Have you heard of “Give Yourself a Cookie” Day?
If the best part of Mother’s Day to you, right now, at this very juncture in your life, is the moment it ends… Continue reading
Have you heard of “Give Yourself a Cookie” Day?
If the best part of Mother’s Day to you, right now, at this very juncture in your life, is the moment it ends… Continue reading
The Land of Infertility is sometimes referred to as: The Land of If. (As in Melissa Ford’s Book: http://www.melissafordauthor.com/navigating-the-land-of-if/)
In the weeks approaching Mother’s Day, we modify it further to: “The Land of ‘What Ifs’. ”
Those who are going through infertility are typically pretty spectacular at conjuring up “What Ifs” at record speed and this year, seeing as the blasted holiday known as Mother’s Day doesn’t occur until the 14th, we’ve had 2 whole weeks to create “What Ifs” specific to Mother’s Day. Well, it’s not such a big deal. After all, how many “What Ifs” can one woman with an infertile body but incredibly fertile mind create in her head in 2 weeks?
We all know that holidays can be tough for people dealing with infertility. We brace ourselves for getting attacked from all sides: Family, friends, coworkers… Even though it’s almost always unintentional, everybody throws their kids in your face with great enthusiasm: They’ll tell you what they’re buying the kids for Christmas or Hanukkah. They’ll ask your opinion on what to buy them. They’ll take the adorable items out of the bag and show them to you. They’ll tell you what great deals they got on them. They’ll ask you to accompany them to the mall to shop for them. They’ll invite you to parties where the kids will be running around. They’ll tell you what the kids will wear to the holiday party. “This is their first Christmas.” “This is the first Christmas that they’ll understand what’s going on.” “This is the first Christmas where they’ve been able to tell me what they want.” “This is the first Christmas they’ve helped decorate the tree.” “This is the first Hanukkah they’ve played dreidel instead of putting it in their mouth.” It’s torture. For me, over the many years before and during my bout with IVF, the best way to get over the torture was with more torture. Has anyway ever sent you an “Our Year-in-Review” card? Continue reading
So we’ve been talking about how the infertile among us dread holidays and despise family functions. And my theory (my Masters thesis) is that many many people- those with normally functioning reproductive systems included- I won’t say “hate going to”- let’s just say- “would rather not attend” these wingdings and there’s one main reason: Expectations: Either we fear that our family holiday gatherings won’t live up to what we expect. Or, even worse: They will.
Infertile Holidays at Work: The Interview
“This company is really like a family.”
Why do people think when you’re interviewing for a job, that that’s a selling point? So you’re telling me that you get on each other’s nerves, push each other’s buttons, talk behind each other’s backs, and hold eternal grudges?
Mercifully, most of our extended real family, the ones with whom we spend holidays, are people we don’t see that often. So whatever idiocies are said at the big family gathering…:
“I really think you should start having children. You’re not getting any younger.”
Or our response:
“I really think you should stop talking. You’re not getting any smarter.”
…are said and then we all get into our respective cars, gripe the entire long ride home to ourselves, anyone unfortunate enough to be trapped in there with us, or a BFF on the other end of the hands-free. Then, for the next 12 months, we rehash and badmouth in our minds and to our spouses from the comfort of our own homes, culminating in the next holiday gathering when, upon pulling into the host’s driveway, we’re still hoping that person won’t be there and they are and we apologize simultaneously, hug it out, one of us says: “life’s too short”, the other agrees, and we both swear we never even gave it a second thought. It’s not always as easy after the company holiday event.
