Thursday, January 15, 2009


Sometime after midnight, my stats showed I'd had over 40,000 page loads over the lifetime of this blog. Also in the middle of the night, I clicked around and saw Niobe's news that she is taking a break. Two big milestones, for me.

I understand Niobe's break, I think. I started reading her soon after she started blogging, when I was in the pit of my own baby loss misery. It's not an exaggeration to say she was a lifeline at that time. I devoured each post, each word, each picture. And when my life really went to hell in a handbasket, she was a support. Despite the hints and clues she divulged in her blog, dead baby jokes has always been about baby loss, and now, with baby born, I can imagine it's hard for her to know how to continue. Of course the community she's created is cheering her on and (at least in my case) wants to know more, to continue to follow along, but given what dead baby jokes is and is not, it's hard to imagine how it might transition. I hope it does. But I also know from first-hand experience it's difficult to blog in the first weeks of new baby land. And, poetically, it is like bookends right now - from loss to gain. Not that this baby changes the loss, or ends the loss, but the game has changed. I hope this break is temporary. What she's been able to do, more than most others, is create comnmunity. I've gotten into several conversations in her comments, and met more new blogs through her than almost any other way.

When I first posted about Mel being in the running for the Weblog awards (she won btw! yay!), I checked out the other categories, and noticed size as a differential. Small blog, large blog - determined by Technorati authority. I don't usually pay much attention to stats and ranks and things, but every once in a while it piques my curiosity. And I checked my own authority - 15. I'm in the top 400,000 blogs. When I first started, I was in the top 2.5 million. And then I checked a few others. Of all the baby loss blogs I checked (not many), Niobe was the only one with an authority over 50.

I think a lot about why I blog. Early on, I desperately needed the outlet. I was telling another blogger last week that I hadn't made the leap into forming real life relationships out of blogging. Partly it's a time issue - squeezingout blogging in the margins. Partly it's an anonymity issue - how can I integrate blogging friends into my whole life? And that's WhichBox talking, completely - categorizing my life, putting groups of people and activities into different boxes and never the 'twain shall meet. My husband knows about the blog, and knows I share deeply personal things, and I know it makes him a bit unsettled, and so I tend to keep it all to myself. When we talk about his parents, I often use suggestions or examples from comments, but I never say someone from blogland suggested...

I sometimes think about opening up more, letting real life friends know about this blog. And for now, that might be ok. But there's those archives over there on the right, with a hell of a lot of vulnerability and pain and anguish in the beginning. And I can't be that vulnerable with people I know. And while lately I've stayed on the job or the in-laws, there's more personal stuff to share. More on marriage and family and life. So private I remain.

As this little blog has grown - from miniscule to tiny - I've made a few, tentative connections. My personal nature is to reach out, to make friends, to create community. That's why this place I'm in now in blogland feels odd to me. While I'm shy, I'm also gregarious at the same time. Blogher sounds fun. Meet ups sound fun. Connections, calls, real life, I'm the person pushing for all of that to happen in new groups. I'm the happy hour organizer at work. The reunion planner from high school. As I've gotten older, it's tapered off, I've withdrawn more into myself. I no longer can chat on the phone, actually. I like my alone time. Sometimes I think I like being the organizer because then, at the event, you can stand separate and just watch. And so with my college friends, I've consciously stepped back. Become just a participant. Tried to enjoy just being in the group, quietly. A new role.

So. That's a little more about me. Standing on the edges, wondering how/if/when to really dive in. We'll see. Maybe.

How do you reach out? Have you formed real life relationships via blogging? Why do you blog?


Tash said...

I started blogging because I thought it would be similar to yet somehow easier than journaling. I honestly never expected anyone to read it (I told an online bulletin board of 7 that I'm v. tight with about it, but that's it). I was kinda startled when people started writing comments.

I'm more or less separate -- a few acquaintances know, only one good friend, my husband (who never reads). Not my family. And not why you'd think -- I don't want them emotionally invested in me, my recovery, or my decisions. Sometimes I'd honestly like a few family members to read what I have to say.

niobe said...

Awww... I'm, y'know, blushing.

I'm torn about the blogging thing. I like blogging and I have lots to say, but I worry about...about all sorts of things, some irrational, some within the realm of possibility.

Wabi said...

I am one of those odd people who did not blog right after my loss. Basically I started where Niobe is leaving -- after the arrival of my healthy "subsequent baby!" The drastic improvement in my health after that last pregnancy gave me new energy and excitement about life, but it didn't take away memories the horrors I went through in the year before that. I needed to be able to write about the experience of being happy while also harrowed to the core. Because it was a mindfuck that I didn't have an outlet for IRL.

Because I didn't start writing right away, there hasn't been any life event that felt like a big "the end" to my blog. But thematically speaking, I can see why a lot of IF or loss bloggers feel that the arrival of a living child requires them to retire from their old writing hangout.

I'm hoping that once Niobe gets settled in with her new baby that she'll come back with a new blog. I've loved reading her stories in the past few years and will miss her!

CLC said...

Like Tash, this was my alternative to journaling, which my therapist kept pushing on me. My sister reads it, and that's about the only person IRL that I invited to do so. A few friends know I do it and know that I have made connections with other women who have similar experiences. I am sure they could find it if they tried, but I am not sure if they would. Now I think it's just too personal to share, which probably makes no sense since I share it with the internet. But I just wouldn't want the IRL friends going back and reading it, especially knowing they wouldn't get all the ugly emotions that come with it.