Thoughtful ThursdayI just got an email from an old friend.

My dear you are the most wonderful person in the world and you will have such a wonderful success in your new job.

I am so happy for you!!!!

I have never, in my whole life, written anything like that to any friend. To anyone at all, in fact.

At first I chalked it up to English not being her first language, but apparently she’s like this in her native language too.

It’s just who she is.

For many people, if they sent a message like the one above, it would be disingenuous, if they could even get away with it. Not this friend; she really means it. She is genuine and open and so warm.

I do not have an expressive face; I do not feel emotions as strongly as others; I do not tend to say expressive sentiments. Most people, except my children and my husband, and perhaps my blog readers, see very little emotion from me. Even so, it feels marvelous to be on the receiving end of such effusiveness from this friend, or my closest friend, or my husband, or my children, or my late mother, all of whom are tremendously expressive (of the full gamut of emotions, not just love). I may not express much emotion, but I’ve surrounded myself with it.

How effusive are you?

Thoughtful Thursday: Emotion

October 15, 2009

Quick health/baby update before we begin Thoughtful Thursday: I am feeling better and better every day; the percentage of the day in which I feel Human has gone from 0% for several days post-birth to 80% today. The Burrito and The Tamale are developing incredibly well — so well that we’ve been discussing discharge with the NICU team. Looks like just a few days until they come home!

Thoughtful ThursdayToday’s topic follows from a question I submitted (and then subsequently answered myself) for this week’s Barren Bitches Book Brigade on It Sucked and Then I Cried by Heather B. Armstrong of dooce.com. Since only a few people participated in the book club, I’d like to open the topic up for discussion more broadly.

On your blog, how much emotion do you express? Is that more or less emotion than you tend to express in real life?

From my BBBB post:

In real life, I am very guarded with emotional expression. On BabySmiling, I am considerably more expressive.

For years I have enjoyed Dooce’s monthly newsletters about her daughter. They combine snapshots of Leta’s growth, snarky humor, and pure love. I think that I will be comfortable expressing emotion directly to my children, but it feels strange to think of writing emotional public newsletters under my real name for friends and family (and strangers) to read. Do I save the emotion for BabySmiling, even though it goes against the mandate of the blog as an infertility blog? Do I write the letters privately? Do I remain guarded and let the emotions go undocumented? Probably not the latter, but I’m still figuring this one out.

To elaborate on what I wrote earlier this week…

I have never felt more emotion than in the past couple of weeks. Part of it is attributable to fluctuating hormones, sure. Some is attributable to having babies, the same as anyone. But a big part has to do with the realization of 7 years of infertility plus months of more-difficult-than-usual pregnancy. I am so filled with love, but there’s also a good measure of disbelief, overwhelming retrospective sorrow, hope, worry, wonder… And there you go. I am expressing emotion here on this blog. Emotions which most likely will never be expressed anywhere else, certainly not in writing.

I just don’t see myself writing gushy love letters to my babies under real name for my friends and — gah — family to see. But I am feeling that gushy love, so where do I put it? Here, where I never set out to mommyblog? Some sort of BabySmiling annex? Privately, for only my babies to see someday? I didn’t have an answer on Tuesday during BBBB, and I don’t have one today.

On your blog, how much emotion do you express? Is that more or less emotion than you tend to express in real life?

Cold Coffee Report

November 14, 2008

Yesterday I informed you of the my first meeting with an IRL support group, which then was upcoming and now has passed. Without going into specifics (for the sake of confidentiality), here’s how it went.

  1. No cold coffee. Tea.
  2. Several people have seen the same RE as I have (Dr. Full Steam Ahead), and multiple other professionals’ names were mentioned as common links. One benefit of local IRL support group over blogging, I suppose.
  3. The blogging format works better for me than the in-person talking format. On a blog, you can always offer a complete story/argument/thought. Even when commenting, you get the space you need to say what you have to say. Sometimes in conversation, it can be hard to get points in before someone else starts talking, or lines of conversation get redirected before you can talk. That’s really saying something, because as you may have guessed by now, I am neither quiet nor shy — nor taciturn!
  4. Because it’s a safe space, people really expose their vulnerabilities. I suppose that many bloggers do too, but the effect is different when you can actually see people crying, or expressing anger, or looking afraid, or numb. In that regard, blogging is probably easier to manage emotionally — as a reader, if you are overwhelmed by someone’s display of emotion, you can just click away or skim the rest of the post. And if you want to respond to emotion, you can offer appropriate words in a comment whether or not you actually feel them. Mustering genuine empathy is a lot more work in person — and it becomes obvious when you’re forcing it. From the perspective of the writer/speaker, I think it’s more comfortable to blog difficult emotions than speak and feel them to a room of people. At least for me.
  5. There are bloggers that I would meet up with if the opportunity arose, but I would have to have made a strong personal connection. With the support group, I could see random lunches happening after only a couple of meetings — the bar is set lower.
  6. As with blogging, people are at all sorts of different stages in the process. As a blog reader, I can and often do choose to focus on people at similar stages to mine. As a support group member, you’re stuck with the newbie and the woman who may be pregnant at the next meeting. On the other hand, as a relative veteran, you are seen as a source of information.
  7. I didn’t mention anything about blogging. I don’t know that I will.
  8. There are all sorts of things I’ve blogged about that I don’t think I’d ever say in the group. They may know my name and face and other identifying info, but you get more of me.

If anyone has questions (such as Cara, who is trying to start her own loss support group), I may answer them in the comments or I may hold them for another post. I will probably write another post later about some other process issues, such as things that I expected to get said that didn’t, or things that I was surprised actually came out of someone’s mouth. You know I love a cliffhanger. But first, the hysteroscopy. And then a proper Show and Tell. And maybe a Perfect Moment Monday.

The bottom line? I like blogging better. But I’ll still go back.