Healing Salon: Let’s Talk

French salon

Bienvenue!  If this were a genuine salon, I would be reclining on a daybed while you all sat around me (rather kinky!), making a salon a very intimate exchange of ideas and debate.  In that spirit, I welcome you to my virtual room, the “room” in which I share my thoughts and musings, ridiculous and profane and even mundane.    I’m excited to be your hostess and salonniere as part of the Healing Salon suggested by Mel as a way to heal the issues from last week (see this post for a summary).  Please let me introduce myself.  I am KeAnne.  I’m 34 and since we started TTC in 2005, I have experienced many of the stops along the ALI road.  In 2007, I was diagnosed with stage 4 endo and a uterine anomaly and told that our options were IVF, surrogacy or adoption.  In addition to our pointless prior Clomid and injectible/IUI cycles, we tried one IVF and one FET, both negative.  As we were weighing our options in late 2007, Jimmy suggested surrogacy while I was ready to move to adoption.  We agreed to give surrogacy a try first, and I met our gestational carrier practically days after our agreement.  We cycled in September of 2008 and had our first positive beta ever.   At our first u/s at 9 weeks, we saw two sacs and two fetuses but only one had a heartbeat. The other fetus had stopped developing about a week before.   The rest of the pregnancy progressed uneventfully (wow!), and our son was born on June 2, 2009.

Yes, I am parenting after infertility, but it might be more accurate to say that I am parenting despite infertility because I am still infertile.  I still have endometriosis and the uterine anomaly.  I’ve always found those couples who “forget” their infertility after having a baby to be disingenuous at best and traitors at worst.

I write all of this to say that I get it.  Obviously I identify with other infertiles who now have children, but I still understand and can easily access the pain and fear and anger and sadness at finding yourself unable to do what so many seem to do without little or any thought.   I volunteered to host one of the salons because I believe that we can find a way to repair last week’s hurts (cue up “Love Can Build a Bridge”).

My role is to facilitate our conversation.  I ask only that you be respectful but honest in your responses.  It will do no good if we can’t have a genuine conversation.  So let’s begin.

Here are my questions:

  1. Is the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches?  Why or why not?
  2. While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?
  3. Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?
  4. Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building  and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc?  Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?
  5. What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?
  6. If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know?  Conversely, if you are still in the trenches, what one thing would you want those parenting to know?
  7. You are Empress of the Internet for one day.  How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?
  8. Anything else?  Feel free to ask your own questions, say what you are thinking.

I look forward to having this conversation with you!

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31 comments

  1. I’m not sure if I should be commenting on this post because I’ve never struggled with infertility. But maybe my perspective as an “outsider” has some merit. Then again, maybe not. I can understand how great it must be to have the ALI community– a group of people who understand the struggle and emotional turmoil that must accompany infertility. On the otherhand, I can see that for those who manage to enter into parenting despite infertility, there might be a disconnect from that community.

    Based on what I’ve read in infertility blogs, people who are still struggling to conceive seem to idealize pregnancy and parenting and have very little patience for others who are struggling with the reality of parenthood and pregnancy. Parents have found a great deal of comfort in reaching out to each other to comisserate in the feelings of inadequacy, uncertainty, and just general “what the Hell have I done to my life” sentiments that we all feel upon becoming parents. From what I’ve read, members of the ALI community don’t seem to have a lot of patience with that. The pervasive attitude seems to be, “You should feel lucky to have a child. If I had a child, I would never complain.” Moreover, as you mentioned in a previous post, a parent who has overcome infertility through the miracles of medicine or through adoption might find herself with a whole set of different questions and feelings that a parent who conceived the conventional way and therefore, might need to comisserate with a group of people who understand those unique questions. Therefore, I see no harm with creating a third group to bridge the gap. But I MAY not know what I’m talking about, so take it with a grain of salt. 🙂

  2. Wow! That’s a lot of questions. Let me see:

    1. Is the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches? Why or why not?

    Yes, it can and SHOULD encompass all stops along the way. How will we ever know that there is an end in sight without parenting/childfree after IF blogs? Besides which, if we have to exclude parenting after IF blogs, we are excluding Mel herself. How is that even an option?

    2. While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?

    I honestly believe this is a self-imposed restriction. By that I mean that there may well be a few people who will tell a newly-pregnant or parenting infertile not to complain, but for the most part I think its our own sensitivity to others that creates this barrier. We remember how much it hurt, and we assume that it will hurt others, so we avoid writing about it. Should this be the case? I don’t think so, but it clearly is.

    3. Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?

    I started blogging to make sense of my marriage and infertility. I found support and free therapy. I continue to blog to document my journey, to provide an honest take of my experiences, to connect with others, and again, the free therapy. 🙂

    4. Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc? Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?

    I have to admit I rely on others to do this part. I don’t have the time/creativity. I don’t think creating blogrolls is the ULTIMATE problem (for example, cyclesista has been in co-existence for quite some time), so much as the idea that some people were being excluded from this other list. There’s also the intellectual property to be considered.

    5. What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?

    I think I was most frustrated at the focus on “why I joined PAIL” and “why I won’t join PAIL” posts. To me, that wasn’t the point. The point was (and is) intellectual property and effort. Mel volunteers her time to maintain the blogroll, and if her job (?) isn’t needed, she has other things to do. As for the PAIL version of ICLW, that is directly Mel’s brainchild and should not be taken by any other group. I wish more people would have focused on this aspect of it, and less on the dividing of subgroups within our blogosphere.

    6. If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know? Conversely, if you are still in the trenches, what one thing would you want those parenting to know?

    I think the one thing I would tell parents is to stop feeling bad for being where you are. Write about whatever YOU need to write about. The onus is on me — if I can’t handle it, I’ll click away. And if we’ve really established a connection? At some point I’ll put on my big girl panties and be happy for you. Just give me some time.

    7.You are Empress of the Internet for one day. How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?

    Obviously, I think its fixable, as I’m also participating in the salon. I think discussion is a good place to start. I also think that, in time, things will blow over. That being said, some blogs have been permanently deleted from my reader due to comments made during the last few days. You can’t undo everything, I suppose. However — good can come out of it, even if its just an understanding that our blogs are our own, and that we CAN blog about all parts of the journey.

    Whew! Thanks for letting me get all of that off my chest!

    Hugs,
    Jo

  3. 1.Is the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches? Why or why not?

    As someone who joined in after I had “resolved” my infertility, and having read posts from people who have just gotten a diagnosis through people like Loribeth who have been childfree for a long time, I would say it’s not a problem…unless someone makes it so.

    2.While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?

    I think there are a variety of issues here. Some issues are valid. Some, I think, are imagined. I’m not sure how to readjust people’s expectations.

    3.Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?

    I don’t really blog about ALI much. I just write what I write. If it involves ALI, so be it.

    4.Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc? Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?

