Resolve To Let People Know More – Infertile On Board

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, April 20 – April 26, 2014, my post,

INFERTILE ON BOARD

It’s no secret in the infertile community. The general public has at least a few marathons to run to get itself into shape on the subject of infertility. That is why I’ve been emboldened by the work I see from our community lately. From this year’s advocacy day coming up on May 7th to articles on infertility in major newspapers, the efforts that people are making on a grand public scale are slowly but surely making a difference.

There is something else that we ALL can do, each and every one of us, even those of us who can’t always be directly involved with the aforementioned crucial work for our community. It is something we can all do any time to effect change on the current state of misinformation and insensitivity held by the public on the disease of infertility. We can all speak up in our “ordinary” life moments, resolving to let people know more.

In my early days as infertile, one of the first things I noticed as infertility began to tighten its grip was that there was really no space held by the outside world for the experience. Claustrophobic by nature, I was plagued with the question “How am I going to live authentically in a world in which there is no space for me?”

The more I started opening my mouth and speaking out the more I started to realize – it was often painfully clear the novice with whom I was conversing was likely talking about infertility, with a real live infertile nonetheless, for the first time. I was puzzled by this, given the fact that what was happening to me was hardly uncommon (infertility effects approximately one in eight couples). The myths, lack of understanding, and cluelessness towards the struggle and depth of loss stunned me to the point of making my head spin, especially considering infertility is not the result of anything I ever did wrong. It is not the result of anything I ever did or didn’t do or didn’t do enough of PERIOD. “Now I know how people who knew the world was really round felt walking amongst those who continued to insist it was flat!”, I’d tell my husband. “We infertiles are in this world as a statistic”, I’d ponder, “but we’re not yet really in it as living breathing feeling human beings.”

In everyday conversation as well as in the landscape of daily life infertility awareness seems to be on an extended coffee break. It is in this very space where infertile myths are perpetuated, and where the trauma, grief and loss brought on by infertility all too often gets dismissed. Why not tackle the problem at one of its main sources, where the spark is most potent? If more of us spoke up, if more of us where forthright about this disease of infertility we did nothing to procure and its devastating life side effects, what positive social change might take place?

With the spirit of “to each his/her own” as the presumed backdrop, here are some musings on how we infertiles can expand our space in this world. Sometimes the greatest changes are forged with baby steps. (Oh, the tragic irony!).

What if more of us started responding to people who go on about their pregnancies, unaware that hearing about them can be an excruciatingly traumatic experience for some, with something like “My third IVF failed three weeks ago. While I certainly don’t wish you anything bad, I really don’t need to hear about that right now.”

Although my husband was initially hesitant about me freely divulging the amount of money we spent on fertility treatments and other failed holistic measures, I decided it was worth the minor risk. In a world rife with angst over the price of diapers and the burden of college tuition, surely room can be made in conversation for the misfortune of the $77,000 my husband and I spent on NOT getting pregnant.

It is often not in our best interest to attend baby showers and even other social gatherings that have the potential to be loaded emotional landmines. (Thank you, Captain Obvious). What if we more habitually responded with an honest “I really appreciate the invite, but with all we’re going through with our infertility the situation will be too painful for us right now.” Possibly followed by “Although I can’t tell you when our response will be different, any future efforts to include us would mean a lot.”

How about “That’s scientifically unfounded” or “That’s not true” as consistent responses to the groovy infertility myths we get unabashedly pelted with? Now, one may not care to go to the extreme of pointing out, upon being told to “just relax”, that attributing infertility to stress is just another cheap and easy way to blame the victim. Those dalliances can be saved for those of us who are prone to (all too frequent) bouts of orneriness (a-hem). Point being that simple and uncharged can be highly effective.

It brings Eleanor Roosevelt’s tried and true “You must do the thing you think you cannot do” wisdom to a whole other level, doesn’t it? But what if there could come a day when these responses and conversation topics were actually socially acceptable? Where instead of being tied up with how to hide and avert life we could funnel our precious energy into garnering well deserved support and caring for our battle weary selves? It’s an idea that cannot come to fruition unless we start to speak and act, resolving to let people know more.

