I've been mulling this over since I started my blog last month: what is it about blogging (and reading blogs) that provides a more fulfilling outlet and comforts me more than being a member of an infertility forum?
Last year, when I chucked out the last of my BCPs and declared we were officially "trying" (haha, how young and naive..), I started google searching infertility and PCOS. I knew I was going to need support for this journey and I really didn't know what was out there. I happened upon a PCOS group and lurked for about a week before joining. It was a pretty eye opening experience. Kind of like immersing yourself in a foreign country to learn a new language, joining a forum tossed me into the deep end where I had to quickly figure out the lingo or be out of the loop forever (that was way too many metaphors for one sentence).
I was active in that forum for almost a year. I was supportive over countless BFNs, BFPs, and so many heart-breaking miscarriages. I watched women come and go. I talked newbies through all the obsessing of the first few TTC cycles. I was a cheerleader for the women who had been there for nearly a decade without getting a take-home baby. But after many months and only 2 ovulatory cycles for myself, I started to feel...left behind, I guess. Sometimes a girl would join and be pregnant the very next month. Other girls only took a few more medicated cycles and they too were off to the pregnancy threads. Some girls took longer to phase out of newbie status and reading the onslaught of Panic! posts got kind of old. For the hundredth time sweetie, when you're taking progesterone supplements during your 2ww, you really can't symptom spot - the supplements can cause every symptom under the sun... I don't know how the veteran members kept it up, month after month. There was a core of women that stayed fairly constant, but the rest was a revolving door of ladies fortunate enough to not need much, if any, medical intervention. And while I didn't mind playing the positive thinker for others, I was feeling very negative about my own state of affairs. The helpful, supportive comments from others started to grate on my nerves.
Finally, after the massive failure that was clomid round 4 (150mg), I threw up my hands. I knew it was time to find an RE and that my TTC journey was not going to be as simple as I'd hoped. And if it was going to take so much more time and effort, I couldn't handle watching half a dozen women get their BFP every other month while I sat on the sidelines just waiting. So I said goodbye to the forum for now. Maybe I'll go back someday if Dr. B finds a drug protocol that gets me ovulating regularly, but I don't know.
Blogging is somehow so different from being part of a forum. I enjoy the slower pace of things; life is taken day by day instead of by cycle milestones. I get to know the individual bloggers on a more personal and detailed level - not just by the TTC history in their signature. And its easier to find other women who are "in it for the long haul", so to speak. Am I terrible for saying that? I hope you understand what I mean. I'm grateful that, for the first time in a long time, I'm not just talking to a wall when I blog. I kept my old online journal private when we started TTC because I figured none of my followers were interested. Its comforting to send my thoughts out into the void where they might be useful to another person, if only to validate their feelings or help them not feel so alone. Even though a forum is essentially, an unending conversation, I think blogging is a *better* medium for communication. I am able to more actively participate in the ALI community now that I have this blog. And I don't feel like I'm just sitting on the sidelines while everyone else moves forward - because even though I'm not actively TTC right now, I still have a story and that story still matters. That's something I didn't think I could have in a forum.
So thank you to everyone who makes this community exist! Without it, I'd be lost. Do you have an opinion on the uses of forums and blogs? Do you prefer one or the other? Use both?