My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The PAIL Controversy


Apparently there's a big hullabaloo here in ALI land about a new blogroll for parenting after infertility.  I'm on my computer pretty much all the time, surfing the web for lack of anything better to do, and yet I still somehow managed to have no clue as to what the hell is going on that has everyone in a tizzy.

I'm getting the impression that there are 2 issues going on.

First, Mel over at Stirrup-Queens has done a lot of work over the years to build a community and to become the hub for all things infertility related.  If I'm understanding correctly (which I'm not claiming I do), another blogger has basically used her ideas and site as a template to try to create a hub for those who are parenting after infertility, a topic that Mel also covers.

So that's kind of sucky.  I don't think it was a malicious thing, but rather someone not understanding the work that went into creating that template and not understanding that they were kind of stealing all of that work while also usurping a portion of the community as well.

Second, I think people are hurt that a portion of their community is forming a new club that they aren't able to join (yet).  I understand the hurt, but it also seems like a perfectly natural thing to me.

The infertility community is a really crappy club to belong to.  The people are fabulous, but the reason for coming together royally sucks.  Same with the Miscarriage Mamas.  It's lovely that we all come together and support each other in our time of tragedy, but seriously, what a shitty thing to come together for.

This is where I might come off as harsh, but I think most of my readers will understand that I'm not being mean, I'm being realistic.  My goal is to leave the infertility and miscarriage mamas clubs.  They will leave an imprint on my life, and I'll always speak up on behalf of those who belong in those clubs, but I don't wish to be an active member forever.  My goal is to get the hell out and start a new chapter in my life.

I suffered from bipolar II for more than a decade.  It's only by random chance, a one in a million shot, that in my particular case we accidentally "cured" it, or at least found a means of putting it into remission.  When surgery cured my sleep apnea, the bipolar issues went away too.

I no longer read depression blogs.  I don't read books about depression and how to cope with it.  I don't actively participate in any forums, clubs, or other gatherings of those who are suffering from it.

Sure, when an article comes up about it and people are commenting, I'll see what the comments are and educate where I can, because for a portion of my life, depression was all encompassing and I still have empathy for those who are not as fortunate as I am to have found their cure (if there is one which for the vast majority of sufferers, there isn't).

But what consumed me for all of those years is not the subject of this blog.  Sure, the topic comes up from time to time in passing, but it's not the focus.  That's because my life is in a different place now.  And I don't feel guilty about that.  I think anyone who is in that shitty, shitty club would kill or be killed if they had the opportunity to leave it.  I'm not going to feel guilty about being the lucky bitch who did get to leave.

That's how I feel about the infertility and loss community.  If I get the chance to leave this summer, you damn well better bet that I'm going to run as hard and as fast as I can to get the hell out of here and as far away as possible.  It doesn't mean that I don't care for those who are stuck here, it means I'm taking full advantage of the opportunity we are all hoping will one day be ours.

As my confidence grows that it might soon be my turn to leave, I'm starting to unsubscribe from infertility blogs, slowly.  Those that are friends beyond their infertility and/or loss, I'm keeping them, but the others are starting to leave my reader.  I'm simply moving to a new place in life and that's no longer the topic that consumes me.

I'm not going to forget.  As I complain about parenting or pregnancy pains, I'm not ungrateful or trying to rub others noses in it.  This blog is where I put my thoughts and most of my thoughts tend to be about my current life situation.  I'm really hoping that infertility and grieving are going to be a part of my past and the topics of my current will be changing significantly.  I'm sure they will creep into my current thoughts from time to time, because like I said, they left an imprint on who I am.

But I'm not like Mel.  She has built a community around infertility and has remained an active member even though she is parenting now.  It's commendable and I applaud her for constantly providing for those who are coming into the struggle behind her.  It's like a rape victim who uses her pain to open a crisis center for other women.  I don't know how they have the strength to remain an active part of a struggle that hurt them so terribly.

I don't think I have that strength.  When/if I graduate, I'm going to get myself into a lifeboat and row away as fast as I can.  When I'm away from the wreckage, I'll turn and look to see if I'm able to help anyone else.   If I find myself feeling really stable, I'll go back to the wreckage and see what I can do to help until my boat is filled to capacity.  But if my own lifeboat is shaky, I'm sorry, I'm not going to let others topple me over. Right now, I'm predicting a pretty wobbly lifeboat that I'll be working my ass off to keep afloat, so I won't be able to support those still in the water.  I hope I'm wrong about that.

If this makes me a royal bitch, so be it.  I never wanted to join these clubs.  From the day I found myself in these clubs, I've only ever wanted to get the hell out.  Still like the people, but hate the club dues.  If I get the opportunity to leave, I'm leaving.

I feel like I'm really tempting fate by putting these thoughts out there.  Universe, I'm still fully aware that this pregnancy can be taken away from me at any moment.  Acutely aware since I had trouble finding one of my girls on the doppler this afternoon (found her eventually but it still make me nervous because she's usually front and center and easy to find).  I haven't forgotten, I'm still not assuming that I'm on the last legs of my struggle.  I'm simply acknowledging that there's a chance that I might be changing life chapters.  Please don't take this blog post as an arrogant assault on the hand you are still capable of dealing me.  I'm still humble, I'm still wary, I'm still scared.


  1. That's a shame. Because parenting twins after infertility is a BITCH. If you are in a rush to paddle away, where will you paddle to?

    Sleep loss is a major component of depression and anxiety. I am going to undergo a sleep study this month, as a matter of fact, because I have been suffering some anxiety lately, and my husband says I snore and stop breathing in my sleep! I never knew that! See, you're helping someone RIGHT NOW with your post :)

    What I'm saying is, don't be in such a hurry to call your depression/anxiety 'gone'. When you have twin babies keeping you awake and you get no quality REM sleep to speak of, it can come rushing back. And with it the guilt, because you have had to overcome infertility and loss to get there. Parenting after IF/loss is NOT the same as just parenting. If you find you need someone who will listen to you and say "I hear you." after you've had your twins, I'll be here.

