Welcome to the tenth installment of my blog hop/writing exercise called Time Warp Tuesday here on Four of a Kind!
As you may know, if you read my post last Tuesday, usually I like to kick off Time Warp just after midnight on Tuesday mornings, but last week I somehow managed to forget to write and post my blog entry Monday night before going to bed.
Initially I still intended to make it happen, but then decided it wasn’t worth it to rush and force myself to do it half-heartedly Tuesday morning. I wanted to take my time and do the topic justice. So I chose to make it a “bi-week” and pick up where we left off today! So thank you for your patience with me, especially any of you who were ready last Tuesday to share and link up your posts.
In case you missed my original post about Time Warp Tuesdays, here is the background of how and why I came up with the idea. If you are here to participate and link up your post, you can do so with the Linky Tools at the end of this post (or if you have any difficulty using it, you can share the link to your post in the comment section here).
The gist of Time Warp Tuesday is to revisit and share some of our favorite blog entries from our archives and reflect on our journeys since we wrote them.
The theme for this week’s Time Warp Tuesday is: Post Publishing Fear
Note: Special thanks to Jjraffe from Too Many Fish To Fry who suggested this week’s topic! If you have an idea for a future Time Warp topic, theme and/or writing prompt, please feel free to share it in the comment section or send me an email. If I choose to use your idea, I will give you credit and link to your blog that week.
As Bloggers we often share openly and candidly about our lives, experiences, hopes and fears. As a result, sometimes we may have second thoughts about publishing some of our blog entries. Two weeks ago I invited you to choose a post from your archives that you were most afraid to publish. Then write a new post on your blog about why you chose the post that you did and what has happened in your life since.
Participants can write about whatever you want in your new blog entries. However, for those who might have needed some help and inspiration to get started, here are some questions to consider:
Why did you pick this post? What kind of response did you get from readers in regards to your post? Did that validate your choice to publish it? Has your perspective changed since the day you wrote your original post? Do you think you would still feel the same way if you were writing your post today? What have you learned about yourself, your family and your life since you wrote your original post?
Time Warp Tuesday: Post Publishing Fear
Of all the weeks for me to forget about posting and writing my Time Warp blog entry (last week), it had to be one with such a heavy and complicated topic… Maybe subconsciously I did fear tackling this this theme? I have thought a lot about “Post Publishing Fear” ever since Jjraffe suggested it and wondered which post from my archives I might choose and why.
Over the 4 1/2 years that I have been blogging the purpose of my blog, as well as my intentions in writing and sharing here, has evolved. In the beginning I was writing for a small group of close friends and family members who knew we were doing IVF to try to expand our family after over two years of dealing with secondary infertility and pregnancy loss. These loved ones were very supportive of our decision to try IVF and wanted to be in the loop as to what was happening with our cycles.
Starting and maintaining my blog saved me the trouble of having make the same phone calls over and over again, especially when I wasn’t always in the mood to verbally share all the details. I also found it to be simpler for me then sending group emails. In those days I would often share about things here that were going on in my life and our family to get my mind off the stress associated with our fertility treatments, as well as to keep those family and friends following along updated on both how our cycles were going and how we were doing in general.
If I knew then what I knew now, I would never have shared as much as I did about our family or I would have made my blog private. But as always, I had the best of intentions and did not perceive where our journey through secondary infertility and loss would take us.
In the years to come people (who I didn’t know in real life) managed to find my blog and we started interacting. Most of these people were other woman also struggling with infertility (primary or secondary) and loss who also found writing and sharing about their experience to be therapeutic. Eventually the focus of my blog changed from just a way of keeping close family and friends updated on our efforts to expand our family to a vehicle to connect with others who were having similar experiences. Then, over time, it also became a resource for those who are earlier on in their journeys through infertility and loss.
Especially after our daughter Molly was born and died, other bloggers would reach out to me when they heard of someone who was experiencing a stillbirth or neonatal loss and encouraged me to try to connect with them or they would encourage those bloggers to visit my blog to see how I was coping with my grief and loss.
When I joined Facebook in the summer of 2008, after some people in my life nagged me long enough that I gave in, I reconnected with a lot of old friends. Initially I did not share about the fact that I had a blog, but I did allude to the fact that Bob and I had struggled to expand our family. That was apparently enough to motivate some of my friends to contact me privately and inquire about our experience, as well as to share about their own challenges with infertility and loss. I started letting those people know about my blog (on a case by case basis), all the while trying to maintain a divide between my Facebook life and my blog life (even though with each passing day the line between them seemed to be getting thinner and thinner).
