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419th Friday Blog Roundup

Samantha Brick, who was vilified this year for her article announcing her beauty to the world had a new article in the Daily Mail this week recounting her struggles with infertility.  She is — if nothing else — deeply, brutally honest, holding nothing back, which sometimes is the way things need to be said in order to make the point heard.  I was struck by this passage:

In the meantime friends continued to get pregnant, and their gleeful news – these days emblazoned all over social media networks – is unutterably difficult to witness. You acquire a poker face when friends ask how things are going. I learned early on that when they inquire, they’re not actually that interested in the answer. If they’re fortunate enough to be a mother, it is awkward for them if you dare share the feelings of longing and inadequacy that dog you through fertility investigations. If they are staunchly child-free, then any talk that is too emotional or sentimental compels them to change the subject.

The comments are what you’d expect on the article (hint: don’t read them) and the end of the article veers very sharply into territory that feels snatched down from a vision board.  (Before you spear me for knocking positive thinking, I am a fan of reframing how you view an event or the world as well as how you process information.  For me, that work comes after the fact vs. beforehand.  But you should know that I’m also fairly pessimistic in general so feel free to ignore me.)  But the middle of the article unpacks the way infertility affects friendships.  I thought it was an interesting read.

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Once again, it’s Black Friday and once again, nothing I buy is on sale.  Is Jon Ronson’s new book massively discounted for the day?  Is there a special price for the final House DVD so we can finish off the series?  Are my favourite bands offering their songs for half price on iTunes?  No?  Then Black Friday, I dismiss you.

I really do wish that Kindle would do a 24-hour book frenzy where every book in the Kindle store would be $2 and you could purchase as many as you want.  I could see myself developing a finger injury from all the button pushing if that ever happened.

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I found my dream house on Hooper’s Island.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

If You Don’t Stand for Something has a moving post about death and the way each family deals with loss.  She writes, “If someone apologizes to me for “my loss”, I feel like a fraud because it’s really Chris’s loss. Honestly, it’s my loss by proxy, by marriage. It’s like being thrown on stage for a play but you don’t know the lines and you are left standing there awkwardly center stage under the hot lights. There was this moment where I didn’t know what to do because I don’t know how their family deals with death.”  In other words, she knows how her family mourns a death, but when you partner with someone, you sign up for mourning a death on their family’s terms.  I thought it was enlightening.

Scrambled Eggs has a post about how infertility silently affects her marriage that has a deeply frank ending, “But I know I’m too insecure to do that. And he is to kind and loyal to leave. And so we continue to go through the motions and pretend everything is ok, night after uncomfortable night.”  It is a gorgeous, wistful post.

Lastly, Telling a Different Story has returned to tell her story.  She’s an old blogger with a new space, and she travels through time with a recent post writing about the joy of discovering she is pregnant and then moving to the next page: “Pregnant at least 7 times I could tell this story 7 different ways.  All with the same ending.  I do not become a parent at the end.”  It’s an amazing post; a really powerful post.

The roundup to the Roundup: A post about infertility by Samantha Brick.  I wish e-books were discounted for the holidays so I could buy myself gifts.  I found my dream house.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between November 16th and November 23rd) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

10 comments

1 Arwen Rose { 11.23.12 at 8:15 am }

a good honest article from this much vilified woman. Feel sorry for her. Stupidly I started reading the comments, HOW many tell her to ‘just relax!’ or ‘stop trying – worked for me!’ ?! jeez!

2 sushigirl { 11.23.12 at 11:26 am }

I just blogged about an article by a woman who appeared with Brick on a UK tv show – http://looknotubes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/whingy-fertiles.html

I think it’s a bit unfortunate the Daily Mail picked Brick to be the infertile “character” in a series of articles they’re running on “fertility envy”, as she has such a bad rep for her previous efforts about how beautiful she was. If they’d picked someone more anonymous it might have generated more sympathy.

The article by a fertile woman who was upset about her infertile friends really irritated me!

3 loribeth { 11.23.12 at 8:19 pm }

Mrs. Spit faces a change in her usual plans for Gabriel’s upcoming birthday: http://mrsspit.ca/?p=3946

4 GeekChic { 11.23.12 at 9:34 pm }

The passage you highlight from that Daily Mail article actually gives me an opening to ask a question I’ve had on my mind for some time now:

How do you and your readers / commenters feel about a child-free by choice reader? How about if they commented?

I’m child-free by choice and read your blog and several other IF ones to try and understand the anguish of several friends who are suffering from IF, child loss and pregnancy loss.

