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Two Years and Counting

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's funny. I've been sitting here for fifteen minutes, staring at the screen. I've titled this post three different things. I've written four opening paragraphs. I'm hoping this one takes.

It's been a rough couple of weeks. In fact, it's been more than a month since I blogged regularly. I do apologize. To be completely and utterly honest with you ('cause that's what I do here), I've been wondering if I should close this blog down. As much as I love this blog and the community of women who have formed around it, it's very difficult for me to write right now.

I've literally had a full month of "pile-on" that has kept me from writing. I've been slammed at work. My relationships with friends and family has been rocky from stress. I haven't slept for any length of time in weeks.

I mentioned that Emmitt managed to get nearly all of his remaining teeth in a two week time period. He followed that up with a week of terrible head cold and raging fever. Unfortunately, the cold moved into his ear canal and landed us at the doctor's office with a raging double ear infection this past Monday. We tried a round of antibiotics, but the infection was too strong. We had to head back in this morning after one of his ear drums ruptured. The doctor told us the other may follow suit within the next 24 hours, but we're hoping the newest round of drugs will kick in before that.

Amidst all that, I completely missed the two year anniversary of launching this blog. It's hard to believe I've been at this that long. I've written 618 posts. I've been threatened by the National Pork Board, I've made tons of friends and I've managed to annoy legions of Yo Gabba Gabba fans.

So the question is...should I keep going?

Honestly? It's really hard (and time consuming) work to keep up with every last piece of breastfeeding news. I simply can't do it anymore. It takes away from what little free time I have to spend with my family. Apart from that, with the growth of the Lactivism forum on MDS and the email lists like the Yahoo Lactivism one, there's really no need for a blog that does it.

Where does that leave me?

I still answer quite a few reader emails to try and offer up advice or input on how to go about handling lactivist issues. I'm on the Board of Advisors for the currently forming Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition. And while I'm in the process of weaning Emmitt (now there's a post idea), I'm soon to be a non-lactating mother.

That leaves me to share my thoughts and opinions on other people breastfeeding, but doing so without the personal experience to relate it to. It turns this into a pure "mommy blog" written by a breastfeeding supporter rather than an actively nursing mom.

When I launched this blog, it was a news and opinion blog. There was very little "mommy" in it. Shortly before Emmitt was born, I asked you if I should expand the horizons to talk about my own experiences...my family, my children and life as a mom. You said yes.

I'm asking for your input again. Do I let the Lactivist die a graceful death by shutting it down? Or do I carry-on? Do I allow this to shift into more of a parenting blog and less of a breastfeeding blog, or do you guys not care to hear my view points on general parenting of toddlers? ;) (I can take it, I have thick skin) Do I need to be posting daily, or will you hang around for a couple of posts a week?

I'm not looking for ego-stroking here, so please don't think this is a fishing expedition for "oh, but we'd miss you so much!" type comments. I trust you and I respect you. If it's time for me to say my goodbyes, I'd like to think I can do it with grace.

On the other hand, if you guys would like to continue to grow with me, even if that means leaving some of the breastfeeding talk behind, I'm game.

Be honest with me folks, I can take it.


  1. Anonymous Ewokmama | 10:35 PM |  

    I would read no matter what. I do think it will be sad to lose your breastfeeding advocacy, though. There isn't another blog enough like yours out there!

  2. Blogger Jill | 11:30 PM |  

    Please don't leave. You are one of my favorite bloggers. I value your opinion on non-breastfeeding issues just as much as the lactivism stuff. Just because you won't be breastfeeding anymore is no reason to hang up your hat.

    If you do decide to put it to bed, though, I'm sure we'll all totally understand. So don't feel compelled to stay just beacuse of your readers.

  3. Anonymous Anonymous | 12:31 AM |  

    I read a lot of blogs that are updated once a week at best, some are only updated once every few weeks. I still read them and I still love them. Would that be a possibility for you? I am not a member of any of the lactation forums etc anywhere else because I find there is too much to sift through and I dont have time (much like you I imagine!) so I come to you for a succinct and intelligent round up and opinion on what is most relevant. I like your blog the most because you dont get carried away with emotion. I would love to see you continue in whatever capacity suits you but personally I would prefer if the lactavist focus remained, even if with some general parenting thoughts.

  4. Blogger K | 4:59 AM |  

    A few initial thoughts ---

    Jen -- you deserve a break. Blog when inspired. Blog about what inspires you. No pressure. We are not paying you! :-)

    I suspect that most regular blog readers have subscribed and will get a notice when you post something new, so just relax (easier said than done, right) and Do.What.You.Want.To.Do.!


    PS And when you have a free afternoon, lunch at North Star?