    I’m not much of an organizer. I appreciate that quality in others. So, I don’t really feel like I should comment. I’m all for grass roots, but it really has to be original ideas.

    5.What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?

    A lot of the comments came across as disingenuous to me. I see a lot of the “you have to take care of yourself” and “people should understand when I can’t comment due to my feelings” statements out there. And what came across was “you should still acknowledge me, even if it’s painful for you.”

    6.If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know? Conversely, if you are still in the trenches, what one thing would you want those parenting to know?

    I have a child. She is delightful. And she asks me many times a week for the sibling she’ll never get. You never really get past it. So, that’s for both sides.

    7.You are Empress of the Internet for one day. How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?

    I wish I knew how to fix things like this…but I know you can’t please everyone, which I think is part of the problem.

  4. First, thank you for stepping up and hosting one of the salons. I think open discussion is necessary to help us pin point our problems. Because, until we pin point them, we have no hope of trying to fix it.

    1. Is the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches? Why or why not?

    Honestly, yes. But I’ll try to explain myself. I have not been on the other side. We have never had a positive pregnancy test in the 3 years we have been actively trying for one. I don’t know what it feels like to be on the other side. But when I entered into this wonderful support system, we had no diagnosis. Then we got our MFI diagnosis. Sure the list is large and daunting, but its also sorted. And I’ve always considered the ALI community to be our main title but that it broke down into categories from there. And that each category had sub categories that could be broken down further. Then you find your niche. You find others both through the list and by browsing blogs via comments you enjoyed reading and following them back to their blog. But because we are all under one large title of ALI, that gives us room to move as needed. We simply transition when we need to transition. And I found the blogroll to be a great source to start with and a place to refer to when you need that bit of extra help. By accepting everyone, I find that that can and does help with the transition. The extent of the help also comes from how much you are willing or not willing to make use of it. It’s not perfect but it is a source that many communities do not have.

    2. While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?

    Knowing that I’ve never been on the other side, I think survivors guilt plays a part. They remember the feelings that came with the parenting and pregnancy of others and they fear that they are passing that pain onto others. Many parents after IF have expressed this time and time again. That may show itself in many ways, lack of posting, lack of readership, a drop in stats and that may confirm their fears. I think the fact that people are willing to talk about this is a showing fact that we do not think differently of them because their are on the other side now, but that we may not know how to support and talk about things we don’t know. We care, I care, but sometimes I don’t know how to show it.

    3. Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?

    I blog because I feel that I have nowhere else to express myself free of the fertile world telling me I’m complaining and I’m ungrateful. This is such a huge part of my life, and I can no longer hold in the pain, so I post to let it out. I seek out others who have been through it for support and understanding. I want to know that I’m not alone.

    4. Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc? Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?

    I think we should work together to create something that everyone can feel part of. The parenting after IF people feel neglected by the community, but this is still a part of their life, so they deserve a spot here. I think they deserve as much a spot here as the rest of us. If that means that someone helps with the blogroll to make it more effective, then so be it. If my area of the blogroll was not helping, I would talk and start discussion and make suggestions to improve it before I stepped aside and tried to make my own. If that means that we create more events for those parenting to take part in, then so be it. We are not here to destroy each other, we are just trying to find our way and support so we do what we can to make it possible. Could we not have a day each month where someone takes a day and leads a blogroll, or roundup just for one area of the ALI world. Like the first Friday of the month, we deal with those parenting after IF struggles and the next Friday we tackle those still struggling to get pregnant, another Friday we tackle couples living childfree, and finish off the month with the best of Adoption, Surrogacy or other options? Or when we do ICLW we encourage more people outside of the trenches to participate, that way more people would be comfortable with joining. Because when it comes to ICLW, people seem afraid to join it because they are out of the trenches. But I have always felt that you need to give to ICLW for a bit before you reap any rewards from it. The more that participate, the more that will come from it. It’s something that relies entirely on the participation of the members. If more PAIF took part, those PAIF would eventually reap the benefits of it.

    5. What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?

    Everyone was quick to lay blame without fulling informing themselves of what was going on. I follow both Elphie and Mel religiously. Elphie was not evil about this, she did not go behind anyones back. It started as a discussion and she felt she had the resources available to help. Mel found out about it when it went to LFCA and seen her work as being forgotten or underappreciated, and because she did the blogroll to help everyone, she wondered if it was necessary anymore. She didn’t want to make that decision without consulting the people she does all this work for. I honestly think if people looked at it from this view, took the time to research and knew the whole story, feelings would not have been hurt as much as they were.

    6. If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know? Conversely, if you are still in the trenches, what one thing would you want those parenting to know?

    I don’t feel any less about those that have kids. I’m happy for you. You made it. You have proven that people in the trenches can, in fact, get out of it. I read pregnancy blogs, I read parenting blogs. But if I don’t comment, then yes, sometimes its jealousy and other times its because I can’t relate to the nights of no sleep or the crying or the explosive diapers. But it doesn’t mean that I care less or that I don’t want you in the community. Try to remember what you felt like, the happiness for other IFers talking about their babies. You were happy but it was hard to relate and on bad days there was jealousy. But you knew that they fought to get there. You cared about them still, baby or not.

    7. You are Empress of the Internet for one day. How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?

    I honestly don’t know. I would work with others, discuss and try to find a way to be more inclusive of everyone. But beyond that, I really don’t know.

    1. I think it’s a great idea to have different focus posts for different groups. I think if it’s housed on the blogroll and the list is open to everyone to see and/or join then it can be supportive without being exclusive.

  5. (any “you” terms are generalized “you”s and are not directed at any one person or group)

    1. Is the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches? Why or why not?

    I think it *can* encompass the entire ALI journey. There is a spot for everyone – it’s just up to us to find the right spot. There are parenting after ALI blogs, those still in the trenches, various and sundry medical conditions, unexplained, childfree/childless – you name it, it’s got a spot. If you find that the spot you are listed under doesn’t work for you, contact Mel. Talk it over with her, see if she has a suggestion of a potential other spot for you.

    2. While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?

    I lost a lot of my readers along the way during the past 6 years. I’ve also gained new ones. I know several bloggers have lost me as a reader, and others have gained me. Why? Because while I was active in the trenches, I couldn’t handle pregnancy/parenting blogs. I didn’t have a way to support them, because I had no advice, because I wasn’t there. It took 4 years before I finally came to an acceptance that we wouldn’t have a child and to be able to handle parenting blogs again. That being said, even though we now have a son, there are STILL parenting blogs I can’t handle for whatever reason, and several people that I read who are still in the trenches. I’ve been there, I can support them.

    3. Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?

    My blog started out as a chronicle of our journey and a way to let out my anger. It was a place I could just write whatever was in my head so that it wasn’t there anymore. It’s the same now, except that I have added a child to the mix. It’s a place where I can blog about our son, his milestones, ask questions, get advice, rant about my day, whatever comes to mind. If someone reads my words and it resounds with them, I’m very happy.