If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I truly hope with all my heart that there was no grilling at your Thanksgiving table this year. I mean, of course it’s okay if somebody grilled the green beans or the squash. But if you’re celebrating/enduring “infertile holidays” this year, I just really hope nobody grilled you. But knowing how relatives are… I wrote this post for you… juuuust in case…because…
It happens every year. The first cool breeze wafts through the air and with it comes the smell of panic from infertile people everywhere. Everyone– Infertiles and Fertiles alike– anticipates the holidays… Everybody thinks: Family, food, traditions. But Infertile folk also think: Interrogations. For those of us in the US who have been through infertile holidays, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season when all those struggling mightily to conceive hold their collective breath. Continue reading
I’ve been writing the past few weeks about how to best dodge impertinent, indiscreet, and very personal questions from our so-called family and friends during this holiday season.
Relatives are a necessary evil at holiday time. There are three categories of kinfolk:
1) Those we can’t wait to see.
2) Those who are great to see a few times a year and
3) Those who make you certain that in a past life you stole from a children’s charity and their visit is your little holiday gift from Cousin Karma.
Sometimes infertility turns holidays into one big ugly sixth grade dodge ball game for us. You spend family gatherings ducking and side-stepping personal, obnoxious, stupid, and embarrassing questions.
And you spend (did I just misspell “waste”) weeks before the family powwow anticipating who’s going to ask those questions and trying to duck and side-step those people altogether.
Here’s the solution: Present them with a nice gift. A book. Wait! I know you probably think this is about me trying to hustle my ebook which I do on a regular basis. You don’t have to give them my book. It would be damn well appreciated. But my book might not be the one they need to read. (Did I just type that? My fingers must be possessed. Where’s my eraser?)
The point of giving them a book is to minimize your angst and your pain. Sure, it’s gift tag has their name on it in your handwriting, but make no mistake, it’s a gift you’re giving yourself.
It doesn’t really matter when you give the gift. You can do it a week before the family brouhaha. Call it preventative medicine. Instead of waiting for the holiday joy to nose-dive: When you’re mid-holiday soiree and the yentas corner you in the kitchen and your only response to their barrage of conception questions is to squirm and hyperventilate.
Days before the big family gala, give the book (even better– send it–what you pay in postage you’ll save in hand sanitizer). And make sure you include a note in big bold, neon letters:
“I’m really not comfortable discussing what we’re going through, but this pretty much covers it.” OR
“I know you’ve been concerned that I’m not pregnant yet. I think you’ll really enjoy this and it will explain it better than I can at the moment.”
I recommend you start your statement with something to the effect of: “I’m not ready to get into my personal business…”
By starting off with a statement like that you’re swatting the gnat before it starts buzzing in your ear. So if after reading your generous gift, they come back and say:
“I was shocked by chapter 8! You’re not really doing what’s in that chapter are you?!” Now you can just hit “rewind” and say:
“Remember two weeks ago when I said I wasn’t ready to get into my personal business? Yeah…well…ditto this week…Bye”
The point of giving them your present is: You’re giving them lots of information about your infertility situation without giving them any information about your infertility situation. For example..just an example..not hustling: If you give them, let’s say, my ebook, I’m spilling my infertile guts to them so you don’t have to. I don’t care if they know my business. I’m not related to them. Screw them. They mean nothing to me. My ebook, I’m told, is fast, fun, humorous reading. Your family and friends will get what it’s all about, and what you’re going through daily, but it’s not profound enough to leave them feeling overwhelmed or freaked out.
But maybe you don’t want anyone to yuk it up over infertility. Maybe you want them to better understand your particular issue that’s causing your infertility. Then find a book written by a Reproductive Endocrinologist.
Or maybe you want them to understand the emotional toll it’s taking on you better and a more serious book by a psychologist is in order.
The point is: No matter what the title of the book you give them, the sub-title is: “How to Get You Off My Back & Out of My Ovaries…(You Nosy B)”
Below are just a few books out there you may want to consider for yourself this holiday season or as a gift which, as we said earlier…is really a gift for you too. You just can’t lose with this system. It’s fool-proof. Remember that ebooks can also be given as a gift via Amazon if the giftee has an account. These are just ones I know about. Nobody’s giving me any cash or sexual favors to tell you about them…except the last one.