  5. Blogger aruni | 6:28 AM |  

    You have done an amazing job with this blog despite all of the other things going on in your life! I agree with k, blog when you are inspired but you may want to do that on a blog with a different name/URL.

    I would suggest finding someone who is as passionate as you about breastfeeding and have them take over this blog for a couple of years and then pass it on from there. You could always guest post or oversee from time to time.

    It is very hard to blog when you are downright overrun (and feel like you've been hit by a Mack truck) and if you keep doing it, you'll come to dread it and your readers will see that and might just drift off after some time...leaving you more stressed.

    I hope the answer comes to you sooner rather than later. In the meanwhile I sent you a couple of emails in the recent past with some links to breastfeeding info that if you consider appropriate you can link to. :-)

  6. Anonymous Holly | 7:17 AM |  

    I've always liked your blog, and I love the information you provide about breastfeeding. Even if you're not breastfeeding anymore, you still have the experience and can still provide help to others. I would read your blog regardless of whether it became more parenting and less breastfeeding. And it doesn't matter if you don't post on a regular basis. That's what feeds are for!

    I would suggest just posting when you feel like you have something to say, not just because you feel like you have to. Your loyal readers will stay with you, and you'll still be able to provide valuable information to new mothers seeking advice. But we'll all understand if it's too much for you. Blogging can take a lot of time and energy.

  7. Blogger Dorm Mom | 8:00 AM |  

    I love your blog and will be so disappointed if you shut down. Do what's best for you and your family though. I'll continue to read no matter what focus you take, if you continue to blog. Best wishes!

  8. Blogger Alena | 9:34 AM |  

    I come here as much to read about Nora and Emmitt news as about the breastfeeding news. So I say keep the blog, even if you don't post as frequently as you used to.

  9. Anonymous Debby | 10:26 AM |  

    You can't quit - you just got those awesome plates! :-)

    Just kidding.

    I agree with what "anonymous" said above. I'd be sad to see it shut down, but I think it is absolutely fine if you wanted to just blog when and if the desire strikes - be that once a week or even less. There have been times with my website that I update it every day or more than once, and other times I've gone more than a month between updates. Write something breastfeeding related when you see something that inspires you to write, and write about your family or anything else when inspired by that.
    I can tell you from experience, that even when you are an ex-breastfeeder, you will never stop being an advocate. You've been through it all, and it has changed you for life. Breastfeeding will never feel like an irrelevent topic for someone who has nursed their baby for any extended length of time.

  10. Blogger Mamacita | 11:00 AM |  

    Who are you trying to please, us? That's ridiculous. There are hundres of blogs out there that discuss the issues. You happen to have been on top of all of them for awhile, which attracts readers who love the way you think.

    But at the end of the day, you have to blog for yourself, no one else. End of story.

  11. Anonymous daisybones | 11:42 AM |  

    What about a transition to a group blog format? Surely you have tons of readers who would make good contributors.

    Please do blog about your process of weaning Emmitt. I'm curious how it'll go. I've decided not to even attempt it until after my little one is two, if then, but many readers will probably agree that practical weaning advice is difficult to find.

  12. Blogger Heather | 12:26 PM |  

    I can understand wanting to hang up your hat if this blog is getting in the way of relationships and sanity. But please don't leave w/o posting about weaning! My daughter is a few months ahead of Emmitt, and I'd love to hear about your experience. There's a real dearth of models to follow if you don't wean by 11 months, say, and you're not planning on doing baby-led weaning.
    I enjoy your voice and perspective, though, Jen, and if you don't blog about breastfeeding, I'd hope you blog about something.

  13. Blogger Amy | 1:57 PM |  

    I say feel free to let the lactivist evolve or expire, but do keep blogging.

  14. Blogger Rebecca | 2:52 PM |  

    Pass the mantle! Surely there's a fired-up nursing mom out there that would love to take over (under your guidance of course).

  15. Blogger Rebecca | 2:57 PM |  

    to finish my thought....

    I would continue to read. I enjoy what you write and my son is near your son's age.

    But you could give somebody a chance to impress your (dedicated) readership on topics of interest to breastfeeding mothers.

  16. Blogger Carrie Lauth | 4:45 PM |  

    You can be a Lactivist even when you're not nursing! My sister hasn't nursed in years and she still gets that tingly feeling when she hears a baby cry in the store. ;)

    Keep on. Some will go, some will stay. What do you WANT to do? YOu could probably sell the site for a nice chunka change. What's the monthly revenue times 12?


  17. Blogger Cairo Mama | 4:51 PM |  

    I agree, you should do what you want to do. I would be interested in reading a mommy/parenting blog from you. Maybe you can close The Lactivist and call it something else since you are moving beyond the nursing phase of your life. You can always post lactivism stuff on your parenting blog if you come across it, but you won't be pressured to find things that you wouldn't be looking for otherwise. You have plenty of opinions on parenting issues you wouldn't want for material.

