Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Catholic IF Blogs: My take

I've said before and I'll say it again, this little blog community has changed my life.  The stories from all of you and your willingness to email and share medical advice have healed my body.  The spiritual and emotional aspect of the blogs helped me know I wasn't alone as I battled secondary infertility.  A few weeks ago, someone asked Simcha Fischer if she knew anyone who had Simcha's style, but had secondary infertility. The blogs this reader had encountered were "holy" and "I'm going to offer it up" type women.  She wanted someone who was willing to say it sucked while trying to live God's will.  My first instinct was that she hadn't found our little community!  Then, I was wondering if she had found it and that's her impression.  Then, it got me to thinking why that might be someone's impression of this community.  I came up with some possible reasons.

1.   The bench isn't deep:  NFPers are in the minority.  Take the small fraction of that minority who can't get pregnant, and you have a super minority.  We are in that super minority.  And, out of all the Catholic IF bloggers, I can't think of one who is professional writer like Simcha.  Don't get me wrong, there are some fantastic writers in our community, but I can't think of one who does it as their main gig.  We all have day jobs.  And really, since I haven't blogged since November, can I really count myself as an IF blogger? Hmmm.  

2.  The subject matter just doesn't lend itself to humor or lightheartedness:  The medical visits, emotional pain and spiritual trauma are hard to joke about.  When you are dealing with someone who isn't able to fulfill what they believe their vocation to be, it's hard to make light of it.  There is no one in my real life that gets IF.  I don't know a single person (except for my Creighton practitioner and doctor) that understands what I'm going through in this area of my life.  I try to explain it, but it's all too foreign- the charting, the hormones, the traveling to weird doctors, the why in the heck wouldn't I do IVF?   I'm a very jokey person- I laugh all day long about a variety of stupid things.  But, it's really, really hard for me to be lighthearted about IF.  It will be one of the greatest regrets of my life.  And that's really not funny.  This is the only place I can read and talk openly with people who get it.  So, it is a serious place for the most part.  When I think of the mommy blogs who have shared serious topics such as infant loss or a sick child, those posts are jarring and sad and just awful.  But, then they are interspersed with cute kid posts.  Well, that can't really happen here.  There's no break from IF.

3.  The secondary infertility issue:  Then there's that.  What do you identify with?  Mommy blogs or IF blogs? For me, it is an identity issue.  It's super confusing when you are both.  Where do you belong?  Well, that's why my blog is named Made for Another World.   I do not belong in this world (this earth, not the IF world!) and having secondary infertility has taught me that.  Right now, I'm okay with truly not fitting in anywhere.  But, there was a time when I wasn't okay with it.  I'm sure in the ebb and flow of life, I'll be back to feeling alone at some point.  Well, that sucks and not fun.  But, after reading your stories and rooting around the internets and all the people I've encountered IRL, I'm starting to think that no one really feels like they really fit in anyway.  I'm thinking it's normal to feel this way.   I tend to identify with the IF bloggers more because I've found more authenticity and rawness in their stories.   They aren't writing as a brand or with a voice or to reach a certain amount of readers.   They are real women working through the fight of their lives. 

4.  The women here really ARE holy (minus moi).  For many of them, this journey has made them holier than they were when they started.  Not being able to conceive while being open to life in the midst of a culture of death tends to do that to you.  I hear your wisdom and I see your holiness.  You are light in the darkness. Thank you for shining bright.  

Just a few thoughts rattling in this ol brain of mine.

*disclaimer: this post wasn't meant to be defensive about what was said about this community- just some musings on my impressions of this community and why others may view us in a certain way (okay, that was a horrible sentence- I have to go to bed now and that's the best I can do.


  1. I couldn't agree more...I found this community at a time when I didn't have anyone else who could relate to IF and being Catholic. None of my family or IRL friends had faced what I was going through...all of them had children when they wanted them. This blogging community is a little corner of the world where you can share your feelings and know someone reading your words...understands them well.

  2. You make some excellent points! I especially appreciate you pointing out how IF NFPers are a 'super minority.' It's definitely accurate and helps me make more sense out of the isolation I feel IRL. This online community is certainly a tremendous blessing!

  3. Agreed that it is sometimes hard to find someone that is in exactly the same place that we are in. As a single person, I don't quite fit in, though I heard someone use the term "circumstantial infertility" the other day, it suddenly clicked why so much stuff in the IF bloggers' circle resonates with me. But I also agree that there are a LOT of people out there (as in most of the world) that don't feel like they fit in for one reason or another.

  4. I think your #2 summed it up so well. While I have made my fair share of jokes about IF, it is usually in an attempt to not burst into tears or completely snap at someone. It doesn't lend itself into a satire or funny post, usually it's just too much to deal with and so it comes pouring out of my fingers.

    So grateful to call you friend!

  5. This is really interesting. We may be in different spots on the Venn diagram, because I think that this community WAS really supportive when I started blogging (just over five years ago!) but that support is nearly nonexistent now. (Of course, I will never have children, so my perspective may well be different.) And of course, Simcha's "voice" as a professional writer doesn't simply reflect a different level of skill - I'd bet she sounds very different writing an "I'm at the end of my rope" email to her best girlfriends than she does writing something for a national publication to strangers. Is the commenter looking for amusing reflections on the lighter side of infertility (I'd try 999 reasons, for that), or a gritty confessional from a Catholic woman who is secondarily infertile? There certainly are some of those, but no one I can think of who writes really regularly (let alone regularly on that specific topic).

  6. I love what you have to say here. And you do count as an IF blogger. :)

    I've thought about what you wrote in #2 before. We're facing grief and disappointment often, and it's really hard to make light of that or crack a joke. And you're right, the people reading our blogs are often the only ones in our lives who truly understand what we're going through, so it makes sense that we're going to be honest with how we're feeling, even if it means serious post after serious post without a break of something funny or cute.

    And something I didn't really understand from the commenter on Simcha's blog was...why does it have to be either/or: either "trying to be holy/offer it up" or "suck it up and do God's will"? Why can't it be both/and? I think most of the blogs I've read definitely cover both. It just struck me that she really doesn't understand what it means to "offer it up" if she's creating a dichotomy like that.

  7. MFAW - Hey, there! How's it going? I haven't been on the IF blogs for quite some time. I saw Simcha's post when it came out, and though I understood what the commenter said, I found myself a little perturbed. I have to say that I think most of my blog posts were my attempt to organize my thoughts, share my sadness (couldn't do that with most friends/family), and try to find meaning and a positive view in the midst of extreme sadness. It was all about survival--not entertaining someone. Perhaps this IF'er can be the humorous voice of secondary infertility? Who knows... Anyway, I really like your point about people not feeling as though they fit in/belong in this world. I often feel that way. Dealing with 2ndary infertility magnified this for me, but I think I may have felt this way for most of my life, anyway.