"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Healing Our Community

When you've been around the *ALI community as long as I have, you are bound to see some squabbles. Hell, even in the most tight knit of families, there are arguments. Well, recently our little family had a major spat. For those of you who missed the hubbub, a group of women who've been lucky enough to make it to the other side of the infertility battle formed a blogroll, PAIL (Parenting After Infertility and Loss). The women who are part of this new blogroll were feeling like they didn't really have a place in the ALI community.  However, many of the women who haven't reached the parenting stage felt this new blogroll was exclusionary. Words were exchanged. Feelings were hurt. People felt their work and ideas weren't being valued. In other words, it was a typical family spat.

In my view, this whole to do got started because people were feeling left out and I was wondering what we could do to ease that feeling. I think the first thing we need to do is talk. Here are some of the things I really feel we need to talk about...
  1. If you're still fighting infertility, do you feel uncomfortable continuing to visit a blog after someone finally becomes pregnant or becomes a mom? Does it make a difference whether the blog belongs to someone you are close to or someone who is just a casual acquaintance?
  2. Is there anything an ALI community member who is pregnant or a new parent could do to make you feel more comfortable?
  3. If  you've manage to get pregnant or become a parent, have you noticed a drop in support from the community? Do you feel like you still belong or do you feel left out?
  4. Is there anything the ALI community can do to make you feel like you belong even after you've become a parent?
If you have another topic you'd like to bring up, feel free to address it here or on your own blog. The only rules I'd like you to follow are as follows...
  1. Enter the Salon with the understanding that each blogger is a unique individual with unique personal, cultural, and social identities that inform her/his perspective. Every person's experience is significant and valid.
  2. Comments in the Salon will encompass respect towards all three entities: a) yourself; b) the blogger/commenter with whom you might disagree; c) the ALI community at large.
  3.  It's okay to agree to disagree.
  4.  Avoid scapegoating or assigning intent to a person. Only respond to the words on the screen.
And, please head on over to the LFCA and check out the rest of blogs participating in the Healing Salon experiment.
My experience in this community is very different from a lot of people's experiences. I didn't really find the ALI community until after I already had 2 kids and we were fighting secondary infertility. I never felt like I didn't have a place here. Because of this, I can't really speak to a lot of these issues. Truly, I feel that those of us who have made it through infertility play a vitally important role in this community. We're a resource for hope and for ideas as to what works and what doesn't. Because we've made it through, we often have the emotional fortitude to support our friends who are still in the trenches. I hope opening up my bloggy home will help heal the rift in our community.