featured post: “Full Circle” via 3 Bed, 2 Bath, 1 Baby

Julia submitted this post of hers (you can do this too by clicking here and filling out the form!), and it’s a great, thought-provoking post about coming full circle.

I would guess that all of us who are PAIL have experienced the feeling of coming “Full Circle” at one point or another. Some people notice it when they have flashbacks at a restaurant they were at during a miscarriage years ago but where they are now corralling their child, some people feel it most around a holiday that used to make them sad but during which they now rejoice, and others (including Julia) experience that feeling of coming full circle when they stop back in to visit one of the people who made it all possible.

I battled a lot about whether I could be strong enough to return to my RE’s office with Ethan. So many emotions ran through me as I drove in to park. In the end, I was thrilled I went, and honestly at peace finally with this part of my journey. I wrote this post to talk about my feelings regarding returning to an office where I felt such pain for many years and finally joy.

I live six hours from my RE, so I’ve never stopped by to see him with Stella, though I’ve often considered sending a thank you card to their office for all they did to help me on my path to motherhood. Consider that added to my list of things to do. 🙂

In Julia’s case, she had this to say about her experience about stepping foot back into her RE’s office:

What I didn’t say was how thankful I was.  I tried to hold back my feelings, and I was concerned that I would cry, but we ended up chatting on a friend level about life, rather than her having to play Dr.  What I didn’t say was how much she impacted my life… she helped me to become what I always knew I was meant to be.  She helped to bring the joy and light of my life into being.  For that I will always be thankful.  Always.

Please head on over to 3 Bed, 2 Bath, 1 Baby to check out more of Julia’s post about her “just cuz” meet-up with her RE! As always, comments here are closed so you spread some comment love on Julia’s blog.

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Julia @ 3 Bed, 2 Bath, 1 Baby in her own words:

After 2 years of Infertility, a miscarriage, and Condo and Apartment Living, Julia and Jon have won the game of life with a 3 bed, 2 bath home, and 1 Baby is now on the scene!

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news item: blogging about your kids

Every once in a while, an article or blog post comes along that totally jives with something I’ve been thinking a lot about. I’ve been in luck lately because there have been several in the past week and a half, all centering around privacy, ownership, agency and parental discretion on the internet

Do you blog about your kids?

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Anyone who’s ever read my blog knows that I do. I blog almost only about my kids, to what is probably the detriment of the rest of my life (although my kids are still little, so there isn’t much else going on around here). For a while, my blog was called “The Adventures of Chicken and Ham.” I wrote about their daily activities, their development, their complete and devastating lack of sleeping through the night all summer. Those stories were also the stories of, respectively, what I did all day, how I felt about them growing up, and how freakin’ exhausted and miserable I was all summer. It was more than overlap– the two were on in the same.

I did have a few restrictions. I never posted nude below-the-waist shots (or even took them, really; there are very few and they’re mostly “creative angles”). I did my best to vent my frustration without ever saying anything that could, in the future, upset my children to read. I tried, and still try, not to label them too much even when it’s positive because they are always changing. And I took down their real names and replaced them, in every blog entry, with nicknames. Still, though, I posted constant photo updates and detailed anecdotes, and for a while that was almost all I ever wrote about. This was the level of comfort I had established with what I wanted to reveal and protect.

But then I did some reading when a few brilliant posts came across my radar… and I locked all my entries up, removed photos from my Twitter, and decided to take a brief hiatus while I made some decisions. I panicked.

My girls are beautiful, smart, witty, funny, and sweet. I truly want to share them with the world. But now, I wonder how much of their story is mine to tell. Do I still feel the same way about blogging about my family as I once did?

Jjiraffe covered this last week with two posts on being original and being authentic (and, though it’s relevant to those blogs but not to this article, if you choose to do additional reading on the topic I recommend her previous post as well on what bloggers do and don’t owe their audiences). Who are we when we blog? What do we share about ourselves and what do we hope others will see? What is the difference between originality and authenticity?

I’ll add another line of questioning here myself: When you write your world, and your world incorporates other people, what do you share about them? How much does the world get to see of your family? Where do you draw the line between sharing your story and sharing theirs?

