How Your Level of Emotional Infertility Affects Your Support Needs in the ALI Community

When I began writing about the current state of the ALI community on Monday, I thought that I would be able to round out what I had to say in just one additional post. In part because of the amazing discussion that happened in the comments of the first post, I find that I have a lot more to say than I thought I would. This post is the second of what is going to be a series of three (possibly four) posts.

Prerequisite Reading – Post One: Mental Infertility and Its Impact on the Adoption, Loss, and Infertility Community

Just to recap, mental/emotional infertility is what I defined as the degree to which you emotionally connect to your physical state of being infertile. Emotional infertility is a continuum of emotions. You are high on the scale of emotional infertility if many of your feelings and thoughts – even ones about other facets of your life – are influenced by how you are coping with your physical infertility. You are low on emotional infertility if your emotions, thoughts, and how you perceive the world are not quite as influenced by your state of being physically infertile. Even after achieving parenthood or making the decision to live childless, it is possible to still have high levels of emotional infertility. Conversely, it is possible to have physical infertility without it having too much effect on one’s general emotional state. Many of us probably fall somewhere between the two extremes, tipping more closely to one side than the other. Emotional infertility is not a fixed state of being. While some changes in your level of emotional infertility can happen rapidly, most shifts (especially from high to low) usually occur gradually over a period of time. When thinking of your individual level of emotional infertility in relation to others the ALI community, it is important to remember these two ideas:

  • Your level of emotional infertility does not make someone more or less deserving of a place within this community.
  • Your level of emotional infertility and what is right for you also should not dictate how and from where other people choose to receive support for where they personally are on their continuum of emotional infertility.

Finally, I concluded by asking you to respond to questions related to how your shifting levels of emotional infertility may have affected the community of support that you built/are building around yourself in the ALI community. After having read my ideas about emotional infertility, many of you expressed moments of insight in which you gained a deeper understanding about your own emotions or the emotions of others regarding infertility. All of the comments helped to clarify my own thoughts further. I’d like to share just a few comments that represent either some common threads that I saw developing, or ideas which pertain closely to the direction in which I’m going to take the remainder of this post:

Jo of Mojo Working, who also hosted one of the Healing Salons:

I have been mulling over and over how people can take two seemingly different approaches to parenting after infertility — for me, it is mindboggling how someone can ever move “past” IF. But then, I realized, I’m still a very highly emotional infertile. And I can totally see now how someone else might not be in that same emotional space…somehow something clicked and I am beginning to understand a little bit how someone who no longer feels that acute connection to IF every single day might actually consider themselves healed, or at least on the path toward healing.

Mrs. Gamgee of Hobbit-ish Thoughts and Ramblings:

I recognize that at this point in my life, I am still on the more emotionally charged end of things. And yes that affects how I perceive the support I need. I just didn’t know how to articulate it.

 luna, of life from here:

I still identify as an infertile and empathize completely with those on the path to build their family. but I’m more removed from the anguish and sorrow — ie, the emotional part — now that I have my family. my reading habits have definitely shifted over the years. I cut back on blogs written about treatment and started reading more about other family building routes (eg, adoption, donor gametes, surrogacy, and other blended families). I especially sought out connection in the adoption blog world, not just infertility and loss blogs. I still follow many blogs I’ve read for years though.

niobe, formerly of dead baby jokes:

I’ve never seen anyone conceptualize infertility like this…it really helps me to understand some things that have always puzzled me: like, for example, how some people can self-identify so strongly as infertile, no matter what stage of the process they’re in.

KH99 of Family Building with a Twist, also a Healing Salon host:

I stopped posting on my IF blog after my son was born because it was exclusively IF and it didn’t feel appropriate to write about new baby bliss there…. I’m still working to find my tribes, but I feel comfortable in the ALI community and really identify with others parenting after infertility….What I discovered, though, as I tried to find bloggers I liked in the larger “mommy blog” community is that there was a part of me that didn’t feel completely comfortable or at home there and that perhaps parenting after IF is different.

Sara of Somewhat Lower:

The shifts have affected my need to blog and my inspiration to blog, but I haven’t noticed that they have affected my readership. I don’t think that the shifts have really affected my sense of community at all. Even when I’m not writing, I’m always out here reading. I have noticed that as time goes on, I seek out new communities to deal with my adjusted situations (e.g., donor eggs are now a subject of passionate interest), but I also still read in the same old places.