The yoga practitioner in me seeks balance through opposition. When to stay silent and when to hold back is just as important of an inquiry as is how and when to speak and act. In reality, there are many situations where we could harm ourselves more by speaking. Each individual needs to be mindful of what those are for them. From social complications in the workplace, the fallout of which would take too much energy to handle, to strained family relationships we’re not ready to deal with, potential ramifications always need to be considered before pulling the trigger. Sometimes simply sitting in a tough moment awash with our cyclone of emotions is job enough for our neurotransmitters, thus pushing ourselves to do more can be unreasonable.  Those of us who pursue medical treatment need to give ourselves leeway when we’re too psychologically altered by fertility drugs to respond to emotionally brutal situations with the necessary degree of rationality. And then there are those times when we’re just not up for hearing it. When I can vividly see the headline “Infertile blasted to smithereens by her own volatility, suspect who told her to relax and take a vacation will not be charged….” in my future, I back off. The intentions of self compassion and self protection need to be in place, and the principle of “what is going to serve me best now?” needs to be given its due attention before we speak and act.

In the world we infertiles are everywhere, so why not put ourselves everywhere in the world? I used to get so disheartened driving around suburban Long Island. My eyes would always catch the advertisements of people’s familial statuses, white stick figured and otherwise, on the backs of cars, especially in all of my harsh moments. And then one day it dawned on me, I work just as hard as an any average parent, not to mention I suffer a lot more. I deserve a sign. So I special ordered one.

 

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Oh, yes I did. Please don’t think that has been ANYWHERE but on the back of my car since I purchased my sign in May of 2013. No one has ever commented on it, but I know it’s there. And if it makes one or two people do a double take and go “hmmm” every day, then it’s doing its job. There are situations and circumstances where it is in one’s best self-interest to stay under cover. The perpetual suppression of one’s truth, however, has an effect on the human spirit that is profoundly un-nurturing. I am here, after all. We all are. All 7.3 million of us. But the world won’t know unless we keep saying so, resolving to let people know more, in venues both big and small.

 

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Just another regular day at Whole Foods. If you look closely you can see my sign holding its own against one of its fertile counterparts.

 

Click on http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 for basic information on the disease of infertility.

Click on http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html to learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week.

 

As almost always, I leave you with a sauwong (that’s Long Islandese for “song”) that I feel reflects the theme of my post, by my favorite band Rush.

 

CLOSER TO THE HEART

And the men who hold high places

Must be the ones who start

To mold a new reality

Closer to the heart

Closer to the heart

 

The blacksmith and the artist

Reflect it in their art

They forge their creativity

Closer to the heart

Closer to the heart

 

Philosophers and ploughmen

Each must know his part

To sow a new mentality

Closer to the heart

Closer to the heart

 

You can be the captain

And I will draw the chart

Sailing into destiny

Closer to the heart

Closer to the heart

The Unavoidable Contemplation of Injustice

My reaction to the Ebony Wilkerson case

During the five weeks after the loss of our biological children, I had come to the conclusion, intellectually at least, that it was time to take life less seriously.  The list of reasons is long, and is one I seem to tick off so relentlessly I’m starting to resemble the “I want my 2 dollars!!” paper boy from Better Off Dead (Hey children of the eighties!).  Twenty four embryos turning into nothing.  The endless labyrinth of holistic measures I utilized to stack the deck.  The colossal amount of time and money spent.  The medical issues that were uncovered and treated to no avail.  If two happily married people who have so much to offer a child could put THAT much into trying to get one and come up empty handed, how seriously really can I now take my life and the world that my life is in?  I must have made some headway on this because when the story of a mother driving her minivan into the ocean to try and kill her three children hit the news, I burst out laughing.  When I found out she is a preggo, I practically peed my pants.  Yes, I’m forty-two, infertile, laughing at attempted murder, and if that weren’t enough I now apparently need Depends.  Awesome.  “Way to go, fertile world!!” I called out to my TV as I applauded.  Yeah yeah, I get that this piece of work is not representative of the fertile world, but she ain’t part of my infertile crew.  She’s clearly not one of OURS.  “Oh, and another great job, god”, I said as I clapped my hands above my head.  “What a NICE place to put four kids.  Dumbass!”

