By Lisa Manterfield
The worst thing about moving 400 miles to the northern part of my state was leaving all my friends behind. In my new city, I knew exactly three people, plus one good friend who lived an hour’s drive away.
One week, while my husband was traveling, I spent much of the time alone, and frankly I felt a bit sorry for myself.
Then, on the Monday “Laura” sent me a copy of her book. I read a couple of chapters and it made me laugh. On Tuesday I spoke on the phone with “Paulina”, who was snowed under in Indiana. I’ve never met her, but we’ve become phone friends over the last couple of years. Later in the week, I chatted by email to Monica and Jody, and made plans to have coffee with Kathleen. I also finalized lunch plans with Pamela, something we’d been trying to accomplish for months, and I discovered that a long-time LWB reader lived in the next town over, so we met for drinks.
I share one thing in common with all these women, and that is that we are childless, but beyond that I’ve discovered we have so much more to talk about, and that these women have become my friends.
When I was dealing with infertility, I didn’t have this community. Although my friends were supportive and kind, none of them had been through anything like it. I looked for an online community, but couldn’t find one where I felt comfortable. I really did feel that I went through that whole chapter of my life almost alone.
I started Life Without Baby to talk about life after infertility and to be heard, but the pleasant surprise for me is that I’ve finally found a wonderful community of women who want to talk, listen, help, and support one another. And we’re not just talking about infertility and being childless; we’re talking about books, gardening, travel, pets, family, you name it.
I know that many of us feel, or have felt, isolated in our childlessness, and that the web has enabled us to find our tribe. And beyond that commonality are the possibilities for friendships, and I encourage you to find those opportunities.
On the private community pages, you’ll find a chat feature, and the forums are always buzzing. There are regional groups and groups for different interests. Behind this password protected wall you can safely send messages to other members or say hello on their walls. There are plenty of ways to make connections and hopefully to make some new friends.
This week (April 19-25) is National Infertility Awareness Week. Of the many, many lessons I’ve learned on my own infertility journey, perhaps the most important one—the one that made it survivable—is also this year’s theme: You Are Not Alone.