I asked the questions that I did because I had a theory which seems almost too simple to write an entire blog post about. But sometimes the simplest ideas can lead to the most complicated  misunderstandings. As I read through posts related to last week’s ALI blow-up (which I’ve dubbed “ALIgeddon”), I felt like I could see through all the haze of anger and hurt feelings to realize what I thought was one of two underlying reasons for the explosion (I’ll delve into the second, related reason in my next post). It stems from this theory, which the many brilliant comments I received seemed to prove:

As our levels of mental/emotional infertility change, so too, does the support that we need to receive from the community.

What I heard in the comments is that whether through a natural change in a blogger’s readership or via purposeful moves on the writer’s part, your support sources changed when your emotional infertility/status of your physical infertility changed. In some cases, new readers from different sub-communities found their way in your spaces and joined in with the readers you’ve had for a while. In others, people stepped out of their usual blog circles and went in search of additional ones. Still others had a complete blog shut-down and later came back with a completely new space to make room for new emotional needs and a wider support community (goodbye, I’m a Smart One; hello, The Smartness).

This theory is simplistic in its logic; our status changes, so our needs change. What complicates it is the fact that there is no logic to infertility, and many emotions – especially high mental infertility emotions – can give rise to both internal and external conflict, which in turn can affect how we give and receive support.


I’ve been reading/writing blogs for two years, and now nearly everyone in my reader is pregnant, and I’m not. I care deeply for my friends, but I just can’t handle reading these pregnancy blogs anymore. 

I’ve had my baby, but there are so many people I support who are still trying. I need to be able to talk about my baby and also the joys and challenges associated with parenting, but I don’t want to hurt my friends. 

I’m no longer seeking treatment and I’m not going pursue adoption or surrogacy. I don’t know where I fit in. Do I fit in? Am I even allowed to be here and consider myself a part of this community? 

Dealing with your own internal conflicts about getting and receiving support is sometimes hard enough as it is. When these feelings begin interacting with others’ feelings in the community, you can see how they can become tangled if you’re not aware that someone else may not be on a similar plane of emotional infertility as you are…especially if it is someone who once was in a shared mental infertility space.

I think a lot of what happened in ALIgeddon is a loss of understanding. A line was drawn in the sand, and people felt like they had to find a position on one side or the other. While it did incite much of the heat behind the debate, I think the fact that this line seemed to divide those with children and those without is secondary to the greater issue (I can’t help but wonder if this debate would have caused the tsunami that it did had it been someone seeking to organize a tighter sub-community of people who had decided to live childfree). What the community lost sight of is this:

We are not (and should not be) completely separate groups. We are smaller micro-communities of support within the larger ALI community. As our personal journeys with our physical infertility and how that affects our levels of mental/emotional infertility change, we may need to seek support from different sub-communities. 

Digging into that a little further, you can extract these very real, and somewhat painful nuggets of truth:

  • It hurts to think that at some point, we may not be needed by our friends in a way that we once were. 
  • It hurts to think that at some point, I might need to leave my friends and find a different micro-community because my emotional needs are no longer being met. 
  • It hurts to think that at some point, I might feel that I’ve lost some connections that were once important to me. 
  • It hurts to think that others are achieving levels of emotional infertility that I am so far away from, that I can’t fathom being on the other side of things. 
  • It hurts to know that I am having difficulties relating to a sub-community and their needs, and it hurts that I feel that they can’t relate to my needs.

We are all here for the same reason – support. Isn’t it important that everyone within the community gets the support that she (or he) needs? Sometimes this means understanding that we can’t meet someone else’s needs, and then giving them our blessing to find support in a place where they can have their needs met.

As a surrogate, my ultimate goal was for my intended parents to become parents. If them getting there meant that I would need to step down as their surrogate, it might hurt us both of not to be able to walk that path together, but it was something that I was more than willing to do – even eager to do – if it meant them achieving their goal (as in the cases with Mia and Urs and then Ny and Mo). Even with Chance and Apollo, who made the decision to live childless, I stepped back and assumed a different role in their lives. Am I still friends with these couples? Yes. Do I still care for them, and do they still care for me? Absolutely. Did it hurt to know that I wasn’t needed by them any longer? Damned straight, it did. But, I also know that it wasn’t personal. Their moving away from me in that way wasn’t a war waged against me or my emotions. Their needs simply changed, and I was no longer able to supply them with the new support that they needed (at least in my role as a surrogate).

