Thursday, October 15, 2009

This Thing Called Blogging

"We are born with nothing but the dreams we carry in our hearts."

12 months ago I began a new blog. It was a fresh start from my first blog, "The Fine Print" because it was meant to be so much more than a personal diary in a small, private corner of the sphere of blogs. PFM was my attempt to reach as many readers as possible, to continue on using the positive feedback that my writing was touching people's lives- strangers lives. This was unbelievable to me- still is. The fact that I have some ability to express myself "on paper" and it helps people feel better or understand infertility, adoption or whatever else I manage to write about is one of the most fulfilling things of my life. Writing my experiences may help others explain and articulate what they may be feeling. Hopefully they have passed along my words to friends or family members who have a hard time understanding or empathising with the extreme difficulty of infertility. I also write for myself. It is how I work through my struggles or celebrate an achievement even if it is about how I managed to cook a dinner without making my husband gag :)
This time last year I had an idea to start a non profit because I felt very strongly that there was a huge void to be filled. I was in the process of writing a book but did not feel like that was sufficient. I had already devoted nearly 5 years of my life to infertility learning about female endocrinology, doctors, insurance, heartache, and the slow process of recovery from grief. Once the idea popped into my head, there was no stopping me. However, I wasn't foolish enough to believe that I could ever make PFM successful on my own. I did not know how or who would guide me through such an enormous responsibility. People began popping into my life, though. It has been amazing.

I have high hopes for PFM; there's no doubt about that. I think it has the potential to grow exponentially because our goal is to help people fulfill their dreams of parenthood. As I have stated before having a family is fundamental to the human experience. Not everyone may want to have children, but everyone should have the option. If this can happen through ART or adoption or both, then money should not stand in the way. Misinformation or lack of information should not impede someone from becoming a parent. The real world however has put up a barrier for infertiles. The options for Assisted Reproductive Technology have exploded, but the insurance coverage and support for those who cannot pay out of pocket has not yet caught up. Dangling a carrot comes to mind.

What else can I say but that my heart is exposed. I have read so many blogs and cried so many times for so many people. I have rejoiced with news of pregnancy and birth and adoption. Sometimes it has been hard to be so entrenched in the pain of infertility when I am still feeling out my own emotions. My son is the light of my life and his very essence makes me believe that he was meant to be our son. I would not change a thing because it all led me to him. But I still falter with news of pregnancy and stumble through old emotions wondering if I will have a bigger family. No matter what I do with my experiences and thoughts at least I have a place to get support and maybe help someone else who is feeling the same way.

To take a look back on the accomplishments of PFM...

I became a member of the ALI (Adoption, Loss, Infertility) community on Stirrup-Queens right around the time I started the blog. I found Lori at Weebles Wobblog. She has been a wonderful resource of knowledge and so kind to me as I tackled the huge undertaking of building a blog. I was and still am in awe of the hard work and diligence necessary to make a successful blog. I have come a long way, but I have a lot to learn and a lot more work to do to reach people. I also met Kelly Damron at Twin Peas Blog very early on. She has been very supportive of me, helping me with PR and giving advice.

Then there are the countless bloggers who have stopped by, read my posts, befriended me, supported me and welcomed me into the ALI community. I have also met so very many wonderful people outside of ALI that have posted about my site and cause to help spread awareness. The comment on my first post gave me confidence when I really needed it.

Here are some highlights from the past year.
  • Finding loyal readers that weren't friends or family. Wow!
  • Establishing a website with the help of my friend, Josh at Grindcolor Design
  • The Blog/Essay Contests to spread awareness. First winner- To Baby and Beyond. Second winner- Mr. Shelby
  • Getting a blog makeover. I still think it is so me and I didn't even tell them what to do
  • Becoming a bonified Non-profit Corporation
  • Putting together a Board of Directors of wonderful people who have been so supportive and helpful. I am very lucky.
  • Officially adopting our son in March
  • The Artwork for Building Families Project . Go here to purchase and learn more.
  • Our Launch Luncheon Fundraiser
  • Becoming the Limerick Chick 2009 (Get ready everyone I have some good ones up my sleeve for next year)
  • Being mentioned in Adoptive Families Magazine
  • Meeting Mel at RESOLVE's, Night of Hope
  • Highlighted on SITS. I received so much support from them.
  • Getting published (in a local magazine due out any day)

    Accomplishments on the horizon:
  • Becoming an official 501 c(3) tax exempt charity. We are waiting with baited breathe. Come on IRS!
  • Being featured in Parents Magazine- January issue due out in December
  • Posting our first grant applications on January 2, 2010. You can read the criteria for grants here.
  • Our first Parenthood for Me Gala. I need help thinking of a good name for the event.
  • Awarding our first grants in June 2010
  • Going to Blogher in NYC
  • Publishing my book

    Thank you to DH and Min Man for inspiration to keep going and the lovely people who have helped establish the corporation and non profit including the Board of Directors.