Most of this stems, for me, from the original article from The Atlantic that I linked above: The Ethical Implications of Parents Writing About Their Kids. The crux of the author’s point is here:

…anyone looking to question the ethics of parental overshare faces a tough audience. The ubiquity of confessional writing has spilled over into confessions that implicate not so much the author as the author’s still-underage offspring. Readers are meant to celebrate confessional parenting-writing for its courage, perhaps also because it is a rare creative (sometimes lucrative) outlet for women who identify primarily as mothers. Yet these parents’ “courage” involves telling stories not theirs to tell. Confessional writing is about risk. An author telling of her own troubles risks her own reputation and relationships. But an author doing the same about her kid risks primarily his, not hers.

I’ll admit to enjoying the “confessional writing” style to a degree. I like its relatability the same way I like Liz Lemon– “I’m a mess so it’s okay that you feel like a mess, too, and I make it fun and cute so it doesn’t feel like a bad thing!”– but I do think sometimes it can be a bit forced. I guess it depends on the skill of the writer. Either way, confessional writing definitely comes with risk, and yes, sometimes that risk is sharing something about a third party who might not want that story to be told.

For a counterpoint to the Atlantic article, here is Lyz Lenz’s take on the situation: Why I Write About My Baby.

… like every first time parent I was consumed. I felt like I had ceded myself and my body to my child. Her story was my story and it still is. So much of her life is about my life. So much of her needs and wants emanate and reciprocate through me. It’s consumed, exhausting, baffling and overwhelming, but it’s my life. This is my story. For now.

She’s already started to separate. Soon she will be two and tell me that she doesn’t need me. She will tell me this over and over until she has her own child and then, she’ll need me again. But by then, it won’t be about me. Parenting has it’s seasons. I write about my child (and my little baby inside) because for now their stories are mine. But soon their stories will be their own and as parents, we need to know that line. In a few years, I won’t be a parenting blog anymore. I will always be a parent, but I will begin to cede ownership of my children’s bodies and lives to themselves.

This, for me, helped me round out my thoughts on the implications of using Facebook as a photo storage facility and my blog as a full-on photo dump and storytelling soundboard. My very young children and their daily adventures are my life, too. I had essentially no filter because my life had no filter– it was babies, babies, all over me, tangled in my hair with sticky fingers, screeching and scratching my face because I’d forgotten to trim their nails. I decided I might need to refine my filter in a more meaningful way so I could be reflective about how I tell my daughters’ stories, because I do feel that their stories have been my story up until now. I’m also trying to find what else I could say when blogging about myself, just myself. Where do I separate from them?

I want to end with this– I have plenty of friends who are very open on their blogs, who post with their full names and their children’s names alongside photos of the family. I assure you, I fully respect that choice! This is not meant to be an evaluation of the “right” level of openness vs. the “right” amount of privacy; as you can see in the links above, there are several different thoughts on the matter. I am definitely curious, though, to learn how you all, like me, came to make decisions about what level of exposure you choose to have in your blog and how you feel it affects your sense of originality & authenticity about your story, and how much of your children’s lives you feel comfortable making publicly viewable. Some of you are fully anonymous, some partially, some not at all; some have locked journals or select entries and others don’t. How did you come to that decision and are you still comfortable with what you decided?

entries and others don’t. How did you come to that decision and are you still comfortable with what you decided?

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How do you blog about your child(ren)? Do you have any rules about what you will and won’t post?

How do you feel about the story you own and blogging about someone else’s life?

Has anything ever caused you to revisit this topic and change how you blog about your child(ren)?

If you have a child who is old enough to have an opinion about your blogging habits, what do they understand about it and do they mind when you blog about them?

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january 2013 – where do babies come from?

Here are the posts for our January 2013 topic “Where Do Babies Come From?” Each of us had a unique path to tread to bringing our children home, and it will be interesting to see how we each plan to share the story. Both the “usual” paths, and the “scenic routes.”

