Friday, March 9, 2012

I am a Member of the IF Community

I've had an internal struggle with whether I would actually post this.  I've walked away from this post for about 24hrs and as much as I don't want to get "in the middle" of this PAIL/ALI Community debacle that's taking place, there are just a few things I need to say.  I hope I do not p*off or alienate any of my friends, fellow bloggers by posting this, my intent is that this will come across in a respectful manner for all parties involved.

I have connected myself to the IF community in every way possible... Twitter, this blog, message boards, Resolve, and even through SMC.  I am, and will always be infertile.  Amazingly (and still unbelievably to me) I am 21 weeks pregnant with a little girl... but I still carry the scars of infertility closely.

As an active member of the IF community, I've come to realize this week that I'm not an "official" member of the ALI community.  I thought I submitted my blog a couple of years ago but looked this week and I'm not anywhere on the list as far as I can tell.  This is fine because I've never really used the blogroll/resources, and it took me a while to figure out what LFCA was when it was frequently referenced this week.  Seriously, how could I be an active blogger in this community for so long and NOT really know about the inter-workings of what is the BASE of the blogging IF community??? I knew the reference of ALI, I knew about ICLW but never participated.  Just call me clueless.

I've developed my blog quite organically by connecting with commenters, checking out their blogrolls, following my Tweeps blogs, etc.  But I do realize that I would not have connected with so many IF bloggers if it were not for the ALI community that Mel created, as many of those I have connected to have used the ALI blogroll to find each other.

Other than political hot-buttons related to IF, I tend to stay out of controversy when it comes about in the IF community.  If a blogger posts something that I do not agree with, I will err on the side of remaining quiet (not making a comment), as I believe this community is about support - and a blog is for personal expression. I have been guilty of writing supportive comments to other bloggers who post their disagreement about a post that I also disagreed with. Thankfully, this is a rare occurrence in the IF blog community.

But...  since my last post was an introduction to the new PAIL community, I feel the need to write a post on the volcanic eruption that has exploded this week related to the development of this new blogroll.  Have I mentioned how much I don't like drama?  I hope this will be my only post on this subject, that is my intention.  

Earlier this week, Mel wrote a post over at Stirrup Queens expressing her anger and disappointment in learning of the creation of the PAIL community.  This post spurred over 150 comments, many being divisive and often mud-slinging, name-calling comments.  Many individual blog posts have been written as a response to the Mel's post and the subsequent comments.

Ladies, this has been ugly  U-G-L-Y.   And that makes me uncomfortable.  Seriously, I can not emphasize how awful some of the comments have been... suggesting some have not "suffered enough" with their infertility to qualify - for whatever.

Firstly, to my friends/readers, if my post introducing PAIL hurt or offended anyone, you have my sincere apology.  Hurting or alienating anyone was never my intention.  Adding my blog to the PAIL blogroll never meant that I would stop following/supporting/cheering on my friends who are TTC.  IF has become my platform and is now a huge part of who I am, to my core.

What joining PAIL did mean is that I had an opportunity to find more bloggers who are in the same place I am at this time, transitioning into this place that is "pregnant after IF", to learn from them and offer support. I've been unable to join the "bab.y center" type communities with the fertiles of the world, I tried but it was just too much. Getting pregnant has introduced a whole new struggle for me, of fear (which I still can't bring myself to acknowledge beyond the word in writing or verbally) and hope.  For me, it is by far NOT worse than my TTC/IF struggles, it's simply a new and different experience built from IF.

The premise of what I gathered of why Mel was upset about the PAIL community, summarized by me, is a) the fact that she already has a Parenting/Pregnant after IF "room" in the ALI community, and b) she felt PAIL was copying her original ideas such as ICLW (please read her entire post for her reasoning).

Given my cluelessness about the interworkings of the ALI community, I did not know that the P/P-IF room existed, and it seems many others did not as well.  The difference in the PAIL community is that the blogs listed are ACTIVE, while it seems there are many on the ALI community that are not.  The overall ALI community has 3000+ blogs! I've spent some time over there this week trying to educate my clueless self.

And regardless of this, there was an apparent gap that existed for P/P-IF bloggers, otherwise the blogroll wouldn't have exceeded 100 within the first week.

Can't these two communities co-exist?  The majority consensus from the PAIL community is YES; it was never anyone's intention to abandon the ALI community in favor of the PAIL community.  Honestly, I'm dying to use Visio to develop an org chart or process flow to map it all out (I'm a geek).

Personally, I am a member of an infertility message board, specific to the clinic I last cycled at.  There is a separate message board for women who had success at this clinic.  Women migrate to the 'success' board once they get through early pregnancy (no set rule as to when women migrate).  We, myself included, still read and contribute to the original message board, encouraging women who are still cycling.  What we don't do is discuss our pregnancies on that board out of respect for those still trying.

Also, my Resolve group works in a similar way.  Once a member gets pregnant, she is welcome for the first trimester/until she starts showing.  After that, there is actually no new group for the pregnant/parenting after IF women... that gives me an idea!

As for copying ideas/ICLW, as I am not the creator I can't fully speak to this but here is my take.  ICLW - this was not proposed by Elphie, it was mentioned as an enthusiastic comment in a PAIL post.  I have no idea if an ICLW-like event was going to be proposed.

There was a statement on yesterday's post on Stirrup Queens that people are blogging for what they can get out of it, i.e. Blogging for Comments. This must be why people selfishly joined the PAIL group, because we lost commenters when we transitioned to pregnant/parenting.  Side note: personally, I do not feel I have lost commenters since my BFP, thank you friends!