  18. Anonymous Mama Bear | 7:16 PM |  

    I can't tell you what to do, but I can observe that you've invested a lot of time and effort into your whole site, and the lactivism cause isn't going to be any less important just because you stop lactating. Also, just because you'll one day stop lactating doesn't mean you'll be some sort of poseur if you continue blogging as "The Lactivist." I think it's worth continuing indefinitely... See where it takes you. You might gain new insight as a former lactating mom that may help you figure out different ways of helping the movement. And, who knows? You may give birth to another baby (or choose to adopt another baby) and be lactating again one day! You never know where life will take you... :)

    You're a good writer, and you seem very true to your emotions. I don't see why you would need to stop that just because you physically stop lactating. Plus, every shirt you sell is more promotion for lactivism. I'm all for that. So I'll just come out and say it: if you can fit it into your life, please don't stop blogging. :)

  19. Anonymous MomOnTheGo | 7:28 PM |  

    I have to agree about posting when you want to about what you are going through. You can be a lactivist without lactating and without even focusing all or most of your posts on the subject. I tell people that I'm an historian who happens to be doing (whatever) - for a long time the whatever was managing the corporate Internet/intranet presence of government department but my approach to that was shaped by my training in research, analytical thinking and the need to communicate clearly my conclusions. Your posts about parenting in general will be shaped by the principles that led you to start you lactivism. Good luck with the decision.

  20. Blogger Bethany | 8:10 PM |  

    I also enjoy reading this blog, and would probably read it no matter what topics you posted on. I do enjoy hearing your views on lactivism, but I also like to hear about other issues, too. And like a previous commenter said, most of the forums out there are so overwhelming that I don't even bother.

    Please don't feel like you need to stop because you no longer nurse- you've certainly been through enough to know what you're talking about, whether you're currently nursing or not. I've missed reading your posts lately, and would be pretty sad if you altogether stopped.

  21. Anonymous Stacy N | 10:33 PM |  

    I would truly miss not having your blog to read ever again, but you have to take care of you and yours first. Blog when you want, don't when you don't. We'll understand. While I appreciate the lactivism focus, I wonder how long I will stick with it as well whenever my daughter weans (she's 17 months now). So go ahead and mix it up, but again, take care of yourself. I'll be keeping you in my prayers. ; )

  22. Blogger Hot Librarian | 8:54 AM |  

    I, for one, would be very interested in a post about weaning Emmitt, considering my own 1 yo needs to be weaned in less than 8 months and the prospect is quite daunting.

    Anyway, you are in my feed reader, and I enjoy your blog, probably the more personal posts more than the lactivism posts (but I like those too). So I say keep it up, and post when the need strikes. If you let the blog fold altogether, I think you will miss it (that's what happened to me - more than once).

  23. Blogger Ashley Benz | 9:28 AM |  

    Please stay. Even if you only post once a month, I love your blog. I like hearing your mommy stories just as much as your lactivism stories.

  24. Anonymous Anonymous | 2:03 PM |  

    I've never posted a comment but I'm an avid and loyal reader and would greatly miss your blog! I really enjoy your lactivist based posts, but I enjoy just as much, if not sometimes more, your parenting and personal posts. I like your style of writing and think any type of blog you write would be an enjoyable read. All that said, we all know how stressful it can be juggling all the demands of parenting and work, so choose what is best for you and your family. But know that if you continue your blog without as much "lactivism" and fewer postings at least one reader will still love it!

  25. Blogger Ahmie | 2:27 PM |  

    update when you can and don't stress about it (and send me info on the Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition, darnit!). I've got ya on my Google Reader so I see when you update when I have time to read it. Sometimes a week goes by before I have time to check the blogs I follow anyway. I still care to read what you have to share.

    And yes, I'll get that product review done soon. It didn't get here until I think 10/23 and life's been INSANE around here since, plus Del's a little bigger than I think they were hoping and a friend of mine is due any minute (literally), so gonna ask her if I can borrow her newborn to try it out with for a few minutes with her close at hand at least (I'd let her try it but she'd be swallowed whole in an XL size that I needed).

    Take care of you, you can't take care of anyone else if you don't. And your marriage and kids are infinitely more important than us blog-followers.

  26. Anonymous Rosomaqa | 3:54 PM |  

    Please keep going! You don't have to lactate to be The Lactivist. :-) And it's fine if you sometimes (or often) don't have the time yo update.

    PS Sorry you and poor Emmitt had such a rough time.
    PS 2 So how are you weaning? Definitely worth a post.

