Old Life, New Life

And the confounding abyss in between

Walking into my first social outing since a virus attacked my autonomic nervous system 5.5 months ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Though much less than a few months ago, my nervous system still tends to over assimilate sound and does not adjust smoothly to darkness. Not to mention I’m still dealing with a slowly waning level of dizziness and lightheadedness. And then there’s the fertile world whose presence is, of course, immeasurable. (more…)

#Listen Up: Why Infertility Awareness Is Not Just For People Living With Infertility

When I think of National Infertility Awareness Week (taking place here in the US this year April 23 – 29), it conjures some unexpected images.

What would the LGBTQ movement be without the participation of friends, family members and fellow citizens?

The women’s movement without the support of men?

If you haven’t been personally affected by infertility, you know someone who has been. A friend. A family member. A co-worker. We are people just like everyone else who, as it happens, weren’t dealt a simple hand in the human reproduction department. The level of traumatic loss with which we deal is high, our support systems are more often than not emaciated.

And yet. A perceivable level of broad base support for the social issue of infertility and its related havoc is somehow missing. It is rare I see family and friends supporting, speaking and standing up for those in their life who are dealing with reproductive trauma and loss. One would be hard pressed to find, anywhere in human history, a cause so drenched in the need for a social restructuring that is so ignored by those who are not directly afflicted. (more…)

#Listen Up: Eight Ways to Support People Living With Infertility Now

With National Infertility Awareness Week on our door step, here are some ways friends, family, co-workers and community members alike can support the infertile community.

#1 HALT THE BABY MAKING MYTHS

Just relax and take a vacation. When you stop trying, it happens. It will happen when it’s meant to. Here, let me give you some sexual pointers…… (more…)

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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Emotional Labor Misconceptions

In the face of involuntary childlessness, grief and recovery

How am I going to live THIS life in THIS world?

It’s one of the questions that has adhered itself to every aspect of my being since stopping fertility treatments three years ago. It’s a question that has become only more throbbing as I make my way back out into the world and initiate my life rebuilding process. It’s a question that is unavoidable. And how could it not be? My experiences trying to conceive, the physical absence of my children and our loss of parenthood colors everything.

I’m not alone in this. When one has come through and out of the wanting of parenthood in any way shape or form, finding themselves on the other side of their dream or pursuit or hard work without the desired children in tow, we are all in some version of a related boat.

Thoughts, feelings and instincts on this question percolate in our systems. We organically, if not subconsciously, become silent, unseen coping skill factories, working overtime to generate a new life that makes sense to us, a new social normal and perhaps most of all, self-preservation.

I was recently made more consciously aware of part of my process when I read Cathy’s latest post, Are You Doing More Than Your Fair Share of Emotional Labor? over at Slow Swimmers and Fried Eggs (Thanks, Cathy!). Realizations rising to the surface were of course prompted by the writing and investigating of fellow infertility survivors because where else would they come from? There’s no context out in the wider world acknowledging the plight forward for those of us who wanted children but couldn’t have them, even most if not all infertility support groups are tone-deaf towards this journey. (more…)

Sweet Words

A doctor finally gets it right

I have two major biochemical imbalances that caused chronic and sometimes suicidal depression between the ages of 17 – 29.  They were finally diagnosed and pretty well treated by the Pfeiffer Health Research Institute via a prescribed nutrient therapy program.  While I should normally get re-tested every year or two, for me, this was just one more thing that got pushed to the side during fertility treatments and the subsequent loss of our children.

I think most if not all of us have situations where our infertility collides with challenges and crisis we faced prior.  Those experiences can be internal, or more external, as it was when I was driving to my first Pfeiffer appointment in four years about a month ago.  I was pondering how I was going to explain the infertility/childlessness trauma/PTSD amid grief symptoms amid symptoms of my biochemical imbalances with a dash of peri-menopause thrown in while marinating in that all too familiar not knowing if I was going to be seen, heard and taken seriously. (more…)

Future Generations: Nine Things Young People Should Know About Human Reproduction

When it comes to infertility and involuntary childlessness, everyone needs to go back to school.

The second day of our little North Fork of Long Island July getaway started out with a full delicious breakfast, and a bike rental that went off without a hitch.  Perfect eighty – degree weather and much pedaling brought us to our first winery stop in the early afternoon.

Sipping on a succulent sparkling rose, my husband and I found ourselves seated in proximity to what for us is a past life of sorts – a group of eight youngsters celebrating an engagement.  I enjoyed their effervescence to the hum of my internal groan as they yammered on about how many kids each of them wanted and were going to have.

The disturbing aspect of all this you ask?  What was missing.  (more…)