While comments are always welcome, I don't think that is the reason most of us blog.  We blog to connect, to learn from others, to offer and give support.  Comments are just one component of the blogging experience.

I have to say that I admire how Elphie has handled herself in the wake of this storm.

And my next statement will likely be unpopular but I feel like I need to say this, this is my perspective and I know it will not represent everyone's opinion... this comes from my 15 years in Corporate America and various leadership training/experiences over the years.

As a blogger, I completely respect that Mel expressed herself and her feelings this week, that's the purpose of our blogs, to express ourselves.   She has every right to share her feelings and anger in her space.

However as the creator of the ALI community, therefore a leader, I would like to see her handle this like the leader she is.  I would expect a leader to gather her "leadership team" behind closed doors, along with the "leadership team of the opposition", discuss the issue, and propose compromise/resolution.  I would then expect all of the leaders to take the supportive position of whatever that resolution may be and cascade/share it with their organization.

A shakeup in the environment, especially one that has no proposed resolution, only ignites the flames and creates chaos.  Unfortunately, the Stirrup Queens posts this week have instigated a divide in the community and created a lot of hurt feelings.

I hope that the next steps are healing ones.

I am a member of the IF community - across the blogsphere, Twitter, message boards, IRL, etc. - regardless of what blogroll my URL is or is not linked up on.

**If you do not feel the need to comment, don't feel obligated to comment.  If you do want to comment, RESPECTFUL comments are welcome.  I do reserve the right to remove any comments that I perceive as ugly (my mom reads this blog - Hi Mom!).**


  1. Agreed, and I especially appreciated your point that leaders should have handled this behind closed doors. Let's hope this all clears up soon.

  2. Couldn't agree more! I wrote a post about it last night.

    I am shocked at the ugliness that came out of this and I hope that healing can take place soon.

  3. I would expect a leader to gather her "leadership team" behind closed doors, along with the "leadership team of the opposition", discuss the issue, and propose compromise/resolution. I would then expect all of the leaders to take the supportive position of whatever that resolution may be and cascade/share it with their organization.

    IMHO, this is 100% correct. I think this could still be done if the interested parties worked together behind the scenes.

    The "healing salons" are going to make things much much worse. Well, except for those of us who like to watch train wrecks.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. I agree with you about the "healing salons". As with any roadside accident or train wreck, my curiousity may get the better of me and I may not be able to keep from reading about it, but I don't plan to participate.

      From my experience, the resolution is best served from a TOP-DOWN position (as I think I made clear in this post). I did read in a comment on Mel's last post that this "work out your own solution" method is often used in group therapy so I won't completely discount it at this point.

      I just think all of this could have been avoided to start with. But we are here now and we will see where it takes us.

  4. Part of healing is letting go. So that's all I have to say.

    1. Thanks Rebecca. I do agree with your statement. However I don't see that happening soon due to the "Healing Salons" that will be taking place across the community over the next week. I hope that they are truly healing and do not create more hurt instead.

  5. I like your well thought out post. I don't really know enough to say a lot, but I agree with what you said about there appearing to be a need with so many bloggers signing up on PAIL. And I imagine there's room enough for everyone...

  6. Hey there, thank you so much for your nice comment on my blog and this post--very eloquently put. I wish a lot of what you said had happened.

  7. PS--Definitely think about a breastfeeding post. Something I wish I'd done before my baby was born, was give more thought to breastfeeding--part of me wonders if things would have gone a little more smoothly then.

  8. Well and graciously written---and dead on.

    1. Thanks Jendo. It's so nice to hear from you! I've been wondering how you are doing. I hope things are going well for you!!

  9. FWIW, I'm hosting a salon because I think the bigger questions about what it means to parent "after" infertility are really interesting, and important to both me personally and the greater community. I'd hope--and I guess we'll see--that the particular questions I've raised would be productive, not just angry rehashing of what's already been said.

  10. As someone who has been TTC for what feels like eternity, I have mixed feelings on the PAIL situation. Initially, I thought no big deal, people need a group and they made one. But I must admit, that the more I saw the button on people's blogs and the more I heard about it, the angrier I got. Every time I see the button it feels like a "look what you can't have". Intellectually I know that that isn't the intention, but it doesn't hurt any less when I see the button, or read yet another post about it.

    I don't know what the solution to all of this is. I know that there needs to be a place for women who have achieved pregnancy/parenting to discuss things that they have in common. It makes sense to have a place to do that, but I think that people need to be aware and realise that if their blog changes to a mommy-blog, they may lose readers. And if that bothers them, then maybe they need to think back to what it was like to be TTC and reading those blogs - it hurts, it's not meant to, but it does.

    Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that I understand the need to have a group like this, but it is painful for some of us. Is that the fault of anyone... no I don't think so. What it intended to be... no I don't think so. Is there an easy soluation... unfortunately I don't think so.

  11. I appreciate your assessment and agree with what you say. I'm also clueless about the various blog rolls although I did add myself to Stirrup Queens a while back. I find it unbelieveable that anyone would complain about the startup of another roll. It's the internet, no one owns it.

  12. I have to admit that the whole uproar has had me waffling quite a bit so I am trying to stay out, especially since I've realized I seem to know even less about the community than I thought. What I do appreciate is having the opportunity to read posts from all sides of the debate so thank you for posting yours.

  13. I know I'm really late to this discussion. I've been purposefully avoiding the healing salons and just didn't see this until now. I just wanted to commend you for your brave honesty in expressing your disappointment in the way this was handled by some members of the "leadership" involved. I was also disappointed in that and even more disappointed in the fact that very few people seemed willing to bring it up. So I really appreciate that you did so here. Thank you.


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