If you mention any specific resources in your post, it would be AWESOME if you could also link us up in the comments on this post. We would love to add them to our Resources area.

In a week, this post will move to the drop-down menu in the pink toolbar, so you can check there to come back and see what you missed. It is never too late to leave a comment.

Suggested Prompts:

  • Have you thought about when your child(ren) might ask the “Where do babies come from”” question and what you might say?
  • Do you plan to talk to them about ALI in general in an age-appropriate way at that time, or wait until they are older? When they ask?
  • Have you thought about sharing your specific infertility/loss experience and treatments with your child(ren)? Why or why not?
  • If you brought your child home through adoption, what will this process look like for you? Have you previously written on this topic?
  • Do you consider the gender of your children to be important in what you share about your unique set of circumstances? Why or why not?
  • How do imagine your thoughts on this topic might evolve over time?
  • Do you have any tips or advice on how to make this topic (general reproduction and/or as it relates to the ALI journey) age-appropriate?
  • Do you have any resources (links, books, podcasts) etc. that you could share in the comments to add to our Resources page?

Contributing Bloggers:

  1. Allison of Allison’s Wonderland says “Mostly I ramble, but conclude that the most important thing when telling Henry the Story of Him is to reinforce how much my boy was wanted, and how loved he is” in her post, Having That Conversation.
  2. Lulu at The Wild Rumpus brings us “…thoughts about telling your son he was conceived in a petri dish, among other things” in her post, Made in a cup, like soup.
  3. Christine from Believing in June “…posted about how creating our daughter through IVF was a really special process for my husband and I, a process that brought us closer together and, we believe, makes Piper’s story all the more interesting!” in her post where my babies come from…
  4. Brittany at Infertile Mormon Mommy shares “Thoughts on what I will tell my kids when they finally ask “Where do babies come from?
  5. Ms. Future PharmD from Mom PharmD lets us in on “The basics on what we’ve told the kid so far about where babies come from.”
  6. SRB of Little Chicken Nuggets explains that babies come out of your butt, obviously, in her post where do babies comes from?
  7. Josey from My Cheap Version of Therapy tells us “How to talk about EWCM with your daughter… err, someday” in her post What Makes a Baby.
  8. Courtney of All the Sun For You shares her policy of “No secrets – just honesty.  Starting NOW” in her post Where Our Babies Come From.
  9. SLESE1014 at Mommyhood After Fertility Frustration tells us that “It wasn’t a stork…
  10. April of R. Sativus says “Where our babies come from isn’t as important as why they’re here.” in her post Where Do Babies Come From?
  11. Keanne from Family Building With a Twist shares a post she wrote last year about her son, surrogacy, and “Telling Him How He Came to Be.
  12. Jules from How I spend my Dash tells us that now she has something to think about in her post Where Do Babies Come From?
  13. Dresden from Creating Motherhood shares The Infertile Version of the “Where do babies come from?” question, including her personal story.

**If we missed you, please give us a link to your post in the comments below (with a short blurb) and we’ll move you to the list above!**

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PAIL book club, vol. 4

This installment of PAIL book club is “Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids” by Kim John Payne.

Whew. How many of us here could use a little simplicity and calmness in their life? *Raises hand.* This is something I worry about. I’m a pretty intense person. My husband would tell you that last sentence was the understatement of the century. And I have actively chosen to try and make intentional times when I am calm, unplugged, zoned-out.

When we fostered a 4-year-old, we had a crash course in just how intense, over stimulated, and crazed kids can be these days. And I recognized that if I was acting crazed and stressed and always ‘plugged-in’ that our 4-year-old would pick up on that and become that way even more. We took some purposeful steps to help our 4-year-old have intentional times when he could experience calmness and just be.

And yet I know, I have to continue to instill simplicity and calmness into my life. I’m plugged in, always going, watching TV, while reading blogs, while returning calls. I think our society tells us that is the way we should be. So I am excited to read this months book. I hope you’ll join us for:

simplicity parenting

If you’d like to participate in the book club, this is how it will work:

1. Fill out the form below to sign up.

2. Pick up a copy of “Simplicity Parenting.” Don’t forget to see if your local library has it!

3. On February 7th we’ll send around an email to all of the participants asking you to send in a question or discussion topic, anything at all you’d like to talk about with the rest of the book club. You don’t have to send a question, but the more people who do, the more jumping-off points we’ll have to facilitate a discussion.

