18 October 2010

An Open Letter To My Formerly IF Friends

Dear Formerly IF Friends (I didn't know what else to call all of you that are pg or have recently become mothers, I know that the scars of IF will linger forever, please don't take offense),

I have a confession to make.

I've had a really hard time reading and commenting on your blogs. It has been especially tough as of late since I am approaching the one year anniversary of my period returning post-surgery/post-Lu.pron -- the date I've had in mind to stop TTC (yes, another deadline, I know, but the madness has to stop sometime).

Don't get me wrong, I rejoice in your pregnancies and the births of your babies. I am overjoyed when you take your adoptive babies home.

But here I am, over five years TTC, and my womb is still empty. My husband has just turned 40 and he is still not a dad. My "room that was to be a nursery" is still full of crap.

I am so tired of the meds, the shots, the charting, the 2WW. As much as I want off of this roller coaster, I know that as December approaches that I will panic again and I will wonder if switching our focus to adoption will be the right choice.

I know that I've come a long way. I no longer plunge into the depths of despair when AF comes, but I think that part of it is because I have so little hope of actually conceiving. I know that it is a coping mechanism and that I've had to convince myself that everything is fine. If I didn't do this, I would've been committed to a padded room a LONG time ago.

So many of you are soon approaching your due dates. I know that your blogs are going to be filled with cute pictures of your newborns. I know that I will feel joy, but I will also feel the utter sadness that my arms are still empty. I will comment that I am happy for you (which I will be, don't worry), but I don't know how often I will be able to read about your baby. Jealousy is so difficult. I struggle with it every day.

I wish that I could look at a baby and not think that I should have a baby of my own. I wish that I didn't ache with every fibre of my being.

I wish that I didn't want to be a mom so badly.

I don't want any of you to feel guilty or sorry for me (pity is not something I deal with very well, one of the many reasons why I don't tell very many people about our IF in my real life).

I would like to hope that one day I will look back at my blog archives at this sad time while I hold a fussy baby while I try to catch up with my friends, but I don't know if this one dream of mine is ever going to be realized.

I continue to pray for all of you, particularly for your children. They are and will be so lucky to have you as mothers. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful network of girlfriends that have supported me through so many peaks and valleys, although it seems like the valleys have been more plentiful.

Love,
JellyBelly

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Kitty Cat Update: Mr. JB called my crazy mother after school today and everything seems to be better with my cat. She admitted to him that she hadn't cleaned the litter box in quite a while (they only have one box for two cats, totally not enough!) which totally explains why my cat was having "accidents." She failed to mention this to me.

When my cat lived with me I used to have to clean her litter out twice a day. I can only imagine how put out my cat was to have to use a dirty litter box!

Needless to say, I am that much more angry that she wanted to euthanize my cat because she didn't clean out the litter box! ARGH!

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Saintly Update: Yesterday my brother-in-law got to be a Eucharistic Minister for the canonization of St Andre of Montreal! He was only about 50 metres from the Pope! I am so excited that we have the first Canadian born saint! If you want to visit a beautiful place you've got to see St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal. It is quite the sight to see! Woohoo!

St. Andre pray for us!

38 comments:

  1. I feel your pain. I am still here for you.

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  2. So very happy your kitty is better! Or should I say that she has a clean litter box!

    Sending hugs your way!

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  3. Forgiven. I totally get it and I know how hard it is. I totally respect your need for self preservation, I had to do that many many many times. Its ok.

    I do look back at myself and know that I was hurting so bad. I don't regret my feelings, just sometimes how I communicated them. I wish I knew and allowed myself more self preservation, so I applaud you!

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  4. I was just talking about this the other day...how "befores" become "afters" and it is natural for those of us still without babies to band together and those with babies to band together. It's like that in real life too! We don't often have couples with babies over because our house isn't really set up for them. Older kids, sure. We have a Wii. I really did blog about this and I wouldn't worry about it.

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  5. JB-- I don't know what to say except that you are not alone.
    Hugs and prayers to you.

