Gratitude: It’s Never Too Late to Say Thank You

by Kathy on February 21, 2011 · 13 comments

in ALI Community, Background, Book Tours, Hope, ICLW, Inspiration, Love, The Future

Welcome to International Comment Leaving Week (a.k.a. IComLeavWe or ICLW): February 2011!

This is 4th time I have participated in ICLW and I am looking forward to another opportunity to get to know some bloggers I may not have interacted with before, as well as visit the blogs of those I haven’t been in touch with for awhile.

If you are not familiar with ICLW, you can learn more about it here.

If you are here for ICLW and haven’t been to my blog before, welcome to Four of a Kind!

If you you are here for ICLW and you have been to my blog in the past, welcome back!

For those of you who are new to me and Four of a Kind, you can learn more about me and my story in detail here, here, here and here.

In a nutshell I am a Domestic Engineer with 3 children (2 here and 1 in Heaven) finding joy in the journey after dealing with secondary infertility and pregnancy loss for over 5 years.

I recently “came out” about my blog to my extended family and friends through a Crossing Over post that I wrote and shared on Facebook, on our CarePage, and here on my blog. My hope and intention in doing this was to help raise awareness and encourage conversation about infertility, pregnancy loss and neonatal death so that those who are living through any or all of these experiences know that they are not alone and that there are many others who have “been there” and are willing to support them on their journeys. I also want to help those who are close to and care for those struggling with infertility, pregnancy loss and neonatal death to better understand what it is like for their friends and family members and to be able assist them in their efforts to show their loved ones support.

When I began blogging in April 2007 we were in the midst of our first IVF cycle. I blogged about our experience dealing with secondary infertility, parenting our son Sean (who was born in October 2003) and doing Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) cycles for the remainder of 2007.

In 2008 I blogged about our pregnancy with our 2nd child/1st daughter Molly who had a rare, severe and fatal combination of Congenital Heart Defects (CHD). She was born and died in April 2008. I spent the rest of that year primarily blogging about my grief and healing after Molly’s death.

In 2009 we found out that we were pregnant with our 3rd child/2nd daughter Abigail and I blogged throughout that year about the excitement and fear that I experienced during our pregnancy with Abby and then the early days of our family life after she was born in September 2009.

In 2010 I blogged infrequently, as I was overwhelmed (in a good way) with motherhood trying to enjoy and balance life with an infant and a Kindergartner. I often missed the having the opportunity to debrief life here and connect with old and new blogging friends, but even so I did not find much time to spend here.

This year I am trying to get back into blogging regularly, I want to continue to share candidly about my life and experiences, as a parent and someone who has survived secondary infertility, pregnancy loss and neonatal death. I also want to spend time this year focusing on commenting as much or more often then I post blog entries here. I have been inconsistent with this in the past and my intention is to change my approach. This is one of the reasons I decided to participate in ICLW again after a 1 1/2 year hiatus.

When I first started blogging I acknowledged every comment that was left here for me and in turn I almost always made my way to those commenters‘ blogs (if they had them) to read their posts and leave comments. However, as time went on, especially after we got pregnant with our daughter Molly and received her devastating diagnosis and prognosis, I got away from acknowledging comments (at least individually, though I still always tried to express my appreciation in subsequent posts). Likewise, I was often too self absorbed with what was going on in our life to make my way back to the blogs of commenters to read and return comments.

I realize that when you are going through a very difficult time in your life and choosing to blog about it, that there is a certain level of empathy for and patience with those who do not take the time to engage in discussion with commenters and/or return comments. Those in the blogosphere, especially our Adoption, Loss & Infertility (ALI) Community, can be incredibly compassionate and supportive and I will be forever grateful for that.

However, understandably, after awhile if someone continues to comment on our blog and we rarely, if ever, return the favor, eventually they may lose interest, choosing to give their time and attention to those who will visit their blog and offer them support as well. It isn’t very fun or healthy to be in a one-sided relationship where you do all of the giving and receive little to no support in return.

I know that I have been supportive of fellow bloggers over the years and the relationships that have grown from our mutual support mean a lot to me. However, I also admit to being guilty of taking more than I have given when it comes to many of the bloggers who have visited here offering their support and I want to change that going forward. I hope that those of you whom this applies to will accept my apology. I am truly sorry. I want to show my gratitude for your support in the past and let you know that I believe it’s never too late to say thank you and to show you my appreciation.

The best way that I can think of to make up for the past, in addition to taking responsibility for my actions and apologizing, is to try to do better from now on. I also am going to try and go back through many of my old posts and where appropriate acknowledge comments that I have received over the years, as well as to click through to the blogs of commenters to visit, to read, to comment and especially to say thank you.

