The other night I was watching Saving Babies on telly. A show I haven't been able to watch before because eventhough it's advertised each story will have a happy ending, the stories themselves have me weeping in my seat. The sight of very tiny babies will do that to me now I'm a mother. Anyway, I'm watching and tearing up and then there's one story which didn't have a happy ending. The mother had made the decision to cut off the blood flow to one of her twins (who was not thriving) to save the other twin. She gave birth to the live baby and then to the much smaller baby that had died months ago. Considering that it was on channel ten, this part of her story was actually handled with a lot of dignity and was very, very moving. But the bit that touched me in an unexpected way was the scene where she discussed with the doctor whether or not to go ahead with the filming. The mother clearly wanted to tell her story and she wanted to help others who might be feeling very alone in a similar situation.
And I do remember a certain aloneness, a feeling that I had already told my sad story to anyone who could listen, yet needing to tell it again and again. That people wouldn't know who I was if I didn't. And I think that for many of us, telling the story is a major part of the healing journey. When you tell a story, those parts that cause the most pain and sorrow become translated into a narrative which I think becomes a handle with which to carry the story around. Difficult stories probably need to be told many times over before they become a part of us that is bearable to carry. There are other stories that are just so profound they also need to be told a fair few times, like for example birth stories. I've noticed that since becoming a mother, this is often a bonding point with other mothers (do you sense I might be looking forward to writing Grace's here on the interweb? ooh yes. Friday). Indeed, our mothers goup did not even begin to gel until we'd told our birth stories and and a fair bit of our reproductive histories.
Not that everyone tells their stories the same way. I probably fall well and truly into the spill your guts style of blogging. I've always been like this, but it's a trait I've learnt to curb in my daily (as in offline) life as I've got older. This tendency to tell all has probably also been muted by having a partner who knows it all anyway. So when I started blogging, I thought it would be a refined sort of craft blog. Perhaps I even had a fantasy of my life being like that and maybe I still do (laughs), but you know, you go with what you've got. Which definitely has it's good points. And I do love to read blogs where the writers are way more circumspect about their affairs and reveal their stories in more subtle ways; creating a garden, making art, with music, through the very actions of daily life. Just because the expression is different, doesn't mean it isn't there.
So back to sharing on the internet. When I was in the darkest months after the birth and death of our son, I read every single piece of writing I could find that was even close to what we had been through. My hunger to hear the stories of others was insatiable. I didn't know about blogs then, which is a pity, because I think it would have helped. This is one of the reasons I don't make my blog unsearchable, even though after reading some of the search strings, I'm very tempted. Because every now and then I read a search query and I know there's a woman (or man) out there desperate for a story, wanting to know that they are not alone. And now, a few years on, when I read the difficult stories from other bloggers, I am always deeply touched. Saddened too, because although I may feel some bond of shared experience, obviously I would never wish this sadness on another. But it's also a great honour to be part of their healing journey. Even if sometimes I don't feel I can comment because I don't know them or because I've clammed up with my own feelings. So thank you to everyone who's read my story, thank you to everyone who's shared their story and thank you for the lovely comments. The internet can be a beautiful place.