Glow in the Woods

BlogHer Original Post

It is a home to all babylost mamas, a warm campfire that you hopefully will never need but is waiting there with comfort in case you do. It is Glow in the Woods, a website started this spring by six babylost bloggers: Kate, Bon, Niobe, Julia, Janis, and Tash. The site is dedicated to mothers who have lost children from prematurity, stillbirth, or neonatal death and is billed as "a place where us medusas can take off our hats, none minding the sight of all the snakes."

The six writers have a rotating question set called 6 x 6 so it seemed fitting to interview the writers with six questions to learn more about the site:

1. What was your first ember in the fire of the site? How did you get involved in Glow in the Woods?

Kate: I met Bon for the first time and the two of us sat up past midnight with lemon tart and wine, talking frankly about how we could ever be some sliver of ourselves again after the loss of our babies. Around her there was no need to soften words, or fear their burden. That's when the idea for a larger-scale gathering was born, and over the following months the other contributing mamas found us as though it was all just meant to be.

We called it Glow in the Woods because that's how it felt to be around each other - like refuge from a storm, warmth and light and understanding.

2. How do you feel when you see a new babylost commentor on a post?

Janis: Glad that someone spoke up instead of lurking. Glad to hear/read a viewpoint, whether it be similar or dissenting. Sad that there are people who know what is being written. Sad that this world is not as small as I thought it was.Glad that she found her way to Glow in the Woods. Sad that it has to be that way. Glad that she could rest her feet and baggage here. Hope that it is just a stop and that that rest gives her strength to walk the rest of her own journey.

3. What has been the hardest topic to tackle with words?

Bon: The hardest topic to tackle with words has been, generally, the subject of difference...differences in our stories and our experiences of grief, but most particularly - at least from where i sit (or, erm, lie on bedrest) - differences in way the luck of the draw has dealt us subsequent pregnancies and overall family structures. On the day the site launched, a comment was left that pointed out, acutely, that all of us have had the chance to parent living children. And with three of us actively in various stages of the agonizing crawl towards the possibility of a live baby after loss, mindfuck though it is, we risk wounding readers who may not have the opportunity to even embark on that journey. So trying to put into words the process of grieving yet another loss while trying to look forward to what I want to hope will be a new baby in this space that is not MY personal space has been a pretty delicate dance, and not so graceful a one as I'd hoped. Yet finding ways to speak without making people feel shut out or more alone than they were when they arrived at the site will only succeed if all of us in the community - especially our readers - use our voices to share our own bits of the story; if our differences and our learning experiences and our honesty are woven into the fabric of what the site becomes, even when the words are hard to find.

4. Some of the best campfire conversations occur after the last embers burn out--what do you talk about in the stillness of night?

Tash: Sadly, when I was in the dregs of grief, I had no one to talk to in the middle of night except myself. So myself and I incessantly rewound the tape of Maddy dying, and idly played -- once again -- the "fuck I can't believe this is my life" opera. I stared at the ceiling, wished my brain to shut off, and willed my body to sleep. Now it's not unusual to turn on my computer late at night and correspond with another babyloss mama in real time or email or by commenting on a blog. Sometimes it's mundane late night chatter (I've talked old house plumbing with one mama), and sometimes it's mindbending (Julia kindly helped me through basic genetics one evening), and sometimes it's heartbreaking. There's something breathtaking about someone approaching you for the first time with their story and their child's name. But it always makes me feel connected, no matter how dark and quiet my house is. It makes me feel less alone, and that in itself is usually enough for me to drag the crossword up to bed and fall asleep before I get through the "Down" clues.

5. What is the best piece of advice you can give to a new medusa?

Julia: Don't let anyone rush you. You are likely to find grief to be a very sneaky and fluid thing. One day you are feeling ok, functioning in the world, and the next you are crushed and wiped out, all over again. All of this is ok, and none of this makes you weak or unappreciative of the good things and good people in your life. Your grief is yours to live with, and nobody should be telling you how to deal with it.

When there is a decision to be made, make the one that feels right to you, for yourself and your family, and it will be the right decision. Maybe not for everyone, probably not for everyone. But that doesn't matter-- it will be right for you.

6. What is the most important thing people should know about Glow in the Woods?

Niobe: The six of us are presenting a limited set of points of view, based on our own experiences and idiosyncrasies. We realize that the reactions and feelings of many of our readers may be entirely different. So, if you read something at Glow in the Woods that you completely disagree with or if you just want to say, "that's not the way it is for me," please don't hesitate to leave a comment or a link to your own blog adding your own perspective. Our hope is that Glow in the Woods will be enriched by other views and other voices.

Other bloggers have taken up the task to answering the original six questions posed by the website organizers. Busted Babymaker answers about pregnancy: "Especially now, pregnancy to me is a dangerously tenuous state, always one pain away from life-destroying, and I will always be in awe of women who go about normal lives while pregnant rather than experiencing debilitating fear every second."

My Sanctuary answers the question about future pregnancies with the stark: "Considering how avidly we’re pursuing pregnancy, obviously I haven’t really thought it though. Because if I did, I certainly would NOT pursue it." My Resurfacing describes herself before and after the loss as "Before: motivated. Today: apathetic."
Visit the 6x6 page in order to read more reactions and answer the questions yourself.

Melissa is the author of the infertility and pregnancy loss blog, Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters. She keeps a categorized blogroll of over 1300 infertility blogs and writes the daily Lost and Found and Connections Abound, a news source for the infertility blogosphere. Her infertility book, The Land of If, is forthcoming from Seal Press in Spring 2009.


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