    4. Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc? Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?

    There may be room for grass-roots, but it needs to be NEW. If all that is going to happen is to have Mel’s work taken and made into the same thing under a different name, it’s redundant. Make it complimentary. Do your own work. Work WITH Mel, if you have an idea.

    5. What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?

    Redundancy. In any form, it frustrates me. “It’s already been done! Why are you doing it again?” is usually the thought that runs through my head. If you don’t like the way it’s done, work with the creator about changing it. If someone needs something, and something similar already exists, direct that person in the right direction.

    6. If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know? Conversely, if you are still in the trenches, what one thing would you want those parenting to know?

    I am no longer in the trenches, but I feel for those that are. I don’t think I will ever consider myself a non-infertile. For those that are there, please understand when we celebrate or seem like we’re bragging: We worked hard to get here. Maybe not as hard as you, from your perspective, but we were where you are and we reached the final goal. We have every reason to celebrate. Please don’t begrudge us that.

    7. You are Empress of the Internet for one day. How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?

    I like to think it’s fixable, but I’ve only read one side of the division, really. If I am Empress, I’d use the “Merge” power and merge the lists and ideas into one. As for the hurt feelings, I think only time and discussion are going to heal that – and the Salon’s are a good place to start.

    8. Anything else? Feel free to ask your own questions, say what you are thinking.

    I do not think the PAIL was an intentional division, but rather the lack of clear thinking. The ICLW-type event, however, was intentional – I saw comments that referred to it as that, which means they already knew it existed and wanted to take intellectual property as their own without asking the creator. That’s…not cool. At all. And I could rant, but this isn’t my blog and it’s already been ranted about in other places, in other comments.

  6. I think that the ALI community is for everyone. BUT we do need the parenting after infertility ‘room’ or category that is on Mel’s list to be a more active one. By no means is that in anyway Mel’s fault, or that of the bloggers who are ttc but don’t visit parenting blogs. I think that is all that PAIL is trying to do, get pregnant and parenting bloggers a kick in the butt to blog for each other. We have to understand that there are parenting bloggers who are still in the trenches, and those who don’t think they have ever left.

    Speaking only for myself, I have never felt excluded or despised. I have been attacked for commenting as nicely as I could on a blog in the defense of a parent who complained about not having a minute to herself. I feel like the parent of a teenager (although I don’t really know what that is like) in that I know what it is to go through many aspects of ttc AND parenting after IF. So believe it or not, I do know what it’s like to be you, and remember clearly what it was like. Sometimes when I try to talk to a blogger who is new to the experience I get a lot of doors being slammed and “I hate you, and you don’t know what I’m going through.” Actually, yes, I do. BUT I have the advantage of also knowing what it’s like to be me. And honestly, even as a teenager I was very respectful of my elders, and curious about what they remembered about being in my shoes.

    I blog about ALI because I’m still trying to conceive. I do wish there was a ‘P’ in ALI, though.

    I have no idea whose responsibility it is. I think part of the problem we have recently had in the community is that we don’t really have someone ‘in charge’, although Mel is the creator of ICLW and a curator of sorts. I think sometimes that ALI has grown a life of it’s own, but it hasn’t really. Umm….I don’t know.

    The most frustrating part of the brouhaha last week was the pointlessness of it all. I started ttc in 2000, and at the time I was on the RESOLVE BB…which was only one room, those ttc. There was a flying shit fest about what to do about people who had graduated THEN. Now if you go there there are about a gazillion rooms and threads. Those of us who have kids are still infertile, and sometimes have to go through it all again, sometimes people never get the kids they want. Those things never change, they never will, and I wish we didn’t have to keep rehashing it. I wish that whoever had brought ICLW kind of thing to PAIL had known that it is Mel’s baby. I wish that Mel hadn’t been hurt. I wish that people wouldn’t lump everyone who signed up with PAIL together and label us. I think of PAIL as a separate group in adjunct to Mel’s blogroll, just as Glow in the Woods is.

    I can talk to myself on this point. CP: I want you to know that parenting can be just as devastating as pregnancy loss and ttc…and no, not just how hard breastfeeding is, that’s nothing. If you are parenting through adoption there are a million issues you will have to work through, just as an example. What is worrying you now is that you will never parent a child. I want you to know, that no matter what, life will be good and that you should live in the moment. I need feedback from people who have the strength to be supportive no matter where they are in their journey CP: huh, well, interesting. I just had a miscarriage and I’m trying to conceive again. Just looking at cute baby pictures hurts…and don’t even talk to me about those damn pregnancy memes…they really suck. I should be 22 weeks right now. Please put a warning on those posts, would you?. And I am really scared about trying again, I really want a baby, and this next cycle will be my last chance. I need to talk with people who have the strength to be supportive, no matter where they are in their journey.

    No Empress can ‘fix’ this. The divide is intrinsic in the differences between us. The only way this community moves past this, and it has in the past, is for everyone to try and think like the person on the other side and reach out with understanding.

    Those readers who are against PAIL need to understand that no one was trying to be malicious or cruel. Someone may have mentioned an ICLW type of thing, but most of us were unaware of it. It was DROPPED like a hot rock as soon as Mel spoke up. Now there are subject posts instead. PAIL is in its infancy and probably a little bit scattered. There was no intention of stepping on anyone’s toes, or taking anyone’s intellectual property, or thumbing our noses at those who have not achieved parenthood.

    respectfully….CP

  7. Hi there … another host coming to join in your discussion!

    Before the PAIL debacle I ignorantly didn’t realize that this ALI community encompassed all aspects of the journey; obviously, now I’ve ‘seen-the-light’ in that I found resources that were always there. Ready and waiting for me, if I needed them.

    I think, in my own life/world/journey, I need to remember that my reasons for blogging were not necessarily to find readers or comfort, but to really explore my thoughts and feelings about our infertility struggles. That being said, now that I have been a part of this community for nine months, I’m amazed at the support I get from many bloggers. Some are my own readers, and others I follow — the understanding and compassion is what has helped get me through some tough days. I think that when we ‘move-to-the-other-side’ it can be frightening. The unknown of whether or not we’ll continue to receive the support and encouragement that we’ve come to depend on can be crippling. I’m learning (especially during this last week) that it is important to keep on going — to keep on using this space and community to digest my feelings.

    Mel’s innovation needs to be respected, but I think Mel also needs help and support. This is a huge undertaking for one person. I have already offered to help Mel with whatever she needs — so that she can continue her innovating, community building, and just general awesomness. That is what I envision the future to be … this huge community where individuals help contribute, under Mel’s direction and guidance.

    The events of last week seemed to bring me many questions — especially one where this amazing, supportive, encouraing community could become such a b*tchy group; it reminded me of those awful days back in junior high with ‘mean girls’ always finding something to say to tear someone else down.