If you haven’t already checked out one of our Stirrup Queen’s latest community building projects called The Grateful Said (I participated and am #10 on the 2010 list), it is another awesome way for the ALI Community to show each other just how much we appreciate the comments we receive on our blogs and how the support and insight we get can be so incredibly validating, as well as at times giving us the chance to see at our situations from different points of view.

Please let me know your thoughts on this post. Do you leave comments for other bloggers as often as you post blog entries and receive comments? Do you think it matters if you acknowledge the comments people leave for you and in turn visit their blogs and return comments? Do you think it is ever too late to show your gratitude and say thank you?

Lastly, I am hosting a book tour (with author and contributor participation) for A Gift of Time: Continuing Your Pregnancy When Your Baby’s Life is Expected to Be Brief by Amy Kuebelbeck and Dr. Deborah L. Davis. You can read more about it and find out how to sign up in this post . If you or a loved one is experiencing or has experienced a pregnancy where a prenatal diagnosis was made and a prognosis was given that the baby is/was not expected to live long before or after their birth, please consider reading the book and participating in our discussion in March. Also, if you are a doctor, nurse, chaplain or care giver that deals with perinatal hospice situations, please consider joining the tour, as I believe that it is a wonderful resource for you and we would greatly appreciate having your perspective in our discussion.

THANK YOU for visiting, for reading and for commenting! I wish you a wonderful week! I look forward to visiting your blogs, reading your posts and commenting as well. To those of you participating in ICLW, I hope that this experience helps you to “feel the love” and validation that giving and receiving comments on our blogs gives to us.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 It is what it is February 21, 2011 at 9:03 am

I am a long time follower of your blog and about 75 others (going back years). I comment frequently to others' blogs and post consistently to my own (I have only been blogging for a year). I don't get nearly as many comments as I leave and often I leave detailed comments with links and references (when an entry calls for it).

Ironically, I was just thinking last night that I no longer have the energy or desire to comment on blogs where the blog owner has NEVER reciprocated. So, I am going to weed out some urls from my blog roll (present company excluded :)) and reader to make room for some new ones.

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2 It is what it is February 21, 2011 at 9:27 am

And, thanks for posting this as it served as a reminder to me that it is IComLeavWe so I've added the widget and got my comment on.

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3 Knock knock - it's cancer! February 21, 2011 at 10:48 am

This is an interesting post. It's funny, when we first start blogging, or at least it was this way for me, I thought it would be something I do for me, it certainly didn't matter if others read it, let alone commented on it.

However, as we all find out, comments are what makes blogging so much fun. The interaction with strangers that become friends through the blogworld.

I love my comments, both leaving and receiving them. I just wish more people would do that.

For example, I have had 3006 hits in one month on my blog. I don't even know that many people(!!) I know lots of them are repeats, obviously, but still, if an average of 200 viewers look at my blog daily – which is what my stat counter says – how come my comments hover around 12 and 13 each time?

Hmmm…. yes, I really do like this post and the attention it brings to commenting on other blogs 🙂

Well done, again.

Michelle

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4 Kathy February 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm

IIWIS – Thank you for your thoughtful comments. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy when I read that you consider yourself "a long time follower" of my blog. Thanks for sticking with me over the years. I look forward to getting to know you better and spending more time reading and commenting on your blog. I still intend to write that post you suggested awhile back about my experience with the age difference between our living children.

I appreciate your perspective from your experience commenting and receiving comments on your own posts. I understand you wanting to focus most of your time and energy on blogs/bloggers who also are willing to communicate with and support you.

I haven't updated my blog roll in a very long time and should consider taking a look at that sometime soon. There are a lot of people/blogs that I "follow" but don't currently have the list public on my Blogger profile page.

Enjoy ICLW! I will be making my way over to your blog to do a "return comment" shortly… 😉

Michelle – Thank you for your kind words. I had a very similar experience to you when I started blogging. The commenting aspect of it was TOTALLY off of my radar. It is so interesting how things evolve over time…

I echo your sentiments about the wonderful experience of giving and receiving comments. I too wish more visitors to our blogs would "delurk" and let us know why they are here and what they think about what we have to say.

I have shared this before here, but one of the reasons I find it hard to comment as often or as extensively as I would like to, is that I struggle to be concise (shocking, right?!) and thus my comments are rarely very short.

If I could learn to say more with less and let people knowing that I am simply "abiding with them" (as some of my fellow bloggers have suggested can work in the past), if nothing else, I could probably get around more with out it being so time consuming… Definately food for thought! Thanks again for stopping by Michelle. It warms my heart when I get a comment notification from you. 🙂

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5 Kristin February 21, 2011 at 3:49 pm

What a great intro post. I've been by here before (but it's been a while) and I don't know if I've ever mentioned how much I like your blog title and the Queen of Hearts tagline.