While this example wasn’t an exact analogy for the changes that occur within the ALI community, I think it illustrates the idea well. If our bottom line in this community is support, then we need to be supportive of each other’s needs for different types of support — even if that means that the type of support they need is one that we cannot relate to or are unsure of how to support due to our own level of emotional infertility.

Thoughts? Comments? Realizations? Insight? Theories of your own? I’d love to hear from you. Comments are still open on the previous post, as well.

photo credit: Alfonsina Blyde » via photopin cc

36 thoughts on “How Your Level of Emotional Infertility Affects Your Support Needs in the ALI Community”

  1. I <3 you.

    yes, you are brilliant. "sometimes the simplest ideas can lead to the most complicated misunderstandings." so true.

    it is basic human nature to seek support where you can find it, and to avoid things that can harm. even though many of us in the ALI "community" share some commonalities, we often have different needs (e.g., not just emotional support, exchange of information and ideas, connection or friendship, but some bloggers are also hoping to gain readership too, it seems). and not everyone can have their needs met in the same way.

    it's hard to be inclusionary and meaningful for everyone, even when you have a really big tent. consider the "A" in ALI, for example. when we refer to adoption here we tend to mean only adoptive parents and prospective parents. we don't include birth parents or adoptees, primarily because we think of APs and PAPs as having the connection to infertility and loss. but for me to have a real conversation about adoption means I need to step outside the traditional ALI community to get those viewpoints.

    it makes sense that those still in the trenches might not necessarily want to read about the challenges of parenting. I DO remember what it was like. I think it's difficult for many of us to write about parenting after infertility and loss because of some of those "hurts" you mentioned above. we don't want to complain or hurt someone else who hasn't gotten there yet. so we self-censor. but then no one's needs are met — you can't write about what you want or need (some parenting issue, for ex., or pix of your kids) and the reader isn't getting what they want (support or ability to identify with the writing, or worse, a slap in the face). no one is being supported or affirmed. it's a negative cycle.

    if anything comes from this recent divisiveness, I hope it is truth and respect. my hope is that people will be more honest with themselves and each other about what they need (and where they need to go to get it), while still being respectful of the needs of others (and not offensive or judgmental). if you don't like what you read, click away. don't be afraid to lose readers because you want to write about something else. find ways to support each other that doesn't involve walking on eggshells. be authentic, and you will find your tribe. // end rant.

    1. luna, your comment is go amazeballs that I can’t even comment on it. I’ve already outlined what I want to say in the next post, and you have practically written it yourself, right down to your use of the word “tribe.” I love you for writing this (and for so many other reasons).

  2. I never have thought of infertility in quite this way before, but somehow it really makes sense to me. Infertility isn’t just about the physical side of things, clearly there is an emotional side to it too. I just read this post and still need to cogitate a bit more, but wanted to say I think there is a *lot* of wisdom here and always love to hear what you’ve been thinking.

    1. Thanks, J. I find it funny (not haha funny, but interesting) that for as long as we’ve been in this community exchanging ideas about our personal emotions or supporting others with theirs, it never occurred to me (and so many others) until now to think of “emotional infertility.” It’s another simple idea which has many complicated threads within it. Now that the idea is clarified and the complication is beginning to be unraveled, I think it will go a long way in helping us all understand ourselves and each other even more.

    2. I totally agree, I really never thought about the emotional side. All physical illnesses have a psycological effect on people but something like this much be really telling.

  3. This post just continued to solidify for me the idea that IF really is an emotional continuum, and just because I am on one side of the spectrum and someone else is on another — well, we can still be friends. 🙂 And, I am finding myself less judgmental of other infertile’s reactions that are different than mine, as I view them through the lens of emotional infertility. Does that make sense?

    I also think it’s important to recognize that we need both highly-emotional and low-emotional IFer’s to keep this community balanced. As someone who definitely is highly-emotional, I can identify most closely with others who are in a similar mental space. But if all I ever read was blogs written by other highly-emotional infertiles, I think I might become overwhelmed by all that emotion — the frustration, the pain, the sorrow. I personally need some success stories, even some people who are distancing themselves from the pain and sorrow, to feel balanced, and to help me remember that I won’t ALWAYS feel this bad when it comes to IF. That’s where those other people on the spectrum come in.

