An Update on PAIL & Divisiveness

Mel @ Stirrup Queens wrote a post yesterday about PAIL wherein she said “I found the creation of the new blogroll confusing because it was literally a replica of what already exists, with the same people on both lists.” I don’t agree with this at all, as I know for a fact that I have never been on her parenting blogroll (and didn’t even realize it existed). People that joined PAIL did so of their own volition – it was never a copy/paste from Mel. Yes, her blogroll is a cornerstone for IFers (and a wonderful one at that – her work is definitely to be commended!), but does that mean that all other IFers should have to consult her before creating new blogrolls? I’m not sure. I’m curious what will come of all this.

At any rate, I was debating writing a blog post about this, but after writing a ridiculously long comment on Elphaba’s post about it today, I realized that I might as well just print my comment here as well. You know me, I’m long winded and opinionated. Take it or leave it. 😉

I know that the majority of my followers are TTCers – I’d love to hear from YOU about what you think of PAIL. I 100% truly hope that you weren’t feeling “excluded” when I wrote about it last week. I have just felt so lost in the ALI community since my BFP and subsequently since having Stella, and I was excited about finding other bloggers who were at the same place as me who could give me advice. Like I mention below, I love following all of your blogs and have zero intention of no longer supporting you, reading about your journeys, and cheering you on. I just know how damn hard it is to reciprocate at times when you’re TTC. Some of you are amazing at still writing supportive comments on my posts, and some of you have gone silent. I recognize and appreciate the reasons for both decisions – I’ve been there, and I did the same thing.

Below is my comment in response to Elphaba’s post. I love to hear your thoughts!

Love this idea! I was just working on my post about breastfeeding this week actually – perfect timing. :)
Honestly, I was pretty taken aback yesterday while reading everyone’s comments on Mel’s post. Some points were valid and I really do feel badly that Mel feels hurt by the whole situation (she is a huge cornerstone for the IF community for sure!), but I also felt as though many commenters were “jumping on the bandwagon” so to speak and just saying mean things about you and those of us who have been craving a space like PAIL without really reading about what PAIL was about or HOW it came about or WHY so many of us felt so lost.
Just as the IF journey is different for all of us, so is parenting after IF, and just b/c you’re not someone who felt insecure about posting after IF doesn’t mean that PAIL isn’t filling a void for many of us.
It isn’t about being part of an exclusive group – it’s about feeling like we’ve already been simply existing on the fringe of the ALI community and wanting a space that would help us find others who understood that writing about having issues breastfeeding or what have you didn’t mean we weren’t 100% grateful to be HAVING that problem.
I LOVE all of my TTC girls and have zero intention of not being a loyal follower to any of them and to keep cheering them on. At the same point, I GET IT that maybe cheering ME on with my parenting problems just isn’t in the cards for them right now. I get that. IF is a fucked up, hard journey, and what feels okay one week might not feel okay the next week.
Like a few of the commenters mentioned, there are MANY groups/blogrolls/message boards that exist on the interwebs related to IF and parenting that help so many of us – and none of them are coming under fire. That is intriguing to me. Maybe it’s because of the LFCA submittal, maybe for some other reason, I don’t know. I hope that this whole “issue” has brought to light that Mel needs help revamping her parenting after IF section. It must be a monumental task to keep 3,000+ blogs organized. That is yet another reason I like PAIL – it’s comprised of a much smaller group of bloggers who are all actively parenting babies/small children after IF right now – this very second – and I find that incredibly helpful.
Thanks again for taking the initiative for starting this group Elphaba – I think that much good will come of this, both for those of us who have felt lost and for those who needed a kick start to volunteer some help for Mel!


  1. I think it's important to not add to the drama of it all. You don't need permission to create a blogroll, and don't need to even acknowledge those who don't want to have another one… they don't need to join it.Stay above it.

  2. I'd also like to add how outraged I am on your behalf for the comments about the "relative ease" of your TTC journey. Shameful.I'm thrilled to not be on the blogroll if only to avoid the divisiveness and hurtful nature of those women. That is is the only thing I'll say with that tone about this topic. (And I made a comment to that effect on the post over there.)

  3. I haven't had a chance to join the PAIL list yet, I've been busy chasing the munchkin around and I don't have Elphaba in my feed, so I've missed some of the latest info. I can say that I never really felt like I belonged to the IF community, since everyone else had a harder struggle than I did. I tried for 10 months, but was being told that I had a problem, they just didn't know what it was, but then I got pregnant, without help. So I don't feel like I fit. I LOVE the idea of ICLW and I found a TON of amazing strong women through it, but I feel like I don't have a right to say sorry, or to offer support, because my struggle doesn't seem as hard (even though I was in tears every single month I got my period, or didn't have a "normal" cycle, or went bat shit crazy on provera). I think it shouldn't be an issue, I think anywhere we can find a place to be comforted, supported, and not fearful of being judged, then that's where we should be.