4. The question and topic list will be posted on February 14th.  Then, write a post about Simplicity Parenting on your blog – your thoughts, issues you had with the book, new ideas you got, things that surprised you, anything at all. Your post is due at midnight, February 20th.

5. March 1st we’ll post the list and we’ll have some discuss and share our thoughts!

Important dates:

  • ASAP – buy the book and sign up for book club
  • Feb. 13th – submit your questions and/or discussion points
  • Feb. 14th – complete list of questions will posted
  • Feb 27th – post due to be submitted for the listing
  • Feb 28th– complete list of participating blogs will be posted on PAIL’s main page

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the monday snapshot – SRB

This week, SRB of Little Chicken Nuggets (and one of the PAIL contributors!) is going to open up the week for us with her contribution to The Monday Snapshot – an evolution of the MMM feature, meant to bring the PAIL blogroll to life by giving its members a chance to feature themselves and make new connections.

If you would like to be featured on The Monday Snapshot, please sign-up here!

REMINDER: January Theme Posts (“Where Do Babies Come From?“) are due TONIGHT at midnight! 🙂

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Finally! It’s my turn! This is one of my favourite features at PAIL – a little pick-me-up made of TEH CUTE on a Monday. When T-dog (Traathy, can I call you T-dog?) contacted me for my picture and blurb, she requested a belly shot of TBD. I thought about it, but then I was like “Maaaaaaan…. then I have to put on pants and stuff…” so instead, you will be forced to check out HGB, Pizza Chef Extraordinaire!

"And his mouth was made of pizza! Pizza! Pizza!"

“And his mouth was made of pizza! Pizza! Pizza!”

This learning tower is the BOMB, y’all. He always want to help, see, and cook. Usually we just let him “stir” random ingredients in his little suction cup bowl, but on Saturday we set him up to make his own mini-pizza! SUCCESS! After thoroughly tasting the sauce, he opted for toppings of “brocc!” and “pepp!” and then HE ATE IT.  I am consistently amazed at the things he can do, especially when I give him the chance to try something himself. Mind blowing.

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Now, get to know a little more about SRB with her answers to the Monday Snapshot “5 Questions”:

1) How long have you been blogging and how did you get started?

I started blogging in July 2011, shortly after my son HGB was born. I had quit FB and wanted a place to share photos and stories of him with a few friends and family. I had been lurking ALI blogs for about 2 years though, slowly starting commenting, and then finally adding my URL to the comment form. Shortly thereafter, I slowly started opening up about my own journey. My blog is now a completely different place!

2) Tell us a little about your ALI journey and your family (3-4 sentences):

I began to suspect a problem in 2006 when I went off BCPs and AF didn’t show for a year. PCOS was confirmed in 2008. Two miscarriages later we had HGB, and now a magical, surprise #2 is due Feb. 2013. Crazy times.

3) What makes you unique in the blogging world? (e.g. special talent, rare diagnosis, life experience)?

Before becoming a SAHM I worked in a professional capacity within the disease state of IF, so I have read (and written) a LOT of material on the subject. Oh, I will find you the information you are looking for! I have *thoughts* on this study or that one. 🙂

4) One word to describe yourself:

EMOTIONAL

5) What blog or website (IF or not) would you recommend to others? Why?

Many of my faves have already been mentioned by others, so I am going to go with one I get made fun of for: Lainey Gossip. There! I admit it! I secretly read celebrity gossip! What I like about Lainey though, is she pulls back the curtain so you can see The Wizard at work. Even if I don’t know who half of the people are anymore, it is still endlessly fascinating.

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As always, we want to see your Monday Snapshot as well, so please comment below with a link to your post– and of course, go visit SRB at Little Chicken Nuggets!!

If you would like to be featured on The Monday Snapshot, please sign-up here!

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