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I Get By with a Little Help from My 'Friends'
a blog by CGD, May 26, 2011
I cannot really remember exactly how I first stumbled upon the infertility online community, but I know it is has been a major part of my life and support system for quite some time. My husband often wonders what I possibly could be doing online so much and I think he secretly (or sometimes not so secretly) thinks this whole thing is kind of odd.
Historically, I would have agreed with my husband, thinking that there must be something wrong with people who spend so much time on message boards and blogging. After all shouldn’t they be out socializing with their real life “friends?"
Having Nothing to Say in Real Life
Well, in theory real life friends are great, but reality can be a different story. Infertility is a strange life experience for me. Having lived my life as a person who is typically full of things to say, I now lack the words to describe fully what I am going through. And in turn, most of the people in my real life don’t really know what to say to me in response.
This leaves a lot of room to talk about exciting things like the weather and the score of the last Met’s game, an interesting topic of conversation considering considering I do not even follow baseball. It feels lonely and isolating.
Online, Infertility is Understood
Online, things are different. Here, I am able to find “my” people — my fellow infertiles who get and understand me and know what I am referring to when I talk about my last BFN. I have even been lucky enough to have met a few of my online friends in person. My husband also thinks this is kind of odd, which is funny because he actually met me online. Go figure. It is like my own version of infertility online dating.
My journey through this online infertility community has occurred slowly. At first, it was dipping my toes in, asking a few questions here and there, gathering information so that I could harass my fertility doctor with random theories and potential diagnoses. Somewhere along the way, I started to keep a personal blog. This started as more of an online journal, a way for me to record my journey. But, that all changed around the time of our ill-fated pregnancy.
We lost our baby boy at 15 weeks, after spending nearly a month of meeting with doctors and specialists trying to figure out how to make sense of what they were seeing on the ultrasound images. That diagnostic period was agonizing. At the same time, a miraculous thing started happening. Visitors start flocking to my blog. Comments started appearing left and right, offering support, suggestions, and even, sadly, personal stories of loss and fatal prenatal diagnoses.
Finding Support Online
I found resources I never knew existed and would have never found on my own had other people not pointed me in the right direction. I received support that I can only describe as a lifeline during what was one of the darkest periods of my life. Sometimes, even now, I reread some of those old blog posts a year later, and I still feel amazed by the support and love that surrounded me from total strangers. When the people in my real life failed to know just what to do with me, here were all these people out there somewhere holding my hand. Amazing.
I wonder what infertile people did before the internet? Where did they go for information and support? As lost as I have felt during this entire process, I can only imagine how much more profound these feelings would be without the online resources that we are lucky enough to have. So despite my husband’s funny looks, I fully intend to keep blogging, commenting and now even tweeting. Weird or not, I know for sure that I am grateful for my “friends” and my community.