they waited. on the other hand, you wonder why their journey with infertility is ending and you are still smack dab in the middle of it. it is hard for me to understand how these women seem to so quickly forget what it was like. it seems to me they should be the ones who are the most understanding of all, but often times they become those same people who they used to despise! complaining about their pregnancy... whining about gaining weight... griping about their kids...

when dealing with infertility, silence is hard to handle. I appreciate well-meaning comments, even if people don't always say the right thing. but the silence is most painful when it comes from those who understand exactly how much that hurts. I guess one thing I have learned from this experience is that I always want to support individuals who struggle with infertility, whether I am struggling myself or not. A kind word goes a long way.

Secret Sloper said...

It's so tough, and I don't know the answer. I keep up with the pregnancies of everyone I met while they were infertile, but I can't always comment. I am always reading and caring, though. Just as I always am for you, too!

kkasun said...

You are so right.

There are so many times I read and blog and am all most in tears for the person, but I don't leave a comment because I don't know how to relate, what to say, or I am scared I might say something offensive.

I try to always remember that when people do say something that comes off wrong, insincere, or offensive that it is coming from a good place. But everyone might not do the same.

Also, with IF blogs in particular, it is touchy stuff, stuff that can literally impact and change people's lives, it's hard to know what to say.

But thanks for starting the discussion, I have felt this way a million times, but couldn't put it into words as eloquently as you have.

Dawn said...

This is a great question. Sometimes I hesitate to comment because I don't know if I'm going to end up causing the poster pain or annoy them.

I'm always reading, praying and cheering for those with IF. It makes my day to read that someone has gotten a BFP, and it also makes my heart break to hear when someone is hurting, or suffering a loss.

I will NEVER forget how I felt to not be able to get pregnant, but I try to not think about it anymore. I let IF rob me of the innocence and joy of my pregnancy. And so far motherhood has been very bittersweet. I cry when they grow out of their clothes because I know having another baby most likely won't be a possibility. I beat myself up because I feel like I might not be soaking up every moment the way that I should. So, I've decided that I need to let it go and just enjoy it.

I think we all need to realize that ultimately we are all human beings and that we need to be empathetic to each other's feelings.

Do I Have to Be a D.I.N.K.? said...

I hear you...I have such a hard time knowing what to comment sometimes that I just don't comment.

foxy said...

It may be really selfish, but to be totally honest, I blog for myself. I read and comment because it feels good, reassuring, constructive, to me.

When I write my posts, I am not thinking about an audience of other bloggers, I am focused on saying the things that need to be cleared from my head, that need to be organized into words and sentences so that I can grapple with their meaning in some sort of rational way.

When I read blogs, I am finding comfort in the stories of others, knowing that I am not alone, that there are others treading water nearby me. Just knowing that they are there, and that their experience resembles mine, and that their words help me find my own, gives me such incredible comfort.

When I comment on blogs, it is more often than not as a place where I am processing what they have written. Comments, for me, are so often a place where I am reflecting on the thoughts and feelings that come up for me when reading a post, a place where I can test out my reactions by putting them into words. And yes, I do consider the blog author when I am leaving comments, but I really the process of commenting is so very therapeutic, for me. (I know that there is a lot of encouragement to comment as a way to support one another, and that is great, but I don't feel 'pressure' to comment for that reason alone.)

interesting post, and very interesting discussion. It does makes me reflect on the reasons why I might choose to put more thought into my audience when I am writing. Yet, after reflecting, I have to stand behind my selfish reasons for blogging. I need this outlet, we all need this outlet. And simply by being here together we are supporting one another.

We each have enough on our plate that an expectation to consider every other perspective is just too much. It is my opinion that we actually best serve the community when we write for ourselves, when we are honest and truthful about our experience. and when we comment sincerely and with compassion, not because we feel burdened with the responsibility, but because we are moved by the post that we have read.

Katie - Your words move me.

Elizabeth said...

I hope you don't mind, but I think I'll put this post as a link in one of my next blogs. There are days when I have a total loss for words and I don't want to be rude & not comment, but I really don't know what to say! So thanks for saying - what (duh) I haven't been able to say.

Crossed Fingers said...

You're right - it's hard on both ends and sometimes I feel like an "impostor" when I reply to someones blog. I offer sympathy and support but wonder if it's viewed as pity instead or if the reader says "Oh like you would understand - you got what you wanted." I'm sure it's all just in my head...

I do truly root for everyone who is still trying and I cheer with them when they succeed and cry with them when it's another failed cycle. I remember the frustration and even though I'm out of it doesn't mean I don't still remember.

suchagoodegg said...