My blog has always been public, but I figured that only people who were interested in connecting with someone who was dealing with secondary infertility and loss would find it, unless I or someone else who knew about it were to share about its existence. As I have shared here before, earlier this year I felt like it was time to merge my two worlds and “come out” about my blog to extended family and friends who were not aware of it. I tested the waters initially by telling a few people directly and then eventually wrote this and shared it here, on our CarePage and as a note on my Facebook page.
Again, I had really good intentions and felt that in doing so that I might be able to help more people “suffering in silence” with infertility and loss. However, I did not think through well enough the ramifications of my actions, nor did I take the time to review my four years of blog entries to see if there was anything “out there” that it might be appropriate for me to edit or take down completely before inviting a wider group of people that I knew in to read all about our journey (which I had forgotten included a good deal about some of our close friends and family).
To make a long story short, in my effort to reach out and try to help others dealing with infertility and loss by “coming out” about my blog, I also hurt some of our loved ones who read what I had written over the years (that included some things about our relationships and details about their personal lives). I had never shared those things to exploit them. In most cases what I wrote about was in the context of asking for prayers during difficult and uncertain times in our family’s life. However, when our blogs evolve, we need to be aware of and consider what we have written and how our words can hurt people, as much as they can help them. That is my greatest regret in “crossing over,” that I didn’t think it through well enough and prepare my blog for a greater audience.
Within a few months of my crossing over, I realized that I had used poor judgement on more than one occasion. I apologized to those I hurt through my actions, even though they seem to understand that I had good intentions at the time I wrote the blog entries in question. I also took down a few posts and edited many more to take out a lot of the personal information and details that didn’t need to be there and were no longer relevant to my blog. Though removing and editing things doesn’t change the past, it does change what will be available here going forward and I feel better about that.
Now when I write I am very aware that anyone can and may have the opportunity to read my words. This all relates to this week’s topic of post publishing fear in that I pride myself on being a blogger who shares candidly about things I know others dealing with infertility and loss are grappling with. Those who struggle to build or expand our families have a lot of tough decisions to make along the way and I hope that some of what I share can be helpful to others following in our footsteps.
One of the hardest decisions that Bob and I have had to make since we began our family building efforts was whether or not to use the frozen embryos that were created through our IVF cycles in 2007, after the birth and death of our daughter Molly who had a very rare and severe combination of congenital heart defects. The post that I chose to reflect on today is one that I wrote earlier this year (in January) about our choice to donate them for stem cell research.
Here is the link to the post that I chose:
Please go and read the post that I am reflecting on today (and comment if you choose), if you haven’t already, and then come back here to see what I have to say about my journey since I wrote it.
***Here is where you left off before you stopped to read my old post.***
The main reason I feared sharing this post here was that I didn’t want to be judged. I didn’t want readers to see it and tell me that they thought we should have tried to use our frozen embryos or donate them to another couple. But for the same reason that many other times I put something “out here” that was outside of my comfort zone, I wanted to share this so that others who were faced with a decision like this could read about our experience and the thought process we used to come to this conclusion.
As I am sure is the case for most bloggers, I write and share here for many reasons. One of those is wanting to help others who are struggling with infertility (whether it is primary or secondary) and loss (at any stage of prenatal or neonatal development). So I put myself out here and risk the consequences, because I believe it is worth it. I think it is especially worthwhile if I can help others to lighten their load knowing they are not alone in facing these tough choices on their journeys to try to build and expand their families.
As far as the responses I received from readers to this post, I was (and continue to be) grateful for the positive feedback and validation that I got in the comment section. I had definitely been “holding my breath” in anticipation of pro-life activists or other people who felt strongly about embryonic rights finding me and this post and letting me have it. However, I appreciate that those who have read and commented to date seem to appreciate and empathize with our situation and the reasons we made our choice to donate our embryos for research.
I do not regret sharing this post or our decision to donate our frozen embryos for stem cell research.
I got choked up revisiting and reflecting on my post while writing this new blog entry. This was my favorite part:
When I woke up I didn’t realize that today would be the day that I would finally be saying goodbye to our three frozen embryos, to the time and the love that went into their creation and the hope that their mere existence represented to the future of our family. I don’t believe that anybody really grasps that in the early stages of infertility treatments and ART cycles. So here we are, wrapping up another chapter in our life and the story of our family.
