I was sitting in my neighbor's kitchen having coffee this morning, looking out over her spectacular view of the San Diego coast, and wishing we didn't live on the other side of the street. We were chatting about the things neighbors chat about, and I told her about my recent daily writing expedition for BlogHer's NaBloPoMo. And lo and behold, today's writing prompt asks us "Would you rather have more blog readers or more blog comments?" This is timely for me because I was lamenting that the blog I started with one measly entry back in 2006 not only fails to define me now, but I fear it also fails to attract readers. Being gluten free defined me then, because I allowed it to define me. All these years later, however, being gluten free represents only one very small facet of my life, my experience, and what I feel I can contribute to the Blogosphere.
Point in fact: I finally had the chance yesterday to visit and peruse Melissa Ford's blog, "Stirrup Queens." Before visiting, I couldn't imagine what a blog of that title was about. I assumed she was an expert of all things horsey; that perhaps she road horses, showed horses, owned a barn, shoveled shit in a barn, heck, maybe she even did her writing in her barn. I've met some horsey people from my daughter's years of taking riding lessons, and am familiar with the drama that tends to go on in barns. I thought it could be an entertaining way to pass the afternoon, and it could prove to be good research. Well you could have knocked me over with a flake of hay when I discovered that the stirrups to which she was referring were the ones we women put our heels into when a doctor type is having a look...er, down there!
It turns out that Stirrup Queens is a meticulous blog, into which Melissa has put an incredible amount of volunteer work. It connects women who are dealing with or have dealt with infertility (IF), whatever the outcome. Oh, to have had access to this fifteen years ago, but it still very much resonated with me because it isn’t something you forget or ever get over. Within her blog are sub-blogs that help connect those with one diagnosis vs. another who, through whatever means, achieved pregnancy but without a baby at the end (me), those who have adopted, and those who were blessed to give birth to a baby or babies at the end of it all (also me, very fortunately so). Through Melissa's blog, I came upon "Certainly Not Cool Enough To Blog," written by a woman who identifies herself only as "msfitzita," whose journey through infertility has come to an unfruitful end, with which she is trying to make peace. She writes so eloquently about being a "childless mother," and being in "perpetual mourning," and her feelings are so raw and palpable; she puts into words almost everything I've ever felt about being a mother, trying to be a mother again, being a mother whose monumental efforts end in loss, and even being a mother who can't believe some days how blessed I am to have become one again. I can't know how it feels to be a mother who can't touch, sing to, mold, treasure, and even fight with her children, except through msfitzita's beautifully penned words, and others like her.
It's been tossing about in my mind for some time, but it is partly through reading her blog that I understood that being a mother is the very essence of who I am, and permeates every facet of who I became the moment I realized I was pregnant with my daughter at only twenty years old and alone; as well, through the struggles and riches of being a step-mom. If I possess an ounce of the power to help and connect others as these women do, I would rather have more readers, whether or not they ever post a comment. I don't think I can do that with the Gluten-Free Gratefully name I chose for my blog so many years ago. The only people who are likely to read it now are those who are looking specifically for gluten-free answers, recipes and advice, of which there are probably thousands out there now. Back then there weren't so many, and if I hadn't been so mired in our daily dietary and behavioral struggles, and trying to survive from one day to the next, like Melissa I might now be recognized as a pioneer in that community.
And here's another thing...I didn't follow the normal, ‘conventional medicine’ path to have my son. I started out that way, but my path veered off in a very different direction, when I overcame my polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis through natural, dietary and holistic means. This is also something about which I feel I can share and contribute. It is also the original vision I had for my wannabe website, "GlutenNaziMom;" yet another example of the ideas being right there, but the execution hovering just out of reach due to my self-diagnosed ADD ways. Not only am I all over the place in my daily life, I'm pretty much all over the place on the internet, too. So in this particular case, if you are reading, I would appreciate your comments with any pointers in the right direction. Speaking of which, I need to catch up on that Writing for the Internet online course I'm taking so I can figure out how to put it all together into one place.