    I’m not sure I have a whole lot else to say, other than I’m sorry for all the hurt that went on last week. I have a really good feeling that these Healing Salons will provide a constructive outlet for people to sincerely discuss their opinions, feelings, and ideas, without the ‘claws coming out’.

  8. I am so glad we are doing this. Some really great questions, and great comments, observations & suggestions here.

    1.Is the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches? Why or why not?

    That is certainly Mel’s intent, and as someone who is outside the trenches (albeit without a child), I most certainly feel included — by her & many others, if not by everyone. I believe that should certainly be our goal, since we are all part of the same continuum, even if we are at different stages along the way.

    2.While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?

    Speaking as someone living childfree…while I don’t want this to become a “Pain Olymjpics,” I’d like to say that if the parenting after IF/loss bloggers feel excluded — well, you can imagine how we feel. There are some great comments in Pamela’s Coming2Terms blog/salon to this effect. I am encouraged, though, by how many people mentioned childfree as an option in some of the initial comments in this whole conversation. It seems like at least we are starting to be acknowledged as a “legitimate” option, and that’s a start.

    3.Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?

    I posted about this in the last few days: http://theroadlesstravelledlb.blogspot.com/2012/03/why-i-blog.html

    4.Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc? Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?

    I think we’re all responsible to some extent. Mel has some fabulous ideas and so much energy — she does so much for all of us. But we don’t have to — and shouldn’t — depend on her to do everything. I think there is room for grassroots initiatives. At the same time, we’d be silly not to take advantage of some of the great things she’s built for us, like the blogroll, like ICLW & the CDLC, like the Friday Roundup.

    5.What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?

    How many people didn’t even realize all the stuff that Mel does, like ICLW & the blogroll & how extensive it is. I agree with Tigger about redundancy. I guess it’s a function of how big this community has grown. It’s hard to remember that not everyone has been around as long as I have (& there are many who have been around longer…!).

    6.If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know? Conversely, if you are still in the trenches, what one thing would you want those parenting to know?

    Well, being in neither place ; ) the one thing I would like those in (& out of) the trenches to know about living childfree is that it IS an option and it CAN be done. I realize it’s not for everyone, but it is worth learning more about, if only to support those of us who do travel this path.

    Please don’t ask whether we’ve considered adoption or donor egg or whatever, or tell us that 40+ is not too late to reconsider, or say you wish we would “open our hearts” to one option or the other because we’d be great parents. We know we would ; ) but believe me, we have already considered all the alternatives, over & over. This is the path we’ve settled on, and the one we believe is best for US, now. Please respect that.

    7.You are Empress of the Internet for one day. How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?

    I think feelings are always going to be hurt over one thing or another (although not often to this extent, thank goodness…). Having a respectful & open conversation, like we’re doing right now, is a good step toward reconciliation.

    I would also ask people to make an effort to visit a new blog in a different part of the community — no matter how hard it might seem. Open your mind to a new point of view. It’s a great first step in building bridges.

    8.Anything else? Feel free to ask your own questions, say what you are thinking.

    A post/comment as part of Pamela’s Coming2Terms salon:

    http://theroadlesstravelledlb.blogspot.com/2012/03/healing-salon-comment.html

    1. Thank you for the reminder to include child free bloggers. I tried to be sensitive to that in my wording but clearly missed that in #6. You are just as important a (collective) voice in the ALI community as any other category.

  9. 1. ifs the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches? Why or why not?

    I think she does a fine job of representing everyone who want to remain connected with the infertility community.

    2. While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?

    I can admit that I have stopped reading plenty of blogs once they start blogging only about their kids, and it didn’t have anything to do with being infertile, it had to do with the bloggers writing. Infertility is emotional, and hard, and challenging, and there can be a need for a lot of support. Sometimes when someone crosses over into parenting, they also cross over into a blog that just lists the highlights of their child’s day (did they sit up, crawl, a blow by blow of each time they were awake during the night). So, I stopped reading, because, even though I have children, it doesn’t interest me. ANd maybe others also feel that way?

    3 Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?

    I blogged, on a couple of different anon blogs, when I was undergoing infertility, I did it as one of the only ways to figure out all my emotions and connect to others going through the same thing. I don’t blog about infertility anymore.

    4 Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc? Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?

    Mel does a good job, but if others want this PAIL thing then I think that’s fine too. The PAIL blogs seem to be much much more mommybloggy then parenting after infertility blogs, there is a distinct difference in my mind a parenting after infertility blog, looks and feels like your blog, a mommy blog looks just like all the other mommyblogs.

    5 What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?

    I don’t like it when others are attacked on the internet. Not cool.

    6. If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know? Conversely, if you are still in the trenches, what one thing would you want those parenting to know?

    Being a parent is 5 million times easier then being infertile (based on my experience of parenting almost 2 year old twins who rarely sleep and a husband who travels). No advice on how to survive being infertile, just keep fighting.

    You are Empress of the Internet for one day. How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?

    I don’t have a magic fix, but, I do want to point out that this PAIL list appears to be bloggers who have lost a lot of readers and are looking to reconnect with those who are ex-infertile mommybloggers. I can’t explain the difference between mommybloggers except it’s like porn, I know it when I see it.

    1. Mommybloggers and porn! You made me snicker! What I meant by those couples who “forget” their infertility after they have a child(ren) are those couples who avoid any reference to or mention of their prior infertility, their journey to parenthood and act like they’ve erased it from their history. Yeah, now that I’m a parent I don’t think about IF every moment of every day. It’s not the gaping wound it once was, and I strive NOT to write about it exclusively. However, I still have the scars and they ache and throb. I don’t want to forget our infertility journey; it’s part of who I am and how my son came to be. I guess that’s what I meant. Does that help?

      1. totally makes sense to me! I have those scars too, they are there, especially when I sit through the endless rants about how easy it is for some other mother to get knocked up(or long posts that go on and on about how virtuous they are because they breastfed, get over it!).

  10. I wonder if you’d be willing to say more about the “couples who ‘forget’ their infertility after having a baby”? I guess I’m wondering about what it is that distinguishes someone who has “forgotten?” I’m asking because I think this gets to one of the hearts of the problem. I think a lot of us fear coming across as someone who has forgotten his or her infertility. But since I’m done with family building, my past infertility shows up in my writing much less often. And that’s led me to write and comment a lot less because I think about someone in the midst of the pain and uncertainty of infertility, and worry that if they came to my blog, they might wonder how the hell I could still relate to them. I don’t think I’ve forgotten my infertility, by the way, it’s still there, and I try to be the best advocate and listener for any real life friends dealing with infertility. Oddly, I find myself providing that support a lot more to real life friends than I do online now.

    Anyway, I’ll try to answer the questions you posed:
    1. Is the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches? Why or why not?

    Of course the ALI community can encompass the entire journey. Mel herself is parenting after infertility.

