So close,yet so far away

When I signed up for NCLM, I did it because I thought it would motivate me to comment. Mel's exhaustive (and exhausting) list of 200+ blogs thrilled me and though I hardly needed any additional feeds, I jumped in enthusiastically. At first. As I started to click through the blogs on the list, I found most of them very hard to comment on. I don't know what to say to women still battling, and the language of infertility is a tongue I no longer seem to know.

It's been almost three years since I last did any sort of treatment. I was a treatment slacker back in the day anyway, with an indifference to protocols and a distinct lack of care when it came to scientific terminology. At least back then I was in the middle of it there was the occasional glimmer of recognition when blog-reading.

When I come across a new infertility blog, it is hard for me to recall that part of me. That is not to say that I've got my kid now and my past has been erased, but I feel like I have lost that connection with infertile women who have yet to be mothers (by whatever means). I'm sure they feel the same about me - it is hard to come up with much to say about babies and toddlers when you have yet to have that experience. I always felt that way before P arrived.

The added difficulty is that the infertility blogging circle has widened greatly. Obviously this is great because it signifies increased awareness and community, never a bad thing. I clicked through blog after blog and no name was familiar to me. None of the commenters names were familiar, yet there were thirty or forty for each post. Back in the old days, I felt as if I knew of most IF bloggers, though I certainly didn't read or comment on all of them. It's really odd to be a part of an online community for a number of years (ok, 3 1/2), and find yourself moving from the inner rungs to the very outer circles without ever noticing your gradual marginalisation.

I suppose this is what happens when you achieve the main objective of that circle and you edge further and further away from what you once were. Before my successful IVF I defined myself as an infertile. Now I'm a mother who sometimes forgets this previous identity, a former self whose acquaintance I am rather happy to leave behind.

I got an email today from a good friend in my Mums and Hellbeasts group. THE email. You know the one - "Hi, I'm pregnant with number 2!" Three years ago this would have decimated me. Well, I guess technically I wouldn't have known her since we met through this group, but nonetheless...When I read it my heart didn't sink, I didn't get teary. However, it still made me sad. I'm happy for my friend of course, but there is still a sliver of Her around reminding me that this feeling will never completely pass. I may not be able to expound on ECM, FSH and luteal phases with all of the women still trudging on through, but unfortunately I will always know the sting when those words are said.


DD said...

As one who feels like one of the last of the "old timers" to finally get close to this point, I really miss that community of yore. Even I feel out of the new loop, and miss very much those who have either had their children or who have decided to stop treatment. Those were the women I "knew", and to be honest, I don't know if I have the emotional bank to keep investing in the newer blogs.

For those who will stop by and see this comment, I hope they understand that I'm not being a bitch about it. It's just that I've learned over the past three years if I can't be honest, then I shouldn't be blogging.

Excellent post, Pru. I may have to just pick this one up for later.

Tash said...

I'm v. new to this bloggy biz, but even I kinda get what you're saying: I'm always stunned to stumble across a blog I'd never heard of, voices I'm not familiar with, a story I've yet to encounter. And even though we're all in the same boat, through in a good dollop of teh Jesus, and I might as well be reading a blog in Swahili and have no idea what to say at the end. I guess I'm usually just thankful that they have a supportive audience, too.

But I also like reading stuff that has nothing to do with "it", especially when it's well written (see: YOUR BLOG). But sometimes I don't know if people appreciate the comments when they come from my side of the tracks. Well, not YOU obviously, but those occasional call-outs for information on something pregnancy or toddler related -- do I chime in? Even though they're going to get one helluva whallop when they click over and find out what it is I write about?

Sorry I'm so far behind on the comment leaving, I haven't even done Music Monday. Pathetic, this summer. No time for moi.

Tash said...

that should be "throw" not "through," and that's the second time I've made that typo in 24 hours, stone cold sober.

orodemniades said...

Yup, me too. I try to keep up, but to be honest a lot of times there just isn't the personal connectiuon - although I do feel an affinity for older infertile bloggers. And the snarky ones.

I'll be falling even more behind now that I'm working (feeties go 'ow'), and since I only have dialup after 9pm, well, I won't be around much apart from the weekends, provided I'm not working then.

Jenn said...

