Happy 300th Post, Friday Blog Roundup!
(Picture not taken by me, but isn't it a beautiful cake?!)
Mel's Friday Blog Roundup has reached it's 300th edition! To help her celebrate, she's asked all her readers to write a post about what community - and in particular, the ALI community - means to them. This is my effort for that project.
I'll start with a little background (although most of you already know this).
The Hubs and I met online in August 2000 (the 30th of this month will be our 10 year anniversary!!) and began an online friendship that transpired over a nine month time period to being more than "just friends". In June 2001, The Hubs (who at that time was just "The Boyfriend") made the 9 hour flight to meet me for the first time. Neither of us knew what that meeting would signify for our relationship. We knew that the meeting was a precipice that would either catupult us forward into a future full of the promise of a life together, or it would close the chapter on what would have only been able to be defined as a naive experiment. I'm pleased to report that the former of these options was our outcome, in case you were in any doubt ;D.
But with that meeting and the promise of a loving future came some very harsh realities. We were still several thousand miles (okay, 4637 mile to be exact - what can I say? I'm an internet geek and there was a website I found way back then that would calculate the total miles from one address to another) away from one another on a regular basis. Anyone who has ever been in a long distance relationship knows that all the regular problems any relationship has are magnified when you add in the distance. This led to my first foray into the community of the internet. Heretofore, my only contact with anyone else online had been The Hubs (I met him my very first time on the internet. He is the only person I have ever "chatted" to without having known them in some previous sort of context such as a forum or a blog).
My first non-Hubs community was at Lovingyou.com. Way back in 2001 they had an awesome support group for online and long distance relationships. There I met a host of others who were currently involved with, or had previously been involved with, someone they had met online. And it was there that I met my long-time friends Mrs. B. Thrift at Hawthorn Hill and British American Mom (who, sadly, no longer seems to post to her blog, but whom I do keep up with on Facebook). I love these ladies! They are like family to me. I guess that's what happens when you're friends with someone for so long.
In late 2001/early 2002, the boards at Lovingyou.com subtlely began to change and another frequenter of the board began a Yahoo chat grop, The Online Wives Club. This opened up a whole new community and a whole new group of friends. It was there that I became good friends with Moonflower Child (the group's founder) and Ace's Wyf, again, ladies I am still very good friends with to this day.
Later that same year (after my move to England and my official engagement to The Hubs), several of us in the group discovered the medium of blogging and opened our own blogs. My very first blog, Ponderings From The Crazy American, was my own little corner of the net devoted to notating the changes in my life since moving to England, complaining about the things I didn't like, praising the things I did and providing my family with news of my comings and goings. It also opened a whole new world of community to me and allowed me to make new friends who, although they no longer have blogs, I still am in contact with via Facebook.
My second blog, Moonlight Ponderings, started in 2004 and continued on through our return back to the USA in 2006. After we'd been back for about 10 months or so, I stopped blogging. Nothing really seemed to be happening. We had started trying for a family on our first wedding anniversary, but we didn't share this with anyone. Neither of us wanted to admit to our families something we knew they would discourage and neither of us wanted to admit that, what we felt should be a simple thing to accomplish, wasn't happening. All the friends I had made in the communities I had been a part of were starting families of their own and I was being left behind. It felt more sensible to withdraw to myself for a while. There were sporadic moments of starting to blog again, but they were few and far between.
Then, in 2008, we decided to begin TTC in earnest. It wasn't until nearly a year later that I decided to begin blogging again full-time. At that point, I googled "TTC blogs" and stumbled across the former blog of K at QWaiting for Sunflower. I left her a comment and, within minutes, she had responded back and directed me towards the greatest gift I have found since that long ago day I stumbled onto Lovingyou.com. She sent me off to the headquarters of the IF world, Stirrup Queens. It was such a relief to find somewhere I finally belonged again. Somewhere I fit in. And not only did I fit in, but I no longer felt alone.
What does the ALI community mean to me? It means seeing my past, my present and my future all meeting at one place. It means being linked to where I've been, where I'm at and where I'm headed and being able to interact with others in those places. I can offer support to those who are where I've been. I can wait and analyze and sympathize with those who are where I am now. I can look forward and get a grasp of where I will be, what my options are and why what we choose will work for us, all from the view of those who have gone before me and who are there to offer their hand, their heart and their head in support of my choices.
A Mum @ Heart - A friend from years ago who also met her spouse online and a fellow PCOSer who just started this TTC game early this year.
The F-Bomb - Been trying for two years, but wanting to avoid medical treatments. Tired of hearing "Just relax and it will happen." My kind of girl!
Savor The Moment - Possible PCOS diagnosis, a year of TTC, still no baby. Desperately wanting to be parents.
Someday, maybe I can offer support or advice to these ladies or others like them.
Confessions of an (Infertile) Shopaholic - Another PCOSer. Married just one year less than me, trying just one year less than me. Still that BFP is elusive.
Only one for this category, but still, so close to my situation it's frightening.
No Lingerie Here - I love Kelly's blog! And it makes me so hopeful for what the future may bring.
Waiting for Sunflower - K is a fellow PCOSer who overcame the obstacles and is now parenting!
I Can Haz Bebe? - After much heartache (and a similar situation to one we had early this year), Bon is now parenting her little girl through international adoption!
Her Womb, Our Hearts - Mama J and Hubby have just been matched with a birthmother!! I'm so excited for them and am praying everything goes smoothly for them.
Hopes, Dreams and New Beginnings - Sweet Pea and her hubby made the tough decision to live child-free. I hope if we ever have to make this decision, she'll be there for me to talk to - and I know she will. She's that kind of lady.
This is a much larger category because I just don't know where we'll wind up. I don't know what our future holds. But I am very glad it holds this community that I can lean on and turn to for advice, that I can offer advice when needed and be the shoulder for someone else to cry on in their darkest moments. I love my community!