    Finally, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said, “I can’t help but wonder if this debate would have caused the tsunami that it did had it been someone seeking to organize a tighter sub-community of people who had decided to live childfree.” I think you are exactly right. While child-free is ABSOLUTELY a viable and potentially fulfilling option, many of us in the trenches are not ready to consider it yet. Just like we don’t want to consider joining the babyloss community either (I read a comment somewhere during all of this that likened PAIL to Glow in the Woods, and I couldn’t help but think that it was NOTHING like that). I think the huge sting (for me, anyway) came from a group being created that I DESPERATELY wanted to join — and couldn’t. No matter how you slice it, that’s gonna hurt. I am not interested in joining a childfree group at this point in time (I can’t rule it out, but my heart isn’t there yet) nor do I EVER want to experience a stillbirth or late-trimester loss. So should those sub-communities decide they need a new blogroll or a special badge, I would probably think “more power to them.”

    **I sincerely hope that I haven’t offended either the child-free or babyloss mommas. Your communities are extremely valuable and vital to this larger ALI community. You provide hope, support, and a side that not everyone gets to see. I would NEVER want to diminish your role, and I hope that I haven’t. I am just trying to explain, for me, why PAIL was different than those other sub-groups.

    Much love,

    1. Jo, I’m so glad that you mentioned the GitW to PAIL comparison, because that exact thought occurred to me and was withing the subtext of the my quote that you used as an example. I get what you’re saying – you’re not comparing the the degree of pain/loss experienced by the babyloss community at Glow or the struggles that those who make the decision to live childless still face. That would be participating in the Pain Olympics.

      What we ARE pointing out by making the comparison, however, is the how people with similar needs are pulling together into tighter communities within the blogosphere. The fact that moving towards parenting is what pulled people into the ALI blogosphere in the first place makes parenting after IF a sensitive issue when things just aren’t working out. Those sub-communities (adoption, loss, childless living, etc) are still mostly centered around the emotional strife of being in pursuit of a baby. The parenting sub-community then becomes the people perceived to be on “the other side” of the spectrum. It does hurt to hope to be on that other side when you’re not, and just can’t seem to get there. I can totally understand how heightened levels of emotional infertility caused widespread hurt feelings when PAIL was developed. That gets down to the point that I made here – there WILL be hurt feelings simply because of emotional infertility. It is no one’s fault, and there is no one to blame. Just like infertility, it simply IS. We just need to be supportive of each other when others need to travel roads that we wish we could follow them on, but simply can’t, either because our bodies won’t allow us to (physical infertility), or our minds just don’t have the strength for (emotional infertility).

      Jo, I absolutely love how you are thinking about this at a personal level and you’re processing why the creation of PAIL hurt the way it did, and that you’re gaining a greater understanding of how emotional infertility can affect the community at large. I think that this is the type of understanding is what will lead our community to a place of healing.

      All of that said, I don’t want to make it sound like the whole eruption was caused because people still “in the trenches” were hyper-sensitive and blew things out of proportion. I saw daggers being thrown from all directions and in all directions. For those of us who are parenting, it is important for us to remember to be patient and understanding. Of course, we remember what it was like and we want to be sensitive (which is why I think many of us struggle with what we post and sometimes lean towards self-editing ourselves). But I also think that there is room to make even MORE allowances…we almost have to put ourselves in a “fertile” frame of mind. How did WE want to be treated by our fertile friends when WE were still in the trenches? Sometimes as infertiles, our emotions are so ramped up that we bristle for no truly logical reason, even when we know others mean well. I had days when passing the baby section at Wal-Mart was enough to make me want to sequester myself in a dark room so that I wouldn’t growl and bite Frank’s head off. I was just PISSED, sad, and hurt, and for no damned reason other than the fact that I smelled baby powder when I walked past the diaper aisle. Connecting that back into the topic at hand, those of us who are parenting (or have otherwise moved on) need to remember that when our sisters (and brothers) still in the trenches bristle, sometimes all that’s needed is for us to say, “I know; I understand, and I’m still here when you need me.” Don’t take it quite so personally, and it doesn’t help to put up your shields and/or fire back.

