Thoughtful Thursday: Audience

April 9, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday(Someone else’s) children mentioned.

This past weekend, I traveled to Weeblesland where I spent a wonderful day with Lori, Tessa, and Reed.

Sometimes when you meet someone after reading their writing, the narrative voice doesn’t fit the real person. That wasn’t the case here; Lori was exactly like I imagined she would be: straddling the line between the spiritual and the everyday; embracing open adoption in words and actions, birth mothers coming up in conversation with her children on occasion; encouraging of her children’s creativity; intellectually curious; deeply enamored with the blogosphere. Tessa was also very much like Lori has described her, and Lori’s fabulous recent series on Tessa’s reunion with her birthfather provided an accurate preview of all of the different features of Tessa’s personality (except for the part where she’d end up giving me two makeovers). I had fewer expectations about Reed, who ended up being both sweeter and more happy-go-lucky than I’d imagined.

One of the greatest delights was talking with Tessa and Reed about my pregnancy. The first question out of Tessa’s mouth, literally 30 seconds into our acquaintance, was, “Are you having a baby?” When I told her that I was having two babies, her eyes lit up like I’d said I had a pocket full of puppies and lollipops.

Both kids had numerous questions for me as well as surprising reactions. When I pointed out some blueberries and told Tessa that the babies were the size of blueberries, she asked, “Can you eat them?”

Reed asked, “Why don’t you have a big belly?” Actually the big belly process has already begun, but thank you, my dear.

There were a lot of questions about food. “Do you have to eat baby food?” “Can the babies have wine?” “Do you get to keep any of the food you eat, or do the babies get it all?”

The most ‘kids say the darndest things’ moment came when Tessa asked me if the babies would be boys or girls.

Me: The doctors haven’t told me yet. It could be two girls, two boys, or a boy and a girl.
Reed: When the doctors tell you, can you call us?
Me: Sure. What do you think they will be?
Tessa: A boy and a girl.
Reed: A dog and a cat!

Aside from discussing pregnancy, we also talked about various aspects of blogging: privacy considerations on the internet, how it’s possible to be friends with someone you haven’t met, the freedoms and limitations of self-disclosure.

Many bloggers I’ve read, including Lori, are careful about certain details — both for the sake of current privacy, and because some things are not their story to tell. Many bloggers seem cognizant that their children may someday read the words they are blogging now. Even in the midst of extensive soul-searching, they hold some things back to protect their children, now or in the future. Parenting blogs are sometimes written in part as a record for children’s future information, but Adoption/Loss/Infertility blogs seem to be written for the writers and their like-minded readers. Nonetheless, given the permanence of anything posted on the internet, there is a high likelihood that many of our blogs will be read someday by our children.

Today’s Thoughtful Thursday topic: Would you have your child read your blog someday?

As an anonymous blogger, I embrace my freedom to say all sorts of things I wouldn’t want anyone in my family to read. But, aside from some unflattering things about my mother-in-law, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t let my child see. In fact, by the time my children can read, I’m sure they will have figured out the score regarding their grandmother (and the rest of us, if they’re anything like their father was as a little kid), so they don’t really need to be sheltered from those portions either.

There are aspects that kids don’t particularly want to hear about (giant needles piercing Mommy’s vagina and the tedium of babymaking sex, for example), but it’s all part of how they got here. Ultimately, some of the take-home messages from the whole blog are: that I have wanted them desperately for a long, long time; that I have gone to extraordinary lengths to bring them into this world; that more than anything else, over the past 7 years I have wanted to meet them and shower them with love. None of that will ever be a secret to them.

(Note to future children reading the blog years from now: Hi! I love you! Don’t worry, I don’t hold the needles in my vagina against you.)

Would you have your child read your blog someday? Do you ever think of your (real or imagined) children as future readers when writing?

24 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Audience”

  1. My children can read if they want. Although, I don’t think it would interest them much. I’ve always been very open about all the trials and tribulations we went through with my pregnancy with Nae and the trying for another and failing miserably for 5 years.

  2. luna Says:

    I loved playing with T&R too! I didn’t get a makeover, but I did get my purse dumped out onto the table within seconds of meeting T, and R figured out how to use my phone and ipod within a whole minute. and lori is pretty cool too.

    in answer to your question, first I need to bring the kid home, then I’ll ponder that one…

  3. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    Would you have your child read your blog someday? Do you ever think of your (real or imagined) children as future readers when writing?

