The title of my first ever post was still bobbing at the wharf. After taking a long time to prepare, provision and chart a course, the ship left the wharf, then had an unexpected course change in a lightning storm, which sent us off on a sometimes frightening, often fun voyage (including a lot of seasickness) and finally we docked at the New World, after weathering one last 52 hour squall. And now we have a whole new purpose: to explore the new world that we discovered with AJ's arrival.
There. That's the retrospective part of this entry in three sentences. I say it in three sentences and one metaphor not because I think the story of the last two years is a tidy one that resolved neatly, or because I think tidy stories that resolve neatly are inherently better than messy ones that don't resolve neatly, or at all. No, I put my retrospective into two sentences because that's all the time I want to spend on it. I resolved at the end of last year not to spend a great deal of time looking back to "this time last year" or "that time two years ago." (With some exceptions, such as AJ's birthday, of course.)
The main reason I wanted to write this entry is to reflect on why writing this blog is still important to me. Many of the bloggers I read question the purpose or continuity of their blog after having a baby or babies. Some moved to a new blog or stopped blogging. I'm happy for everyone who feels they outgrew their (in)fertility blog, even though I miss their writing! But throughout my pregnancy and AJ's birth and now infancy I feel I need torthúil as much as ever. I'm glad of this because from the beginning I hoped it would be more than a blog about infertility although that was the reason I started it. From feeling very hesitant about this space and my voice in it, I now write regularly and frequently find myself composing posts in my head, and putting off chores to write here (pfffffft to you, vacuuming and laundry!)
Here's what moves me to keep writing:
1) Continuity. Infertility is often described as a rollercoaster. The emotional highs and lows of trying to conceive and carry a pregnancy are usually why. But in addition to going up and down, rollercoasters make abrupt changes of direction that aren't intuitive. My experience of actual rollercoasters is somewhat limited, but when I have ridden them the part where I scream the loudest is usually when they pause and then jerk in another direction. There have been a lot of sudden, sharp changes in the direction of my life the past two years, whether it was learning about the diagnoses or IVF failure or the surprise conception and all the weirdness of pregnancy and the unpredictable nature of labour and birth and parenting.
As I've worked through all these changes in direction, and the questioning that came with them, the blog has been a constant. It's very reassuring to know I have this outlet, and even though I have pretty good support network IRL, I don't want to let it go.
2) Readers! It means a lot to know that almost whatever I write about (as long as it is not completely obscure, I suppose) people will offer knowledge, words of comfort or reassurance, or a perspective of sanity. Or just say "I am here!"
3) The room under the carpet. OK, this one starts with a dream I had this January. In the dream I was in my bedroom in my parents' house, where I grew up. The carpet in this room is same as when I was a child. My parents really aren't interested in material possessions or image, and I guess they decided a while ago that one house renovation/update in a lifetime is enough. I admit to finding this carpet a bit gross. In the dream I noticed a spot on the carpet that seemed damp and mushy. I went to investigate, and noticed that there was a kind of....sprout coming up from the mushy, rotten spot. I thought this was definitely wrong so I started investigating. I discovered the sprout went down a long way...more than a metre. As I dug under the rotten carpet, I discovered there was a whole other space beneath the floor. I went down through the opening into it. It was a bigger than a crawl space but smaller than a room. There was all kinds of stuff crammed into it. There were storage boxes filled with things like clothes, pictures, books, toys. But there were also entire pieces of furniture. It was like someone had one day taken everything in the house and shoved it into this secret space, and never taken it out again or spoken about it.
The space under the carpet was both a complete shock but also an answer to questions I didn't know I had. And somehow I knew the reason why all this stuff had been hidden. Maybe I found it by looking inside the boxes or maybe I just knew without asking. This entire life had been packed away because a child had died.
The dream was so vivid that when I woke up it took me a few minutes to realize that there isn't a room under the floor of my old bedroom or that I have a secret sibling I never knew. (I've had a few dreams over the years about this secret or forgotten sibling. Does anyone else have such dreams?)
I think we all have a secret room under the carpet, a room that contains things most people don't or can't see, or the memories of people never seen or met. I think the blogs are a way to tell the story of the secret room. And, well, I think that is a story that should be told and listened to.
4) Blogging makes me feel more like myself. Writing was very important to me in my teens and early 20s, and then somewhere between 25 and 30ish it became less important. I was meeting new people (including my husband), learning new things and my professional life was finally starting to come together. I still wrote for various purposes but I didn't want to spend hours on a solitary activity. torthúil has made writing important to me again. I don't have to remind myself to write; it is part of my routine. My life is right now dominated by my role as a mother. Even though I'm writing almost exclusively about motherhood and the journey to get here, writing connects me to the identity I had before being a mom. So it feels natural and essential to me on all levels.
Happy blogging! If you have a blog, what keeps you coming back to it?