september 2013 monthly theme – why we blog

When I started my blog, it was a place to post pictures and hilarious anecdotes about my kid because I had quit Facebook.  I had been secretly reading IF blogs when I was pregnant with him, hoping to find someone mirroring the difficult emotions I was feeling not only being pregnant after experiencing infertility and miscarriages, but also how to cope when you are pregnant and your infertile friend is not. I found a few people that today I call my friends. These people saved my life.

And then… then I starting to write about my journey on my very public, very NOT anonymous blog. I needed to get some of that agonizing weight off my chest. I needed the people in my life to see it. I needed to be recognized. I needed to come out of the shadows. When the PAIL blogroll was first started, I added the button so quickly you would think my life had depended on it. Which honestly, at the time, it did. Even through all of the difficulty in getting this niche space together, I felt very strongly that this space had VALUE. I still do. I always will.

Each of us here at PAIL has a different interpretation of our mission statement. Mine has always been “Just keep talking.” Just keep talking. Or don’t. Or just listen. Or close up shop and move on in a different way. Every path to resolution is valid, as is every path we take with our blogs. You need to do what you need to do to process, to move forward, to heal from this. When I say “just keep talking” I suppose what I mean is that I think it is a disservice to the community as a whole to not talk about what it feels like, IS like, when the baby comes home.  We need to be able to find people further down the path to follow, to lead us through the tough spots, to hold our hands, to cheer us on, to understand.

I am not one to blog about blogging. To be honest, I usually skip posts about it. Ah, but then I entered Blog Identity Crisis #187346 and started to really, genuinely think about my space and what I want to do with it now that I am (99%) sure that family building is behind me. It’s a tricky place to be in, when you feel resolved in your heart, but you aren’t sure how to let go. But I’ll write more about that on my own blog in my submission for this month’s theme.

Suggested Writing Prompts

  • Did you start blogging before, during, or after your journey though infertility/loss/adoption? 
  • Why did you start blogging? What has kept you blogging?
  • When you became a parent did you transition your blog or start a new space? What were your reasons for doing so? How do you feel about your decision now?
  • Have you ever felt pressure to blog about certain things and not others? What influences your writing, if anything?
  • What did you hope to achieve by blogging? Do you feel that you have done this?
  • Why is blogging important to you NOW?
  • What value do you see in blogging the “after”? 

As always, these questions are just a guide. Please feel free to write anything and everything you would like to on this topic in whichever way suits you best. If you have previously written on this topic, feel free to link away in your post, or submit any previous post on the topic as you see fit. And of course, if you do not have a blog of your own, we are happy to hear your thoughts in the comments and will link to your comment in the full post list for all to read.

Entries for this month’s theme are due Thursday, September 26th at midnight, EST. The full list of links will go live on Friday, September 27th.

Please submit your posts using this form:

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the monday snapshot – Jules

Jules of The Quest for Little Lambies. is going to open up the week for us with her contribution to the 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. 

*****

Hi PAIL Bloggers!

I’m Jules, and I blog at The Quest for Little Lambies. Right now my 10 month old daughter Iyla (pronounced “Eye-La”) Grace is definitely keeping me busy and on my toes! She is at such a fun age, where it seems every single day brings some kind of new adventure. Most recently? She has decided to boycott her afternoon naps, which is super awesome. ; )

I am a Realtor and cut back on work once Iyla was born, so am now managing my own business- taking clients on a case by case basis while primarily caring for Iyla. One fun factoid is that in February of 2012- one month before we got pregnant- I was featured in an HGTV “House Hunters” episode with buyer clients of mine. So much fun!

I am working hard to maintain a sense of balance- nurturing myself, my business, my relationship with my husband, and this little family we’ve created. It is a constant labor of love and definitely a challenge! My blog has evolved from a snapshot of our infertility journey to a documentation of mine and Iyla’s lives- sort of an online baby book for her that I hope she enjoys turning back to when she is older

Jules

*****

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

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

I’ve been blogging almost 3 years, and began as an outlet for our infertility journey. We were in the thick of it when I began the blog- about 22 months into the 3 years it took to get pregnant. Reading other women’s blogs who had walked this difficult walk had always given me a sense of hope and community, and I have been so touched by the women who follow my own blog & have been cheering me on from the beginning.

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

I met my husband in 2005 on a blind date from Match.com (it worked!). We wanted to wait a year after our 2008 wedding to start a family, foolishly thinking it would happen quickly for us. It ended up taking us almost 3 years to finally conceive. Those 3 years involved countless cycles with Clomid, Femara, & IUI’s, a laparoscopic surgery that revealed and cleared Stage 3 Endometriosis, 2 Gonal-F injectables cycles- the first of which we conceived but sadly lost the pregnancy early on- and then miracle of miracles, after our 2nd injectables cycle failed we discovered we were pregnant the following cycle, without any interventions. I was absolutely floored, in shock, and overjoyed!