    I have never really pondered on the future of my blog. As a fact my ‘usual life’ blog came about much earlier than the IF blog. I don’t know about the future of this IF blog. If I slip into parenthood, I am not decided whether I will continue on Woman Anyone? or the other blog. Why am I telling you this? If I choose the RRS blog…I may think about deleting Woman Anyone? Is that not a prospect?

    You know, a while back you TTed on Disclosure…and the time I told you that I would speak to my children about my struggles, when the time came. I think my blog would be a wonderful resource for them. So, I may let them. But I am not sure how to reveal it to my children without revealing it to other close family members. Nobody in my IRL reads my blog, or is even aware that I blog.

    One more issue is that I have spoken unfavourably about some of the characters around, or shared intimate details about stuff, or events or sad pieces of conversation. I have also ‘judged’ the people around me. I am not sure I can handle what they then make out of the people I was with.

    My mother shared a very positive relationship with her MIL. My grandmother was a typical housewife, but she chose her path and she made sure that nothing wrong was tolerated. She was not ‘exposed’ to the outer world, but whatever be her issues with other DILs, she was good to my mother. And whatever has come filtered to me, reeks positivity. I respect my grandmother.

    But what if my kid reads the blog. He/She will make out that there was some disjointedness between us. And even though I am civil to everybdy, my blog often captures truer shots of my take of these people.

    To prove my case here, I can give you the link to a particular post, where I have spoken of what I actually think.

    It is tough. I think I will share my blog….or some part of it. But most important, I will communicate.

    I know more about the human reproductive system than what was taught to me in the biology class. That same lesson was given to everybody, but some of my classmates did not need the extra education. I did. And I am going to transmit it.


    BTW, love that piece of conversation between you and Tessa and Reed…esp the cat and dog! Reed sounds like a brat!

    And I love that expression – I had a pocket full of puppies and lollipops….

  4. Rebecca Says:

    Yes, yes I would want my kids to read my blog. It’s sort of the reason I keep paper journals.

  5. I had forgotten the dog/cat comment!

    That was such a terrific and thoughtful day. I loved sitting with you and watching you with my children.

    As for the TT question: I write as if my children will read someday. I figure this way, they will not be interested anyway. But if they are (interested) and if they do (read), my blogs are fairly G-rated and appropriate.

    But I will tell them that on Drama 2B Mama, they can’t read just part of the story. I would hate for them to stop at the despair of IF (all that importance on a bio child) without getting to the joy of becoming their parents.

    Luna — renewed apologies about the purse-dump!

    WiseGuy — not Reed!

    Cassandra — I, too, loved the puppies and lollipops line. You are something special, and T&R knew it!

  6. Beth Says:

    I started my blog with the intention of giving it to my child(ren) to help explain where they came from. It was kind of a combined journal and letter to my future children. It was tough to maintain the optimism I started with, though, so the blog has become more of a catalog of our efforts and emotions as we muddle through. I might create something else once I’m pregnant to give to my children, and it may contain pieces of the blog. But I wouldn’t mind if my children read the blog one day.

  7. Kristin Says:

    If my children want to read it someday, they can. 2 of my 3 kids are old enough to read it now but they really aren’t interested at all. I think that part of the lack of interest has to do with them being boys.

  8. jill Says:

    At this moment I can no longer picture myself with children, so I’m not entirely sure.

    My blog is fairly new – there isn’t much in the way of controversial material (yet!) – but very few people I know IRL read my blog. None of my family reads it. Since I am writing it mostly for myself to vent and keep a journal, I don’t really want my family to read it. My husband knows I blog but doesn’t read.

    If I ever get pregnant I will most likely start a new blog for the purpose of journaling pregnancy/child raising but also as a source to update and share with family. That blog would definitely be appropriate for children.

    I think my current blog would be appropriate for my future children when they are adults, but maybe not so much when they are still small. I’m all for being truthful with little ones but I think I’d try to spare them the brunt of the pain and the more adult situations. If they wanted to read my blog as adults I think I’d be flattered by their interest.

    I would be extremely interested in reading a blog that my mom wrote (now that I’m an adult) and I think it would allow me to know her better.

  9. babysmiling Says:

    Wiseguy: Reed wasn’t being bratty at all. I think he actually meant it about the dog and cat! After all, his older sister thinks that babies can be eaten like blueberries. Human biology is even more mysterious and magical to little ones. If you can grow a whole person in your tummy (or two!), anything seems possible.

  10. strongblonde Says:

    if you have a dog and a cat you can get your own reality TV show…. and the world will probably want to talk to your RE!