  4. I reread my comment, and left out that I still do comment on many many blogs, because I genuinely feel whatever I say, and that I care about those women and their struggles. Its human kindness to commisserate, and to offer advice when asked and to just hear that someone is there and listening.

  5. Thanks, Julia. 🙂 I am trying to rise above! I really want to make it clear to my TTC friends that I in no way meant for this to cause hurt feelings or "left out" feelings. I'm just looking for my own niche to find bloggers in who can give advice about issues pertinent to my life at this moment.

  6. I am way to sleep deprived for a lengthy response today but I love the idea of PAIL, and there should be plenty of room in the IF and post IF world for groups and everyone should be able to freely join whatever they would like. I was a member of that blogroll during my IF days but was not aware that it was around for post-pregnancy. It wasn't personal that I joined PAIL, it's just what I knew was around from fellow bloggers who I was already following. I was most excited about PAIL because I love finding other moms who dealt with similar situations who have a baby close in age. I love the idea, and am glad it was made. I haven't read the other post yet but I read the above topics and if they turned it into a TTC pissing contest of whose journey was harder, it's just another reason why I am glad to NOT be apart of that group!!

  7. Oh my! I didn't even know this was an issue…but I guess I should have known this would happen. I too didn't know that Mel had a blogroll for parenting. I though her blogroll was only for those still trying. On top of that…she doesn't update her blogroll so it seems a bit outdated to me. At least that's what I found when I was looking for blogs to follow..many didn't exist or were in the wrong category. In fact, my blog is still under "in the beginning" of her blogroll, and that was 4 years ago…I am obviously parenting now! Anywho, I don't think there is any reason not to have a blogroll just for those that are pregnant or parenting after IF…it is such a weird place to be in. You aren't infertile anymore, but you are like any other pregnant person or person parenting that just got pregnant the "old fashioned way."

  8. WOW!! I just read through most of the comments on Mel's post and I'm afraid of more to come. I honestly had asked to be put on her blogroll, but then kind of forgot about it. I'm sorry her feelings are hurt, but it didn't even cross my mind that we were "copying what she already had" or that people would feel left out, that we were a "badge only club." Hopefully this will all blow over and people can belong on whatever blogroll they prefer. And if the two merge…then fantastic!

  9. I am so glad you wrote this. I feel bad for anyone who felt alienated by PAIL. But I can't figure out why Mel is so upset. Yes she is a big part of IF blogging, but that doesn't mean she has trademark over all IF bloggers?I also did not know that she had a blogroll with a parenting section.But overall the main reason I joined PAIL was to reconnect with what I used to feel when I was an IF blogger. I felt love support and got great advice. Just because I have a baby doesn't mean I want all that to end. But I felt bad about posting so much about my baby. So much so that I ended my IF blog and started a family blog. I am still following all of my TTCers, but I know it's hard for them (which I totally get).I just feel sad overall. One of the reasons I was hesitant to join the IF blogging community (I was a lurker for a long time), was because I tend to not love how girls treat each other and I didn't want to sign up for more of that in blogland. So far, I can honestly say that I haven't felt that way in my 20 months of blogging until today.Sorry for all of that, I guess I am just very frustrated. I may just do what you did and write my own post about it.

  10. I made the mistake of reading all the comments and then I had to comment again!I felt awful for Elphie and some of the comments that were directed at her. If anything they validated why we felt we needed a new blog roll – you can't compare anyone's journey to anyone else we just need to be there for each other.I joined PAIL because I wanted to stop feeling guilty that I was pregnant and because I wanted to chat to other women who had gone through IF as well. It wasn't about sabotaging someone else's work and to think so borders on the ridiculous. I didn't even think about it as "copying" someone else's work. And like many of us didn't even know about the the parenting after IF sites but we do so much for TTC that once we fall pregnant we don't really have anywhere to turn.I am so over the judgement – can't we just blog and be happy and support one another?

  11. I had no idea that Mel owned ICLW, LFCA, etc. NO IDEA. I am glad you asked the question, "but does that mean that all other IFers should have to consult her before creating new blogrolls?" I think that this single question is the underlying issue. I told my husband about this last night and after he got done rolling his eyes, he said, "it's the internet – no one owns it." All we own is our own space, our own blogs. I am confused as to why so many commenters think that a particular person needs to be consulted to start a new blogroll. All of this has made me go back to what I've been struggling with when it comes to the ALI community. There is so much bitterness. I've been there myself before (not my proudest moments) but I'm past it and just want to enjoy my child and my life. I really felt that PAIL was going to be that positive space. I hope it still will be.