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  6. Since we are all "formerly IF", we get exactly where you are coming from; don't feel bad that you need some distance.

    That's crazy that it was probably just a dirty litter box issue. Glad to hear the kitty is doing better.

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  7. Great post! The letter - heartfelt and beautiful, you are an inspiration! Yeah - about the kitty! I am on litter box patrol daily myself. With the addition of the new kitty, I kid you not I think the volume has tripled. (I can't believe I am writing that in your comments, but I guess when you don't have kids, this is what I have to write about. LOL!) Finally, yeah for St. Andre! I visited the Oratory a few years ago and it was AWESOME! I am so excited he has been cannonized. God Bless you JB!

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  8. I think and pray for you often.

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  9. I'm glad that you were able to not only write this but also post it. Take care of yourself however you need to. ((HUGS))

    I'm glad things are better with your cat. I'm praying for you, your mother and your cat.

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  10. I am glad you wrote this. I appreciate your honesty. I understand completely and you are entitled to those feelings. I appreciate the prayers, esp that you are giving them at this time. You remain in my prayers as well!

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  11. Oh JB, I understand. I often couldn't even write the congratulatory comment.

    Just tonight I was reading old posts of mine, one in particular where I lamented being unsure if adoption was for me. We really never know what lies ahead for us. I pray that God will continue to lead you in the right direction.

    And one day you WILL be reading this post while holding your fussy baby.

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  12. What you are saying makes PERFECT sense. In fact, I think you are wise to protect your heart.

    As I look back, I don't even know that "jealousy" is the right word for it, only that when I looked at baby pics and belly pics and all that stuff, it just plain hurt. Literally, the tears just started to flow uncontrollably. I wasn't necessarily feeling "jealous" but just hurting. I am sorry I am not making sense!!! (I will admit, there were other times, when it really WAS jealousy ... but mostly it was the hurt thing.)

    But I just wanted you to know you are still being prayed for BY NAME as you discern what is next and in this time of waiting. You are loved, and we will all still be here rejoicing with you whenever and however your baby comes to you. Even if you don't come back to my blog from now til then, I will understand:)) So you are off the hook:):)

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  13. Just know, you aren't alone and I think you're wise to protect your heart. I often have to do the same...

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  14. You aren't alone in your feelings. I've stepped away from the blogs almost entirely b/c it is becoming too difficult.

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  15. Big hug. Your feelings are completely understandable.

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  16. Just checking back to read the follow-up comments. I just read mine and when I said "but I guess when you don't have kids"...I meant "but I guess when one doesn't have kids, such as myself, this is about all I can contribute to the conversation". I didn't mean "you" in reference to you (JB), I was actually referring to myself - because I am in the same boat. I am sorry if that came off different. I didn't mean for it to do so. You are in my prayers!

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  17. Praying for you... that God's will be done, and that you have the grace you need to wait in the meantime. xoxo

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  18. JBTC: No apology needed, I didn't take your comment in a negative way at all!

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  19. After 5 years of IF (from 30 to 35) and several miscarriages my husband and I walked away from the agony of IF and decided to embrace being an IF person/couple. As crazy as it sounds, we focused on having fun, serving the church and being spiritual mothers and fathers in other ways. We even taught CCD a few years to the mixed group of kids (older kids without any CCD instruction) and became an Aunt and Uncle of good friends who needed our extra hands. We also got involved in missionary work, completed a Masters Degree and focused on our careers. Then when the window of fertility was about to close forever, due to my age & health, I re-focused on IF. It was a crazy, full throatal, 18 months of dropping everything BUT IF. My husband became a daddy at 47 years old, me a Mommy at 39 going on 40. I don't regret taking a break from 34 - 38. I would have died of disappointment and frustration and rage had I continued on.

    What I am trying to say is...life is longer than we think and some of us have to step away, heal, then go at it again, when we are able/ready.

    It is important not to have one's life become a holding pattern.

