(In an effort to be completely transparent, yes I am parenting after battling IF and RPL. And yes, I am currently pregnant with what will hopefully be our last Halfling. This colours my view, just as the past four years have shaped who I am.)
For me, in this whole mess, the ultimate issue comes down, not to who's a parent and who's not, but who we are as a whole. How do we define community?
Merriam-Webster defines community this way:
- 1: a unified body of individuals: as
- a : state, commonwealth
- b : the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly : the area itself
- c : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location
- d : a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society
- e : a group linked by a common policy
- f: a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests
- g : a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society
- 2: society at large
- a : joint ownership or participation
- b : common character : likeness
- c : social activity : fellowship
- d : a social state or condition
I think, whether we care to admit it or not, we all crave community. A place we fit, a place to belong. A place where we can find others who understand us and share our values or key parts of who we are. Some fill this craving with diverse circle of friends, extended family, or even strangers who support the same favourite sports team. For those of us who felt outside our culture because of our struggles to build our families, we found that online.
As a part of our various interpersonal groups, I think we all hope that we can both give and receive support and fellowship. Having your voice heard is just as important as hearing others.
So instead, as Mel so wisely says in her intro to ICLW each month... 'comments are the new hug'. Comments are how we, within the ALI community, show our support and provide feedback to our community.
How can we as the ALI community continue to support each other, even when our circumstances change? Does someone choosing life without children after IF or those parenting after IF need less support than someone who is still in the trenches? Are they in too different a place to reasonably expect that the friendships forged over months and years of cycles, treatments, losses, and hard choices can continue? And is looking for a community within a community a bad thing?
Relationships, within any community, grow and change. This is a universal truth. People will inherently seek out those who are like themselves in some way. But does that negate their previous relationships?
How do you define community?