I get the mental illness thing to a strong degree.  Sick with chronic depression from the time I was seventeen until I was twenty-nine, I made sure I did not bring children into this world until AFTER I was treated.  I made sure I had many years of trying and testing my successful nutrient therapy program under my belt before attempting motherhood.  So for someone who is that screwed up yet goes and has not one, not two, but FOUR children, I don’t have much sympathy.  For whatever Ebony Wilkerson’s problems are I can say this woman should not be a mother.  But most of all I get that innocent children who have never done ANYTHING to deserve something that even remotely resembles the horror they’ve been forced to endure have been traumatized.  All while I sit here childless.  I see the absurdity and the ridiculousness of life in all this, confirming my initial direction that I not take the world so seriously.

Easier said than done.

I, to an extent, shared the typical “how could a mother do that to her children?” reaction.  Although due to my own personal experience I know mental illness explains a lot of it.  A general level of outrage and horror seemed to be the response to this case, judging from the many comments I read.  Except for the few “you know, being a mom is very stressful” douche bag points of view that were sparsely scattered throughout the indignant ones.  Is it really?  Try being denied the privilege, genius.   If anyone should be compelled to drive into the ocean……..  Anyway, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “An infertile’s work is never done”.  The general infertile reaction, whether similar to or different from mine, is in one way or another forced to go way deeper than the disturbing “how could a mother do that to her children?” question nagging everyone.  In addition to what this woman did to her children, I must grapple with the fact that she is pregnant for a fourth time while I can’t even be once.  Then I must grapple with the fact that in spite of it all she’s a mom who it seems came into the position quite easily.  And that after my long list of efforts and hard work and suffering I still don’t get to be one.  All while in the back of my head I’m grappling with the endless actions I’ve been told to take by clueless uninformed people, from relax and take a vacation, to have a better (note actual meaning: less realistic) attitude to what I should eat and how to have sex.  Really?  I’ve got to do all that just for a chance at a child while this woman gets to be certifiable, not even attend to her mental illness, and still gets to be a mom four times over?  You might want to rethink that.

Injustices have always bothered me, even when I’m not on the hard hitting side of them.  I was seven years old when I started to catch on to the truth that not only was the world not the way I had thought it was, but that something was amiss in it.  I was immersed in the usual concerns of a seven year old.  The death of my first pet, negotiating a raise in my allowance, and oh, the victims of Khmer Rouge.  It was all over the news and on the cover of Newsweek, the picture of starving children held behind a fence forever emblazoned in my mind.  I can still see it if I close my eyes.  Yes, the children starving in Cambodia plagued my thoughts during the day and kept me awake at night.  Sometimes I would cry.  Others I would stare at the wall in my little lavender bedroom with second hand antique furniture lovingly (and no doubt irritably) stripped and painted white with gold trim by my parents.  I would stare at the wall and wonder why I was here in a comfy bed with enough food to eat and they were there.  I was not ok with this.  I had seen their picture.  They were kids just like me.  I did not need this explained to me, I knew in a way that a seven year old knows that they had done nothing wrong, and that we were no different from each other.  It was all unsettling and disturbing to me in a way unlike anything I had ever experienced before.  So some nights my seven year old mind would take on more than it could handle, and go to work trying to solve the problem.  In my mind’s eye I would start with the extra food in my frig that I could give them and figure out how to get it across the Atlantic ocean (that’s just the way I went to Cambodia back then).  I’d get stuck, either having no way to cross the Atlantic, then realizing that by the time they ate it I wouldn’t have even made it back to Massachusetts and they would need more.  So I’d then return to the extra food in my frig and start again, hoping to solve it with my next attempt.  And no matter how much I thought about it, as far as reasons and answers and solutions I kept ending up with a big fat NOTHING.

