I’ve been thinking a lot about this community – the community of bloggers I am now a part of. I see my blogging community as series of concentric circles. Some overlap, others don’t. At the center are the bloggers who comment on my posts regularly and who receive my comments regularly. I’ve exchanged emails with many of these woman, gchatted with others and even talked on the phone with couple. Now I’m following some of them on Twitter so I’m even more in-tuned with their daily lives. I am planning on meeting up with a couple in the greater Bay Area in the near future. This community of women has provided me with immeasurable support. When my pregnancy loss and TTC struggles wedged themselves between me and my close friends, this community rose up to fill in those gaping holes. Instead of finding myself on an island isolated by loss I was surrounded by women who understood me and knew exactly what to say. Even if I couldn’t meet them in person their words reached me through the ether and touched me profoundly. I would be a fundamentally different person if it weren’t for my blog and the women who care enough to read it and respond.
Outside of that “inner circle” are other circles of varying sizes. Some consist of the bloggers (or Tweets) that I follow, who don’t follow me. Reading these people makes me feel less alone and significantly less crazy. I am reassured that everyone has common struggles and I’m inspired by the way that people handle their circumstances, good or bad. I get ideas for how to deal with the challenges of parenthood, how to nurture my relationship and how I might maintain healthy friendships. I feel camaraderie and sisterhood with these women, even though we don’t communicate personally.
I’ve been thinking about the community this blog has afforded me a lot as I slowly piece together my new blog. I’ve also thought about how I identify myself in this community and how I will identify myself differently on my new blog. So far I’ve registered the domain name, rented server space, set up my database and installed WordPress. I think I have a theme picked out but that is about it. I have to admit, I’m not 100% sure what I want to accomplish with the space so I’m having a hard time deciding where to start. I wonder how I will present myself on my new blog, who I will be. It seems weird to me that I will be communicating from a space that is not primarily motherhood-after-loss focused. Pregnancy loss and then motherhood so fundamentally changed me, it feels completely natural to fill this blog with thoughts related to that. I’m not sure who else I am, without those circumstances confining me. Without their presence shaping me I fear I’ll dissolve into an amorphous blob, void of form, structure or direction. Where will I be coming from if it’s not from my scarred place shaped by the pain of my loss and the anxiety I feel about future losses?
The truth is I have no idea.
But I want to find out.
I know there is more to me than my pregnancy loss and the horrible anxiety I felt during my second pregnancy. There is more to me than the panic I feel when I think about trying again or the butterflies I can’t explain when I hear that anybody is newly expecting. I used “confined” earlier to describe it and that word is incredibly accurate. I sense that confinement more and more as I communicate with people through the computer or relate to people who are sitting across from me. I know another me exists, one that is not so dominated by loss and fear of future loss. I want to know who that person is. I almost wrote that I want to become acquainted with her again, but I realize that I’ve never met this new person, who has been borne of the months and months of TTC, the ectopic pregnancy, the 24 hours in the ER, the second, (
anxiety inducing) successful pregnancy, the nine months of motherhood. I really don’t know who she is when she’s not looking through the lens of loss, both real and imagined.
My new blog scares me in so many ways. I’m not sure I have anything to offer the already over-crowded world of woman-authored-blogs. I’m not sure where my journey will take me and therefore I can’t guess whether people will want to join me on it. But the thing I’m most afraid of is that I won’t have anything to say that I wouldn’t say here. I’m worried that this is all that I am.
Of course there will be many common themes (parenthood, family, friendship) but they will be explored from a different place, with distinct tones and divergent points-of-view. And the honest-to-gosh truth is I’m not sure what those points-of-view will be. I’m not sure which tone I’ll adopt when tackling the new topics, let alone the familiar ones.
The new blog will chronicle a big change in my life. I hope that change will inspire other, deeper, more meaningful transformations. I hope it will allow me to not move on from my pregnancy loss but to perhaps move past it. To enjoy a life beyond it. A life where I have something to give not just to the pregnancy loss community but to the community of womankind in general.
I know my pregnancy loss will always be with me. It is a part of me, as much as any other experience is. More so, in fact. It will define me, in some way, for the rest of my days. I don’t wish to leave it behind. Those first weeks of my first pregnancy were so incredible, I wouldn’t erase them to spare myself the pain that followed. But I don’t feel it has to remain such a prominent part of my life. I hope it will fade into the background like a scar eventually lightens to better match the skin around it. I will always recognize it and it will be noticeable to the touch, but hopefully it will eventually beceome less obvious to the casual passerby.
Will this “new” me be someone others want to know? Will I be able to build any kind of community around my new blog? I don’t know. I do know that any new community I might find will NEVER replace the one I already have. I will keep writing this blog because it’s a part of me, just like the events that sparked its inception. And I would be devastated to lose the women I’ve met here, the women who become more involved in my life with each passing day.
Today I passed the 1,000th comment mark. (Thanks Kate!) 1,000 times people have reached out to me on this blog. That number is absolutely staggering to me. The women behind those comments have supported me in my darkest times of loss, walked with me on the long, anxious road through my pregnancy, celebrated the birth of my daughter and cheered me on as I stumble through motherhood. 1,000 times they have consoled me, commiserated with me, congratulated me, calmed my anxieties, acknowledged my fears, and, most importantly, validated my feelings, no matter what they were. And for that I am forever grateful.
Thank you for 1,000 comments! I look forward to 1,000 more!
What does this community mean to you? What parts of you thrive in your blog space? Do you think your IF/pregnancy loss experience will ever fade, even a little bit?