    2. While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?

    I can only answer for myself, but it’s a self-exclusion. The topics that I want to write about are one that are about what I’m dealing with in my life, and I don’t deal nearly so much with infertility, at least not directly. And so of course I’m not included in the round ups or LFCA. And I’ve stopped participating in Creme de la Creme because I haven’t written anything that would be of interest.

    3. Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?

    My original purpose in writing about ALI was to be more open about infertility, especially to my real life friends and family. Since I’m shy in person, writing about it and letting people know about my blog seemed the easiest way to do that. I want people to not feel like they have to be quiet about their fertility issues, and want people who don’t have fertility issues to understand what those of us going through it did go through.

    I also blog because I want to be a better writer, and I hoped that writing on a regular basis would help with that.

    4. Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc? Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?

    This has maybe been the biggest frustration for me. I think Mel has done amazing things for the ALI community. She’s an inspiration to me (I mean that literally. I set up a different community for different issues because I saw how brilliantly it worked for the ALI community). But I think we all need to be responsible for the community, it can’t rest solely on Mel. That’s not fair to her and it’s not fair to us. The community is larger than her, and I think it’s a testament to the work she’s done that it’s grown so much. If someone sees a need in the community, I think they should feel ok about trying to find a solution and to open it up and invite others in. I think grass-roots movements are the way that this community has evolved and I think it’s absolutely necessary if it’s to continue to thrive.

    5. What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?

    see above.

    6. If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know? Conversely, if you are still in the trenches, what one thing would you want those parenting to know?

    I’m not sure I have much to say here. Even when you’re done with infertility, there will be moments or even days or weeks when you are still knocked off your feet by a pregnancy announcement or an off-hand comment that comes up in conversation. Having children now obviously blunts the pain substantially, but I don’t think you’re ever free of the infertility part of your path – at least I’m not. But it can be hard to write about that.

    7. You are Empress of the Internet for one day. How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?

    I think it’s fixable. Honestly, I think it just needs time (so being Empress for a day probably wouldn’t work). These things come up occasionally. I think the fact that everyone has had a chance to air their thoughts helps. After that, it’s just a matter of moving on and seeing that the community is still there, and we still all want to help others in some way.

    1. ANN! I haven’t seen you in FOREVER. I also have to agree with what you’ve said in the first paragraph of your comment. I do not think that couples who’ve “forgotten” their infertility are disingenuous traitors at all. Infertility is a tough place to be for anyone, and if someone moves so far past it that it is not at the forefront of their minds 24/7, I think that truly is a good thing. No one wants to stew so deeply in that mire forever. I don’t think that not writing about infertility often (or at all) puts anyone into this category. You’re just not high on the scale of emotional infertility anymore, and there is nothing wrong with that.

      THAT said, I do have a problem when they can’t tap back into it as a source of empathy and understanding for people who are still in the trenches. It is far worse if an infertile who is low on the scale of “emotional infertility” says something boneheaded than if a fertile were to say the same thing. A fertile is just ignorant and perhaps needs to be educated on how an infertile feels. An infertile saying something stupid makes me think, “You should know better; you were here once, yourself.”

      (For more on my concept of emotional infertility, read here: http://thesmartness.com/smartone/2012/03/mental-infertility-and-its-impact-on-the-adoption-loss-and-infertility-ali-community.html)

      1. I realized that in my commenting haste yesterday, I didn’t reply to Ann like I thought I had. Ann and JW Moxie, what I meant is exactly what JW expressed in her second paragraph. Of course to some extent we want to move past IF & it isn’t something I think about every day or a wound that hasn’t scabbed over, but I could never and would never forget our journey and definitely am able to tap into it as a source of empathy.

      2. Thanks for the response! It does make a lot of sense. I think I have been lucky to not have run in to many infertiles who have lost their empathy and forgotten what it was like to go through that struggle. Like you, I do try to tap into those experiences and have a lot of empathy for anyone dealing with infertility.

        And it is always great to meet another librarian!

    2. I do intend to “forget” infertility after I hopefully become pregnant. I only plan on having one. And then I want my life to be defined by something else. But what I won’t forget or lose is empathy for those in the trenches because it sucks. I’m not really sure how I will blog after this but as most of the posts I’ve seen have echoed, I will have to blog however I have to blog and I will accept however my readership changes because of that.

  11. 1. Is the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches? Why or why not?

    The ALI community is able to encompass the entire ALI journey, because infertility is not resolved just because someone is parenting or has made the tough decision to live childfree. There are the emotional ramifications to consider, and those feelings last long after the physical infertility has been resolved in one way or another.

    2. While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?

    As a parent-after-infertility who has had trouble writing about my kids while in this community, I can agree with Jo above and say that this feeling of discomfort is self-imposed. We remember how difficult it sometimes was for us to read about babies/kids/parenting, so out of consideration of others, we hold back to some degree on writing about those things. Some of us might be able to find a way to keep writing through that. Others of us need to change blogs or revamp to feel like we have a fresh start in new digs. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to handle this – it is about what is right for each individual.

    3. Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?
    I blog about ALI a lot less now that I have retired from surrogacy and my own family-building efforts, but I did and still do blog about it because it is a part of me. I have a voice that I can lend to the overall effort to raise infertility awareness, and if my blog helps push towards that, then I’m glad to write about it. Also, I know that my prior experiences allow me to serve as a source of help and information to those who need it and seek it from me. It means a lot to know that I am still helping others in some small way.

    4. Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc? Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?
    Here’s my thing – I don’t view the ALI community as “belonging” to Mel. She coined the term ALI and gave the united community a name, but I do not necessarily think that ALI is synonymous with Mel/Stirrup Queens. This is not to undermine anything that she has done to provide a sense of unity. I love Mel to pieces, and she is a beacon which calls to draws in wayward souls who felt/feel like they’ve been adrift all alone in these infertile waters. However, I don’t think that Mel or Stirrup Queens has to be the end-all-be-all for the IF community. Though it was loosely-formed across a wide landscape before Mel brought organization to it, the infertility community existed before her, and it will continue to exist after her. Community-building and innovation is there for anyone who feels driven to act. To say “top-down” and “grass-roots” implies that there is some sort of hierarchy within this community. In my opinion, there isn’t any one person who dictates (or who should be perceived to dictate) how this community is “run.” Some of us have stronger voices than others (Keiko also comes to mind) and I view them as thought leaders, but I do not view them as “bosses” who make the rules for how this community operates. NO ONE holds that role. This infertility community is big enough for EVERYONE move within it in whatever way is best for them.

    The only issue I have with PAIL is not that it was created or the purpose for which it was created. I don’t think there was any intentional harm caused, but suggesting a carbon-copy of the LFCA was encroaching on theft of intellectual property. I did read that the person who initially suggested it didn’t realize that the LFCA was solely Mel’s brainchild and suggested it only because she thought it was a meme/custom that is typical for various online communities. I can easily see how someone could make that mistake. She apologized for it and now to my knowledge, PAIL will not do exactly that. Every new “start-up” is going to have some growing pains and will make some mistakes along the way. What matters is the intention at heart and whether it was to build or destroy. If the intent was pure but inadvertently caused destruction, then the next question is how they took steps to make amends for it. If it has been done in a respectful way, then I think that’s what matters. From what I can tell, it seems as though that has happened.

