I wish I had started a while ago, when A was in the hospital. Or even earlier, when my pregnancy started to get all scary. Or while we were trying to conceive…. I suppose I could keep going back. Blogging communities are such a unique place for support and story-sharing. A blog writer can be semi-anonymous; that is, anonymous enough to feel free to talk about personal things without taking many risks.
I suppose many, or even most, contemporary American babymakers get a lot of comfort and support from our mainstream contemporary American babymaking culture– the effect of which is so much stronger than I ever thought. I didn’t think I cared about it. It turns out it had infiltrated my subconscious, probably before I could even say “Barbie.” I have deviated from the norm: by being gay, by having a miscarriage, by having a difficult pregnancy, by having a preemie, by nearly dying in childbirth, and by having postpartum depression (along with a host of other postpartum acronyms; ah the bouquet: PPPTSD anyone? How about PPOCD? PPAD?) As I interact with other moms who had babies around the same time I did, I feel like there stands between us many layers of my otherness. I still enjoy their company, as probably one day my baby will enjoy their babies’. But I am frequently reminded of my differentness, and the different circumstances that got us all our babies. At least I am white (like they all are) and speak English as a first language (as they all do); otherwise, it might be too much to bear. So, maybe by having some virtual/blogging friends who are gay, some who have preemies, some who have dealt with depression or a miscarriage, or difficulty getting pregnant– maybe I’ll have all my bases covered, with the cumulative effect of feeling less strange. That is my hope.
I started reading Alexa’s Flotsam blog first, at the suggestion of a dear friend. As someone who had never read a blog before, I found the similarities between my and Alexa’s stories totally incredible, as though stars had aligned to make this amazing connection. It turns out she has hundreds of readers all over the world who share a similar connection. She is an amazing writer, with the uncanny ability to describe the big and the small in the same paragraph, without either losing any sincerity. I would read her posts with mouth gaping, “Oh my god, that is exactly what A is doing this week!” And I would read the comments her readers wrote– so caring and encouraging. I clicked around, and soon came up with several blogs I was interested in enough to check on regularly. I’ve been doing all this online stuff while pumping, so every night I’d see how people were doing.
I started to see a trend among the women whose stories I’d learned: When it came to babymaking, they didn’t have it easy, one way or another. They didn’t have it normal. Sometimes it seems like the world could be divided into two groups: those who had babymaking easy-peasy, and those that had it world-crashingly difficult. I know that there’s a vast gray area between the two, even amongst the blogs I read. But still, the difference is there.
My sister-in-law didn’t have to miss a single day of work her entire pregnancy, “might have been a little queasy one day,” carried past-term, was in labor for 2 hours, and pushed for 20 minutes. Whatever.
I’m glad you all are out there. And I’m glad I finally got the gumption to add my story to the mix.