    1. I don't really think my depression is "gone". So far it appears to be, but "in remission" might be more accurate. Hubby and I have discussed the likelihood that I'm going to get some horrible PPD. We know that chronic lack of sleep is what started my bipolar brain patterns and with not only lack of sleep, but whackadoodle hormones and general stress added into the mix, yes, there's a reason why my parents and K are going to be watching me like a hawk!

      I dunno where I'll paddle to. Mommy clubs? Moms of Multiples clubs? Doing my damnedest to enjoy what I have without constantly obsessing over the struggle I had to go through to get there? I think that's my main thing. I tend to hold onto things longer than I should, so I'm kind of telling myself with this post that it's ok to not remain in the world of struggle when I'm not needing to struggle anymore. And that I don't want to feel guilty for having the normal first time mom freak-outs which I'm sure involve crying, unhappiness, anger, and at times regret about taking on parenting in the first place. Those pains are very real, and I'm not going to not talk about them because those pains might stir up feelings of resentment among those who would change places with me if they could.

      Good luck with your sleep study! Getting the surgery that cured the apnea seriously changed my life!

  2. I've been totally consumed with work and battling with our property management, so I had no idea what PAIL was, except that people were upset about it! So thank you for explaining that!

    A couple of thoughts, but really it call comes down to having a balance.
    Yes: With this great new chapter ahead of you, your blog posts are probably going to change, covering the thoughts, trials and tribulation of parenting.
    Yes: Nobody in this ALI community was standing in line to get into the club. It makes sense if you don't want to rush out and start reading a bunch new ALI blogs in the near future.
    But: I have to second Chickenpig; you are going to need support in the days, weeks, months, years to come. Don't alienate yourself.
    Cheesy Moment: People who volunteer, and help, and support others always say that helping other makes them feel good. No, you don't want your boat to topple over but as you support people and as they support you, it's like the trust exercise where everyone stands in a circle, and sits on each-others laps.

    So, maybe that means you'll be getting involved in PAIL? I have to wonder if that's what you are considering, the way that you wrote this post. Seeing as how this post was my first real explanation of what PAIL is, I'm not sure what my final opinion on the matter will be...

    1. I don't know. Other than putting this blog on the list, what more "involved" is there to get? And I'm not ready to put this blog on a list like that. When I'm parenting, THEN I'll re-categorize the blog. Until then, this could turn back into a loss blog tomorrow for all we know.

  3. Alex, honestly I can't blame you for wanting to paddle your boat as fast and as far as you can. No one wants to be reminded of loss and the depression that comes with it. I really hope that you do deliver your daughters safely and that they one day make you a grandparent.

    My blog is currently mutating away from fertility treatments. Its been a big part of my life but one that I have to admit is probably over now. My life is not infertility, it is only a label on a small part of me. I am so much more than a single label. I am glad that I had the support, like you, of many women out there. Without then I wouldn't have known as much as I do now.

  4. I understand the desire to distance yourself from all the stress and heartache. I also see the flip side: I, for one, will ALWAYS carry infertility with me. After ten years, it's no longer a "small" part of me -- it has defined me for quite some time. Even if I am lucky enough to have children (via treatments, adoption, etc.), I will forever be altered and affected by what I've been through. I can't forget -- and I don't really want to. Maybe that's the divide that seems to be breaking this community up into separate camps? There are those who want to forget -- and those that don't.

    PLEASE don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that you will (or could) EVER forget your first twins. Your first set of daughters will ALWAYS be in your heart -- I know that. I am not suggesting that you are dishonoring them or "forgetting" them. I guess what I am saying is that you have every right to not want to dwell on infertility and loss, just as much as I have every right to continue to stay in this fight, even when it's no longer mine.

    Does that make sense?


  5. I'm graduating from infertility after 7 years of battling this summer as well (July 3rd). I'm totally with you. I won't look back and I'm not looking back even right now. I'm so focused and excited on being a parent to our baby boy that thoughts of what it took to here are fleeting at best. I'm totally supportive of people going through this because it is a bitch. I no longer hide the fact we had trouble conceiving but infertility never defined me. I'll always support others and speak up about my experience but I feel like my husband and I are both evolving into a new stage and I don't want to drag everything with me. Call it selfish but I've made my peace with that part of my life. I'm not sad or angry I went through it, just ready for it to be done. Good luck to you and look for help with other parents. I don't believe parenting after infertility is any different than parenting so go live your life!

  6. what a fresh perspective on all of this drama. i really enjoyed reading your post! i completely agree with you, that this isn't a club we should aspire to belong to. your post made me realize that i, too, have gradually started getting away from reading all of the IF blogs, though not deliberately. i feel like i'm in that in-between place, where i am a parent after 9.5 years of TTC, but i'm planning to continue fertility treatments in the near future. it kind of leaves me in no-man's land, but i don't mind that. i just want to be happy with where i am in life and surround my self with others that are the same way. anyway, i really appreciated this post. you're a great writer and i definitely plan to keep reading what you've got to say! :)

  7. This is a really old post, but I just have to say, parenting after infertility isn't actually any different than normal parenting. I suffered from infertility for 5 years, before having my twins and my daughter (currently expecting a 4th!). The thing is parenting is so all consuming that you don't have time to remember your own name(or theirs!) let alone all the angst and depression it took to get them here! Instead, you just hold on and enjoy the ride. If anything, infertility makes a mother more grateful, but life is much too short to wallow in your old misery.


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