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

One unique bent to my blog that was documented while TTC were the countless psychics & clairvoyants I visited to give me some hope in the midst of despair. They were often the only light at the end of the infertility journey for me. And amazingly enough, many ‘saw’ a strong little girl waiting to come to us, and predicted she would be here by the end of 2012. Which- when my 2nd injectables cycle failed in February of 2012 and I was told by my RE I had to take a month off before trying again- totally saw me swearing off those psychics saying they had ALL been wrong! And then we got pregnant, and had our little girl in November of 2012.

4) One word to describe yourself: 

Resilient

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

I’ve always loved Jesica at “Just Smile and Blog.” She has been on a very similar journey, and had her son in August of 2012- so has always been an excellent snapshot of the upcoming months of pregnancy & child development for me. She also writes in such a candid, honest way that really connects with the reader. Definitely worth checking out!

*****

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 Jules of The Quest for Little Lambies.

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featured post – “the most important thing i want you to know about our open adoption” by mackronicles

Every once in a while, I stumble upon a blog post that hits me in the gut – hard.  It’s posts like this one from Kasey of MacKronoicles that motivate me to be the best mother I can be.  Why? Because she’s honest and her relationship with her son’s parents is respectful and familial.  Talking and living OA as an extension of family is something I LOVE and wish existed in more adoptions.

While everything is GREAT with the relationship we have with our birth family I do have fears of how our daughter will feel when she’s older and wants to have that conversation with her birth mother about why she was placed.  That is a conversation I know will be hard for her to hear and  harder for her birth mother to talk about, and hell while we’re at it, HARD for me to watch her have.  But – they get to have that conversation because of the work we all put into making our family close.  It doesn’t happen this way for everyone, but I think Kacey’s post is a good reminder that fear is always present in adoption but the love we have for OUR child always comes first.

I truly believe that you have to hear everyone’s voice when considering domestic adoption and this post by Kasey is probably one of the best I’ve read in a while.

I hope you will always know that it does not matter what anyone else thinks about your adoption and our family. It doesn’t matter what your future classmates think, what people on the internet think, what people who write movies/TV shows think, or what the guy at the grocery store thinks. It only matters what YOU think. I hope you never feel ashamed to tell someone you are adopted, but I also hope you never feel like you have to explain your adoption to everyone…

ALL OF THAT

Head over to Kasey’s kick-ass post “The most important things I want you to know about our open adoption“.

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Kasey is a wife and mother of two boys, the oldest placed in a wide open adoption. Further self-definitions are still in progress and can be found chronicled at mackronicles.wordpress.com.

the monday snapshot – D

D of My Life is About the Journey is going to open up the week for us with her contribution to the 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. 

*****

Hi friends!  I’m D.  Still keeping it anonymous at the moment since I tend to divulge a little too much information that I’d rather not have my grandma read (yes, she has a Facebook page!).  Going through several miscarriages prompted me to stop one of my life’s passions, running.  No, it was never found that my running caused any of my miscarriages, but I pretty much walked on eggshells during the pregnancy with my son and didn’t so much as eat a slice of lunchmeat.  I wasn’t taking any chances.

Now that I’ve had my son, I’ve started running again, and let me tell you, it ain’t pretty.   Before pee-sticks, ultrasounds, and diapers were even a thought, I was racing several times a month, including half and full marathons.  I even regularly placed in my age group.  After the birth of my miracle baby in April, and almost 2 years of no running, I have become a super slow version of my former running self.  Finding the time to run is another issue because, well, there is never enough.  Finding the energy…ummm, that goes without saying.

My old self would have not have even bothered a run if it wasn’t at least 5 miles at a 7:30 pace.  My new self will take a two miler with baby in the B.O.B, period.  My old self would run 6 days a week.  My new self will take what I can get.  My old self loved the solace of running alone.  My new self loves running with my happily squealing baby in tow.  It is amazingly awesome that I can now experience one of my favorite pastimes with my newest little love, and he doesn’t care how fast I am.  He just wants to cruise with his momma.

D

*****

Now, get to know a little more about 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 back in April of 2012. I was fresh off of my third consecutive miscarriage and had been searching the internet frantically for women who had gone through similar issues. I felt very hopeless and was convinced that I would never be able to have a baby. I found the blog of one girl who had several miscarriages and had gone on to have a successful pregnancy. I found her blog so comforting. I read through all of her old posts in one night. She inspired me to start my own blog about my experience in hopes that I could help give someone hope in the future.

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

I miscarried 3 pregnancies from August 2011-March 2012 and sought the help of a RE who ran many tests (including karyotyping on my husband and I) and found nothing wrong with me (or him). I had very long cycles, so the RE put me on Femara to regulate ovulation, which ended up helping me attain a successful pregnancy on the 3rd cycle. My little miracle boy was born on 4/18/13 and is the light of our lives!

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

Having 3 consecutive miscarriages in itself is pretty rare, or so I thought before I started writing my blog. I think writing about this topic in conjunction with my level of openness and honesty is what makes me unique. I took a very serious topic and chronicled my journey in great detail. It is so amazing that I have connected with so many other women who have gone through similar events. I have gotten several emails from women who write to say that I have helped to give them hope. This makes me feel like writing the blog was worth it!