Similar to the adult assumption that “all good people who would make great parents get to have children” that floats through the subconscious of most of us until challenged, my seven year old self had assumed all children had enough food.  And adults in their lives who could solve the problem if they didn’t.  Although I was clearly the lucky one, not the victim in the situation, knowing that children were starving while I wasn’t changed something in me.  It was injustice, and it was impossible not to contemplate it, even at age seven.  I don’t think I ever looked at the world the same way again.  Though the injustices and the ramifications of them are incredibly different, the starvation in Cambodia revealed to me a side of life that is disappointing and grotesque, as has infertility.  I now see things like the Wilkerson case through weary yet sharper eyes.

So in response to the Wilkerson case I inadvertently found myself turning to my imaginary world at age 42 to cope.  I guess that’s what you do when you are old enough to know there are no good answers.  A total regression from my earnest “get the food from my frig to Cambodia” mind’s eye plight from my days of yore, I first imagined driving all mothers who try to kill their children into the ocean.  I then lined up all of the “it’s meant to be” and “god’s will” baby people and made them stay on the beach naked in the cold.  Until I found the appropriate shark infested waters to drive THEM into.  An acknowledged lack of solutions to some of the world’s injustices apparently can make one quite trippy……..Anyway, I lastly decided that as a bonus to long suffering infertiles the “just relax and take a vacation” people should swim with the jellyfish.  While I watch.  And tell them to just relax and take a vacation.

The Wilkerson case magnifies the hilarity of the mean insensitive things we infertiles have said to us, and it also simultaneously sharpens the sting.  For it is much easier to point the finger at me and people like me, at people who can’t have children, than it is to wrap one’s head around the fact that people like Ebony Wilkerson can and do have children.  But you really can’t acknowledge one without acknowledging the other.  So I ask people, when they are speaking to infertiles to please consider this:  When you say that “it isn’t meant to be” for my husband and I, or anyone else for that matter, to have children, you are also implying that someone like Ebony Wilkerson IS meant to have them.  Because hey, if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be, right?  And for those who believe it is god’s plan (thank goodness I don’t get much of this, but the small amount I’ve gotten has been horrible) that my husband and I, or anyone else for that matter, can’t have children, then you are also implying that it IS god’s plan that four children be raised by an insane person who tries to kill them by driving them into the ocean.  If this were the plan of the divine source I worship, I certainly wouldn’t be touting it.  I’d be embarrassed.  Perhaps these comments people make come from a place of attempting to quell their own fears that there may NOT always be a method to the madness of both the nature and the universe.  And from taking life in this random world a bit too seriously.

I know in the long run I’m better off not spending time pondering injustices for which there are no good answers.  I started to get a sense of this back at age seven, however wanting answers in life is innately human no matter what age you are.  Facing head on the fact that there may not be any is a conscious act of evolution.  But the contemplation of injustice is unavoidable, especially for passionate human beings with wounds that are both raw and recent.  I’ve come to believe that it’s ALL possible in this random crazy world of ours, and my situation and the Wilkerson case are just two examples of that.  Possible but not personal, which is something I need to get back to.  The funny thing is that at the end of the day the fact that she can have four kids, and I none, means absolutely nothing.  It is in this very way that infertility has been such a mind and spirit fuck for me, a serious person who is always looking for the deeper meaning.  Because when it comes to baby making in this word, there just isn’t any.

A few days ago I found myself in the middle of a discussion with my husband about long lost children.  We’ve had a bit of a breather lately since no one in our lives (at least that we know of) is pregnant.  So what better time for someone my husband knows to learn about a long lost child he didn’t know he had?  I guess the child was conceived right before he left his country and he hadn’t known about it until now.  Yep, he was telling my husband what a wonderful feeling it is (you mean that feeling we’ll NEVER have?  Thanks for sharing.), and flashing pictures of the kid and the whole bit.

So I had to wonder, “Any chance of that ever happening to you honey?  Not that I’d be really that excited about some long lost bastard of yours, but I guess it’d be better than nothing.  Yet I somehow bet we can’t even get THAT….”