I have lost a ton of readers and commenters since getting pregnant. And I totally get that. When I was battling IF, I watched dozens of bloggers get pregnant and there were many stretches—most especially during my break months with cysts—that it became painful for me to read their posts and to comment. Similarly, I stopped doing Twitter altogether b/c it became a place for the newly pregnant to complain about their symptoms or rejoice in their milestones.....total understandable but also totally NOT what my broken heart/psyche needed to read day in and day out.

I still follow my IF sisters and comment on their blogs. I haven't forgotten what it's like to be in the trenches. I hope and pray every day for miracles for all of us.


Awesome, thoughtful post, as usual. xoxo

Adele said...

I know. I feel that way often. I think we have to trust that women who have made it to the other side - but who have spent any amount of time HERE - will understand.

mamalj said...

I love your blog. I love how you're real, how you can acknowledge both sides of a situation, and how you are comfortable with what you're longing for. You show no shame in the situation you're in, and your frankess amazes me. :)

Nice to meet you.

ifcrossroads.com said...

I find myself not commenting more and more these days ... worried that my continued presence in the ALI community isn't necessarily a comfort but more of a slap in the face. What you muse is something I often wonder: at what point are just causing others more pain than help.

AL said...

thoughtful post, it's such a tough subject.

I've bounced back and forth between the groups over the past year - from pregnant, loss, back to ttc, to pregnant, ectopic, back to ttc, then pregnant again and I hope someday to be on the mom side of things. I have lost readers and gained readers and lost them again. I get that people can't read about pregnancy some days, I've been there myself. Now that I'm pregnant (hopefully with one with a baby at the end..), I have noticed that I'm still commenting on some blogs of women still waiting, yet they aren't doing the same on my blog. I feel the same, sometimes I just don't know exactly what to say b/c I can't relate, but I do try to leave a comment to let them know I'm still there, still cheering them on. As you said, it definitely goes both ways. I am grateful for those that do still read and comment and on the ones that don't, I wonder are they bothered that I still comment? Do they wish I would stop? It's awkward and unsettling.

Anyways, it's just one of the really hard parts of this community for all involved.

I struggle with it, I think we all do. I write honestly about my journey ~ the good, the bad, and the ugly. For me, and for others who go through the same things so they know that others felt the same in similar shoes. And, I continue to comment on blogs of women that I connect with.

Kelly said...

You couldn't have put your feelings into words any better than this.

Stephanie said...

It's hard to know what the right thing is. Ultimately you can only do what is in your heart. People understand if you aren't up to leaving a positive comment one day or if you need to quit following a blog for a while. Those that have been through it know. We will always be there to support one another even if we can't show it all the time.

The Steffens said...

I think you're never obligated to comment on someone's blog. People primarily blog for themselves and if you want to say something, do it. If not, no big deal. I don't ever expect comments - unless I'm complaining about someone, then I really appreciate when people back me up and chime in that said person is a horrible person :)

And you know what, even if you DO relate to what someone is going through, it's still hard to come up with something to say. I feel like an idiot after a while when all I can say is "hugs" How often can I say that? But at the same time, what else is there to say when someone has bad day after bad day? I can't bring myself to say "Next cycle will be your cycle!" because, well, maybe it won't be. There aren't always happy endings in IF, and I can't bring myself to pretend that there are. So if you don't want to comment, don't. I don't see why anyone should feel obligated to say anything if they don't have anything to say.

amiracle4us said...

Finding a balance between supporting a pregnant women and not hurting yourself (and vs. versa) can be impossible at times. I feel people that don't stay to support the IF friends don't get judged bc they move to this pregnant world, but those that are battling with IF, do get judged if they aren't overly excited and involved in the pregnant persons journey. Is that fair? Who gets hurt there? I think the IF person gets hurt twice-becaue they see another person acheive what they are fighting to obtain and lose a friendship at the same time. Not so say just bc one gets preg the friendship has to be over, but it will change. the IF person stays were they are still fighting, the preg person moves to this new relm the IF person doesnt fit into...hugs..

Anna said...

I'm so sorry. I'm going to try not to be one of "those" bloggers. I think it's important, too, to do what you need to do for yourself. Even if it means not following people anymore if it's too hard. I always struggled with this feeling of obligation to those people who moved on. I really wish I could have let them go and moved on instead of torturing myself with reading about their pregnancies, labors, and baby issues.
(((HUGS)))

PS- I gave you an award. :)

amiracle4us said...

I gave you an award...come look :)

Lovin Ma Soldier said...

Check out my blog Sunday for your blog award :)

Hope said...

I feel that way a lot. I try to say what is in my heart, but often I find myself just repeating some version of what everyone else says. When I haven't been through what the other person is going through, there is only so much I can say.

Thank you for writing about this tough subject. I think you hit the nail on the head with this post.

(I found your blog from a link on the Deep Breath Before the Plunge.)