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  20. I understand. I have been living the infertile life for 9 and a half years and counting. My womb may always be barren. I did not read IF blogs or join support groups becasue it seemed like everytime I met someone with IF, they ended up getting pregnant and my pain became worse. We
    "gave up" on TTC about 7 years ago and it is no longer the focus of our life/marriage, but the pain is still there. We pursued adoption a few times and were met with disappointment many times over. It was not until 1 week after our 9th anniversary that we got a call about our baby girl. The road was long, but I have been blessed with a forever daughter through adoption. I will pray for you so that God shows you where He wants to lead you next. It may be just taking some time off to renew your marriage and spiritual life...or maybe He will call you to pursue adoption. Whatever path He has for you, I pray that it leads to your salvation.

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  21. JB - Thank you for this post. Waiting is hard and it does hurt. I used to get so impatient when others would say "your miracle will come" - it almost stung more than waiting. But, the hope I have for you and Mr. JB is expressed in prayer every night and I do hope that God's graces are poured over you.

    As for the cat - really, the kitty litter!?! Come on, mom! Change the box!!! Glad that the issue has been resolved.

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  22. JB, your honesty is beautiful. I don't blame you at all for needing to protect your heart. I pray for you by name every day, and I know that God has wonderful things in store for you!

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  23. Hey, I didn't know there weren't any Canadian-born saints. That seems like a big omission. Congrats to your brother.

    As to your letter - my position on these matters is obviously well-documented so I have little cause to say anything more here. But that's never stopped me before...from what I've noticed, the "secular" (that's a poor descriptor but I think you know what I mean) IF blogging world seems totally aware of and sensitive to the fact that former-IF mommy blogs are a source of pain to IF bloggers. So you see titles with "babies mentioned" or disclaimers early in posts or they just freeze their IF blogs and start a new mommy blog altogether, to make a clean break FOR THEIR READERS. I rarely, if ever, see this among the Catholic IF bloggers. I'm not 100% sure why, although I have a theory that it's because everyone has decided that a virtuous suffering infertile would want to hear all about the blessings of others. I encountered some version of this in college, when we idiot Catholic zealots decided that relationship breakups would be seamless and painless if done for morally sound reasons. We're just friends in the Lord, right? Charity reigns.

    Bullsh!t. Human nature is human nature, whether you've been baptized or not, and this side of heaven, things that hurt, hurt. By true, no-kidding SAINTLINESS, you can endure real trials with only joy - but then you get into the realm of martyrs burned alive with smiles on their faces, singing hymns of praise. Yes, it happens. But ain't nobody that saintly here. And true saintliness would ALSO, IMHO, include absolutely NO desire to flaunt one's blessings - indeed, so humble and modest would a true saint be that he (or she) would be interested only in listening to another person, uplifting in joy, consoling in sadness and serving that person. [In case it's not obvious, I am not claiming to possess this virtue.] In fact, the really off-the-charts saintly people I know (mostly religious) in fact behave just that way.

    So it's my opinion that the Catholic IFosphere ought to get with the program, and ASSUME that baby blogs and posts should not and will not be read by childless infertiles, and that a childless woman who chooses to do so is EXCEPTIONAL. That's my opinion, anyway. I know I haven't been there, but I think I would be consumed with guilt if I read admiring comments from childless women on pictures of my infant.

    I suppose this could fairly be read as a rebuke to IF mommies (and JB is welcome to remove it on that or any other basis, natch); all I can say is that I'm not secretly thinking of any individual personally.

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  24. Er, that's even wordier than I was afraid it would be. Sorry :(.

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  25. Understood. You express yourself so well. hugs.

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  26. You know what Misfit, I've never thought of your point, but I can totally see where you're coming from.

    As you can see in my blogroll, I've separated the still IF and formerly IF, mostly for my own sanity. It does hurt (more than a bit!) to see all of those that have moved to the "other side." Although I don't read many non-RC bloggers (mostly because they've all moved to motherhood and have no time to blog!) I do notice that they mark their blog posts where babies are mentioned much more clearly.

