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…)

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…)

Mother’s Day Through the Eyes of an Infertility Survivor

“Happy Mother’s Day!” my spin class instructor called out.

I lurched to attention, having been yanked from my “spinning zone”.  This weeks’ class had given me time to think and engorge my lungs with prana after a week of little physical activity.  Visions for my future, for this life I didn’t chose, had finally started to creep in and I used the class to focus on them.  And I was feeling GOOD.

“Happy Mother’s Day to you all!” she called out again.  It was only Wednesday. (more…)

#StartAsking My Personal Story of Asking

I seem to be just getting started, however I know the week is about over.  To those of you who stayed with me this week, thanks for your abidance.  I felt as if I spent the week with some of you in a way, and I liked it!  It also goes without saying I admire your endurance:-)  So just one more post……..

Coming Out to the Band

A few months before we did our first round of IVF, I joined a symphonic band.  Having played flute since I was ten years old, and having made a living teaching lessons and playing weddings for the first portion of my adult life, (about 15 years), it was a quaint notion to be able to “just sit and play” after my years of hustling.  And better yet, I was second flute for the first time in my life, a position that averted me the pressure of solos and afforded my playing to be “off” when I was on hard hitting meds.  Plus I was thrilled to be playing harmony for the first time in my life, also a quaint notion, this time for the big fish in the little ponds who always ended up in the developmentally limiting position of first chair.

One of the things our band director does is send both birth and death e-mail announcements to the group, the death announcement subject line reading “regret to advise”.  People’s joyous and heartbreaking life events would be acknowledged over and over again as I tumbled through round after round of failed IVF in silence.  In this experience I observed rage, loneliness, sadness and disenfranchisement. (more…)

#StartAsking Reproductive Medicine to Prioritize Patient Care

Dear Reproductive Medicine,

I’m one of your patients.

I went through five IUI’s (all done with injectables), one hysteroscopy/laparoscopy surgery for stage 3 endometriosis, four fresh IVF cycles and one frozen.

I also, during my four year trying to conceive trek, unexpectedly dealt with PTSD that went undiagnosed for quite some time and entailed panic attacks, many of which took place in your waiting rooms.

My husband and I have now embarked on the third year of grieving and mourning the loss of our children, notably all by ourselves.  And no, we don’t consider our departure from reproductive medicine and the pursuit of a family with children a “choice” upon which our grief can be blamed.  It was, rather, the only sane and responsible action to take under the circumstances.

Yes, I’m one of your patients.  A patient who, two years and three months out of her final treatment is disturbed by many aspects of the care she got….and didn’t get…..while in the care of reproductive medicine.  Prompted by this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week theme, it’s time to #StartAsking. (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…)

#Startasking Eight Reasons Why Asking is Hard

I’ve done my share of speaking out on my trip through infertility and now involuntary childlessness.  I’ve asked my family and friends for support.

I insert my truths in conversation when I’m able.  I educate when I can.  In doing these things I’m habitually asking people for acknowledgement and to be informed themselves. (more…)