    I don’t think that anyone involved in the creation of PAIL or the members of the group viewed joining as “leaving” ALI and “joining” PAIL. There is room for both, because one is a sub-set of the other. It is still a part of the whole. Joining PAIL is not “turning one’s back” on ALI, taking sides, or turning away from Mel, and it shouldn’t be viewed that way.

    All of THAT said I don’t take issue with PAIL or the fact that there is a blog roll there. I don’t have an issue with the fact that it is an outgrowth of ALI or a sub-community. I think it would have been different if the Parenting after Infertility section had been copied from Mel’s and pasted into PAIL. Copying the blogroll that Mel has would have been intellectual property theft. Saying, “We’ve started a new blog roll, come join it if you’d like to,” is not. I think that Mel’s blog roll and PAIL serve similar, but very different purposes. There is room for them both to exist in harmony without cracking a huge divide in the greater infertility community, and I do not think it should be viewed as drawing a line between “haves” and “have nots.”

    5. What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?
    The most frustrating thing to me was this – if we are active in this community, whether we read and write or only read, we are all here for the same reason: SUPPORT. We give it, we receive it. Why is there such heavy criticism for people carving out a way to get the support that they feel they need? If anything, I think that we should be understanding and even applaud community members finding ways to address what is clearly a need within a group of people within the community. It might not necessarily be the way that *everyone* needs to get his or her support, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Here in ALI, I think we have enough going on with misunderstanding from external sources. What matters is that we are getting and receiving support from WITHIN our community, and it was disheartening to see others hurt for receiving support in the way they felt they needed it.

    6. If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know? Conversely, if you are still in the trenches, what one thing would you want those parenting to know?
    I think I best answered that here: http://thesmartness.com/smartone/2008/01/the-shallow-end.html

    7. You are Empress of the Internet for one day. How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?
    It is fixable. I think it is fixed by everyone stepping back and realizing that this community is big enough for everyone, and also by understanding that not everyone needs to get support in the same way. No one can dictate how and when and from where people seek the support that they need.

    1. KYM! Hi! I’ve been laying pretty low recently. It’s great to run in to you. I just wanted to say how much I agree with your response to #4. I had been trying to find a way to express my discomfort with the idea of a hierarchy in the ALI world. I like how you characterize some as “thought leaders” but not “bosses.”

      1. I too really like your answer there. I’ve been struggling to express similar thoughts in various posts & comments over the last week. We’re all part of a broad, general community of bloggers on ALi issues, whether or not you feel a connection to Mel &/or the community she has built.

        Well said!

  12. Is the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches? Why or why not?

    Honestly, I don’t know if SQ can represent the entire ALI journey. I’d never realized how much the site is really about those in the trenches – and that’s a good thing, there needs to be a place for that. However, I think there also needs to be a place for those who make it through the other side with children and I’m not sure SQ is…appropriate. I never thought it wouldn’t be until last week. The overall…meanness of some of the comments was quite surprising. Bitter I expected, but not the personal attacks.

    While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?

    I don’t think it’s possible to be supportive when you are struggling to have a child, it’s simply too painful. I’d like to think we could be included, after all, infertility isn’t just for Christmas, it’s for life.

    Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?

    Because I have no one else in my life I can talk to about it who understands.

    Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc? Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?

    I have no idea. It is not something I have time for, though I would sincerely appreciate anything any can do.

    What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?

    That few understood that it’s a free internet, people can do (within reason) anything they want to without being beholden to others. That there was an infertility community before SQ and that there will be afterward. That making accusations of ‘theft’ was not helpful but divisive. That many of those who made personal attacks will someday find themselves on the other side of the fence.

    If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know? Conversely, if you are still in the trenches, what one thing would you want those parenting to know?

    That infertility doesn’t go away after you have a baby. That feelings of inadequacy will not only linger, they will increase if your child is anything less than perfect, hitting the markers every day.

    You are Empress of the Internet for one day. How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?

    It is not fixable. People will move on regardless.

    Oro

  13. 1. Is the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches? Why or why not?

    I would like to think it can represent everyone, but it seems clear that the way the community is functioning right now there are people who do not feel represented. That is their truth and it’s one I had never considered before, being somewhat myopic about where I am on this path (“in the trenches”). I know I need to do a better job of honoring the needs of people who are on different parts of the path — if I want them to stick around (and I do), I need to take responsibility for helping them feel welcome.

    2. While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?

    This is the tricky part. As I said, I’m trying and trying to get there, and I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth about what would be helpful. I know that what this situation has brought out for me is that I need to find ways to make sure the bloggers I care about who are pregnant, parenting, or have made the decision to live childfree know I am still reading and still pulling for them. That might mean making the effort to comment or email even when I’m in the middle of something myself (BFN, yet another diagnosis). I know that my own effort can’t really change the whole climate of the community, but I really do try to be the change I want to see — and this is the only way I know to do that.

    3. Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?

    I need a place where I can say exactly what I mean. My blog is that place. When I started it I had no expectation that anyone would read it. But now that I am a part of this community I find I have a responsibility to it (as I’ve tried to articulate above). My primary motivation is still about saying what I need to say in my own space, but almost as important at this point is the exchange of support with other bloggers.

    4. Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc? Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?

    Like others have said, the internet is a big place and I hope there will always be room for innovation. However, in this particular community, which is growing but still not really that big, I think we do owe it to the innovators who have been here doing the work to make sure that our new ideas don’t reinvent the wheel.

    5. What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?

    The overwhelming feeling that people were talking past each other. Everyone was coming from a place of real pain, and it makes me really sad that in this community of all places people were feeling like they didn’t belong, or weren’t being heard.

    6. If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know? Conversely, if you are still in the trenches, what one thing would you want those parenting to know?

    I value your place in this community. For whatever that is worth.

    7. You are Empress of the Internet for one day. How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?

    I certainly hope it is fixable. I think the Healing Salons are a good start; like I said above, if we can acknowledge that everyone is starting from a place of real pain, and if we can really hear each other, I hope we can start building (and repairing) bridges.

  14. Man there are a lot of questions!! Here I go………

    1.Is the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches? Why or why not?

    Well the argument is that it does support those that are “out of the trenches” but to my knowledge I don’t think it represents fully those that have finally got pregnant or are parenting. The majority of our advocacy is for those still struggling and then we resent those that have achieved a BFP as leaving / moving on. When in fact, we all still need support, just a different type of support.