“No, no chance” he said with his usual nonchalant certainty.  He then went on to tell me how careful he and his childhood girlfriend were about using condoms, which I actually hadn’t known or suspected since he grew up in rural El Salvador and is from a HUGE family.  Though four years younger than me, he too is part of the AIDS generation and apparently the health department in El Salvador was on the ball with dispensing free condoms as well as information about the disease.  He said a lot of people were sloppy and ignorant and didn’t jump on the bandwagon.  “Or they thought god would protect them, please”, I said to which he agreed.  But he and his girlfriend wanted to be safe from disease and knew they weren’t ready to bring a child into the world.

“Good for you guys for being responsible.  Wow, honey, you did everything right as far as taking care of yourself and not bringing an unwanted unprepared for child into this world, even in rural El Salvador in the 1980’s.  Good for you.”  I pause.  “Yeah, and I’m sure THAT’S who ends up not being able to have a kid!  The person who does everything conscientiously and right.  What a stupid world!”  I burst out laughing.

I think I’m starting to get it.

 

ROLL THE BONES from the album ROLL THE BONES by RUSH

 

Well you can stake that claim

Good work is the key to good fortune

Winners take that praise

Losers seldom take that blame

If they don’t take that game

And sometimes the winner takes nothing

We draw our own designs

But fortune has to make that frame

 

We go out in the world and take our chances

Fate is just the weight of circumstances

That’s the way that lady luck dances

Roll the bones

 

Why are we here?  Because we’re here

Roll the bones Roll the bones

Why does it happen? Because it happens

Roll the bones Roll the bones

 

Faith is cold as ice

Why are little ones born only to suffer

For want of immunity or a bowl of rice?

Well, who would hold a price

On the heads of the innocent children

If there were some immortal power to control the dice?

 

We come into the world and take our chances

Fate is just the weight of circumstances

That’s the way that lady luck dances

Roll the bones

 

Jack…..relax

Get busy with the facts

No zodiacs or almanacs

No maniacs in polyester slacks

Just the facts

Gonna kick some gluteus max

It’s a parallax….you dig?

You move around

The small gets big it’s a rig

It’s action…..reaction

Random interaction

So who’s afraid of a little abstraction?

Can’t get no satisfaction from the facts?

You’d better run, homeboy

A fact’s a fact

From Nome to Rome boy

What the deal?

Spin the wheel

If the dice are hot….take a shot

Play your cards.  Show us what you got

What you’re holding

If the cards are cold

Don’t go folding

Lady Luck is golden

She favors the bold

That’s cold

Stop throwing stones

A night has a thousand saxophones

So get out there and rock

And roll the bones

Get busy!

 

Why are we here?  Because we’re here

Roll the bones Roll the bones

Why does it happen?  Because it happens

Roll the bones Roll the bones

 

The End Of Our Bio Family

An Open Letter

This post is a letter I composed with input from my husband upon finding out our last fertility treatment failed.  Fortunately, we never had to send it as most of our close friends and family (in other words the people who really matter) have been extremely wonderful and supportive.  Both Julio and I have had a lot of helpful talks with empathetic friends.  I’ve gotten some very thoughtful emails.  Some of the close people in my life have been checking in on me consistently, and I even got a sympathy card of sorts from a friend.  A lovely note of acknowledgement of our loss and support that meant the world in the midst of this loss that all too often goes unacknowledged.  Friends and family members of infertiles pay attention: This is a great thing to do for an infertile couple who has come to the sad end of their baby making hopes.  So with all of that said, writing this helped us process our situation and gave us some food for thought even though we realized afterwards there was no current outside need for it.  Although with my husband having a lot of contact with the public in his job, it feels good to have a piece of writing up our sleeves for those who don’t know us as well who may not want to accept and understand our situation.  We never know when we might need it as the job of an infertile is never ever done……….

An open letter to family, friends, and all who know us:

February 2, 2014

Julio and I are saddened to officially let you all know that after three years and eight months of trying, one surgery, ten failed fertility treatments, and $77,000 spent, that we will not be able to have our own children.  January 31, 2014 is the day that dream officially died.

