26 March, 2013

More shame

Since I wrote this post, I have been thinking and reading a lot more about shame and infertility.  I do have more to say, or more to share at least, from the reading I’ve been doing.  But I'm not ready yet.  Thoughts are swirling and need to settle into some logical patterns first, before I put finger to keyboard.  Still, I realised today, as I searched for the aforementioned shame post (yes, too lazy to scroll through and find it) that it has been an issue that I have touched on quite a lot.  I have in fact mentioned shame  and ashamed  a total of 39 times since I began this blog.  A lot of my comments mention that I am not ashamed, but when I delve a bit deeper, I see that this statement in fact should have the qualification “I am not ashamed anymore.”  Clearly, I did feel shame with my infertility at the outset.  I struggled with it in fact, and it affected the way I lived.  And I will come back to that soon, I am sure. 

In the meantime however, I thought it might be interesting to see a few examples of how or why I mentioned shame.

  1. OK, my first example was in fact an “unashamed” promotion of my A Separate Life blog.  Showing that simply by the use of the word, perhaps I was a little worried I’d be judged by promoting it.
  2. In My Negative Voice, I talked about believing the shame I felt.  And that’s a real minefield, when we start believing that we are shameful and somehow bad.
  3. And in You can achieve anything, yeah right, I addressed the issue that we often feel – both in wider society, and here in the ALI community – that we “gave up” and that was a bad thing.  The judgement we feel, and that loss of connection, leads us to feel this, whereas I believe that “Giving up is scary, and hard.  A level of courage is required.  And that is admirable, not shameful.
  4. Then there’s the whole vexed issue of telling, or not telling, and why.  Does the choice not to tell mean we feel shame?  Yes, would be the view of some advocates of telling everybody.  But I don’t think so, and I have some further thoughts on this.
  5. Blogging as a remedy for shame comes up a number of times, I realise now, and I think is a logical progression from the telling/not telling question, and the issue of connection.  I wrote on Don't Dwellthe protection in the semi-anonymous internet from feelings of shame, and pity, that I didn’t want following me in my real life.”

As I say, watch this space!


  1. I am not ashamed of my infertility. Any more.
    And - I don't want to talk about it in "real" world. There are only really few closest people I feel good talking about (numer of people: max 5).
    With all the rest: I was hurt too many times. And, it is nobody's business. Only mine.

  2. It's an interesting exercise to figure out how many times a certain words pops up on your blog; or certain topics: what do we each keep circling around to and thinking about. Not sure how to figure out how many times I've mentioned a word on my blog. I mean, I assume infertility would probably be the most commonly used topic. But I wonder if I could pick apart the many threads that make up the bigger discussion of an experience.

  3. Interesting about the frequency of "shame." I have one of those word cloud label things on my blog... the more times I use a certain label, the bigger it is in the cloud. "Reading" has the most number of mentions, followed by childless/free living, grief/loss, Katie and family/friends. Looking forward to your additional thoughts on this topic!