Hey you! Welcome to my new space, the next evolution of My Path to Mommyhood -- I'm so glad you've come to see me here while I'm sort of under construction.
Well, I am discovering a few things about myself in creating a new space for myself on the blogosphere:
1) I really, REALLY hate change. I feel legitimately, physically nauseous doing this.
2) I suck at blog design. I just want tabs! Why are tabs so hard to figure out? I had a photo I wanted for my header, and it was too big. the other one I had that was mine came out all pixelated and blotchy. I don't remember how I set up My Path to Mommyhood. It seems like maybe I did it in a fugue state? I think this is part of why I've waited so long to do this -- I wanted it to be perfect right off the bat. Which is an impossible high bar and en excellent way to procrastinate making the change.
3) I feel like I'm jumping off a very scary cliff. See #1. I feel like vomiting but also kind of like singing "Into the Unknooooooooooown" at the top of my lungs in a fit of bravery, and then hiding under my desk in a ball while I let these very sad and un-confident thoughts spiral: What if no one follows me here? What if no one cares about my life after the search for mommyhood ended? What if no one new wants to read me?
All of that is why it's taken me so long to do this. It's the last weekday of my February break from school, and NOW IS THE TIME. Suck it up, spirally voice of doom. You lose.
I've been blogging under My Path to Mommyhood since September 2010. That is a LOOONG time. I have 805 posts under my belt. I felt very comfortable in that space.
However, since we made the decision to end our quest for parenthood in 2017, it felt like it was time to move forward in this very scary way. I cannot authentically say that I am "on the path to mommyhood" because I stepped off that path (or slither-crawled on my belly while clutching at the path for far too long). Mali once told me, "Some day you won't even want the word "mommy" in your blog title." She was right. She has been supportively nudging me to make this move for a while now, and the time has come.
If I can plunge into the icy waters of the Irondequoit Creek in February when it's 16 degrees out, I can make this plunge, right? Right.
The last three (oh wow, almost four) years have been about rebuilding. About standing in the rubble of a dream denied, and figuring out how to pick the pieces up and create a life that is meaningful, that is beautiful, and that is its own path, not a detour.
Thanks to Mel for suggesting that I keep some homage of "My Path to Mommyhood" in the new title... she wanted me to title it "My Path to Asskickary," which was awfully tempting, but in the end I chose something subtler. Safer. More like a puddle jump than a polar plunge, ha.
I had many discussions with Bryce about how to make this change. I thought about the title, "Finding My Path," but he nixed that one -- "It sounds like you're lost. Where is my path? I can't find it! I don't think that's you." Fair point.
A different path spoke to me (and was available as the straight-up url, no extra letters necessary). Living a life without parenting when you built so much of your life around the possibility of children is not the path you hear about most. The path that gets all the press and attention is the miracle, the success story after loss and pain, the success after heartbreak that is beloved by magazines and the internet. There is an unspoken (or sometimes loudly whispered) insinuation that THAT is the only true outcome worth anything -- that if you don't persevere through infertility treatments at any cost, if you don't then adopt at any cost, then you are a sad sack and a failure. LOOK AT ALL THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SUCCEEDED! THAT COULD HAVE BEEN YOU! is shoved in your face, by the media, by well-meaning friends, by people you barely know. But this path, the one not spoken of as a viable option, is a form of success as well.
It takes a great deal of strength to walk away from a dream you so desperately wanted but is threatening to destroy you from the inside out, and to rebuild your life into something that is decidedly NOT sad sack.
Does that mean that once you resolve, everything is awesome and the specter of grief and loss have POOF! disappeared?
Absolutely not. It becomes a part of you, just not all of you, as Mali has said before.
You have scars, but it takes a LOT to make them ache or rupture again. Or it takes just a little, at just the right time, but it is not an all the time sort of thing.
I want this space, though -- a space to write about what it is like to go down this different path, to be on the other side but not the face of brochures handed out at fertility clinics when you are clearly not going to be a success statistic. To make a life that is often misunderstood, but to live it with joy. And also to acknowledge the significance of those years spent toiling towards something that was never going to happen in the end. The trauma associated with the physical and mental pain. The moments that bring that to the surface. But also the hope -- the hope that all that pain and the arms empty of baby can result in a happy, fulfilling life. That the rawness of feeling that treasured dream slip away won't last forever.
I want to be a light in the darkness, illuminating a way out of the pit that isn't often touted as a viable, successful option. I had that in Mali, and Loribeth when I was first exploring the possibility of resolving childfree, and then in tandem with Infertile Phoenix. I had it with the books and blogs by public powerhouses like Lisa Manterfield of Life Without Baby, Jodi Day of Living the Life Unexpected and Gateway Women, of Pamela Tsigdinos of Silent Sorority. There are more out there, but these are the ones that helped me through my transition from striving for parenthood to accepting that that was not going to be a part of my life.
I am excited to share this new adventure with you, thank you for following me in this new space! (And thank you for having patience while I figure out how the heck to design it and make it look the way it does in my head). Welcome!