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!
So excited for you, Jess!! Congratulations on the new space! :) (It doesn't have to be perfect... I am still tweaking my blog layout & elements, 13 years later...!)ReplyDelete
Yayyyy, you win First Comment Award! Thank you so much for coming, and putting my fears of unfinishedness to rest. 💜Delete
The new blog is great, well done! Scary as it may be, it sounds like this is a wonderful change for you, and also for someone like me who hates to click on any blog that has the word Mommy in it. I've enjoyed reading yours for years despite the title, but the new title is great! Thank you for continuing to share your journey with those of us out here in Internetland, connected by a common grief and some life experiences.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! And I fixed that other thing, THANK YOU! I was glad to leave the "Mommy" behind. Glad to be here with you in Internetland!Delete
I subscribed to your asskickery :-). Welcome to your new, well-fitting home on the web.ReplyDelete
I love that you and Mali remind me that grief is "a part of you, just not all of you."
Woo hoo! Thank you for being a part of my asskickery! And for welcoming my new space. :)Delete
Yes! Finding a Different Path. Yes, yes, yes. <3ReplyDelete
And of course we are all going to follow you here and continue to read what you write. If we didn't we'd miss gems like, "It takes a great deal of strength... to rebuild your life into something that is decidedly NOT sad sack." Hahaha, Jess, you're the best!!
Oh thank you! Bryce said yesterday, "I don't know why you're being so weird about this. You have this whole community, they're not just going to leave because you have a new space." Stupid inner doomspiral voice. So glad you're here, and so glad you are in the camp of "DEAR GOD NO SAD SACKERY HERE!" <3 back atcha, friend.Delete
YAY!! New Space!! Congrats on making the leap!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! Feeling much less neurotic about it today. :)Delete
Perfect, perfect, perfect! You did it when you were ready, if not entirely comfortable (yet). But I have no doubt that the comfort will come, and quite quickly. This space looks like joy, and looks thoughtful (all the books!), i.e. Jess, all the way.ReplyDelete
Also, Bryce is right. We would follow you to the ends of the earth. (That is where you would find me, of course!)
Awwww, thank you! I love that I am associated with joy for you. :) Makes my heart happy! Thank you for cheering this on, I have so appreciated the nudges (I'm slow to accept them, but them I do and I feel much better for it, ha).Delete
Hey Jess! I’m here (I never left, just real behind on blog reading and silent.)ReplyDelete
This new space is perfect. And yes, listen to Bryce...he is very wise!! Congrats on your new space!!
Hi! Oh, now I have to tell Bryce that you said he's wise and it will all go straight to his head...hahaha! So glad to see you, thanks for coming to the new digs!Delete
I love love love this. I know it's not a comfortable space yet, but it will be. And when you're completely settled in, you'll say, "Wow, I love this just as much as the last space. I'm home."ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! I am embracing the change. I mean, I got here kicking and screaming, but now I am feeling more comfortable, and every day I hope to feel more homey. Thanks for the housewarming!Delete
I’m soooo glad you did this. You are a warrior, Jess. Bravo.ReplyDelete
Thank you! It's been a long time coming, but I'm glad I finally took that last leap.Delete
Congratulations on the new blog! I noticed a while ago you created this space and was wondering when you would make it "official" hehehe. It's always a toss-up between continuity and having a format that reflects the present: this is a good compromise I think. Do make sure you periodically download both blogs so that you have a back -up of both. Happy writing!ReplyDelete
Thank you! And ha, yes. I snagged the name and then sat on it for a while. OH YES, thank you for the backup reminder! Thanks for coming to my new home!Delete
Congratulations Jess on the next step of your journey!! I can't sleep and stumbled onto your blog and I am so glad that I did. Our Polar Plunge started out with some cautious steps over the ice...so it seems that the new title fits with how the plunge works - a little cautious at first and then ALL IN! I appreciate your sharing and candor about your decision to resolve childfree. You will be a light for others who share a similar path, and help to enlighten people like myself who will grow from learning from you. Thank you and virtual hugs to you <3ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you came by (although sorry you can't sleep). Thank you so much for your kind words! :)Delete
Love the new name!! Can’t wait to keep reading! Bookmark has been updated :)ReplyDelete
Hoooray, thank you! I AGONIZED over the new name. I wanted it to be just right, and I'm glad it seems to be a good choice! :) Thanks for reading, Peg!Delete
Belatedly leaving a comment. (For some strange reason, Google Blogger has set loose the gremlins. My Wordpress software and Blogger seem to be at odds and I haven't figured out why I can't routinely comment on many blogs that rely on Blogger. But I digress.) Honored to be named here and appreciate how hard it has been for you to transition to a new state of mind and a new blog. I remember clearly doing that same thing and how it opened up new horizons. Sometimes we just to rearrange the furniture, you know? Anyway, I look forward to doing more blogging in the next year, so please add me to your Blog list and I'll do the same with your new home xxReplyDelete
Yay, exited to follow you at your new space! To get tabs in blogger... Go to layout, then add "pages" widget in cross-column. There you can add links to the pages you'd like to be on your tabsReplyDelete