    2. While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?

    I think I answered this in my blog post that people feel that everyone is getting BFP’s but them. We just have to remember that everyone that has ever got a BFP in our community worked their arses off to get there. No one had a coffee and got pregnant. Unless the coffee was with their FS. The community needs to respect that and if we are having a bad day we don’t need to comment and do group hugs but we can’t resent those that achieved a BFP because hell that is what we were here for in the first place.

    3. Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?

    Initially I needed to have somewhere to vent about my feelings, but lately more to help others in the same boat. Over the last few months I have had some amazing emails from those still TTC saying thank you for my blog. I was touched beyond belief and realised that I have a role to play too – even if it is minor. And also because ALI sucks and if I keep it all in I will explode.

    4. Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc? Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?

    Everyone should be allowed to express creative innovation. I think we all agree that in terms of the blog roll it should be shared maintenance but no one should be shot down for having an idea and also, unless there is a set of community laws that say only one person can be the master of ideas then no not top down. Grass roots all the way. Or maybe collaborative!?

    5. What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?

    The complete misunderstanding of PAIL. The rudeness and disrespect shown to Elphie. The pain Olympics. The shutting down of other peoples right to have an opinion. The feeling that we were trying to be an exclusive club. It is a blog roll for goodness sakes. I have seen longer blog rolls on peoples own individual blogs. Lastly, the feeling that we were deserting those and acting as if we were “cooler” than the rest which was so far from the truth it was ridiculous.

    6. If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know? Conversely, if you are still in the trenches, what one thing would you want those parenting to know?

    What about when you have one foot straddled in both directions with being pregnant with #1? I guess as someone recently in the trenches I wanted to know that eventually I would get out.

    7. You are Empress of the Internet for one day. How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?

    I think it will be. People need to recognise there was an obvious misrepresentation and clearly a lot of people felt they couldn’t blog with freedom as they didn’t want to hurt other people. Eventually it will blow over however everyone needs to recognise their role in the saga and make efforts to amend (hence my reasons for hosting a salon).

    I think overall I said enough on my blog. I love a good debate. But you can debate without being nasty. DONE!

  15. Okay, I’m diving in, head first:

    Is the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches? Why or why not?

    Well, I think (and truly hope) the ALI community goes beyond me. I may have coined the term “ALI” but just because I named it doesn’t mean it didn’t exist prior to me and it will exist after me. Meaning, it’s not mine. I’ve just tamed it — organized it. That said, the community as I’ve known it has always been a range — from those trying to those parenting to those living child-free after IF. And it has also brought in egg donors and surrogates and a whole host of other people who are entwined in the ALIers experience.

    While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?

    I think the biggest way we can support is to change the way we view them. We don’t forget presidents once they’re no longer in office; in fact, we turn to them for advice and we’re frankly interested to hear what they’re doing after the fact. As a freshman, I wanted to know what seniors were doing hoping I’d get there eventually. I think the way to help is to look at all the other places where we want to hear how the person is doing and apply it to this situation as well. I think there’s a lot to learn from listening to people on all points on the spectrum.

    Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?

    I blog about ALI because it’s part of my story. I also blog about blogging and writing and baking because all of those things are part of my story too. I blog because I enjoy writing, because I get a lot out of putting things into words. I allow others to read it because I want to hear their thoughts — hearing their thoughts generally helps me make sense of mine. I want to connect with others over words and ideas. I want to learn from other people… but that’s more a reason why I read blogs vs. write one.

    Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc? Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?

    Everyone who uses the resources should be responsible.

    What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?

    That I expressed feeling hurt about having my ideas/set-up taken and used elsewhere (one space essentially attempted to recreate another using aspects such as the blogroll, ICLW, weekly blog roundup — it wouldn’t have bothered me beyond the duplication of work if she had stopped at the blogroll) in addition to asking whether or not it would be okay for me to pass the baton to someone else if they’re willing to take on part of the blogroll. And the discussion exploded into how people feel about their space in the community. For me, this was about the taking of ideas/projects; the taking of too many ideas and projects that all exist in a single space and recreating them in another.

    If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know?

    That it’s much harder than I ever thought it would be. I couldn’t really fathom how hard it would be until I was holding them. And even now, I don’t think I can fathom how hard it will become in the future.

    You are Empress of the Internet for one day. How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?

    I would make everyone read a blog totally outside their comfort zone — not just one post but many. Make them sit with another person’s story and really listen to it.

    Anything else? Feel free to ask your own questions, say what you are thinking.

    Thank you for doing this. Truly, giving your space and the wonderful questions.

  16. 1 – Is the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches? Why or why not?

    I always thought the ALI community in Mel’s blogroll DID accommodate the whole ALI journey. Heck, it even had sections for bloggers who were second-hand experiencing the infertility of their children or siblings, and sections for surrogates, as well as for the living child-free, and for total newbies who were only just getting a first inkling baby-making was going to be tough. It seems to me that part of the problem here is, simply, people haven’t been exploring Mel’s blogroll very carefully.

    2 – While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?

    This is one thing that really bugged and upset me about the comments. I support, and am supported by, bloggers who have kids and are done family-building, and who have kid(s) and are now struggling for another, and who have taken the child-free path, and who are adopting, and who have had multiple miscarriages as I have had, and who have not seen a single positive pee-stick ever, and who are doing IVF, and who have never done IVF, and even some people who had kids without a struggle at all, but are compassionate and empathic and witty and seem to like me and wish me well. I had very little idea people were shunning parenting bloggers or making them feel left out or that they needed to censor themselves. I admit, I don’t always comment on parenting bloggers that I read, and occasionally this can be to do with my feeling weak and miserable and stressed, and mostly it can be to do with my feeling I have absolutely nothing to add to a discussion on diapers (or nappies, as we Brits call them). And I assume, similarly, some of my blog-pals don’t comment when I’m bitchin’ about my horrible periods, because they don’t get horrible periods and don’t know what to say about it, or don’t comment when I discuss the National Health Service, because they’re not British and aren’t sure how it works. We comment on what we can relate to. I can’t relate to nappy-talk – nappies have changed since I was 16 and changing my baby sister’s on a regular basis. I CAN relate to sleep-deprivation woes (I’m an insomniac), the stress of being SOLELY RESPONSIBLE for a whole new life (I am a big sister and aunt, I am observant and I care), and so on. I also know that parents, esp. parents after IF, need support and camaraderie, and what’s more, deserve support and camaraderie. The only times I stop reading a now pregnant/parenting blogger is when I feel I gave them time and support already, didn’t get much back, and never really felt a spark of connection with them to begin with.

    3 – Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?

    It was so bloody lonely, being infertile, and surrounded by very fertile family and friends. I also just like writing. And I wanted to put my story in perspective. I wanted to record it, and learn from it, and put it out there in case there was any like-minded soul I could connect with. And there were, and I did, and I am so grateful and pleased.

    4 – Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc? Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?