    Thank you to everyone who reads this blog and has helped me by writing letters, featuring me on your blog, commenting, sharing PFM's mission with others, and attending our fundraising events.
    I have been told many times that projects like this can grow legs of their own (I'm sure Mel can attest to this). What starts out as an idea blossoms into something far greater than could ever be envisioned. I will continue to rely on the many wonderful people who have already devoted time and energy, and I will welcome all those who discover PFM and want to be a part of its cause.

    Here are some pictures from the past year.

    Kym's Sock It To Me 2009- Kicking infertility's arse

  • Our Launch Luncheon Fundraiser

    Mel and I at The Night Of Hope in June

    Purchase our signature hair clip made by my friend Lisa at Ellebows and More. $1.50 of each sale is donated to our endowment. Just click on the button.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Please visit the March of Dimes website

    Please write your representatives to extend the Adoption Tax Credit.

    Remember that today is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. Please light a candle at 7PM.

    "All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on."
    -Henry Ellis


    Leah said...

    What you are doing for others is so wonderful. I love reading your entries. They are always so filled with articulate thought.

    Jewls said...

    You're amazing! Thanks so much for all you are doing! I need to write my representative a letter still...think I'll do that today!

    Yaya said...

    Happy blogoversary! Wow! What an awesome year! You are an amazing woman!!! I'm so glad I've met you. And don't forget you were also published in our newspaper too, right?
    I think PFM is the best thing for people like us. Josh and I want to do private adoption but simply can't afford it, so we are punished with not being to have children? It's just not fair. I'm looking forward to the next fundraiser.

    Geochick said...

    Having discovered your blog just a few months ago I can hardly believe it's only been 1 year that you started PFM. You've already accomplished so much. Congratulations!

    Kristin said...

    I am so impressed with all you have done this year. Keep up the fabulous work.

    Wishing 4 One said...

    Your accomplishments are really awesome! I love reading all the great things you do and wish you many many more successful years ahead. You are a needed force in this thing we call infertility. Thanks for all u do!

    tireegal68 said...

    Congratulations on a year of PFM! I love your blog and the look and colors and content is always so fun to read.
    I hope this next year brings you many more great experiences and fun!
    Thanks for being such a vital part of the ALI community:)

    Lisa said...

    YEA! Good for you and for Parenthood for Me!! You deserve all the good things that have come and are still coming! You're an inspiration to many. Happy Blogoversary!!

    Lavender Luz said...

    What a year! You accomplished so much and touched so many!

    Congratulations, Erica. Can't wait to see what your next year brings.

    Stacey said...

    Happy Blogoversary and congratulations on an amazing year of accomplishments! I look forward to seeing what will come for PFM (and you) in the future!

    excavator said...

    Hello, Erica. I stopped by to thank you for your very kind comment on my blog, and so got to read your blogoversary post.

    Congratulations on your first year. You have a lot to fill your heart and be proud of.

    And congratulations on your son. when I first read you it was your Perfect Moments Monday post, and I didn't realize your son had come to you so recently.

    Your profile picture is lovely, by the way. You have a very warming glow about you.

    Kelly D said...

    Congratulations on the HUGE progress you have made! Your organization will be helpful for so many couples now and in the future.

    2 Toddlers and Me said...

    I'm so glad I found your blog. I think it is amazing and what you have accomplished this year. You are truly an inspiration. In fact, I'm so impressed by you and your blog, I gave you an award. It's waiting for you on my blog, come on over and pick it up whenever you have time. Congrats on the award and all of your wonderful accomplishments!

    The Grown-Up Child said...

    Wow! You have done so much in the past year and have so much more ahead! Congratulations on all your acheivements (especially your new family member!).

    I dealt with years of infertility too. It sucked (not eloquent, but fitting nonetheless). It's wonderful that you are doing so much for those suffering with it.


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