We want to provide a basis for communication between us and everyone on this subject, as it is something major people in our generation deal with but there currently is no existing protocol for it.  Working from square one every time we are asked about it or break the news would be both exhausting and futile.  It is our intent to address the topics we know from experience come up in conversation.  We hope this letter sheds some light not only on our loss, but on the significant as any and all too often unacknowledged loss in general of coming out of infertility treatments with no children.

HOW ARE WE DOING?  (This is a good first question).  We are sad.  We are grieving.  We feel empty.  We are absorbing our loss as well as processing what this change may mean for our life ahead.  We are traumatized, especially Sarah for whom this assault was physical as well as spiritual, mental and emotional.  Going through all we went through to not get anything from it is a process Sarah has likened to being decapitated with a spoon.  We are doing as well as anyone who has suffered loss within their family would be doing.  We will slowly start to pick up the pieces of our lives that infertility shattered, and are already finding some satisfaction and relief in this.  Some pieces we will put back together, some we will reconstruct, and those that can no longer exist we will throw away, as this has changed us forever.   Most importantly, we will start to heal from this extraordinarily depleting and devastating thing that is so innocently called “baby making”.  In spite of it all we will eventually be ok and we will get through this.  Bio kids aren’t something one can conveniently cross off a list while hopping and skipping right on to the “next step” of family building.  Our most important and necessary “next step” right now is healing.  Amidst our culture that is relentless in demanding resolution and answers, Julio has expressed the need for “some space”.

WHAT ABOUT ADOPTION? (This is NEVER a good first question!) Once one has been denied the privilege of receiving their family the “easy old fashioned way”, any process gone through to acquire a family is arduous, demeaning, and expensive.  As we have just gone through the arduous, demeaning, and expensive process of utilizing ART (assisted reproductive technology), we need to think at least twice before embarking on yet another arduous, demeaning, and expensive journey!  It is also important to understand that although adoption can often work out to be a wonderful thing, it is in no way a replacement for the loss of our biological children.  This loss will remain with us forever.  In addition, we have been told that Julio’s immigration status excludes us from adopting internationally and we are concerned that it may be a problem for domestic adoption as well.  Although we are serious about taking a break, we will be working on finding this out sooner rather than later.  We are concerned that on top of everything else the privilege of adopting may also be taken from us and hope Julio’s status turns out not to be an obstacle.  We have ruled out the options of egg donation and embryo adoption as of now.  We have many reasons for this however it is mainly due to the fact that our immunological and genetic issues would make positive results harder to acquire and less likely, and to Sarah’s intense desire to never ever undergo another fertility treatment for as long as we both shall live amen.  We are also seriously considering the option of living involuntarily childless.

YES, IT IS REALLY OVER.  We have often been comforted by our family, friends, and people who know us.  The notion of baby making “ending” is not one that people accept easily though, since it is rarely, if ever openly faced.  Having to hear the comments from people who aren’t willing to accept our reality was one of Julio’s first major concerns in the hours after getting the official word from our doctor.  As infertility veterans we already have been exposed to the prevalence of comments such as “Don’t worry, you WILL have a baby” or “you never know, maybe a miracle will happen”.  Having to deal with the truth that this is not to be is hard enough without having to convince other people!  Due to our immunological and genetic issues the chances of us conceiving on our own are .000001% if they even exist at all.  If not impossible then highly highly unlikely.  Whether conscious or subconscious, unless experienced otherwise most of us hold some form of the belief that good worthy deserving people who would make spectacular parents will eventually win out and get what they “deserve”, which is also better for the world in a sense.  Sadly, baby making does not work this way.  Though it often works out the “right” way, the fact that good people can do everything and get nothing while those who abandon, severely abuse and even murder their own children are often quite fertile is simply a hard truth of life here on earth.  What it boils down to is that there is nothing left to reasonably do or try.  We have done absolutely everything right and nothing wrong.  We have done absolutely everyTHING period.  Whether this is nature’s failure or the universe’s mistake doesn’t really matter to us right now.  We know it is not ours.  Should one feel the normal urge to beg to differ on this being over it may be helpful to remember this:  On top of everything else we’ve experienced, we’ve been diligently and intimately involved, over the course of the year, in the creation of twenty four embryos that have been transferred into Sarah and have turned into nothing.  This gives us a perspective on the uselessness of hope and the impertinence of belief that is beyond the scope of imagination of most human beings.