      We are all in this together.

      1. If only I could teach my husband how to react that way! 🙂 I have realized that oftentimes, when I’m feeling particularly emotionally fragile, I will snap at him or say something snarky. All I really need is a hug, or a smile, something to lift me out of my funk. When he responds with snark back, a fight will ensue, with hurt feelings all around.

        I think that’s exactly what happened here in our community: feelings were hurt, and instead of responding with a hug or a smile, people bit back — and we all know the chaos that ensued.

        Also, I agree with StacieT — you definitely have the beginnings of a book here, my friend. 🙂

  4. I love this post and the last one. I was dancing around this idea with my question about “infertile who’s now parenting” vs “parent who went through infertility” and just never quite got to the heart of it. Thanks for articulating this idea so well and allowing everyone to add their thoughts to the discussion.

    1. “infertile who’s now parenting” vs “parent who went through infertility”…it’s such a subtle difference, isn’t it? It’s such a slight difference that can lead to so many misunderstandings if the difference between the two and the emotions they can give rise to aren’t understood by others. I never quite articulated the difference in the way that you have, but it’s a distinction which I’ve ruminated on and have noticed in others (and myself) before. When I was high on emotional infertility (as late as last year), I felt like an infertile who was parenting. Now that I’m getting lower on emotional infertility, I can feel myself shifting into a parent who went through infertility. The two halves will forever be connected, but there is a significant difference that I can feel in my heart.

  5. I think you have the makings of your book, my friend!

    I agree that we have lost that the focus of our community is support of ALL. It must be okay for all facets of the ALI community to seek the support they need. I don’t think there is anyone who would disagree with the idea that those ttc, those who have suffered loss, or those who are adopting need our support. Like Luna said in her comment, there are alternate sites and blog rolls created for those categories with zero issue. Yet, creating an alternate blog roll for parenting after IF created a HUGE rift in our community. Why is it that this particular group should not be able seek support? I understand that parenting is the pinnacle that all of us are striving for in this journey. Simply reaching that pinnacle doesn’t mean that you are no longer deserving of support. That double standard will do nothing but continue to allienate a much needed population of this community. To limit specific groups, and it does feel to me like limiting a specific group when other subgroups are formed without a similar kind of upheaval, from seeking support will do nothing but continue to divide and fracture the community.

    I wonder if some of this uproar stems from the belief…hope? expectation?…that reaching parenthood would mean that you shouldn’t NEED support any longer. Once you reach the goal, all should be right in the world. Seeing that there is this need for those parenting after IF to CONTINUE to seek support is a scary prospect in itself. I know I never thought about it when I was ttc. To me, a child would equal happiness. The end.

    If only life was that simple.

    1. Ah, yes. Baby = Happiness. I do think that most of us still in the trenches feel that way, and its very scary to contemplate the fact that all of our problems won’t disappear with our infertility. Good point!

      1. Stacie, I’m going to come back a bit later to reply to your comment at length…it was the first thing I read this morning (I wasn’t even out of the bed yet!) and I’ve been ruminating on it all day.

        I did want to jump in and say that I agree with you and concur with Jo on the thought that while you’re in the trenches, having a baby in your arms safely seems like the ultimate finish line. It never occurred to me back then (or even now, until having read your comment) that many of us feel so emotionally “out of it” after the “newborn” dust settles because we didn’t really expect that we would still be emotionally affected by infertility AFTER the baby came home. I know that was a long, rambling sentence. I feel too brain-mushed right now to go fix it. 🙂 But yet – it’s almost like a post-traumatic stress, of sorts.

  6. Wow. Once again, this is so incredibly insightful.

    As you and Luna point out, even the ALI umbrella — large as it is –isn’t necessarily large enough to encompass all the support people want or need. For example, many (maybe even most) people in the loss community haven’t experienced infertility. Many of them are, at the time of the loss, already parenting living children. Often their goal is not so much to have another baby, but to grieve and try to weave the loss into their lives, which may or may not include another baby.

    It’s like those venn diagrams we used to do in Ms. Aucoin’s 5th grade math class. Not to say that you can only get support from those in exactly the same little slice of a circle as you, but there is a special bond when you find someone who is a similar place — physically or emotionally.

