Trinity said it best when she summed up parenting after infertility blogging as complicated. It is not exactly cut-and-dried beforehand; plenty of bloggers struggle with the should-I-press-publish conundrum. We all worry about offending readers, not because we’re hung up on keeping people around (oh please stick around please stick around) but because we’re human beings who actually care if people are hurt by something we write. Though the reality is that blogging is not like a one-on-one conversation where you have a sense of the other person. Blogging is like playing a game of ski ball blindfolded: you know generally where to roll the ball, but you don’t always know your aim until after the ball is out of your hand.
Trinity raised great points because — and I include myself in this description — we are a conflicted bunch. The twins are here (and I actually started blogging after they were here and we were trying for our third child, so I have always been a parenting blogger). I can’t deny their existence and to not mention them at all is strange: they take up an enormous chunk of my time and thoughts. I want to talk about them. I like talking about them. I learn a lot from being around them. And perhaps I’m reading too much into other people’s compliments, but I think they’re the sort of people that others usually enjoy being around, whether that is face-to-face or in the flat medium of the computer screen via a story. They — at the very least — say amusing things.
And yet I also know that many people probably don’t want to hear about them. That it is actually painful to hear about them. That instead of laughing over a story, that it may even be making you cry.
Which makes me pause — often — before hitting publish. And sometimes I don’t hit publish.
I think of my blog in percentages much in the same way I think of food in percentages. I sort of take an overview of my day and see if I’m eating a large enough percentage of vegetables and a large enough percentage of protein. If I didn’t think about it at all, I know that I’d probably eat pasta for every meal. Or melba toast. I am such a fan of melba toast. But I know that it isn’t good for my body to focus solely on one food even if that food happens to be my favourite and taste good.
And I think about blog writing in the same way. If I stuck to a single topic and kept a microfocus, it may feel good in the moment to write like that, but I think overall, it probably isn’t healthy for me to deny large chunks of my life in order to only explore a single idea. So I sometimes step back and take stock for a period of time. Have I written a bit about blogging and social media? A bit about infertility? A bit about the twins? A bit about melba toast and my enormous love of it? If I have, then I have a balanced blog, which feels — for me — a bit healthier mentally. Meaning, I feel healthier mentally when I don’t allow myself to have a solo focus. Other people may feel much better if they’re only writing about one thing.
There’s more than one way to blog. (Actually, there isn’t; there is only my way, but I feel like I have to say that to get back to that first point of trying not to offend someone. I’m just kidding. I’m not kidding. Crap, this is one of those times that I shouldn’t have hit publish.)
This post is from the viewpoint of someone parenting after infertility; who still has one foot (at least that is how I view myself; perhaps you don’t view me this way at all) in the infertility world and another in the blogging and social media world and another (yes, I have three feet) in the parenting world and another (I lied, I have four) in the melba toast world.
The ALI community is a community that is situationally-based, which leads to tension between those who are still in the situation and those who are out of the situation and those who are sort of in and sort of out at the same time. We have all these overlapping ways you could be here, and some of those overlapping ways actually create conflict — such as those who need a safe space to not have to see sonogram pictures and those who have a burning need to post their sonogram picture because they’ve waited so long to have one to upload (and perhaps need to upload it to also feel “normal” after feeling on the outskirts for so long). And we still need to find a way to live with one another.
Regardless of which side of the trenches you stand (or if you’re sort of half-in and half-out of the trenches, munching a piece of melba toast at the same time), do you find yourself holding your tongue for the sake of the community? And how often?
I guess what I’m really seeking is whether or not through discussion, we can all come to a place of comfort. That I can post about the twins without feeling the need to hold back beyond the normal amount of holding back (because I get that other people aren’t really interested in hearing about them non-stop) and you can feel safe to read IF blogs without feeling as if you are walking across a minefield. Or vice versa.