The truth is, dear readers, I have not been honest with you or with myself for the last couple of months.
I have been busy – no doubt. But the truth is that I’ve started at least 10 posts in the last month. And I haven’t been able to bring myself to publish a single one.
And the reason is because I let someone else take away my voice.
These days I have a lot of readers from different places. People find me when browsing through parenting blogs on wordpress, or by finding a couple of my satirical “miscarriages suck monkey balls” posts through google, or through a facebook share, or a tag search.
But the core of this blog started as a part of a small, niche blogging community of women living with infertility and pregnancy loss. Known affectionately as the ALI community (adoption, loss, infertility). I “cut official ties” to that community for my own sanity by no longer participating in blog rolls, link exchanges, awards, and the like. But I am still a loyal reader (and friend) to a lot of women who I found there, and I know that many of you found me through there.
I cut ties because the fact is that that the ALI blogosphere- though an often beautiful community that has saved me more times than I can count, can sometimes be cruel and judgemental. And I no longer wanted to conform to what was “expected of me” through it.
I have once actually quit this blog because of those expectations. I am very happy that I came back, and also very happy that I made the conscious decision to stop conforming to one small circle’s expectations.
That being said – a month and a half ago, I was once again exposed to the cruel and judgemental side of the community, and as a result, I have found myself silenced once again in this space.
And though I was considering doing it again, I don’t want to abandon ship.
This blog has too many loyal followers who I don’t want to abandon. This blog tells a complete story. That story is not over. Not even close. So there’s no reason to end it now. I like it here. I’d like to stay.
So I have decided that rather than keep my silence – I will hit “detonate” on a bridge that I never wanted burned. So I can clear the air and reclaim my voice.
I don’t like airing dirty laundry in this forum. In fact – I hate it. But in this case, if I want to keep this space safe for me, I have no other choice.
This is about me reclaiming something I was labelled, so I can talk about it and address it without the petty bullshit. This is about me admitting something so I can take this space back.
So I’m going to recount a story here. And unlike the woman I am talking about, I will keep any details that may reveal her identity a secret. Because this is about me, not her. The only way you will know who I am talking about is if you happen to read both of our blogs, and put two and two (and two) together.
I am not mentioning names. I do not want this to become a war. I hate this petty bullshit. If you happen to read us both, and you figure out who I’m talking about, good for you. But please keep it to yourself.
I had a friend. I met her through the blogs. I never met her face to face but after Nadav died, I don’t know how, I don’t know why – she became my wailing wall. She was there for me in a way that nobody else in my life could have been. We talked every day, sometimes twice or three times. I would cry to her over skype at 2am. Often. She was a huge reason that I survived the year following his loss.
When I got pregnant with Bunny I emotionally detached from the world. I didn’t talk to anyone. I couldn’t. I was literally in moment-to-moment survival mode. I explained this to her, and at the same time felt like a crappy friend. Especially since she got pregnant shortly after me. But as I slowly got out of the fog, our friendship was slowly rekindled.
This woman and I had our babies at around the same time, through very different paths. We shared experiences and pictures when we could, then one day – we had a fight.
We were both tired. We were both dealing with our own shit. We fell victim to the mommy wars.
I stepped away, giving her space, but clearly leaving the door open for her to come back. Some time had passed but to be perfectly honest – I kind of figured we would both get in the whole parenting groove and then talk it out when we were good and ready. That’s how I usually handle this type of stuff. There are few fights I’ve had that have been deal breakers. Apparently, this woman felt differently.
Then – TWO DAYS after Nadav’s birthday, (TWO DAYS!) this woman published a blog post. In that post, she doesn’t name me. But any person with half a brain who read us both could figure out in a minute who she was talking about. She didn’t go to great lengths to disguise my identity.
I even received several private messages about the post, asking for my side of the story. In fact – that was the way I found out she had posted. I hadn’t opened my blog reader in ages.
My readership is much broader than hers – but we have plenty of the same readers who are a part of the ALI community.
In her post – this woman published one-sided lies about the fight we had. She put words in my mouth which I never said. She claimed I “walked away from the friendship” when she in fact was the one who was abandoning ship by publishing the post. She said things about me that weren’t true and were incredibly hurtful.
But I don’t care about those lies.I didn’t feel the need to address them – especially not here.
What I did – and still do – care about was that this woman betrayed a confidence of mine. Something that I only slightly alluded to on this blog soon after Bunny’s birth, but was not ready to fully share with the world yet, as I was still working through it.
Something that I told her in confidence, which in her blog post she passed on as her own “observation”.
She said it in a condescending, holier-than-thou tone which took away the power of it. She used it as a “reason” that I said all those things she claims I said but were never said (in reality they were perceived and inferred).
In writing out her own agenda, she took away my right to tell you about it myself. Yes – there are a hundreds of you who have never come across her blog. But there are enough of you who have. That know enough to know she was talking about me. That made what she wrote a betrayal of confidence.
And she did it less than two days after Nadav’s birthday.
Exactly at the moment that I was getting ready to share it with you.
I had been planning a long post about it. It was sitting in my drafts, waiting for one last pass before publishing. Instead, I deleted it.
I was so afraid of confirming the link between me and this woman’s post. I didn’t publish because I was afraid it would eventually lead to me having to write something like what I’m writing right now. Instead of that post – the post I needed to publish – I wrote another post in a deliberate attempt to distance myself from the situation. And I have barely written a lick since.
She took away the power of what I wanted to say. And she did it at a time when I was finally ready to “come out” so-to-speak, and unpack my experience here.
She took it away by making it her “observation”, rather than something I admitted to her in confidence. She took it away from me, by not letting me tell you myself.
And now I’m taking it back:
Before Bunny was born, I was scared of postpartum depression. I luckily dodged that bullet.
Instead, I was hit with the train that is postpartum anxiety.
I have been living with it, dealing with it, and trying to come to terms with what that means since Bunny was 4 days old and I had my first panic attack.
It colors all of my decisions. It makes me question myself as a mother. It makes some things a million times harder than they should be.
Postpartum anxiety sucks.
And I have it.
And it was MY RIGHT to keep that information to myself until I was ready to share it and process it. And unpack it. Because this is the space where it should be unpacked. Nowhere else.
And it’s been waiting in a suitcase in a corner because I let somebody take away my voice.
I have no anger toward this woman any more. I already said what I had to say to her in an email, and I have nothing else to say to her.
I’m saddened because of the way she chooses to deal with the people in her life who love her. I am not the first in the line of abandoned friends in her wake. I hope I’m the last, but I doubt it. I truly hope she finds peace and happiness in her life. I told her as much.
I am saddened because she was a friend to me at a time when being a friend to me was an almost insurmountable task. For that I will always be grateful. And I profoundly feel the loss of her friendship. Though now I no longer desire it.
But I refuse to let this drama stop me from expressing myself here. I am not abandoning ship. I am reclaiming my space right here and right now.
So now it’s out in the open air. Please respect my wishes and if you understand who I’m talking about – keep it to yourself.
And let’s move on from this. The air is clear.
I am Mo, and I have postpartum anxiety.
Let’s talk about it, shall we?