The obligatory Roughly a Year Ago… post
Roughly a year ago, I’d just started writing this here internet web journaly thing. I’d been through four IUIs and was about to have the laparoscopy that would achieve…basically nothing. I’d recently asked my clinic whether there was any kind of support group I could join, and had been told I wasn’t infertile enough to join their group. I’d been lurking in this community for a month or so, but felt like I couldn’t comment because I didn’t have an identity. So I decided to write. Indeed, I wrote a post while sitting in my large lecture class, administering a final exam to a bunch of sweaty kids, like I’m doing right now.
I’m not going to write a so much has changed in a year post, one about the fact that I never ever EVER thought I’d be one of the lucky ones who escaped so easily (and who knows what might happen in the next few months–I was just thinking this morning, hey, two more weeks and I’ll be officially in stillbirth [as opposed to miscarriage] territory!), or about how much having your support has meant to me or improved my ability to cope or made me feel connected (but re-reading my angsty first post sure makes that clear!), or about how long this sentence is. I’ve read a lot of brilliant posts like that and I just can’t compete.
Instead, I’m going to write a little something for the Me that might be out there, wondering whether she should start her own internet web journaly thing. You totally should. Maybe you think you’ll pour your heart out, and no one will hear you (except the spam bots). Hey, it’s possible. It’s possible you’ll be the most unpopular person on the entiiiiiiiiiire internet. Maybe you think you’ll be boring. Trust me, we’re all boring. Maybe you feel self conscious, like nothing you could write would be worth reading, like you could never be as witty and poignant as me. And of course you can’t, but I promise that there’s someone waiting to hear what you, and you alone, have to say. Whatever other reservations you have, put them aside and get started. It’s not that having a blog will get you pregnant. Though having a social support network is linked to better outcomes and better psychological recovery after unsuccessful treatments. And for true support, there needs to be reciprocity. (Just reading ain’t enough.) I think the main reason I’d urge you to start has to do with a general principle I tell these very students (most of whom have now finished their exams). Labeling affect allows prefrontal cortex to downregulate activity in the amygdala. In English: putting your feelings into words gives you control over them, and reduces their negative impact. So even if no one ever reads a word you write, it’s worth it.
Like last year, I’ve got a question on my final exam where students are asked to draw a picture representing their current state of mind. I promise to share any particularly brilliant ones.