    Perhaps we can ask all of those that have moved on to being pg or mommyhood to mark their blogs posts so the barren know what they should and shouldn't read? It would be a start...

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  27. I love your letter. It seems that there have been several of us IFers that have felt the same way lately - I'm one of them. I think it was you that gave me the brilliant idea of separating "before" and "afters". It has helped me go from ignoring or avoiding blog-world to getting back into the groove. I guess we can just add this quandary to the IF mix.

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  28. I appreciate your honesty JB. I think of you often and a few of the other girls who are still waiting that I've been reading for a while.

    Waiting will always be apart of this journey for me and even though I have a baby, I still need support... I can't take too many of the pregnancy posts either... Anyway, just know you have my prayers!

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  29. I love this letter. It's so honest and true!
    I think it's easier for me to read some pregnancy/mothering bloggers than others. Those who solely show pictures of their kids or just post pregnancy updates are harder to read, but there are those that write about how they actually FEEL about parenthood or pregnancy from an IF perspective, and those aren't as difficult for some reason.
    Some months are better than others, and sometimes I can't even think about clicking on those blogs. No matter how much better I may feel any given month, sometimes a single post can just push me back into the abyss.
    Also, I never really thought about it, but the misfit's comment really made sense to me. I have an easier time reading pregnancy/mothering blogs of non-Catholic bloggers. Maybe because there's a lot less gushing and "all the pain and heartache was so worth it!" type comments. I don't know...

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  30. I totally get it! This is one of the reasons I separated my infertile life from my new life as a mom. Even now, I'm not interested in reading blogs from women who just gush about their kids and post pictures, I just don't find that very interesting.

    Just occurred to me that your the only catholic infertility blogger that I read(we have so many other things in common, crazy moms, yoga, endo).

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  31. I'm sorry you are having such a hard time. All I can say is that I pray for you daily! I have several of you that I pray for by name, I know the agony of the wait and I know that one day you'll be like me, the wait over and holding a baby reading your old posts. On that day, every moment of wait is worth it.

    Praying for you always.

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  32. My heart aches for you. I earnestly pray that your time of trial is nearly over and you too can have your arms filled.

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  33. like ann said, i've pretty much stepped away from the blogs too... the blogosphere has been an interesting place lately :)

    i feel like i've started to really come to terms with everything and the fact that yes, i probably will be barren for life. i'll still read occasionally but echo what your well written letter says. everyone means well, i by no means don't know or believe that. but it is a little much at times. and when i read how it will all be worth the pain and struggle when my time comes.... what if it doesn't? i know there is a peace to come then too, but i sometimes wish previous IF'ers realized that we may not all be in their shoes. we may not have a child at the end of this, and yes, all this will have been worth it, even though we don't know what our end result will be - whatever the gift of IF will actually be... hearing that it will all be worth it once i "get my child" sometimes makes me feel like those of us who will live with lifelong IF still are being shorted.

    that may or may not have made any sense at all. my blogging skills may have become rusty ;)

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  34. I think this is such an excellent letter, JB. Sorry it's taken me a long time to get here to read it.

    Thank you for your honesty, and thank you for sharing it with us. Of course, I may be biased in my accolades of this since I'm still currently in your position, but judging from the "formerly IF" comments, I'd say everyone agrees this is heartfelt and you have nothing to feel guilty about in not visiting/commenting on pg/mommy blogs.

    I wanted to tell you that there is still hope - no, not for a baby (but of course there's always hope for that, just not what I'm talking about right now)- there is hope, rather, for peace, and for the desire for motherhood not to CONSUME your very being. I have mistakenly identified in my own life that the desire has lessened. It has NOT. I still desire motherhood as much as I did when I was 5 and when I was 19 and when I was 25. But the pain associated with my childlessness and my fears of never being a mother do not consume my life anymore. And this is GLORIOUS. It truly is the miracle I've been waiting for. I believe it is in store for you, too. I really do.