That's the main reason I didn't sign up for NCLM. I did the one time when it was like a week or so and I struggled then with the same issues. And I hate the thought of leaving a comment on someone I don't know's blog that's still going through treatment and have them click through to my blog and see pictures of my boys. That's gotta hurt.

Juliebird said...

Check. I definitely relate here. Both to feeling like IF is far in the past and I did somehow leave it behind irretrievably...and also that I still feel a sting when I get Announcements. (Even as someone who is, you know, pregnant with #2.) I think my jealousy is permanently with me--but I'm prone to that anyway.

May said...

yep, feeling pretty marginal over here, too. I mostly stick around to try and support people on extended bedrest, because man does that suck.

Kristi said...

I don't know if it's because I just did an FET in March to conceive #2 and #3 or because of another reason, but I still feel very connected to IF bloggers. Of course, most of the ones I read now have been lucky enough to conceive finally or adopt, and I read very few new ones.

Though I have a daughter and two more kids on the way, I still feel infertile on the inside, which I know must sound completely batshit crazy. I don't feel like I've left that part of my life in the past, or that I can't conjure up the appropriate feelings to relate to those just starting the IF journey. For me, it's really been more of a "once an IF, always an infertile" kind of experience.

Betty M said...

I think that moving through the rings things works in most communities - blogs, message boards, Mums and Hellbeasts groups - you get to the next stage and move on, I have seen it happen in all 3. I can't forget where I have been though I feel less able to know what to say to people who are at the start.
I found a couple of new people to read in NCLM though - mostly in the pregnant after IF or snarky cow categories which are the most after my own bent I suppose.

I still get stung too. I feel a fool when it happens but there you go - one of life's shittier moments.

Lut C. said...

I don't 'do' new blogs. I don't have the time or energy, and I don't feel guilty because there are plenty of women just as new to IF to support each other.

Like you, I feel a tinge of sadness when I hear about others moving on to number two without effort.

Cass said...

Me too. I wonder how my blog relationships will change if/when we cycle again - is there something about being in treatments?? But also I think I developed connections to people, and between that and the rest of my life and two small and demanding people hanging on me - I don't have a lot left to give new (to me) bloggers. But that's okay - we're at different stages. What's funny (or else exposingly selfish) is that I'm more likely to think that WE'RE the center and they're the periphery than the other way around. I guess we each have our own perspective - where you're looking from has an impact on what you see and all that.

electriclady said...

Yup, yup. Like lut, I don't read new blogs either--I just don't have much to say to newbies. I do try to keep up with other ladies with wonky uteri, but the regular IF blogs, I figure there are plenty of others out there to support them. I do kind of miss the days when we all basically knew each other, or at least you'd recognize all the other commenters on a post.

Oh, and re: your upcoming plane trip? Portable DVD player. We let BG melt her brain with Blue's Clues and it was the only way we survived the trip back. That and the chemical- and HFCS-laden cookies they were passing out on the flight. Yum!

kate said...

I'm totally not an old-timer, but I can feel you on relating to the intimate workings of a cycle. I think I've finally truly come to terms with the fact that I'm officially off the trying-wagon without ever having gotten on, at least in any serious way. 18 months of trying and peeing on things and wishing, and I throw my hands up and move on to something more concrete. Then again, I hear law school is just about as expensive as uninsured IVF, though the success rates might be higher (and can reasonably be influenced by your own hard work, whereas IVF is a fucking crapshoot at best). Anyhow, it feels weird to read blogs of people who are still on the merri-go-round, while I, like the big fat chicken that I am, stepped off completely. Just weird.

And maybe someday, I'll actually try again, but for now, I feel like the kid who was part of the team but then got bored and went to play by myself. And now, I'm standing with my nose pressed against the glass, wondering if I made the wrong choice.

MoMo said...

I hear what you are saying--I tried to read new blogs but I just can't get there-although I am following 1 in particular right now. I think b/c she's been so supportive with P#2. When we started treatments again for #2, I wasn't sure how everyone was going to feel, but I got a lot of support from my readers. I think because at one point or another we all think about if we should go down this road again.

I do miss those days when I recognize the names in the comment section--it was such a small community-as you said you felt like you knew everyone's story.