An interesting debate has come up recently in the blogging world that has got me thinking. Karen probably said this much more eloquently that I could.
The central debate is around freedom of expression, and specifically the freedom and right to post what ever you want on your own blog, vs. sensitivity and a sense of loyalty and responsibility to the community from which you come.
For example, I come from the infertility community. A community that has supported me ferociously and ardently through many tragedies and tribulations. Every one who is part of that community knows the rules and is fiercely protective of their own. You all know what hurts. It’s a community of deep and real friendships, with people who will most likely never meet. And yes there are different individuals who make up that community, some have walked the path for a long time, and suffered much pain and loss. Others are extremely lucky and get pregnant on their first IVF, or never suffer a loss. Their pain cannot be compared, by any stretch of the imagination, but they are all part of the community. First timers and life timers.
And then some of us get pregnant. This places you in a very precarious position. Although every infertile woman will tell you that they don’t want that person’s baby, they want their own, being around pg people still hurts, even infertile pg people. It’s a constant reminder of what you don’t have. Might never have.
The infertile community kindly allows its pg infertiles to continue to be part of the community, even though they represent a lot of what hurts. This places a huge responsibility on those who choose to continue to be associated with the community.
And so I come to the issue of blogging. I am acutely aware of who reads my blog. After all I belong to the infertile community, it is where I am from. I haven’t forgotten what it is like to be on the wrong side of a beta test. When you are infertile, and especially when you are busy cycling, or even worse, dealing with a failed cycle, you do NOT want to hear people bitching about being pg, about being fat, about being sick (as if you ever want to hear that). You want to shake them and say YOU SHOULD BE FUCKING GRATEFUL YOU ARE PREGNANT, I WOULD SWAP WITH YOU IN A HEARTBEAT. I remember that. How dare any one complain that about being pg, when I would do any thing, sell my soul, to be pg.
And yet. What if you, as a pg person, want to complain? What if you want to moan about being sick, about being fat or whatever? It’s your blog after all, aren’t you allowed to say whatever you want to say? Even though in the infertile world hearing things like that is like a knife in the heart. And do you, as an infertile, or ex-infertile person, lose the right to complain about pregnancy things? Aren’t you as entitled as any other ‘normal’ pg person to have a moan about puking your guts out? Isn’t that what normal pg people do? Sit around and have a bitch about how fat they are or how crappy they feel? Haven’t we all prayed just to be ‘normal’ and experience pg like any normal person would?
I’ve been struggling with this. And this is the view I have come up with. Of course it’s just my view.
I think that being part of a community means you do have an obligation to the rest of the people who are not where you are. I think that you shouldn’t forget how hard it is to hear people moan about being pg. I think you need to respect the norms and values of the community from which you come, to which you still want to belong, to be part of.
And yes, this means that perhaps I can’t moan about having terrible morning sickness on my blog. Even though it’s my blog. I can’t moan about how hard it is being pg. Because I know that there are thousands of woman out there who would kill to be in my position. Yes, I can speak about these things, but it’s the way you say it. And to be honest, I don’t want to moan about it because I am just so damn grateful to be pg that I will take whatever I can get, whatever version. Yes it would be nice not to be sick, but it’s far far worse never being pg at all.
Does this mean you can never moan about how crap you feel? No. To me, it’s not about not being able to say what you want. It’s about remembering from where you have come, and remembering who you are speaking to. Because at the end of the day, even though it is your own blog, your own space, by making it public I believe you have some obligation to those who read your blog. You know who your audience are. You were also there once.
Lastly, by opening up your blog for comments it means you are allowing the opportunity for debate, and thus dissent. If I post something that upsets some one who reads my blog, then I would like to know, in a sensitive way of course..
So yes, your freedom of expression does exist, but you also have a responsibility for the words that come out of your mouth. We do not live in an isolated world, our actions affect others.
And to be honest, one infertile person who is hurt, is one too many. There is enough shit to deal with every day in the infertile world.