Two weeks. It's hard to believe that it's been that long since I last wrote. So much is happening, both with work and family. All of it warrants an update. But that's not going to happen with this post.
Instead, I'm going to address something that I've been thinking about for longer than I care to admit. Because admitting this means that I have to admit why I haven't wanted to address what I'm about to talk about. How I've been worried about the backlash and hate that will very likely be filling my inbox. But I also know that I've gone far too long suppressing something that I believe ultimately is good and necessary. Not only for this community, but for the world in general. And recent posts and events that I haven't talked about (until now) have made this all the more clear.
So, here goes. Haters, feel free to vent below.
At the end of January, Pamela Tsigdinos @ Silent Sorority wrote three separate posts that basically transcribe this Bitter Infertiles podcast. For the record, this is still one of the podcasts that I am incredibly proud to have been a part of. Reading this transcript, though, was bittersweet. On the one hand, I remember doing this interview and knowing from the moment we began speaking with both Pamela and Loribeth what was being created would be important. I was so nervous speaking with our two guests, praying I would not say anything that would be considered offensive or stupid, but also because I had grown to respect both of them immensely for their courage to share their lives, their thoughts and their insights in a world that seems to value only the baby bump. A lot came out of that interview and I still think about Pamela and Loribeth's words even now, especially as I fight for a career in a world that is rapidly transitioning.
The bitter part of this, though, is knowing that this podcast no longer exists. Reading those transcripts opened a floodgate to emotions that have been kept at bay; emotions surrounding the sudden end to something that I believed in; was proud to be a part of.
Before people get the hackles up, please know I'm not blaming anyone for what happened. I played my part in the ending of this podcast and I understand that there were intentions for what played out. Yes, there were things about the podcast that needed improving. The one on a lot of people's minds was having all three hosts being pregnant at the exact same time. But what wasn't talked about was why Bitter Infertiles was unique. An ingenious idea, really. What wasn't talked about was WHY some of those podcasts are still being regularly downloaded and listened to. The fact that there are people outside of the blogging community who are accessing them and listening.
This brings me to the second part of my confession.
This past fall, in the midst of job hunting, I decided it was time to start looking into ways that I could use my graduate training and science education experience to help those facing infertility. I remembered all too well what it felt like to walk into the waiting room for my RE for the first time. To get those initial results and undergo that first round of testing. I also knew that Grey and I had an advantage most don't have, making many a physician uncomfortable when it became clear that we could not only speak the language but were asking questions they usually didn't encounter. Thing is, I believe everyone facing infertility needs to advocate for themselves. And the only way one can truly advocate is by having information that they can understand and knowing what options are available.
The problem is, when I started reaching out to organizations that are currently working with patients, I encountered a couple of things. First, every single one of them was unable to pay me for my time but wanted me to lead things that would require a lot of time to prepare for. The second was that the educational seminars they wanted to run meant that people seek information would have to come to an event. Effectively outing themselves to the whole world. And while that may not seem like a big thing to anyone in the medical profession or those who have never been diagnosed, those who are living with infertility can tell you how terrifying outing oneself, especially at the beginning, truly is.
The beauty of the Bitter Infertiles podcast is anonymity. Be it with those who participate in the interviews all the way down to the listeners. One does not have to announce themselves to the world when they listen. One does not have to confront family, friends, loved one or strangers who think they are "helping" when they tune in. Instead, this was a place where knowledge could be dispensed. Stories could be shared. Opinions offered and feelings vented. All without having to don the scarlet "IF."
The online ALI community is an interesting one. Mel said it best: we are a community that is founded on pain. Through blogging, one has an opportunity to share their story, finding support. But what isn't directly talked about is how just the act of sharing one's story can be healing by confronting that pain. That instead of leaving the trauma for this experience bottled up, bloggers (and those who twit) are getting it out and confronting this demon. Yes, there are moments it hurts. Sometimes so much that it can feel impossible to even breathe. But I also know the data that shows how important to healing and resolving this processing can be.
Equally important is finding comradery. By finding community and others who "get it," those feelings of isolation can melt away.
The thing is, blogging and twitting isn't an option for everyone. Many have talked about how sharing at this level is usually limited to a certain type of person. For all those that write, there are many, many more who do not and their reasons are many for not doing so. It doesn't mean that they are somehow in denial or less than those that do. I can tell you first hand how damaging it is to have family pressuring you to shut up and accept the situation simply because they are uncomfortable by the idea of your pain. But community doesn't have to be limited solely to those who share their story. Those who listen or follow along can find healing too.
So, in light of all of this, I'm going to suggest something that will surely piss people off. I think we need to resurrect this podcast. Not the exact same one and nor do I think the original hosts so be a part of that. You read that right. Though I sincerely want to support and give to those who are not yet resolved, I believe there are those who are better suited for leading this endeavor.
It's likely that all of this may be met with silence. I may hear about it privately, being told (once again) that I should keep my mouth shut and that I'm overstepping. But I'm hoping that by speaking the wheels begin to turn. Conversations start. That maybe an idea that was once embraced and did do a lot of good for this community is resurrected. It's a hope I really am hanging onto.
In the meantime, let the venting begin.
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