ICLW #19

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6 Kathy February 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Welcome back Kristin! Thank you for the kudos about this post and your compliment about my blog title. That means a lot to me. Enjoy ICLW! 🙂

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7 Finding A New Normal February 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I'm a a recent reader of your blog (I think referred by "It is what it is"? or maybe I found you on Stirrup Queen). Anyway, delurking to say "hi", thanks for sharing.

I'm a baby loss mom of twin boys – born too early and lost too soon. I'm still figuring out my "new normal" while working on building our family through domestic adoption.

I do love your photo caption with Molly in your hearts – very sweet.

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8 Twinside Out February 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Hi! Stopping by from ICLW (#139)…I can really relate to parts of this post. When I started blogging several years ago, it was selfishly motivated. I didn't have anyone to talk to in real life, and I needed a place to sort through my feelings. And then I accidentally met many wonderful bloggers who were walking the same path I was, and it became a place where I could meet with others who knew my pain and understood me.

But when I finally got pregnant, I had a difficult time and got put on bedrest. I wasn't able to be on the computer much. Even after the babies were born, I was so overwhelmed that it took me forever to get back online. I lost touch with many of my bloggy friends. I feel really guilty about this, and I'm uncomfortable visiting some of their blogs now. I feel like I waltzed out of their lives when they really could have used support from me. Support like they gave to me. I hope it isn't ever too late to show my gratitude to them – and to renew those relationships.

It seemed really strange, when I finally was able to start writing again, to post on my old blog. It was a place of pain for me, and I don't want to be so whiny anymore. I've been reading a lot about thankfulness lately and I want to create "an attitude of gratitude." (This is still a work in progress…and truthfully my blog has been pretty whiny of late.) But I also want to be more diligent about returning comments than I have been in the past, as well as more faithful in posting.

Thanks for this post – it really made me think!

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9 Tanya February 22, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I am visiting for the first time from ICLW. I recently started blogging about my journey through IF and have found it very healing. I, also, try to visit and return comments to others. I love getting feedback and I'm sure they do, too. Sorry for all the losses you have suffered through the years. Your children are beautiful.

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10 Kathy February 22, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Sue – However you found me, welcome! Thank you for delurking and for your kind words! 🙂 I am sorry for the loss of your twin sons. Life can be so unfair and does take a lot of grief work to be able to find that new normal, as you said (what a great blog name BTW).

Best wishes with domestic adoption. My sister and her husband adopted domesticly last year and we are so grateful to have their daughter in our life and family. I will be over to visit your blog soon. Thanks again for the comment and delurking!

Twinside Out – I can see that my post struck a chord with you. I love when that happens both as a blogger and as a commentor. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience as it relates to blogging, commenting and gratitude.

Interesting that you decided to start a new blog at this stage of your life. I struggled, as I think many do, with whether to start a new one too, when we were clearly no longer "Three of a Kind Working on a Full House…" But in the end I decided that it was okay for my blog to evolve a long with my life and I wanted people to be able to come here and see the whole picture/the progression of our journey through SIF and loss.

Thank you for your comment, I am glad that my post made you think and I look forward to checking out your blog and returning a comment (or more)soon. 🙂

Tanya – Welcome! Thank you for visiting and commenting. I am glad that you are finding blogging about your journey through IVF to be healing. That has definitely been my experience as well. Thank you for your kind words and I look forward to visiting/commenting on your blog too.

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11 Maria February 24, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Hi from ICLW! And thanks so much for visiting my blog and sharing a bit of your story. I started blogging several years ago and used it purely as a way to vent, having no idea that there was this awesome blogging world to interact and give and receive support. I really didn't begin actively commenting and interacting with other bloggers until late last year, and I've found it very very rewarding.

I can't say that I feel guilty for not interacting more when I first began my blog….I used it for what I needed it for at that time, and I personally think that it's okay to take care of yourself like that; particularly during such traumatic experiences as infertility and infant loss. Guilt doesn't change anything….so I'll just change my behavior instead. 😉

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12 Kathy February 24, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Maria – Welcome and thanks for the ICLW Return Comment! 🙂

I am glad that your blog has been for you what you wanted and needed to be over the years and that you have allowed that to evolve. Having recently gotten back into commenting (and receiving comments) more regularly I am remembering how much it adds to the experience of blogging.

I agree that you during difficult times it is understandable for people to be more foucused on themselves. I really appreciate your sentiment that feeling guilty doesn't change anything, but that we can choose to change our behavior.

Thanks again for visiting!

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13 loribeth March 6, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I have to admit, I have so many blogs in my reader, it's impossible to comment on every post — but I do try to return comments, particularly when I haven't seen the person on my blog before. And no, it's never too late!

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