4) One word to describe yourself: 

Determined

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

I could recommend Waiting to Expand. I found Cassie’s blog right when I first started writing my blog. I love that her posts are full of emotion and she shares so many of the details of her struggles with loss and infertility and talks about complicated and tough subjects.

*****

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 D of My Life is About the Journey.

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featured post: you blissed-out moms are ruining futures

I used to volunteer with a youth group. And occasionally I would just be hanging out with the young women of this group and I would feel the need to lay some truth down. One day these young ladies were discussing another teenager who had a baby, and how cute the baby was and that they wanted to go buy this baby a cute outfit.

And after the danger of aneurysm had passed, I emphatically told these young ladies the following truths:

  • Babies will ruin your life
  • Babies may appear cute, but they are not
  • Babies will ruin your life

After this particular rant, talk, the teens seem rather shocked. Probably because I was the mother to an adorable 9-month old who I had raised since she was 5 days old in the NICU. She was my foster child, but she was my child in every other way. I loved her like nothing else in this world.

And yet I could honestly tell these young women those truths listed above. Because they are true. I further explained to my shocked teens that to really understand what it means to be a parent you have to imagine your current life ending. Over, done, no more. Not in the death sense, but in that nothing ever of your old life will remain the same. Certain elements may appear the same, but they are now seen through the lens of parenthood.

I also wanted to impart to them that yes I love my child, but that yes, it is okay to admit that being a parent can really suck sometimes. It’s not all kittens and rainbows and special Instagram photos. It’s diapers and crying and puking, good lord the puking! It’s days when you are convinced that your kid is a grade-A jerk.

And you know what makes being a mom even harder? Other Moms. Other Mom’s who feel the same way but don’t talk about it, like a comment Janelle, of Renegade Mothering, got from a reader:

“Lots of mum’s think this but no one actually says it.”

This is dangerous writes Janelle, in response to this comment:

Though many mothers experience the struggles you talk about, think and feel the same way, they have internalized the societal expectation that they SILENCE themselves for the good of their children…But check this out, my friend: How is dishonesty and lying and the perpetuation of misogynistic expectations GOOD for my kids?

Now throw in the ALI (Adoption/Loss/Infertility) lens. After struggling to have a child for so long how many of you are afraid to ever voice frustration, concern, disappointment, or even anger about your children? Because we, of ALL people, we should just be SO GRATEFUL to finally have our child that nothing else matters. And society enforces this expectation.

I remember when Stella was a few months old I was just SO exhausted. We were still having to nurse every two hours due to her weight gain issues and unbeknownst to me at that time I was suffering from hypothyroidism, low thyroid function. I felt like walking death. I made a comment about it on Facebook, how I just needed the baby to sleep so I could sleep. And I got two comments from friends basically amounting to I should just be grateful after finally getting my miracle child.

What if I was PPD (postpartum depression)? What if that was my one way of reaching out for help? We live in an ever digitized and segmented society. Often our internet interactions are our only way of reaching out, venting, blowing off steam. And two “friends” just told me to choke it down and shut up. What if someone had instead said ‘hey, I know new Moms are always exhausted, but this seems like more than just that, have you checked in with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy?’ I don’t know if that would have helped me get my thyroid issues diagnosed faster, but it would have helped me feel better. To know that I wasn’t alone, and that someone cared about my well-being, not just my baby’s.

This trend is dangerous, we need to talk as Moms. I would say especially ALI Moms because it has been proven that ALI Moms have a much higher risk of PPD or PAD (post adoption depression). And we need to talk to show our kids that life isn’t always unicorns and lucky charms. That creates kids who don’t know what reality is, that don’t know how to handle sadness and anger and disappointment. And it creates daughters who grow up thinking they can’t talk about it, who become Moms. And that is terrifying.

Stella will always know how much I love her, how much I wanted her. But she will also hear the stories of how tired I was, how she wouldn’t nap except on me or her Dad for a month straight, how sometimes I was so tired I would just lay on the floor where she was playing and talk to her, and she would mimic me by laying down too (which is hilarious).

Infertility and Motherhood do not mean we cease to exist. Check out Janelle’s honest and inspiring post, there is so much more that she writes that is spot on and needed to be said:

You Blissed-Out Moms Are Ruining Futures

Comments here are closed so you can join in the conversation at Janelle’s blog, Renegade Mothering.

*Janelle, of Renegade Mother, retains all rights to her original content material. None of her material may be copied or otherwise transferred without her express permission.

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pail mmm 8-20-12 (2)Chandra is a Mom and Foster Mom. She holds a Master’s degree in Theology and is particularly interested in the theology of infertility. Chandra grew up in the Northeast but she and her husband are raising their daughter in the middle-of-nowhere Indiana. She has 3 chickens that drive her crazy, a huge garden, and a penchant for bacon. She occasionally attempts to make sense of all those things, and more, over at her blog, MetholicBlog. She also shares embarrassing stories about her husband and unicorns.

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