It’s my blogiversary! One year ago today I started Foggy Mommy with this post. As is the case with many aspects of parenting, it doesn’t seem like it’s been a year. I can’t believe LM has gone from being a one-year-old who couldn’t yet walk to a two-year-old who’s in school. One year ago I hadn’t yet ventured in the genre of parenting writing, and since then I’ve been published in The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode, Fit Pregnancy and The Washington Post’s On Parenting. I hope that doesn’t sound boastful, but I’m proud of how far I’ve gone!
Some observations on blogging:
- It’s hard to keep up with social media. I admit I probably don’t have time to tweet and Facebook as much as some of my fellow mommy bloggers. It’s just somehow not built into me — maybe I’m too old. Or maybe I just already feel like I’m too distracted from my son (this is something I’m working on as a mom). I can’t be tweeting every detail of my life. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if you can. I just haven’t yet mastered this — maybe that’s why I still need more Twitter followers. If you haven’t already, please follow me! I’ll try to tweet more in the future.
- I love blogging, and I love freelance writing. I love the flexibility to do it whenever and wherever. But, that flexibility often makes me feel that every available minute I have I should be writing, blogging, tweeting about blogging, etc. It’s not like I just stop working when I come home from the office. I write at midnight. I email during playdates. So I wonder if I just need to turn off sometimes.
- That said, I love that I get to be home with LM. Despite the multitasking, I do feel that I’m able to give more personal attention that I would if I worked outside the home and had to commute. I think our lives would be more harried and hurried. I think LM has benefitted from me being available and around most of the time.
- A note on “oversharing”: After a piece in Slate about the profusion of personal essays, the blogosphere has been abuzz. Are we oversharing? Are we going to regret oversharing? I do try to balance what I say and what I reveal with the repercussions: Is anyone going to be pissed that I wrote this? How will LM feel about this when he’s a teenager? So I do take that into account. But in general, I don’t see what’s wrong with talking publicly about the things one has gone through. I wholeheartedly agree with this comment from XOJane editor Emily McCombs (XOJane is on my writer’s bucket list):
I can’t tell you how often I have encountered the attitude that because these stories are about women’s lives, they are somehow superficial, silly, or unimportant. Women’s lives – our stories – are not unimportant. They often reflect the feminist maxim that the personal is political.
…to suggest that adult women aren’t fully capable of deciding when and where to share information about themselves denies them an awful lot of agency.
I write about my own personal life because I want to lessen shame and encourage connection. If people read a piece I wrote and say: ‘This writer has had this experience, done this thing and felt this way so maybe I don’t have to feel ashamed of who I am,’ it’s worth it.
That pretty much sums up why I write. I want to tell the truth about infertility, miscarriage, breastfeeding, parenting after loss, and just parenting in general. All parents are a work in progress, and this blog helps me (and hopefully helps others) become aware of the things we need to work on. People have said I’m brave to share my story. I don’t think of it that way. I don’t know why I should feel like I can’t share. I’m not ashamed of my story. That’s the point — no one should be.
Give me your feedback on Foggy Mommy, or just drop a note to say happy blogiversary! I look forward to hearing from you.
This lovely quote came from one of LM’s doctors when he was just two months old and we were having some difficulties nursing. Unfortunately, stories like mine are all too common.
I was not prepared for the reception, both good and bad, that my post It’s None of Your Business How Many Kids I’m Having (first published on this blog) received on Huffington Post Parents. Because I didn’t expect it to be so controversial, I found it hard not to take some of the comments to heart. Welcome to the life of a blogger, right?
But I did want to address one facet of the criticisms against the post. Those who called it “garbage,” said I should “get over it” and that I “wasted [my] time writing it,” here’s what I have to say:
The reason this conversation was important was not because it affected me so greatly that I can’t get past it. It’s not that I’m trying to air my dirty laundry on social media because I couldn’t confront this person directly. And it’s not that we can’t have discourse and that we have to be so PC all the time so that we don’t hurt each other’s feelings.
But it is a moment that mattered.
Every day, little incidents, offhand remarks and snippets of conversation happen that perpetuate bias, stereotypes, ignorance and prejudice. They reflect a lack of understanding, sympathy and plain old manners. The way that we as a society view certain things are revealed in the most subtle of ways. This is the case whether we are talking about racism, sexism, ageism or (what should we call this?) reproductive-ism. This is why the moment mattered.
When people are going through infertility or miscarriage, they often feel isolated and alone. No one seems to understand their pain. We don’t have a way to talk about these topics. People, like the man I talked to, don’t even recognize or remember their existence. It is our responsibility to take into account what might be offensive to someone else when we speak. This is not to say we can’t have discourse or that certain topics are off limits. But the how and when we discuss certain things is important.
Throughout my journey to have a baby, I was on the receiving end of a lot of unintentionally hurtful comments and actions by people who didn’t know what to say or how to act. Now that I have a child, I feel like I’ve reentered the “normal” world – except that I am not normal. But because you wouldn’t know that to look at me with my son, the offensive conversations still occur.
Should I have confronted the man directly, as said another of the criticisms of the post? Maybe. But as I said in the piece, in the moment I was so taken aback at the awkwardness of the situation that I just couldn’t. That may have been my mistake. I chose to write about it not because I want to passive-agressively complain about it, but in order to bring awareness to the inappropriateness of what was said.
Look, I’m sure that man was a perfectly nice person who didn’t mean anything malicious. But that’s the point. Even if he didn’t mean it, it was still hurtful. And a lack of awareness about infertility and miscarriage means the silent suffering will continue.
Some people who responded positively said the article helped them because they never thought about it like that, and maybe they had said something in the past that was offensive even though they didn’t mean to be. It made them aware of something they hadn’t recognized before. That outcome – giving people a new perspective and actually inspiring them to change their behavior – is why I wrote the piece.
Words matter, even if they’re not on the grand scale of offensiveness of those of a certain pair of fashion designers who will remain nameless. But they still matter. That’s why I posted the piece. That’s why I write.
My piece It’s None of Your Business How Many Kids I’m Having is now on Huffington Post Parents. Check it out here!