WHY?  When bad things happen to good people, and that’s really all this is at the end of the day, it more often than not provokes the question “why?”  Over time we have both accumulated a disinterest in the whys and possible reasons for this.  We have come to realize it’s better for people to mull over the possible spiritual and or philosophical implications of this on their own, as there is nothing that brings us any spiritual comfort right now.  The “if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be” view of things is just peachy until “IT” happens to you, I’ve learned.  The notion of there being a valid reason for this is both hurtful and offensive, and needless to say, neither of us are exactly fans of god and the spirit world at the moment (we are not alone as a sense of spiritual disenfranchisement is very common amongst infertiles).

Most of all we want to thank everyone who has supported us in any way through this challenge.  We want to thank every single person who ever listened to either of us, and those who acknowledged and continue to acknowledge our pain and our loss.  All of your sympathies and kind words and good wishes and accommodations helped and will continue to help to carry us through.

Sarah & Julio

Throughout our journey, Sarah has developed a radar as well as a strong distaste for baby making myths, since their mere accomplishments consist only of victim blaming, scientific ignorance, and truth aversion.  For anyone who still has the stomach to read on (and we really don’t blame you if you don’t), she’d like to debunk a few right now!

MYTH: Once you give up trying, THEN you’ll get pregnant.

IN FACT, There is no absolute proven path to conceiving a child.  IN FACT, Women have been getting pregnant and not getting pregnant in all kinds of situations, trying hard and not trying hard, focusing on it and not focusing on it, since the beginning of human history.

MYTH: Once you adopt, you’ll get pregnant.

IN FACT, Pregnancy rates for infertile couples who go on to adopt are EXACTLY THE SAME as for those who do not go on to adopt.

MYTH: Miracle baby infertile success stories are always inspiring and give hope.

IN FACT, They are dismissive of the reality of someone who has exhausted all possibilities of becoming pregnant.

Seems almost everyone has some chipper and dramatic miracle baby story ready to whip out at a moment’s notice.  Society and the media are gluttons for them.  Like they know someone who knows someone who they are sure did 97 rounds of IVF to no avail.  Someone who had been trying to conceive for twenty years when she got kidnapped by aliens in a spaceship that landed on Mars where the Martians stole her ovaries in her sleep, put them in a vegetable terrine and ate them while catapulting her back to earth during which time she completely, completely gave up all hope until hark she was pregnant six months later.  With twins.  Of course, because everything ALWAYS works out the way it’s supposed to (insert fertile world unicorns here).  These stories are told amply and out of proportion to their actual level of occurrence, while the stories of those of us who come out of treatment with no baby don’t seem to exist.  “I wish there was something I could do” is a common and heartfelt sentiment people express to us.  There is, if you are feeling wild and wacky (and also need to silence a table full of people and/or clear a room).  The next time you hear someone telling a miracle baby story, tell ours.  Not just for us but for the 30% of patients who give years of their lives having to trek through the traumatizing and unforgiving maze of ART (assisted reproductive technology) through no fault of their own only to try to acquire this basic natural human birthright the vast majority of the world comes by so so easily, all to no avail.  This challenge is not for the meek.  You will be met with a lot of silence, denial, perhaps even some anger, and the inevitable question some genius always manages to provide, “Has she tried acupuncture?”  (I’d bet my bottom dollar on this had I not just spent it on acupuncture).  To which you can confidently answer, “Yes, she has done enough of that for TEN lifetimes.”  The earnest yet excruciatingly uninformed utterances of “But what about Kelly Preston and Halle Berry” you will also hear (as the non- infertile world is nothing if not predictable) I suggest you ignore, as the only worthy response available to that is “they likely used egg donors, ya dumbass!”