  11. Shelby Says:

    Yes, aside from some edited content, I would definitely like my kids to read it someday, although I believe it probably wouldn’t be that meaningful to them until they were nearing or in adulthood. I think I would wait until they might have more of an appreciation.

  12. fattykins Says:

    While I don’t have an IF blog, if I did I would not let my child read it someday. I don’t even like people I know to read the blog that I do have – I enjoy having strangers read my words and letting them in on my secrets…but not people I know. It would be the same for my IF blog (if I had one). I just wouldn’t.

  13. This is insane, b/c my husband were seriously just talking about this very topic at breakfast today. My future children are totally welcome to read my blog. I feel that in many ways you can’t ever fully know a writer, unless you know them in real life AND in writing, so if they ever wanted to do a mom research project, they can Google me and have at it.

    However, I don’t write for my future children at all, so it’s seriously up to them.

    I will say this. As the daughter of a mother who passed way before her time, I wish, wish, wish that she had kept some kind of journal or record of her life.

    When you’re a teenager, you’re self-absorbed and you never ask your mother questions. Now I want to ask her so many things. I have a ton of questions now, and I’ll never have answers for them.

    But if I die earlier than I should — God forbid — any children that I leave behind definitely won’t have that problem. They’ll have pretty much full access to my life through my blogs. And though that might sound morbid, it makes me feel better.

  14. Photogrl Says:

    I’ve never really thought about that.

    My blog was started as an outlet for me as I struggle with Secondary IF. I guess in someways, I wouldn’t mind if Miss O read it, especially if it is MANY years down the road.

    Hmm, now you’ve got me thinking…

  15. WiseGuy Says:

    @Cassandra and @WeeblesLady –

    Bratty as in “naughty” and not raucous naughty…I did not understand the force of my words….

    The intention is purely innocuous…

  16. Sugar & Ice Says:

    My daughter wanted us to have 2 baby Elmos when I was pregnant with my twins. Kids are funny.

    I do not imagine my daughters as readers of my blog when I write, but I don’t think I’ve ever written anything I’d mind them reading as adults.

  17. Leslie Laine Says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. There are things about our infertility journey that are certainly unpleasant and not exactly as I planned, but it is now part of our family story. I want our child to know how much he/she was wanted and how diligently we worked to get him/her here. Of course, there will be a certain time and place for our child to read what I’ve written, the full story.

  18. @WiseGuy —

    No offense taken at all. I am aware that words have different nuances in different places.

    It was actually kind of a funny comment because if you were to spend time with both of my children, Reed is most definitely NOT the one you would come away calling bratty.

    Now I have to hope my children never find this post, lol.

  19. I do think about whether or not my son will read my blogs. And, I do hold back some of my inner feelings. Some things are meant for only myself. I am an open blogger so i need to maintain some privacy. I hope my son will enjoy reading the blogs. They are a chronicle of our journey towards him. And, the fact that I still grieve over bearing a child will hopefully help him to feel comfortable about grieving the loss of his birth parents.

  20. Stacie Says:

    I have thought a lot about this lately. I don’t think I’d mind if my children someday read my blog–or my husband for that matter. A lot of what I write has to do with them anyway, and there isn’t really anything I need to hide. But, I do have to say that when I realized that someone irl found me, I was more than a little freaked out by it. After some soul searching, I decided that it would have to be okay for the irl person to read what I wrote. I’m not a hateful person, and I don’t talk about anyone (usually) in a negative way. Plus, the fear makes it seem like I have something to feel shame about–and I don’t. I won’t let people make me feel like I have to hide my feelings anymore. 🙂

  21. Malky B. Says:

    Yes I would let my children read my blog. I even tell Rivky now sometimes what I’m “show and telling” and she gets a kick out of the comments.

  22. Cat Says:

    Though I don’t have a blog, I have kept all the email updates I sent to my IVF support group along the way and would be completely comfortable with my children reading them, once they’re old enough. Hopefully any negative perceptions about IVF are gone by then, but especially if they aren’t, I think reading some of those emails would help them understand how hard we worked to bring them into this world.

  23. Phoebe Says:

    That’s great you got to hang out with Lori and family!!

  24. Mel Says:

    I would let them read my blog one day AND I’m very mindful of how information lives on in the Internet and am very circumspect about writing about them. There is stuff I would love to blog about it because it also affects me, but I fear how they would feel years from now if their friends read my blog and knew these things about them that may not have wanted to share.

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