    But I also hold out hope that motherhood is in store for you (and dare I say, me, even though I have no idea how!) - Father Mike wouldn't lie to us ;)

    Misfit, thank you, too, for you honest comment. I agree with you on every point, except that I don't mind when blogs aren't "closed down" because the author is no longer in the same reproductive category that they used to be when they opened the blog. I personally plan to keep my blog address the same for my entire life... though my subscriber list may be drastically reduced if I keep posting senseless recipes and house updates and such ;) Anyway - I think IFers go through stages, and they go through them more than once. There is a stage where people WANT to see that there are success stories out there, especially successes of women who had very similar situations. So, having the same blog once you've "passed" infertility is conducive to reaching those readers. A "baby mentioned" or "picture post" warning would be sensitive to those in the other stages, though.

    Back to you, JB. I am not sure, and I won't presume to tell you, that adoption is your calling and that it's calling you right now. Only you and your husband can discern that. But again, coming from a woman who has never conceived but who right now is ADOPTION STERILE (ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE OF ADOPTING), trust me when I say there can be peace. I guess in a way my situation is comparable to someone who has had a hysterectomy and has no money for adoption. They have NO CHANCE of conceiving, BUT with the help of God they may someday be able to adopt (should finances improve, they win the lotto, etc.). I consider myself the opposite of that... and I hate to admit this, but I would have reached this place of peace a lot sooner had I ever conceived, even if I lost the baby. Because I would know that IN MY FUTURE, I would once again see my child. As you are fully aware, there is something very hopeless about IF having never conceived.

    Despite all of this, there can be joy. I'm not lying!! It can happen!! Yes, there will still be days where you'll need to avoid the mommy blogs, but you will be able to breathe deeply once again. I am praying constantly that you can get there, soon, because whether or not you ever become a mother, I think it's crucial for an IFer to reach this point - preferably BEFORE they receive any blessings of a child, so that they can understand the meaning of peace from God and not mistake it with the feeling of "I'm so happy I got what I want."

    You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.

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  35. I think this is such an excellent letter, JB. Sorry it's taken me a long time to get here to read it.

    Thank you for your honesty, and thank you for sharing it with us. Of course, I may be biased in my accolades of this since I'm still currently in your position, but judging from the "formerly IF" comments, I'd say everyone agrees this is heartfelt and you have nothing to feel guilty about in not visiting/commenting on pg/mommy blogs.

    I wanted to tell you that there is still hope - no, not for a baby (but of course there's always hope for that, just not what I'm talking about right now)- there is hope, rather, for peace, and for the desire for motherhood not to CONSUME your very being. I have mistakenly identified in my own life that the desire has lessened. It has NOT. I still desire motherhood as much as I did when I was 5 and when I was 19 and when I was 25. But the pain associated with my childlessness and my fears of never being a mother do not consume my life anymore. And this is GLORIOUS. It truly is the miracle I've been waiting for. I believe it is in store for you, too. I really do.

    But I also hold out hope that motherhood is in store for you (and dare I say, me, even though I have no idea how!) - Father Mike wouldn't lie to us ;)

    Misfit, thank you, too, for you honest comment. I agree with you on every point, except that I don't mind when blogs aren't "closed down" because the author is no longer in the same reproductive category that they used to be when they opened the blog. I personally plan to keep my blog address the same for my entire life... though my subscriber list may be drastically reduced if I keep posting senseless recipes and house updates and such ;) Anyway - I think IFers go through stages, and they go through them more than once. There is a stage where people WANT to see that there are success stories out there, especially successes of women who had very similar situations. So, having the same blog once you've "passed" infertility is conducive to reaching those readers. A "baby mentioned" or "picture post" warning would be sensitive to those in the other stages, though.