I’ve commented very occasionally but limit myself to posts on neutral topics. I avoid ones about children or pregnancy as I’ve never felt the urge to parent so I feel my thoughts might not be welcome.

5 Lollipop Goldstein { 11.23.12 at 10:11 pm }

I welcome any and all readers as well as commenters. How else will I learn things or see even my own words differently unless I am exposed to people whose lives and choices differ from my own? I read both childfree after infertility and childfree by choice blogs, and I comment in both cases.

That said, I do think that Brick’s points about how infertility affects a friendship hit upon an unfortunate truth. That too often, we’re more interested in where we are in life than where someone else is. And sometimes we need to be reminded that while my world is seen through infertility-shaped glasses, someone else’s world isn’t. They may not know what could potentially be upsetting or unhelpful. At the same time, I don’t always know what to say or even how to listen to friends who are seeing the world through frames very different from my own. I think when we stop trying, we get what Brick describes in that quote: “I learned early on that when they inquire, they’re not actually that interested in the answer.” The answer, of course, is to always be trying.

6 Kimberly { 11.23.12 at 11:29 pm }

1. Thank you so much for the shout out in the roundup. It made my day!
2. In response to GeekChic. I don’t know about others, but while I recognize myself as a general life ramblings type of blogger who primarily identifies as an infertility blogger within the ALI community, I don’t limit myself to just one type of blogs to read. I’m active in the ALI community, but I also take part in a weekly link up called Friday’s Letters which brings all types of bloggers together. I also read and regularly comment on mommy blogs, childfree by choice blogs, food blogs, religious blogs (even though I’m not religious) and entertainment blogs. My life has many different people of all ways of life and in different stages of their lives. So my blogging reflects my real life, everyone is welcome and I talk to everyone. I don’t judge by the type of blogger someone recognizes themselves as.

And honestly, if anyone is to understand the criticisms and questions about why there are no children, or even the right to make that decision in the first place and be respected for that decision, it’s the infertile. We may want opposites but it doesn’t mean that we don’t get it. Or respect it entirely.

7 a { 11.24.12 at 10:17 pm }

Ha ha! I am currently reading Jon Ronson’s new book, because my library is awesome!

That article seems sort of dissonant, considering the previous article you linked. But I think she did a fine job of summing up in a brief article many of the facets of infertility, age, and friendships.

GeekChic – the thing I find difficult about people who are childfree by choice is that I almost feel like the topic of my child is off limits. I try not to be a bore about her – I have a wide variety of interests and topics to discuss with people (as long as I don’t have to engage in small talk) – but to feel like someone has absolutely no interest in a part of my life that I find very important is daunting. Now, I know it’s my perception, but it’s kind of hard to get over. I had a friend who is childfree by choice – she’s a teacher, so she clearly doesn’t dislike children. But I know her interest is in children basically non-existent. And I know for her, feigning interest would only lead to annoying advice about what she would be missing out on without children. So there’s a kind of impasse there. If she had been a closer friend, we would have confronted it at some point, but once I moved out of town, we just kind of drifted apart.

8 GeekChic { 11.25.12 at 2:53 am }

Thank you to everyone who has responded to my question so far. I appreciate the comments and insights.

a, I have experienced that discomfort from a few people in my life that have children. I don’t find people’s children boring – any more than I find someone’s career (which I may or may not share) or someone’s hobbies (which I may or may not share) boring.

I may be child-free by choice, but I’m still interested in the lives of others – even if they are unlike my own.

9 KeAnne { 11.26.12 at 11:18 am }

I’m including my post on finally saying goodbye to a friendship that was irreparably damaged by our infertility since it seems to fit with the friendship theme in the Brick article and sushigirl’s post.

http://babywithatwist.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/bidding-adieu-to-old-friends/

10 Sarah { 11.26.12 at 9:08 pm }

I’ve often counted myself lucky that we started a trying a few years before most of our friends did, so by the time we actually succeeded, they were only just getting pregnant. I had to deal with very few pregnancy announcements from real friends. Online communities were a different story, and I admit that I did leave a couple of them because I couldn’t deal with hearing pregnancy announcements any more… but that’s obviously a very different thing to a real flesh-and-blood friendship.

I wanted to submit this post from the blog of a friend who recently had a stillbirth. I can’t imagine dealing with that kind of loss, and found this description of how she’s trying to cope terribly moving:
http://mummyplaybuttons.blogspot.com/2012/11/and-time-goes-by-so-slowly.html

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