I feel blessed and grateful that we had the resources and the opportunity to use ART to try to expand our family when we (especially I) so desperately wanted to have another child. I also feel sad that things didn’t turn out differently. I wish that Molly had been healthy and born into this world under other circumstances. I wish that she could have come home with us and gotten to live her life here on this Earth a lot longer, instead of getting an express train ticket to Heaven. I wish that we had more optimism and confidence that our frozen embryos if we tried to use them might implant and develop into healthy babies and sustainable pregnancies, thus adding more wonder and life to our amazing family.
That said, I understand that we (and I) can go crazy entertaining thoughts of the “what ifs” and need to do my best to live with, honor and appreciate “what is.” “What is” in my life now includes the incredible blessing that is my dear husband Bob, who loves me in spite so many of my neuroses that I have developed on this journey to make sense of how our family has come to be. “What is” in my life now also includes my two beautiful, intelligent, quirky living children who love me unconditionally and another very special child who I believe is watching over all of us from Heaven. “What is” in my life now are so many awseome friends and family members who have supported, encouraged, cared and prayed for us all these years that we struggled with secondary infertility and pregnancy loss, as well as new friends that I am meeting and developing relationships with. “What is” in my life now are a wide range of opportunities to go forward with all that I have learned from our journey trying to build our family and to hopefully be able to help others who find their paths to have children not going as they hoped or expected they would.
Sometimes I still allow my mind to wander and entertain those “what if” fantasies. However, I try to do my best to focus on, appreciate and relish in “what is.” Reading this post was a wonderful reminder for me to be grateful for “what is,” as we celebrate this holiday season, which can be bittersweet for me since many of our past losses have dates of significance that fall around this time of year.
As I said at the end of my post that I chose to reflect on,
I hope that wherever this post finds you today that you are able to move from focusing so much on life’s “what ifs” to making the most of “what is” in your life and family.
Thank you for reading and for doing the Time Warp with me this week. I look forward to your feedback about this post, as well as reading and commenting on all of yours. Please feel free to comment even if you didn’t write your own Time Warp Tuesday post this week. It is not too late to participate if you are interested, click here for the details.
Below you will find next week’s topic and I hope that you will join me back here on Tuesday when we “do the Time Warp again!”
The topic for next week’s Time Warp Tuesday is: Blogging
Note: Special thanks to Esperanza from Stumbling Gracefully who suggested next week’s topic! If you have an idea for a future Time Warp topic, theme and/or writing prompt, please feel free to share it in the comment section or send me an email. If I choose to use your idea, I will give you credit and link to your blog that week.
Choose a post from your archives, that as Esperanza suggested, is about “blogging itself – what you think of blogging or the blogosphere, what it means to you and what it has given you.” Then write a new post on your blog about why you chose the post that you did and what has happened in your life since.
Participants can write about whatever you want in your new blog entries. However, for those who might need some help and inspiration to get started, here are some questions to consider:
Why did you pick this post? What kind of response did you get from readers in regards to your post? Has your perspective changed since the day you wrote your original post? Do you think you would still feel the same way if you were writing your post today? What have you learned about yourself, your family and your life since you wrote your original post?
For those new to Time Warp Tuesday, here is a quick recap of how it works:
1) Browse through your old blog entries to find one that fits the topic for the given week. The topic is shared at the end of the previous week’s “Time Warp Tuesday” post here on my blog (see above for next week’s topic).
2) Write a new blog post in which you introduce, link to and then reflect on your journey since you wrote the older blog post and put it up on your blog on Tuesday. Please include this link http://chicagobensons.blogspot.com/search/label/Time%20Warp%20Tuesdays in your blog entry, so your readers can find their way to my post with the list of other participants, in case they would like to read more or participate themselves.
3) Share the link to your new post here on Tuesday and then visit, read and comment on the other blogs.
4) After you have done all of these things, you are welcome to grab the code for the the Time Warp Tuesday button by clicking here and put it on your blog. The link will take you to a Google Doc where you can copy the code. If your browser does not allow access to your computer’s clipboard, you can use Ctrl-C for Copy and Ctrl-V for Paste, or use your browser’s Edit menu.
5) Check back here every Tuesday to find out the new topic, theme or question for the following week (I welcome your ideas and suggestions) and then return to Step 1 of this recap to participate.
Please let me know if you have any questions and I hope to see you back here on next Tuesday when we’ll “do the time warp again!”
Thank you again for reading, commenting and participating in my Time Warp Tuesday blog hop. Link up below and click through to visit others who are doing the Time Warp! (If you have any trouble with Linky Tools, please share the link to your blog entry in the comment section.). Also, please don’t forget to comment on my post here, as I do not have a link to this (my own) post below, but I would still really appreciate your feedback. xoxo