    Back to you, JB. I am not sure, and I won't presume to tell you, that adoption is your calling and that it's calling you right now. Only you and your husband can discern that. But again, coming from a woman who has never conceived but who right now is ADOPTION STERILE (ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE OF ADOPTING), trust me when I say there can be peace. I guess in a way my situation is comparable to someone who has had a hysterectomy and has no money for adoption. They have NO CHANCE of conceiving, BUT with the help of God they may someday be able to adopt (should finances improve, they win the lotto, etc.). I consider myself the opposite of that... and I hate to admit this, but I would have reached this place of peace a lot sooner had I ever conceived, even if I lost the baby. Because I would know that IN MY FUTURE, I would once again see my child. As you are fully aware, there is something very hopeless about IF having never conceived.

    Despite all of this, there can be joy. I'm not lying!! It can happen!! Yes, there will still be days where you'll need to avoid the mommy blogs, but you will be able to breathe deeply once again. I am praying constantly that you can get there, soon, because whether or not you ever become a mother, I think it's crucial for an IFer to reach this point - preferably BEFORE they receive any blessings of a child, so that they can understand the meaning of peace from God and not mistake it with the feeling of "I'm so happy I got what I want."

    You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.

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  36. I think this is such an excellent letter, JB. Sorry it's taken me a long time to get here to read it.

    Thank you for your honesty, and thank you for sharing it with us. Of course, I may be biased in my accolades of this since I'm still currently in your position, but judging from the "formerly IF" comments, I'd say everyone agrees this is heartfelt and you have nothing to feel guilty about in not visiting/commenting on pg/mommy blogs.

    I wanted to tell you that there is still hope - no, not for a baby (but of course there's always hope for that, just not what I'm talking about right now)- there is hope, rather, for peace, and for the desire for motherhood not to CONSUME your very being. I have mistakenly identified in my own life that the desire has lessened. It has NOT. I still desire motherhood as much as I did when I was 5 and when I was 19 and when I was 25. But the pain associated with my childlessness and my fears of never being a mother do not consume my life anymore. And this is GLORIOUS. It truly is the miracle I've been waiting for. I believe it is in store for you, too. I really do.

    But I also hold out hope that motherhood is in store for you (and dare I say, me, even though I have no idea how!) - Father Mike wouldn't lie to us ;)

    Misfit, thank you, too, for you honest comment. I agree with you on every point, except that I don't mind when blogs aren't "closed down" because the author is no longer in the same reproductive category that they used to be when they opened the blog. I personally plan to keep my blog address the same for my entire life... though my subscriber list may be drastically reduced if I keep posting senseless recipes and house updates and such ;) Anyway - I think IFers go through stages, and they go through them more than once. There is a stage where people WANT to see that there are success stories out there, especially successes of women who had very similar situations. So, having the same blog once you've "passed" infertility is conducive to reaching those readers. A "baby mentioned" or "picture post" warning would be sensitive to those in the other stages, though.

    Back to you, JB. I am not sure, and I won't presume to tell you, that adoption is your calling and that it's calling you right now. Only you and your husband can discern that. But again, coming from a woman who has never conceived but who right now is ADOPTION STERILE (ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE OF ADOPTING), trust me when I say there can be peace. I guess in a way my situation is comparable to someone who has had a hysterectomy and has no money for adoption. They have NO CHANCE of conceiving, BUT with the help of God they may someday be able to adopt (should finances improve, they win the lotto, etc.). I consider myself the opposite of that... and I hate to admit this, but I would have reached this place of peace a lot sooner had I ever conceived, even if I lost the baby. Because I would know that IN MY FUTURE, I would once again see my child. As you are fully aware, there is something very hopeless about IF having never conceived.

    Despite all of this, there can be joy. I'm not lying!! It can happen!! Yes, there will still be days where you'll need to avoid the mommy blogs, but you will be able to breathe deeply once again. I am praying constantly that you can get there, soon, because whether or not you ever become a mother, I think it's crucial for an IFer to reach this point - preferably BEFORE they receive any blessings of a child, so that they can understand the meaning of peace from God and not mistake it with the feeling of "I'm so happy I got what I want."

    You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.

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  37. And I have absolutely no idea why that posted 3 times.

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