  12. Oh – and good on you for succeeding with an IUI! I just told my friend today (half joking, but half serious) that I don't think IUI works for anyone anymore, and then I come to your blog and see your successful history with IUI. That makes me happy!

  13. Josey, I don't want to add anymore fuel to what is becoming an ever consuming fire, however you asked for our thoughts… So thoughts you'll get. First off, none of this is said in anger, just honesty. I was hurt a little and I did feel left out and alienated because I'm not part of the "I have a baby bump/baby" club. And yes, that's how I described PAIL to my DH. I know that it was a quickly concieved and implemented idea. I've watched it come to fruition. I don't believe anyone set out to hurt anyone else. Knowing you all from the last year or more I know that wasn't your intent. And not saying I think one is right over the other because I think this has gotten completely out of hand and everyone directly involved is right in some aspects. Plus I have no idea how any of you feel being on the other side. I just know how I feel, and you asked. (you're probably regretting that right now reading the novel I've written) However, I do wish more conversation would have happened prior to all this, even if just to avoid the resulting conflict or to consider the far reaching possibilities and outsiders feelings. I have enough on my plate for my safe spot to seeminly been turned upside down.

  14. I just recently posted my own thoughts on the subject. I don't know that one needs to be exclusive of the other, but perhaps that's my own naivity…

  15. I'm still most definitely a TTCer, and I have no idea how long or hard the road is going to be for me. I may be in a position to join PAIL in 9 months, or it take me 5 years. When I first casually glanced through your original blogpost about it, my only thought was, well, that is a sensible idea!I have a few people on my blogroll who have 'moved on'- they have babies, and while I love them and am incredibly happy for them, I do not really participate in their blog on a day-to-day basis, not in way like I do for the ones in the IF trenches. I usually only comment if they are in crisis mode for whatever reason. So for practical reasons, I see all the appeals of PAIL. Parenting is hard. You need that support system of people in similar places and a person going through IF cannot help, so what is wrong in trying to set up a more cohesive system so you can get that? I'm surprised its created all the furore that it has. If I move on, I'm always going to be straddling the two universes because I have been through IF (via miscarriage). I'm prefectly ok with managing multiple blogrolls (if I can find the time) and juggling multiple blogs dealing with different topics. But right now, I cannot make a meaningful contribution to my friends who have kids, so more power to them if they find a more organized way to get that support.That said, this process is going to be fraught with complication. I hope it can be achieved with as few toes being squished as possible.

  16. The crazy thing is that I think that PAIL was originally set up with the intent to be more sensitive to TTCers that didn't want to hear about parenting because of their own personal struggle with IF. And now they are being cast as insensitive. These blogs are definitely emotionally charged, but the reason people blog is to have a safe place to share their story. Not so that they can be judged and criticized and held to another persons perception and rules. I always say this but, it's the internet, it has things all of us don't like. Don't read what you don't like. Support the communities you do like, and leave the others alone. We spend entirely too much energy on fighting the things we disagree with.

  17. Hi! I came across your blog after doing some hopping around reading about PAIL. I asked to be put on SQ's Pregnancy After Loss board, so I knew it was there. I'm learning to be comfortable sharing my story/journey being pregnant after a miscarriage. Reading blogs about baby/infant loss has helped me tremendously and I want to do the same for others out there. I totally get why Mel was hurt over PAIL. I can see PAIL as something similar to what she already has at SQ. I totally get why some TTCers feel hurt over PAIL. After my miscarriage, I wanted nothing to do with my friends' blogs during their pregnancies and even while they were struggling with new parenthood. I couldn't even go on Facebook after my miscarriage. I felt like all pregnant women/parents were part of a "club" I wasn't even sure I could be part of.But the more I read the comments and posts about all this, I have to agree with allthesunforyou and RoxyHeart: it's the internet. There are other blog rolls out there about the same subjects. Why should anyone feel like they *have* to stay with a particular blog roll? Why not branch out *if you want to*? The lists can co-exist. I found PAIL because of SQ and more than likely others will find SQ because of PAIL.It took me a year to find the SQ blog roll. I've only been on it for a few weeks and I'm already so greatful for it. But I don't see why that has to be the only place I list my blog, and I came away feeling like that's what some people were saying without saying it. If I think I can help others by putting my words and feelings out there for them to read, then I'll join other blog rolls as I see fit. I'm not going to ask to be taken off of SQ just because I joined PAIL; I will be asked to moved to a more fitting category for my blog as my writing/situation changes. But I'm not planning on unjoining PAIL either.It's made me sad to read the hurt feelings, so I really hope that all this clears up soon and everyone can learn to get along 🙂 I don't think that PAIL had any bad intentions and I think it can be one more thing on the internet that can help others going through similar situations.Hopefully no one will find this too offensive. When I read allthesunforyou and RoxyHeart's comments I felt inclined to add my two cents (or ten, I like to write novel comments).

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