Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Holy Crow, I'm a Hope Award Best Blog Nominee!
So, back in April, I participated in the annual National Infertility Awareness Week Blog Challenge put forth by RESOLVE, a national infertility organization that spreads awareness, offers support groups in person and online, and lobbies hard for family building legislation (read: Personhood legislation = bad, Family Act and Adoption Tax Credit extension = good). This year I was inspired to write two posts. I agonized over these posts. I am my own harshest editor and have countless .doc files of blog posts that haven't made the cut or need more work before they can be shared, but when the post is a part of something bigger it really makes me hard on myself. I think about it. I write it in my head. I draft it in Blogger and revise all over the place. I read it aloud to my husband. And then I post it, and worry that it wasn't what I wanted it to be. But this year I felt really good about my posts. And I said to my husband, "Wouldn't it be crazy if I got nominated this year?" I read so many of the participating 280+ blog posts and was blown away, but after a week or two from the closing of NIAW I became absorbed in the end of the school year and to be honest, totally forgot about the challenge.
Until this past Thursday, when I received the SUPER EXCITING email at my Grandma's apartment (summertime means I can go for the afternoon and play Scrabble or introduce her to Bananagrams). My mom was reading family emails aloud and, since I had already read the email, I stealthily checked mine. (Kind of rude, I know.) And HOLY JEEZUM, I did not expect an email from RESOLVE telling me that I was a Hope Award for Best Blog Nominee! I was shocked. I was ecstatic. I write this blog as a therapeutic exercise (I love to write and it helps me understand my mental process as I trudge through this reproductive Hell), and also as a way to let others know what it's like to be infertile in a fertility-obsessed world. I wanted it to be helpful to those also going through the process, but also helpful for family and friends who had no clue what this was really like, what to say, how to treat me and my husband. I had a sobering situation with a friend who just did not know what to say to me or my husband and so she said nothing throughout her whole pregnancy. When confronted about it, she said "There just isn't a GUIDEBOOK for how to navigate this with you!" and so I wanted to create that guidebook. And chronicle my journey. And to have that effort recognized is incredibly gratifying, and an honor I am just over the moon to receive.
I had kind of a funny reaction after the initial ecstasy of the nomination wore down to a reasonable level (one where I could breathe and stop repeating "holyshitholyshitholyshit" in my head). I burst into tears. I couldn't control it. It was so bizarre, and then again...not. Don't get me wrong, I am just plain thrilled about this recognition! But at the same time, I was incredibly sad that I was still writing about coping with disappointment, with loss, and that I wasn't on the "other side" at this point in the game. I love my blog and I love being honored for what I write and the awareness I bring to the community, but I do not love the reason why I write it. However, as a friend told me when I called her to let her know I was nominated (if not for her suggestion that I participate in last year's NIAW I wouldn't have even been up for consideration...I owe her bigtime!), she said "You are really turning your lemons into lemonade." And it made me feel better. Because if I help anyone feel less alone, if I help a parent or a sibling or a friend know how a fellow infertile person feels, then that's just amazing. And while I don't have a lot of official followers and I rarely get comments, I get private emails and find that friends of friends are reading and discussing my blog. At one point I was surprised beyond surprised to find out that a coworker of my husband's, a totally male, totally NOT infertile engineer, was an avid reader. Which is so incredibly cool. I don't even really know this fellow! And now he knows about infertility and can spread that knowledge and sensitivity to others. So my tears were shortlived when I realized that through this blogging--this concentrated, thematic verbal vomit--I can reach out to all kinds of readers and make a difference in my own way.
So please, go to the nomination page here and read all five of the nominated blog posts. We were whittled down from over 280 blogs that participated, which is pretty amazing. Then, vote! Voting starts July 11th and there is one vote per email address. Voting closes July 30th and a winner is announced August 1st. Congrats to all of us nominees--and cheers to turning those sad bitter lemons into tasty yet informative lemonade.