An Anniversary of Sorts

A few days ago I realized that as of July, I have been blogging for 6 years. It doesn’t seem that long. I started my original blog in July 2007 after our FET failed and then started this blog in January 2009 when we found out that our surro miracle was a boy. I wasn’t the most prolific blogger from 2010-2011 (grad school, work and babies will do that), but I checked and confirmed that I have indeed blogged every year since 2007.

Six years. SIX years. More than half a decade.

I don’t know if it were residual effects from having surgery and the unexpected appendix removal or if I entered a wormhole that took me back to early 2007 and how I felt after my first lap, but I was fairly blue over the weekend. And I couldn’t figure out why. It was just surgery. Yeah, I was sore. Yeah, I lost an appendix I had never thought anything about. Yeah, my doctor was adamant about me staying on birth control until menopause. But there wasn’t anything to feel blue about. Yet I did.

Even though I didn’t start blogging until 2007, our trek down the Yellow Brick Road of infertility began in late 2005. I may have lacked a personal outlet for my pain, confusion and bitterness, but I found blogs and read them avidly, in wonderment that there were others going through similar situations who were sharing their experiences and as diagnosis upon diagnosis began to accumulate, trying to find kindred spirits on this road to family building. I read Mel. I read JJ. I read many others.

As I started narrowing in on my myriad of reproductive challenges, I began expanding my blogroll to include NC IFers, others with unicornuate uteri(?) and then others pursuing gestational surrogacy like Niobe of Dead Baby Jokes.

Thanks to the Return of 2007 Brain over the weekend, I began revisiting some of the blogs I used to read. I had to Google a few because I couldn’t remember the names of their blogs, and I stumbled upon this 5 year-old article about the infertility blogosphere about bloggers some might recognize. And then Mel posted about the ALI Time Capsule, and it was another stroll down memory lane and those early days of infertility.

What I was disappointed to discover was that many of the blogs I read back then no longer exist. The blogger stopped blogging after a farewell or possibly after no farewell, just never updating. Or the blog had been deleted. No more Jenna from the EpiBlog or Beth from Prop Your Hips Up. My UU buddy Sara, silent since 2010.

We’ve talked about these abandoned spaces before. What I’m curious about is why these bloggers stop blogging. Is it because blogging fulfilled a different need for them? Most of the bloggers I read succeeded at family building one way or another. Is it attrition due to time constraints caused by the competing needs of growing children? Is it resolved pain? Is it the inability to figure out where to start when you have 20 minutes and sit down at your computer and realize it’s been two years since you last blogged, and you find it easier to close your browser and get up, thinking “maybe another day”? Maybe it’s that ubiquitous devil Facebook?

Why do we still blog? The desire to continue the relationships we’ve formed and the conversations we’ve had? The desire to continue maintaining a space to spill our thoughts? Because buying a domain or carving out a few minutes to post something here or there is far less expensive than therapy? Because we’re inherently narcissists and navel-gazers? I don’t want to paint those who stopped blogging as less committed, less reflective, just less in some way. We all came to blogging with our own motivations and needs. Hell, I gave up cable; I’m sure some find that difficult to understand.

I’m honestly curious about why some stop blogging after years of deep confessions and why some don’t. I still blog because I found that it helps me work through what’s in my head. I blog because I appreciate the people I’ve “met” and the relationships I’ve made. I love being able to interact with some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, who challenge me and awe me with their beautiful words. I blog for that “OMG, me TOO!” response, the sudden realization that you are <em>not</em> crazy and that there others out there who think like you. I blog because it allows me to be KeAnne…not KeAnne the mommy, KeAnne the wife, or KeAnne the employee. Just me. And I blog because I likely have a tiny smidgen of narcissism…of course I should grace the world with the profundity of my words. Yeah, not so much.

Seeing those now-empty spaces was sad. I shared their journey. They shared mine. Does their absence negate any part of those journeys? It’s like someone took a time in my life and wiped it away. And more uncomfortably, what does it say about our relationship that they no longer blog. Did our “relationship” matter less to them than it did to me? Were they just not as in to me (and us)? These types of thoughts make me uncomfortable because it makes me think of obligation and ownership. These bloggers are people. They owe me NOTHING, yet I feel despondent because they no longer blog.

When I think about some of these blogs, I think of that scene in Lord of the Rings when they sail by the huge statues from another time or that episode of Lost when they encounter the giant stone feet (mysteriously with 4 toes), all that’s left of an ancient monument, and you wonder what in the world those feet symbolized. What ancient world and/or beliefs did they encapsulate? But apparently, it is not for me to know. Many of these early infertility blogs were deleted or removed. Their names in posts are artifacts to ponder. Many mean nothing to me beyond the fact that they helped to establish the genre. But they are strangers to me; my bad luck to have been a few years or months too late.

