I want to admit something, my friends: I want to be a famous voice in the infertility community. I’m pretty embarrassed to admit this, because for one thing, right now I’m barely a voice at all. I’m lucky if one of my posts gets a single comment.
It also seems like kind of a silly dream, because there are hundreds, if not thousands, of talented writers currently blogging about infertility on the Wide Wide World of Web, and each voice is important, valuable and distinct; why do I think I need to stand out?
I obsess about this all the time though, so I figure I might as well explore it here.
I think this dream largely comes from the need to feel purpose in my life. By age 33, I thought my primary purpose would be to raise up children, to show them the world through what I hope are thoughtful, compassionate eyes. I love creation — nature, wildlife, new foods, interesting cultures … I care about faith and worship and serving others … I love reading, watching and telling stories …. By now I was sure I would be passing along these passions and values to small, impressionable minds.
I’d of course be doing this in community — one of the many young families attending church together, having play dates and craft days and comparing notes, helping each other navigate this brave new world.
But I am left impossibly out of all that. I can’t pass along values to children I don’t have. I shrink more and more away from real-life community because it hurts too bad, and I’m too much of a stranger to my friends’ parenthood universe.
So I’m left asking myself, what AM I supposed to do? What meaning can I bring to my world?
And I keep coming back to this virtual community of infertile women like me — women whose confessions are my confessions, whose dreams are my dreams, whose heartbreaks are my heartbreaks. I don’t know them in person, but I hear myself in their words, and I want in. I don’t know if I have to join a message board or start a blogroll or become a Resolve advocate or what, but I’ll do it. I don’t want to be alone, and I don’t want to be silent, and I want to be understood when I speak.
I don’t want to be one voice among many, lost in the vastness of the Internet. I want my voice to ring out with hope and defiance. I want to resonate. I want to take this writing gift I have and make it COUNT. I want to be a Mel or a Keiko. If I’m impotent to create a life, then I want the power to change lives. I want to feel like there is a purpose in all of this, that at least I helped someone, at least I shed a little light on what shouldn’t be a taboo subject, at least I redeemed this suffering in some small way.
There’s some vanity in it too. The idea that one day I could write a book about all of this, I could speak at a conference, I could build a living around infertility, because as much as I hate it, I care about it so deeply, and it has changed me forever.
Of course, I’m ambivalent about even this dream. I hesitate to even start speaking up, for fear that then I’ll magically get pregnant and lose any credibility I had with those still in the trenches. And it would be just as well anyway, I think. I want a child infinitely more than I want to be some infertility-blogging rock star …
But, month after month, year after year, the child doesn’t come. I’ve tucked two full years of infertility under my belt and march headlong on into our third year of trying. I’ve been on Letrozole, Follistim, Ovidrel, Estrace and Prometrium. I’ve experienced two canceled cycles and undergone two failed IUIs. I’ve fought with my insurance, I’ve been eluded by my RE, I lurk on all the IF blogs, I understand every acronym and inside joke. I am infertile, through and through, and every failed treatment cements me more firmly in this community.
So it’s time to stop waiting, hoping I’ll pull the Get Out of Jail Free card. It’s time to start speaking, to stop fucking around with being halfway out of the closet.
So please come with me. Let’s be standout voices in the IF community together. I want to speak to you, to hear you, to meet you and hug you. If we can’t be moms, let’s be famous bloggers at least!
And to that end I’ve moved to WordPress, largely on the advice of an infertility Web mentor who said, “There are a LOT of things I would tell myself from three years ago, related to infertility and otherwise. … Get yourself a WordPress self-hosted blog sooner.” So I’m finally doing what I should have done ages ago, but better to make the transition now rather than later. Please let me know what you think!