    I have no idea. But I do think people who want to start something new have a duty to check they’re not duplicating stuff, and if they’re doing something similar but more useful to them, it’s only fair and courteous to talk to the person whose idea has inspired them first. I must reiterate that I am totally sure no one involved in PAIL meant any harm or disrespect or to rip anyone off, and I’m totally sure their need for PAIL is legitimate and honourable, and the fact I felt a tad left out is SOLELY my problem and my inner Bitter Childless Bitch needs squashing, not validating. I think their enthusiasm carried them away a little. Even if they were never going to try to cooperate with Mel (and I can see why that wouldn’t work for either party) a heads-up BEFORE using Mel’s resources to spread the word would have been, I think, considerate.

    5 – What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?

    The personal nature of some of the comments, and the judgy-McJudgeface some people used on each other. I have a tendency to want to see all ALI bloggers as being supernaturally endowed with empathy, because of what we’ve all been through, and this proved, eh, maybe we’re all human after all, and alas, humans can be petty and judgy and lack compassion, and suffering, alas, doesn’t always improve a person’s character. Heck, to be honest, I doubt it has improved mine. I just like to think the best of people.

    6 – If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know? Conversely, if you are still in the trenches, what one thing would you want those parenting to know?

    I would want those parenting to know that I do, I really do, care for them and their children and their challenges and difficulties. So, please, please, don’t shut us out by saying things like ‘if you don’t have kids you won’t understand’ or ‘you don’t know what love is until you’ve had a kid’ or ‘parenting is harder than infertility’ (this last might well be true, for YOU. It can’t possibly be true for all your readers, and it hurts). Clueless fertiles say this kind of thing all the time, and it stings, and yes, they do use it to exclude the childless from the conversation. To hear it from the lips of an infertile person, is like a kick in the solar plexus.

    7 – You are Empress of the Internet for one day. How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?

    I don’t know if anything other than time can fix it. But I would second Mel’s excellent suggestion of having everyone read some posts, some blogs even, by people they’d never normally connect with, saying things well out of their comfort zone.

  17. Ok, here goes.

    1 and 2: I’m parenting after infertility, and I never really felt the need for anything like PAIL. Did my readership drop off? Yes, a lot. I didn’t really blame them – the story slowed waaaaay down and I didn’t seem to be “needing” the comments so much any more. But actually, a lot of the loss is just plain attrition. If you don’t actively form new connections, you are going to end up alone sooner or later, especially in blogland. What if I’d needed a lot of support after becoming a parent? Truth is, it’s easier to find support for (normal) parenting issues in real life, so maybe I did swap communities a bit, just not to an online one.

    How can the community help people feel supported and included? I think by just including people in the usual roundups, events, etc. A reog of the blogroll sounds in order.

    3. I am slowing down on my ALI blogging. I had some unresolved issues for a while, I have resolved nearly all of them.

    4. I think there should be grass roots stuff. There’s been a lot like that and it has been great. I would hate to see it end because of one mis-step.

    5. I didn’t find it all that frustrating. I wish people weren’t so frustrated.

    6. The one thing? It finishes.

    7. I think it’s fixable. I think bygones will be bygones sooner or later. There will always be rumblings of this kind here and there but I think most people can be pragmatic enough once all’s said and done.

    8. That’s it. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Bea

  18. Just adding here that I hope to forget about infertility once I’m a parent and done with TTC, because I definitely do not want to hold on to any of the negative emotions I’ve felt along the way, but that said, I think I’ll always be blogging and I’ll keep randomly perusing the TTC blogs. If there is ever anybody with a loss or a BFN, I want to virtually be there for them for the next few weeks, because what this has generated in me is an incredibly strong sense of empathy. But that is me. If anybody wants to shut the door on this painful chapter of their life, its their business. They should not be called up on it.

    Ok–the questions.

    1)Is the ALI community that has been collected and organized by Mel able to encompass the entire ALI journey or can it only represent those still in the trenches? Why or why not?
    —>I have not really thought about it because I do not use Mel’s blogroll to navigate the ALI blogsphere. A quick look at Mel’ situation room looks like all aspects of the journey are represented, nonetheless definitely represents the trying side of things far more than the parenting.

    2)While we all have the collective goal of moving to the other side, be that side parenting or living child free, why do so many bloggers who have moved on feel excluded from support and even despised? How can the community help them feel supported and included?
    —->I cannot understand why anybody would be despised. I hope this is not happening. For my own part, I follow parenting blogs, but I rarely ever comment unless they are in crisis mode, and sometimes, I skip reading their posts. This has made me feel guilty more than once, because people on the other side are equally deserving of support- parenting is NOT easy. About how they can be supported more, I’d say that has to come from people in a similar situation, which is why, when I first heard about PAIL, I thought it was a great idea. Still do.

    3)Why do you blog about ALI? What is your primary motivation for doing so?
    —> I first started blogging because I was not getting the kind of support I needed IRL during this process. Blogging helps me compose my thoughts and the very act of writing out a blogpost when something is troubling you is cathartic. It has provided invaluable support from so many people. Lastly, I’m a scientist- I’ve gathered a lot of information on infertility and I use my blog as a way to distribute that information.

    4)Within the ALI community as curated by Mel, who should be responsible for community building and innovation, creating new blogrolls, etc? Should it be top-down or is there room for grass-root movements?
    —–>Grass-roots moments are nice, but also have room for more complication and people stepping on each others toes.

    5)What was the most frustrating aspect about last week’s brouhaha to you?
    —>it violated my sense of space. People should be allowed to do what feels right to them. If they want to join a blogroll which connects them to other parents,even if they wanted to huddle and talk about parenting and never ever look at an infertility blog, its their business. While I could understand some of why Mel was upset, given that she has spent time organizing her blogrolls, why was everybody else upset? At what point did we start policing each other? The reason why we are doing this is to provide support- so provide where you can, to whoever you can, and then step away. This is not meant to be this virtual universe where we have to follow some law which says we all have to play together, forever and ever.

    6)If you have children now, what one thing would you want those in the trenches to know?
    n/a.

    7)Conversely, if you are still in the trenches, what one thing would you want those parenting to know?
    —>Uhh…I’d probably say, if you are somebody on my blogroll who has posts I rarely ever comment on- just know that it is because its a completely different universe. I still love you and support you a 100 %, and if crisis ever breaks, I’ll be there for you.

    8) You are Empress of the Internet for one day. How would you fix the division and hurt feelings from last week? Or, is it fixable?
    —>The lesson I’m taking home from this, from the comments on my healing salon post, is that 2 people can look at the same picture and see different things. The perspectives of 2 people can be so incredibly different, even if the both of them are in the same stage in this process. So while a lot of people will take some resolution from these salons (I hope) I think many others will walk away with the same ideas they came in with. But that is ok. We do not have to all agree, everybody does not have to get along with everybody, and there are enough people and enough love to go around. The best thing we can do is walk away from this with everybody hopefully just being a little bit wiser.

    Thanks for hosting!

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