I posted a comment that was pretty much as long as a post (erk, sorry, C.!), so I figured I would post an adapted version over here. : )
This is a great question (& probably worthy of discussion in the salons this coming week). I can relate to a lot of what BSIBS said, as well as the comments she received.
My situation is obviously quite different from someone who started their blog while going through infertility (or a loss), achieve & go through pregnancy (by whatever means) or adoption & is now parenting. I started blogging in late 2007, nine years after my daughter was stillborn and six years after we decided to stop treatments & remain childless.
I had participated on listservs & message boards at various stages of my journey, and still do. Blogging is (or can be) a different kind of writing. When I post on a message board (especially these days), it's often in response to something someone else has posted or to pose a question to the group. It's more of a conversation.
Blogging can be a conversation too -- but I think of it more like writing a mini-essay or a newspaper column — more thoughtful & analytical (& yes, usually longer). I like developing a theme (particularly on my longer posts), thinking about WHY I feel the way I do, what words I should use.
Whenever anyone asks why I blog, I usually start out by saying, “I blog for myself.” That’s true — but I would be lying if I said I didn’t also have an audience in mind.
If I think back to the very beginning, one BIG reason I started the blog was specifically to connect & participate in the community Melissa had built up at Stirrup Queens . I LOVED reading the book club posts in particular, & was dying to take part & add my $.02. ; ) I was doing some commenting, but realized I’d get a lot more out of the whole experience if I had a blog myself.
Also, anyone who is travelling the childless/free path quickly realizes that there’s not a lot of support out there for this particular option. Pamela Jeanne was already blogging on this topic at Coming2Terms and was a huge inspiration to me. I thought she captured our experience so well — but I knew there were more of us out there, and felt we should be speaking up more about our experience & lighting the path for those following us.
And now there ARE more of us out there in the blogosphere. Not nearly enough, of course (I believe there are many more of us out there than our numbers on blogs & boards would indicate) — but it’s slowly evolving & getting better. And people aren’t just writing about the sad stuff; they’re writing about the ways in which their lives are good, even though they are not parents.
And of course, it’s nice to get feedback (particularly the positive kind). Really — who doesn’t like to get comments & to hear that their work has resonated in some way with readers, whether they agree with my point of view, can offer an alternate opinion, have a similar experience to share, learned something new or just plain liked my writing? Yes, I would probably still write without the comments, but they sure do make the whole experience a lot more fun & rewarding.
But I don’t specifically write to get comments, or worry if I think they've dropped off (well, not too much...) or about offending readers by writing about certain topics. Of course, as I said, I’m coming from a different place than most bloggers.
I’ll be frank — I found it kind of interesting to hear the parenting after loss bloggers saying how isolated they felt & how many readers they lost when they got pg/had their babies, that nobody wanted to hear their stories.
As I commented to Esperanza:
...there are parallels that could be drawn between PAIL (Parenting After Infertility & Loss) & the CF community. The CF community is certainly not as big as the parenting after infertility/loss group — but we do have a few “hubs,” like Pamela’s Silent Sorority & Lisa’s Life Without Baby. The difference being that everyone aspires to become a member of PAIL (metaphorically speaking, if not literally). I don’t think the same can be said about OUR “club.” ; )
I started my blog post-loss & infertility, but I can only imagine the drop off in readership, had I started when I was in the trenches & then made the decision. Nobody likes to think this will happen to them, but the hard truth is that not everyone comes out of this with a baby.
And it’s also true that it’s not the end of the world.