    And it hurts when that bond breaks and one or both of you move on to somewhere else.

    1. If anything positive comes from this whole mess, I hope it’s the understanding that this community is fluid, and not fixed. We need to be more understanding of how people’s support needs might change in ways that no longer include us being there (or being able to follow them where they go), and not taking it so personally that we hold it against them.

  7. Just wanted to write that I’ve loved your posts on this issue, and I find myself saying “Me too!” or “That’s right!” at every paragraph.

    Going through pregnancy and Lil’ Man’s first year, I think I lost my blogging voice and so didn’t post for very looong periods of time. I missed blogging very much, but there were things that I didn’t feel comfortable about putting out there (aside from coming out on the other end of my IF journey), and then, I felt like I didn’t know who I was if I wasn’t “actively IF” anymore. I felt like I had to hand in my “me” card, and just be “Mommy.” I’m trying very hard now to make sure that I write the posts in my head, rather than just let them rattle around in my brain.

    Not sure if my comment actually responded to your post, so I’ll add that part of the reason I’ve come back to blogging (or at least, trying to comment more) is that I’ve missed everyone in this community so much and find that I’m able to give/receive the support that I haven’t been able to since I became pregnant.

    1. I apologize for it taking me so long to get back to you! I think your comment responded to this post very well. A lot of us fall into the hole of self-censoring because we perceive that we might hurt our readers about whom we care about very deeply. We self-edit because we feel like we are protecting them, but then that results in us not getting the support that WE need. It happens. Some can plow through that until it doesn’t feel so foreign, and others — like you and me — well, we either go silent for a while, or we revamp our blog spaces into something that feels new. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. It really is all about what feels the most comfortable to you as the writer.

      I, for one, am glad to see you back, Jen. That said, it’s been a while since your last post. Imagine me sitting here thrumming my fingers on the desk waiting impatiently for the next one. 🙂 xoxo

  8. Emotional infertility is a bit serious matter and I think you really did a great job here sharing information about it…Thank you!

  9. As removed as I am these days from the community, I haven’t even been too aware of the strife other than to know it’s occurring. But this was brilliantly written, and something I think about often.

    I’ve always written what I needed to write regardless of context (but hopefully with sensitivity), because I feel that all of our needs/pains are valid no matter where we are in the journey. And as a parenting after IF mama, I DO feel really different usually from those who have no concept of what that does to someone. I felt MUCH more alone after having E, for not fitting truly into either group than I did during his conception. I’m happy to report that it’s much better now. I obviously don’t need the support I once did.

    Thanks for writing this.

    1. I think it’s near impossible for anyone who hasn’t dealt with infertility or loss to understand how parenting after ALI is different than when your babies come relatively easy to you. it does take some adjusting for many of us to feel like we can at least participate in a normal “mom” discussion without mentally spazzing out. I’ve also found that over time, it’s gotten better for me, too.

      1. Thanks. 🙂 I’m so glad to know people who KNOW. there are none in my day to day aquaintance.

  10. This post is excellent. Brilliantly done. I love this post, it was very inspiring and motivating.

  11. Truly inspirational post. It really takes nerves to be mentally challenging and face situations which we usually don’t want to face, I was totally devastated and usually felt when I was not able to conceive even after trying for 2 years undergoing different treatments. But, God gracious I got pregnant and am mother of a son. This post will really help thousands of women undergoing mental infertility.

  12. JW Moxie – I think you did an amazing job delving into the reasons why things blew up. I’ve experienced the roller coaster of emotional infertility and my reading habits definitely change with those. Lately, I’ve found myself going back to a few blogs that I had stopped reading prior to becoming a parent. Now that the agony of the wait is over, it’s easier to be a cheerleader for some. I agree with Luna about the “A” in ALI, too.

  13. I respectfully disagree with Jo that the comparison between other sub-groups like GITW are different than PAIL. We are on two sides precisely because of this thinking. The difference is huge, we all want to be in the PAIL sub category, and NONE of us ever want to be in the GITW category, but the two sub categories both need their own form of support.