Maybe these defunct bloggers are reading but not commenting or blogging. If so, it would be so wonderful if they would say hello. Maybe it’s something about our community in particular that makes us linger on the ones that got away, thinking about loss in all its forms.

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6 comments

  1. I’ve sort of noticed the same things abut blogging lately. I don’t blog as much as I used to, mostly because of time constraints. However, I’ve noticed that most of the bloggers I follow down blog as much either. Maybe it is a need that is met one day and not the next.
    I know for myself that things have changed drastically in my life as a result of my blog and blogging means different things to me now than it did before. I miss some of my blogging friends that I don’t “see” around as much.” Reading this post made me feel like you and are are very similar in the way we approach blogs and blogging relationships 🙂 I hope I’m still around and blogging in another 5 years 🙂

  2. I think a lot of people have moved to other social media platforms – Facebook, twitter – and certainly as kids get older, it gets really complicated to blog. You reminded me I hit my 8th anniversary this week, and I started my blog the day I found out I was pregnant!

  3. Wow, six years is a long time. I really long time. You should be awesomely proud.

    Also, I could have written much of this post. I think I have written parts of it. I too feel a real kinship with bloggers and it is a big blow to me when certain bloggers stop writing, especially if they never announce they are going but just disappear into the night. I read some women through losses and then pregnancies and then they never updated on whether or not their baby was born safely! That shit STILL pisses me off. I mean, how can you do that to your readers?! I do believe that bloggers owe their readers the basic decency of letting them know how things turned out before just fading away into nothing. We invest a piece of ourselves in the people we read regularly and comment on. And yes, we owe them a heads up if we’re going to walk away. I’m not saying anyone owes me their time, that they should keep writing, but just disappearing is not okay. It freaks people out and I think it’s rather rude and uncaring. But that is just me and it may not be a popular opinion at all.

  4. Happy anniversary, lady! Six years is a hella long time. I’m glad you’re here.

    I’ve been a little nostalgic lately too, so Mel’s time capsule spoke to me as well. Gosh I miss Niobe. And Antigone, and Daisy, and so many others who have slipped out of my blogroll, simply because its been years since the last post.

    Time IS definitely an issue, as crankygiraffe notes. And I agree with Laura – a lot have probably moved on to other platforms. Because, let’s face it, updating a twitter feed or posting a FB status one handed while feeding a baby, wrangling a kid or pretending to pay attention in a Board meeting is far easier than knocking out a post.

    That being said, I’m with Esperanza – I do feel a “hey, here’s what’s up, I’m heading out” kind of post is required.Especially if you’ve had a dedicated following (even if its only a handful), or you’ve drawn on the support of the community to make it through a rough patch. No one is saying to write when you don’t want to write. But bloggers ask people to invest, and many do. So it’s no surprise that people are hurt when they’re left wondering what the heck happened amid radio silence.

    My posts may be a bit more infrequent lately, but I don’t have any intention of stepping away from my space.

    PS – so interesting you linked to the New Atlantis article. I’m one of the bloggers quoted, but blogging in a different and completely personal space now. Reading the article again and recognizing even more names and posts I miss.

    But while I yearn for my homies, I haven’t been eager to seek out new faces in the community. I add one or two blogs to my reading list as I stumble across them, but only if they really, really speak to me. I feel like the bar to enter my RSS feed is way higher these days. Some of this is time management, some of this is self-preservation. Because I do invest. And I just don’t have it in me to go through the hope and heartache of TTC even vicariously at this point in time. What about you? Do you stick with the oldies but goodies, or are there new voices that I am totally missing out on?

  5. Happy blogoversary! 🙂

    I also wonder why people stop blogging. My theory is similar to Laura’s — that people now prefer a more “instant” means of communication, especially as their lives grow busier, more hectic. Personally, I still enjoy blogging because I sometimes can’t express all of my thoughts in 140 characters or less and (in my opinion) a blog is a place where one can hold more in-depth conversations because of its lack of space constraints. My readership numbers have gone down drastically in the last year or so, but I think that my conversations/comments are more meaningful.

  6. Love this. It sort of reminds me of how I felt about my departmental secretary from graduate school. She was always there while I was there, and then I moved away after graduation, but she was this constant who was still there for ME even though I wasn’t a constant for HER. And then one day she retired. And now I think of her fondly and wonder how she is. I miss a lot of those bloggers too. Especially the ones I connected with intensely and once they stopped blogging, they pulled that relationship too.

    A few years ago, I imagined that I would stop blogging at some point and then I’d give my space away to someone else to enjoy. But now I don’t see the stopping point as clearly. When I think about being 80 years old with 33,000 blog posts under my belt, it seems a bit unrealistic. But my blog doesn’t detract from my life; on the contrary, it only adds to it. I’m nearing on 2500 posts; many more than that if you count the ones languishing in draft. And that’s sort of amazing, right? 2500 times that I’ve sat down and placed my thoughts on the screen. So I can’t imagine walking away from it.

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