Browniris said...

I'm glad that you don't mind me visiting your blog still...sometimes I wonder if I make people uncomfortable because my situation has changed so much.

Rachel said...

What a wonderful & honest post! And great question. It's hard to know the right thing to say to someone experiencing something we have no clue about. But you're right... personally I don't want to sound insincere, it's just hard to relate sometimes... and difficult to show your joy for someone when you're sad for yourself! Thank you for the post!

Stefanie Blakely said...

Sweet Katie, the number of comments on my blog dropped when I got pregnant for this exact reason & I never blamed anyone who couldn't read anymore.

It's ironic- as someone who did get pregnant I sometimes worry that my comments on IF blogs are viewed as insincere, and the response is like, "How the hell does she know how I'm feeling?! She has a baby!"

I think that current IFers have trouble commenting b/c of the pain and "former" IFers have trouble b/c of the guilt.

erika said...

My way of coping with the status changes is to focus on the amazing friendships I have been making on here. The support I have been getting here for dealing with IF and for staying on the surface has been tremendous. But, I don't have a huge network, so I am only commenting on blogs where I feel I have a good connection to. This is not easy. Not from either side, be it IF, RPL, PAL, PAI, we are all deeply hurt by the struggle in a way, and it is not easy to navigate on either of these waters.
Much, much love your ways!

Ashley said...

Katie-

It's perfectly okay that you don't want to/or are not sure how to comment on certain blogs. As someone who "beat IF" (can you really ever beat it?) like A said, I probably don't talk about IF as much as I used to because well frankly, I strived for 4 years to be pregnant and now that I finally am I want to enjoy it and not dwell on the past, but please remember that I have DEFINITELY not forgotten what it took to get here.
And for those who are still struggling for a bfp or who are going through the adoption process, I think that someday, you will feel the same.
Still praying for you Katie!

Tillie said...

I swear you took some of the words out of my mouth...it's rough and hard to always be happy for people who have what we want/crave/need...I hope that they understand...but sadly I don't think many do. <3 you!

lowfatlady said...

I think you can only do what you are strong enough to do and I don't fault anyone for it. I appreciate comments even if they are the same thing week after week. I hope that my blog entries aren't too horrible to read.

Alex said...

Such a great post. I also sometimes do the canned comments on super happy prego posts - because I don't know what else to say! I think we have to protect ourselves, as we all are going through our own battle. I still follow prego people - I consider these people my friends - doesn't even occur to me to walk away. But sometimes it's hard, I know for you too.

One Cycle at a Time said...

I can see what you're saying. I too feel like an outsider more often than not...

By the way, I nominated you for an award on my blog! :-)

Debbie said...

hey! It's Debbie (deb2go on twitter)! I have no idea how you got blocked, but I promise you didnt do anything wrong. I have un-blocked you.

No Baby Ruth said...

You are so right. Sometimes all it takes is, "I don't know quite what to say because I haven't been there myself, but please know that I'm thinking of you." The silence is worse, for sure.

Jen said...

I think this is a great question too; sometimes I feel like a comment from me would not be comforting but just another slap in the face. Like," I don't want ((hugs)) from her and her damn BABY! " I find myself commenting less and less on everyone's blog. I am not really sure why.

I continue to read and love your writing. But you are right; I don't really know what to say and feel like silence is better sometimes. Maybe it is....but maybe not. Ugh.

Erin said...

Oh Katie, I hate that feeling. I felt that way for so long, and even now? I still feel that way. I feel like an outsider in the IF community because I have babies. Who wants support from the girl with twins? And I feel like an outsider amongst other moms who are already planning their next pregnancies.

Anyhow, I just want to say that I'm still here even when I'm quiet a lot. Always thinking of you!

Ryan and LeDawn said...

stumbled upon your blog and this post was perfectly written. we delt with infertility for over 4 years. I have endometriosis - did surgeries, drugs - the whole bit. And by the grace of God I am now pregnant. But those 4 years were torture. And I purposly didnt attend showers, comment on blogs...etc because it stung. But the worst part was when friends would stop talking to me once they got pregnant or adopted. It's as of they didnt want to hurt my feelings, but it hurt more to be ignored. And I know that unless you have dealt with infertility you have no idea how it feels and most of the time nothing someone says can make it better and they try and unintentionally hurt feelings. It's a cycle, a process. One I wouldn't wish on anyone, even my worst enemy! I am so glad I found your blog and congrats on all the exciting things. :) Sorry this was probably a jumbled mess of randomness. but I just felt I needed to say thank you! :)

Pix said...

you give the most you can, when you can. it's a perfectly valid motto to live by and you shouldn't be apologetic for following it. i think that's the beauty of the blogosphere, and one of it's strengths.