    I will throw in a different analogy. We are all here on Earth, in the land of the living. Then we cross the river Styxx. One way or the other, we all cross over. The only difference is, where do you cross over TO? If you assume that when you have your child in your arms, you are in heaven, then yeah…I suppose you don’t understand the NEED for us to exist. You can look down to the underworld and see why they would need support, though. A lot of the problem isn’t just our emotional infertility, but our perception of how the other half lives. It is not all harps and rainbows up here in the ‘promised land’. If I told you that the first 5 months of my life after having my twins was hands down the most painful time I have ever experienced in my life, would you believe me? And that includes all the years of IF, and the pain of loss? And in that time, not once, did I believe I could reach out to the ALI community for support. THAT is why PAIL exists, because not one of us who reaches the other side should ever feel alone and hurt without anywhere to go.

    The PAIL badge on my blog isn’t a taunt, it’s a beacon.

    1. That comment below was supposed to be to you Chickenpig. I just wanted to respond directly to this one just in case you subscribed to get an email alert when I left a comment. xoxox to you, sweetie.

  14. I agree with you, Chickenpig. I feel pretty safe in speaking on Jo’s behalf (if I’m wrong, Jo, please do jump in and correct me 🙂 ) – I think what she meant in the comment that PAIL was different that GitW was that she *initially* thought that the two communities were nothing alike, because at first she did see it as a line drawn between the “haves” and “have nots.” I appreciate all of the comments that have been left so far in this series, but I really value Jo’s perspective, because she’s been ballsy enough to admit that her level of emotional IF probably gave her too narrow of a view about the whole PAIL blow up. It’s like my thoughts about the concept and how it affects this community sunk in and changed something fundamentally within her, and that allowed her to look beyond her own pain and see how others might still be affected by IF long after they’ve brought their babies home. Before reading about emotional infertility and seeing how it’s affected her view of community, she didn’t understand the comparison between PAIL and Glow. In her comment, she explained why at first, it was hard for her to understand that the similarities between the two wasn’t the nature of what brought the two groups together, and that probably explained why many people were so offended by the creation of PAIL vs a group like Glow. I think that was an important thing for those of us who need the support of subcommunities like PAIL to understand.

    But now, Jo sees that what is similar between the subgroups is that they share the same need to be a part of a support community who has similar emotional needs (as related to their levels of emotional IF). Everyone on the IF spectrum (physical and/or emotional) needs to be able to build whatever support communities around themselves that they feel they need, which is an idea that Jo sees more clearly now that she’s read and reflected on my posts.

    Jo’s commentary on my posts (and in a few emails we’ve exchanged) hold a special place for me because I think it’s representative of the type of open-mindedness, self-reflection, and understanding that will lead this community to a place of healing. When I wrote these posts, it was because I hoped that it would enact a positive change, even if it was just within one person.

    I’m so glad that we’re having these discussions, here and everywhere else around the ‘sphere.

    Also, Chickenpig, I know that I went incommunicado for a long while, but it still pains me to know that you had/are having such a tough time and you didn’t feel like you had anyone to reach out to. I would have understood, and would have been there to hold your hand had I known. There are so many people out there like us – either not reaching out with our problems because we don’t want to hurt those still in the trenches, or who could be sources of support but don’t see anyone to lend it to. This is why I support and appreciate the creation of PAIL. Hopefully this is the catalyst that will encourage everyone – no matter the support needed – to seek out their tribes. I think it strengthens our community through unity, and doesn’t weaken our community through division. xoxo

    1. I totally agree. Jo has been one of the clearest and straightest talkers out there on this subject. She has been incredibly supportive of me, even though I have reached the other side. She really ‘gets it’, and is really trying to put it all out there. I was more disagreeing with that one point to outline my perspective on PAIL than disagreeing with her, if that makes any sense.

      I had my twins in 2005, and it was a different world back then. I like to think that if I was in that same place now I wouldn’t be as stifled by guilt and fear of attack. Because it was guilt and fear on MY part, no one is to blame but myself. If I had put myself out there, I probably would have gotten tons of help and support from you and others, but I was ignorant. I think the important thing about PAIL is letting up and comers know that they don’t have to blaze their own trail, there is a road already there.

  15. Pingback: My Week, As Illustrated by Prince

  16. Pingback: House Rules: Part III on Emotional Infertility and the ALI Community

  17. Pingback: Finding Your Tribes: Part IV on Emotional Infertility & Support in the ALI Community

  18. Pingback: Healing Post: Wrap Up* « Outlandish Notions

Comments are closed.