So waaaaay back in college I got really into forums and message boards and LiveJournal and such. I was such a shy and awkward girl and I loved how you could just do a quick search and suddenly find a real community based around something you were truly interested in, a community where you could come and go at will, where you could easily censor yourself, or even take on a new persona.
I was never a troll, never started drama, and only a handful of times did I bite back when someone was blatantly rude (or trollish) to others, though I was polite when someone was mean to me. I just wanted the feeling of belonging, the community feel and the community knowledge.
I used this to meet people who were into video games, or relationships. People debating religion, people talking about their pets. I read up on marriage and weddings, and about housekeeping, and of course staying a geek throughout it all.
And then came the big day when I moved past all of those "here is fake me" into the really emotional territory: I joined ePregnancy.
I was aaaaalll about it for a long time. Years before we started TTC I had briefly joined because of their baby name page and my own fascination with names. When we were first married and just starting to try I remembered the page and, not knowing a thing about mommy blogs or mom groups or any of the other resources out there, I joined the one I'd known about years ago.
For months I watched others come and go, start to try and get their BFP, or give up, or start treatments, or languish a bit. I felt bad for those poor infertile women but I knew I couldn't be joining their ranks. I was 23, he was 21, and that alone made us fertile right?
So I blabbed about my symptoms and schedule, urged people one with baby dust and well wishes, and waited with bated breath to scream the good news that was sure to come any day.
It was on ePregnancy where I first got the idea to run a semenalysis. Another woman's husband had just had one and they only found one sperm, and it was dead. Suddenly all of the regulars on the board were talking about it, sharing insurance tips, and stories of what they had to do to convince their DH's or transport semen in bras.
I did convince Nik to take the test, obviously, but at the same time I also had so much hope. I just wanted it cleared, I wanted that bit tested and taken care of so we could move on.
Right before we got the test results back, I was so, so sure I was pregnant.
I was so nauseous, so ill, and I was a week late. My breasts ached, I was dizzy, and my back hurt. I was scared to test after so many BFNs, though...
I rallied the troops and spent a week talking about my symptoms, getting everyone to urge me on, to convince me I was pregnant, that I should test and take a picture of my oh-so-obvious BFP and post it online for all to see and have hope...
And I did test. And it was negative. And my period started. And Nik got his results in.
My hot-button post, which had reached a fever pitch right before I tested, petered out. And I moved on.
I continued to read every now and then. The woman who started the whole semenalysis craze went on to adopt from Russia and we, of course, chose Ethiopia and brought home Paxton a year and a half after all that mess.
I stayed out of forums for the most part for a long time. I updated my blog a lot but I wasn't really big on the whole "join a community" thing, especially after P came home.
When we were waiting for Ambrose, though, I did join a local mom-to-mom group and became so involved that I took a moderator position. Once again I found myself reveling in the sudden community, but this time it had a "real world" aspect. Instead of seeing nothing but pictures and tickers and little signiture bits, I can actually meet all of these people in real life. And that's what I've done, actually.
And now? I find myself backing off yet again. I have made my friends, and I have my group of real life friends...
But some part of me really wants the online community again. Some part of me still craves the ability to post online and receive dozens of helpful comments.
And yet I'm scared....
Because the thing I'd post about right now? Would be TTC. Again.
And that last time, a few years back, was nothing short of embarrassing.
People were excited for me! Happy for me! And I wasn't pregnant!
And I'm scared now. What if that happens again? What if I think I am and they urge me on and I'm not and I have to either leave or sit back and watch them all become pregnant as I remain, well, not?
But on the other hand I don't really want to become too involved with the infertility groups. What if I'M the one who becomes pregnant and leaves quickly? What if I build up friendships only to lose them a few months later? And what if I don't receive the pep talks I do need, and instead just receive advice about treatments I don't feel comfortable with at this time?
It's a fine line, a "where do I belong," that keeps me from even trying to belong.
I look at the local mom to mom group and I want to post, I do, but I can't tell where to click.
The infertility group? The TTC group? The general mommy board? The adoption group?
Where do I fit in?
For now, I'm just hanging back.
I won't be part of a group, not yet. I guess I'll just have to give it a bit more time and see. If it takes awhile I know where I belong, and if it doesn't I guess I have my answer then too.
But it's hard when you feel so... singular. And you just want to belong, ask questions, hear advice.
Ah well. At least that's just the online community I'm worried about. Now for real life? Guess I'd better get my butt in gear and set up some playdates soon! I'm missing some of my mommy friends!
Lily in a loafing barn
11 months ago