First of all, thank you SO MUCH for your kind words of support and encouragement about my book. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that people have read it and enjoyed it. I promise, when I’m done with the whole book, I’ll repost it for all to see. In the meantime I have taken down the link in an attempt to protect my work. If you missed the book and want to see it, please feel free to email me and I’ll send you a link.
Also, a big thanks to everyone who gave me notes on how to make my book better (I LOVE that I spelled persistent wrong! Why doesn’t Illustrator have spell check?!) I will definitely take every one of your suggestions to heart.
And now, on to the topic of today, which is – PAIL.
I’m sure you’ve heard of PAIL, the Parenting/Pregnancy After Infertility and Loss blogroll that Elphaba over at Alice in Diaperland created. In just the first week of its inception over a 100 bloggers signed up. If you scroll down my own page you can see that I joined as well.
I have to admit I’ve felt some very conflicting emotions about joining this blogroll. On the one hand I’m excited to be a part of it, to be included in a group of women who are also parenting after infertility or loss. It can be hard navigating the ALI community while parenting; this blogroll is a place where I can interact with others without worrying about causing anyone pain, where the guilt that plagues me in the ALI community is less stifling.
At the same time, I imagine the inclusiveness that I feel can seem like exclusivity to those who have not yet joined our ranks. The women still fighting in the trenches, who feel left out of so much in the real world and retreat here to feel welcome and included, well now there is a place even here, in the blogosphere where they don’t belong, where they can’t go because they aren’t yet mothers (or aren’t mothers to living children). It pains me to think that anyone would feel left out here in the blogosphere, and the reality is, how could they not?
Of course it’s no one’s intention for anyone to feel left out, but it’s bound to happen. I suppose it’s similar to what happens when IFers become pregnant or have babies – no one wants to exclude us from the online ALI community but the basic self-protection strategies of others push us away, keep us on the fringes, force us to congregate amongst ourselves. And while we know that no one is doing it on purpose, and we absolutely respect why it’s happening, it can still feel isolating. Of course we’re the ones with the babies so we mostly just suck it up because after all, we have what everyone else so desperately wants. Who are we to complain?
Is that natural separation reason enough to solidify the camaraderie that naturally occurs when those still in the trenches need to avoid us for self-preservation? Or should we just suck it up and be thankful for what we have, carefully avoiding the further alienation of those who are still trying to conceive? Am I being ridiculous in worrying that others will feel grief over the knowledge that there exists an organized group of Parenting after IF/loss bloggers that they cannot join?Joining the group doesn’t mean we have to socialize there exclusively, so maybe it doesn’t matter that it exists. I honestly don’t know.
If I were being completely honest, I would admit that there is a need for this blogroll; the enthusiasm with which so many women joined is a testament to that. At the same time, I wonder if there was a reason it didn’t exist before now. Why have we not purposefully banded together until this moment? Were we trying to spare the feelings of others? And if we were, are we ready to–well–not spare their feelings any longer?
I’m sorry this is such a jumbled discussion of a murky topic. I’m not sure what I’m trying to say. Truly, I’m not even sure how I feel. On the one hand I’m excited and happy, on the other I feel intense guilt and even shame. I want a place where I belong but I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Maybe the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive but I really don’t see how.
What are your feelings on a Parenting After Infertility & Loss blogroll? Is there a way for it to exist without hurting those who can’t join? Am I over thinking this whole thing? I’d really appreciate hearing your thoughts.