Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blogging and Healing

Some bloggers have written in the past (and recently) about when their real life family and friends discover or read their blogs. Some find it disconcerting that real life and e-life has met on the blogosphere. Others have invited their family and/or friends from real life, then found it to be frustrating. Still others fear that the blog will be discovered. And even though they may track visitors by area of the country, it's not like they get a "Hi, Sweetie, it's me your BFF from HS!!!" Instead the blogger can be left to wonder, "Has my e-life been discovered?" Often the follow-up question is "And how do I feel about that?" Still others have a completely open blog to friends and family as well as their e-life friends and family.

I'm convinced that the bereaved community (and the IF community) blogs a bit differently than perhaps other bloggers. I tend to read confessions of real life struggles. Dead baby mamas tend not to waste time painting themselves as better than perfect; they don't have the energy because they are busy trying to survive. I also tend to read "thinking out loud" posts, when the bereaved make sense of how their lives are situated living without their child. (I do quite a bit of this.) We also write stories of what real life looks like and feels like now. The trip to the grocery store means something more than getting a jug of milk; it can be a painful emotional roller coaster ride. I've read plenty of honest rumination of past firmly-held beliefs. The bereaved seem to be fearless in pulling their beliefs apart and refashioning them to help them survive. The bereaved blogger also seems fearless in tackling the expression of ambiguous emotions (what others call negative emotions) of anger, jealousy, rage, and depression. Sometimes the rants remain as rants, but most often the blogger will write his or her own resolution and usually, in my opinion, finds a healing way to live in the "normal" world where babies don't die. That process of acknowledging emotions, telling stories, exploring life philosophies, and sending out e-hugs in the form of comments to other bereaved is a primary reason for blogging.

Why blog? Why not just keep a diary, or use your real life support group of family and friends?

Well, navigating the normal world when traveling a grief journey typically takes longer than most of the "normals" understand. Some will say "move on," hint at moving on, or ignore the dead child. Some who read wonder at the raw emotion that leaps off the net, and think that we are wallowing. There is so much more to write on this subject, but I'll close with this.

For me, blogging has been an immense help to me by being a vehicle to explore, express, and find meaning. Although, I had/have lots of support from family and friends, I could tell I was wearing them down. And help comes in the form of the many comments fellow bloggers leave in support, and in reading the many posts of other parents who struggle with many kinds of loss. Sometimes I have nothing to post, so I work on healing by leaving as many comments as possible.


  1. Everytime I read anything you've written, I feel another piece of my shredded heart mend. Some may think that after 13 years there should/would be no more shredded pieces. They are misinformed.

    Thank you for giving so freely of yourself, thank you for your honesty and providing me with a place where I feel completely free from judgements.

    With love and deep respect,

  2. You are right. The community of online bereaved parents is incredibly important to those of us who are struggling with real life after losing a child. It may be that some (or most) of us have sufficient support in real life, but many of us don't. Many of us are surrounded by people who have given us our year of mourning and who now expect that we will "get on with life". Comments which other bloggers leave in response to my blog is always appreciated. Reading our bereaved parents blogs is strengthening - knowing that others have gone before gives me courage to keep going and hope for the future.

  3. What a beautiful site. I'm so sorry for the loss of Caitlyn. I had a NICU baby too after going into preterm labor at 22 weeks (we staved off the birth for another 8 in the hospital), and I know we are so lucky that she made it in spite of the odds stacked against her. Your writing is so vivid -- it's as if I can feel your pain as I read your posts.


  4. I kept a CarePage about Henry when he was in the hospital and a lot people I know (and people they know) read it. I continued writing there sporadically after Henry died, but it felt like Henry's space and it also didn't feel like the right place to address some the things I was dealing with. At the same time, I started reading babyloss blogs. My need to connect in this world was especially great during the early months of grieving and during my subsequent pregnancy, but I didn't get the energy/motivation to actually start a blog until this year. I think I intended to tell people that I would be moving away from the CarePage and writing more on the blog, but it never felt quite right. I have ended up telling only a few people I know IRL about my blog.

    I have found much that speaks to me and makes me think and helps me heal reading your blog. I hope the process continues to be helpful to you.

  5. Thank you once again for your honesty and beautiful way of expressing so much of how I am feeling but can't(at the moment)find the words to adequately express.
    You will never know the help reading your blog has been of my journey through grieving Claire's short life and trying to find my new "normal"
    Thanks again for the gift of being able to read your blog. Petryn (MISS forum)

  6. Exactly... I have never summarized it all so thank you for doing that for us. You're right, we can wear people down including our partners. I have yet to find anyone else that understands as much as a fellow grieving mama.

  7. Such an insightful post. Thank you.

  8. I'm so sorry for your loss. I think you said it well when talking about wearing down our IRL friends/family. I don't want my IF to be the only thing that people associate with me and it's sometimes the big elephant in the room.

    Good luck to you.


  9. Very nicely put. Thanks for sharing.


  10. Great post - and so validating for me and other bereaved bloggers. It is such a relief to me to come to "our" corner of the internet where I won't be judged and can share and support. I am visiting for the first time. I am so sorry for the loss of your precious baby girl Caitlin. I look forward to reading more.


  11. Very well said.
    Honestly, I get accused of being whiney even about my comparitively minor issues. But it's our space. We get to talk about what we want.
    You do it very well...
    I find your writing very moving and compelling.

  12. I am not a bereaved blogger, but I do blog about IF. I can relate on a few levels. I'm so sorry for the loss of Caitlin. You are an inspiration!
    ~Michelle (ICLW)

  13. I had never thought of it in words like that but you are so right!!

  14. hi, I am visiting from ICLW...No. 3 to say hello and to check out your blog.

    I agree with everything you said ...
    I cannot begin to describe the support I have received online and the healing I get by offering support to others too.

    I am sorry for the loss of ~Caitlin~
    My Little Drummer Boys

  15. Great post!

    My eworld and real life have remained separate to date. Friends and family would likely suggest institutionalization if they read my posts. Yet you all understand and are patient and supportive through the grieving process - and my struggle with depression. The expression "e-hugs" is a perfect way to describe our interactions in blog-land.

    It's also nice to help others. I've received some touching messages via email from women who have found value in my blog - including a couple who also experienced loss due to a cornual pregnancy. They've been appreciative because there isn't much info. out there. If I can make the journey easier for even one person by providing information and (virtual) support, it helps me move forward.

  16. I love that the power of blogging is all of these things you describe. And I love that it allows me to connect with others who have experiences that are different from my own and yet can still teach me about what it means to be a compassionate and loving human. I'm so glad that you find this space to be healing in some way.