Involuntary Childlessness in the Human Conversation

Scenes from when it works, Illuminations on what goes wrong 

Today I am dedicating my blog to National Infertility Awareness Week and to the launch of Justine Brooks Froelker’s latest book The Mother of Second Chances, based on her blog Ever Upward releasing on April 17th. For five weeks 25 amazing women will share their stories of infertility and loss as part of this incredible blog tour, because together we can shatter the stigma.

Click here for the scheduled list of participants and posts, running all of the way from March 27 – April 28!!  We would love for you to participate by sharing these posts far and wide. We’d especially love to see your own broken silence by sharing your own infertility story using the hastags: #NIAW, #infertility and #EverUpward.

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I recall walking out in the world during the two years following my fertility treatments feeling like the teacher from Charlie Brown – voiceless.

The portrayal of even a smidgen of my experiences brought forth endless platitudes. Blank stares and silence filled the space where ceremony and ritual, verbal acknowledgements (try I’m so sorry for your loss) and casseroles are supposed to be in the event of that which is world shattering.

Close to 20% of the female population aged 45 and over in the United States (and in many other countries around the world) does not parent.  It is likely the majority of this population is child free not entirely by choice, hopefully one day soon there will be an actual statistic available.  IVF has now been around for 40 years, providing many of us with a towering pile of failures.  And yet the human conversation still lags far behind reality.
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Truth, Death and Mother’s Day

“It’s a pronatalist world and we’re just living in it……”

I knew entering a nail salon the afternoon before Mother’s Day was not the brightest of moves.  It’s about as smart as adopting an indoor porcupine, actually.  I live in permanent mockery of my “poor little first world problem”, as I’ve been known to call it – yet my trips to the nail salon have turned fodder for many a blog post.  For the involuntarily childless infertility survivor, women + mindlessness is never good.  And so off I went, in part because my sweet cousin had just passed away, I was a little shell shocked and knew I’d be on a plane in a couple of days, and in part to treat myself. (more…)

#StartAsking For Support From Family

Guest Post – My Mom

I’ve been noticing that it seems our family members need to speak on our behalves a lot more.  I envision a future where people speak up for family members dealing with infertility as much as they do for any of life’s other crisis and unexpected heartaches.

I know that eliciting support from family is not always feasible.  Not everyone has a parent, parents or siblings within reach, due to death and other circumstances.  And, since we have about as much of a choice of who our parents are as we do over our reproductive situations (please read: none!), some of us are dealing with more astronomical levels of crazy than others.  Please know that I abide with these circumstances too.

The path to incorporating the hardship of treatments, the losses brought by infertility and the needs that arise because of them into my extended families’ reality has not been an easy one.  But we all persisted and I’m glad we did.  It touches on a spirit present in some of my other posts, which is that one doesn’t matter less in any given equation because they couldn’t have children easily or at all.  So, with that said I’ll turn things over to Mom. (more…)

A Week in the Life of an Infertility Survivor Pt2

Aunty Sarah

It was three days after Easter.  I awoke with a slow bleed into consciousness.  I know there are those dramatic shoot up from the pillow in the still of the night bursts – this was not that.  But something was…..wrong, amiss somehow. (more…)

A Week in the Life of an Infertility Survivor Pt 1

Hi All –

Wanted to remind those of you in the IF community about Justine’s #MoreThan1in8 project over at Ever Upward.  She’s asking for our photographs and stories of surviving and thriving that she’ll compile, in some surprise way I hear, for National Infertility Awareness Week.  Which is next week already!

I submitted mine a little over a week ago.  I wrote whatever came to mind (shocking, I know) and focused more on the survival aspect as I myself have barely entered the thriving part.  I sense I’ve got a ways to go before that takes hold.

Like Justine I do believe we have power and voice in numbers, and that it is past time for us to be seen.  So if you are in the place of being ready, have your submissions in by this Friday the 22nd.

My writing this week comes in a few parts, so buckle your belts and off we go……

 

The Pause

Musings of an Easter Scrooge

“Cover your left nostril with your right hand ring finger.  Inhale to the count of five through your right nostril.  Pause for one.  Cover your right nostril with your thumb, release your ring finger from your left.  Exhale through your left side to the count of five.  Pause for one.  Inhale through your left side to the count of five……”

I’ll never forget the first time I was instructed to pause between the inhales and exhales of my alternate nostril breathing.  The suspension, for me, was unquestionably luxurious.  I thought I had been introduced to a utopia of sorts, where neutrality and all else that is coalesced, emerging as the perfect cocktail.

In my current life, I’ve been having a decent stretch lately.  I have regained some of my ability to see into the future, at least a few months into it anyway.  What an oddity to have my future vision yield something besides dull blobs of blankness.  I’m slightly busy again, busy for the first time in six years with something other than baby making, surviving and grieving.  And more importantly, it seems I’m actually ready to be. (more…)

Unexpected Benefits of Infertility Blogging

I have a fantasy.

It intensifies whenever I read the Resolve message boards, or someone’s blog in the infertile community, or when I write and post my own story. “People should be reading this” is my ever persistent feeling. I wish for everyone, yes, everyone, to read one blog on infertility, a disease that affects 1 in 6 people of child-bearing age, a disease for which 1 in 8 seek medical treatment. (more…)

“Infertile On Board” is an official product!

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Imagine my surprise when I received this comment on my blog:

“Hi Sarah, I stumbled across your link whilst doing some analytics and was quite inspired by your post. We’ve now put the sign you created up on our site as a specific sign – http://www.personalisedcarsigns.co.uk/infertile-on-board – with exclamation mark this time!”

I know people of all kinds have quite a reaction to, and many opinions on, the word infertile. So how did “Infertile On Board” come about? (more…)