  27. Blogger Darlene | 4:55 PM |  

    I think there are many of us who would sorely miss your perspective and your approach to various issues. To think that as a non-lactating mom you have nothing to contribute really misses the point of what makes you such a special blogger: it's not that you make milk, it's your advocacy of breastfeeding, your understanding of the breastfeeding mom's issues, and both your sense of humor and your serious analysis of issues.

    As an experienced nursing mom, your perspective will be from a different place but you won't forget overnight what it took you three years to learn...and understand.

    I will continue to look forward to whatever you post and maybe you'll find that the moms that started with you three years ago are also moving on as their children grow and together you'll find new adventures to blog about as your children grow.

    As for trying to be the primary news source on breastfeeding issues, maybe you'll find that your contribution is on the 'hot' issues, just not ALL the issues. You'll have the freedom to pick-and-choose. You can advocate without it taking the lion's share of your time.

    From a purely selfish perspective, I would sorely miss reading your posts. I honestly look forward to reading your posts on all the various subjects. I have a grandchild, with another due in May, and you help me keep 'current' with mothering issues.

    Thanks for the chance to beg you not to fold up your tent quite yet.


  28. Anonymous Anonymous | 5:52 PM |  

    I agree with anonymous, above. I find your posts to be well-thought-out and logical rather than emotional. I would hate to see you stop posting!

  29. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 6:29 PM |  

    You know, it's AMAZING how cathartic it can be to come out and say "I don't know if I can do this anymore."

    I kept fighting off saying it, hoping inspiration would return. And for two months, I was drawing a blank.

    Then I finally sit down and get all those thoughts out and POOF. I immediately came up with a dozen post ideas.

    Thank you to everyone who has left feedback (and who soon will.) It means a lot to me to hear your thoughts. I do blog for myself, as an outlet, but I've also come to like and respect the community that has formed here. I like having your input on how things move forward.

    I'm giving some thought to how I'll work things, but I've decided I will keep blogging, I will keep being the lactivist and I will be making some changes. Hopefully I can get a post out over Thanksgiving with some insight into things.

  30. Blogger sara | 12:31 PM |  

    With so many blogs to read a lot of people are using RSS feeds or some other notification tool to keep track of which ones have been updated. Because of this, you don't have to write often to keep readership.

    There are some blogs I read via RSS that I never click through to see the rest, but yours isn't on that list.

    I'd love to keep reading about your kids... how is Elnora doing with the sign language? :)

  31. Blogger Casey | 9:10 PM |  

    You're in my blog reader so now matter how often you blog it will show up, and I'll read it. If you blog daily, I'll read it. If you blog once a week, I'll read it.

  32. Anonymous katie | 5:59 AM |  

    if you are no longer going to putting up breastfeeding and lactivism news, then can you point us to a site that is doing that? Not that I won't read yours, I would read both! Any suggestions?

  33. Anonymous Jessica (LazyK77) | 1:53 PM |  

    I'll read no matter what. I love reading your mommy posts. I followed you here from CBC... I'll follow you where ever. If you choose to close down The Lactivist simply because the name no longer fits, just promise to start another blog to keep us up to date on what is going on in your life. I love reading that day to day stuff. Makes me feel not so alone in theis whole thing we call being a mom.

  34. Blogger Jessica | 4:14 PM |  

    i think that even if you're not breastfeeding, you can still be a lactivist. to be honest, i read your blog most for the breastfeeding information/support (whether it's about particular incidents or your personal experience) and would be sad to see that content gone from your blog.

    And I agree that if you're no longer going to post about breastfeeding, perhaps a new title and url would be appropriate.

    As with everything else in life (including breastfeeding), I think you need to do whatever is best for you and your family!

    Thanks for everything you've done so far for lactivists and breastfeeding moms/families everywhere.

  35. Blogger Renata | 5:39 AM |  

    I actually prefer fewer blog posts because I like them all and I always find myself having to catch up ;-)

    Now seriously, I am one of the many who has been encouraged over and over again from your posts, but I also was encouraged to see you stop blogging for a while, because it showed that your blog does not run your life.

    But I'm glad you're back.

  36. Anonymous Anonymous | 7:51 AM |  

    Jennifer, I love reading your blog but you don't have to do it every day. Reading you is like catching up with a friend, except I can just sit back and listen. No one visits with every friend every day, and you shouldn't feel compelled to do it when the mood doesn't strike.

    What you've been saying--about breastfeeding AND about life--is good stuff and a lot of people want to hear your opinions and experiences. It's an antidote to the societal pressures that we all--you too!--are plagued by. You're a great voice in the wilderness. Write what you know, whatever subject that is, when you know it. Do it for yourself, only when it feels good. But please don't go silent!

    < /advice >

    Karen (it's a good day and I can post publicly!)

  37. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 10:52 AM |  


    It's good to "see" you here. ;) Here's hoping for more good days!

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