1) Dr. Richard Marrs’ Fertility Book
2) On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility (Helen Adrienne, LCSW)
3) The Fertile Secret: Guide to Living A Fertile Life (Robert Kiltz MD)
4) Conquering Infertility- (Alice Domar Phd)
5) Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility
(Yes this IS MY ebook. It’s my blog for chrissakes. Throw me a bone will ya?)
Skip next paragraph if you’ve had it up to here reading about my ebook.
(If you’ve wanted to help someone understand what you’re going through with infertility but don’t want to get into your own personal details with them, consider my ebook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility as a gift. $3.99 on Amazon. Free at Kindle Library- Chapter Previews & Reviews: www.amazon.com/dp/B007G9X19A or click icon at the right)
Stores are really revved up for this holiday shopping season. This year, they didn’t wait until midnight or 4am to start peddling their wares. On Thursday, Thanksgiving…Somewhere between the time everyone finished getting drunk on turkey and football and had time to sleep it off on the couch, the stores already had busted their doors open and were welcoming every form of payment. I’ve always prided myself in being too good to be caught up in the melee. I’m just…well…above it all. This year was different. This year I needed a TV.
My husband called me from Wal-mart to see if I needed any parmesan cheese. Apparently that’s where they kept the masses waiting to purchase a cheap TV at 10 pm: In the parmesan cheese aisle. So everybody was bucking for our business this Thanksgiving weekend. From the Thursday Turkey Trot at Wal-mart to Black Friday to Cyber Monday… Everybody was fighting to give us the best holiday deals. Everybody except the fertility clinics… Where the hell were they? Continue reading
Okay, I wrote the title and already I’m depressed.
I love autumn. I think subconsciously it’s a self-love thing. I have odd hair that changes from blond to brown to red all by itself. So somehow I think I’ve always fit into the autumn. (Why people don’t pack up the family and head to my house every October to see my hair turn colors, I have no idea.)
Autumn outdoors is beautiful. The autumn of your fertility is a lot less attractive.
Normal fertile people love to discuss their biological clocks. “I’m 34. I’m starting to hear my biological clock ticking. Quiet. Can you hear it? Tick tick, Tick tick. I’d better get pregnant. Oh look I’m pregnant. Whew that was close.”
When you’re diagnosed with infertility AND you’re in your thirties AND you’ve been doing treatments, AND nothing’s happened, AND a few years have gone by, the biological clock turns into a frickin’ gong. It’s like living with your head stuck in the Liberty Bell, yet ironically, the last thing you feel is liberated.
Well I didn’t get married until I was thirty-nine and a half.
(Only two categories of people say their ages in half years: People under eight and women over thirty-five who want to have a baby.
The people under eight do it because they just can’t wait until their birthday. The women over thirty-five do it because with each passing moment they picture another one of their eggs turning into saw dust. We would tell you our age in minutes if we thought we could get away with it without getting slapped.)
After trying mightily for a year to have a baby the so-called “normal” way, I realized that my eggs were a year older than they were when they walked down the aisle and that a few were “no longer with us.” (Maybe they were captured on the wedding video. I’ll check.)
My biggest gripe with infertility in general is the gigantic question mark. You never know what you’re getting into or how long you’re going to have to be into it. That’s the worst part of being an older mother-to-be-one-day-soon-I-hope-when-the-fk-is-it-going-to-happen-already?:
You have no way of knowing how many eggs you have left, or which ones are in good shape and which ones have turned into Pixy Stix powder.
Once you’re over say, thirty-seven, you don’t need a doctor. You need a psychic:
“I see fifty good eggs left that will remain good for another five years.”
“Okay, great! So there’s no hurry for treatments. We can just screw around (as it were) for at least another four years. Thanks. Here’s your five bucks. You really earned it!”
All of these high tech tests and procedures and treatments. All of the doctors. Isn’t there anybody who specializes in just taking a flashlight, looking up your woo-hoo and telling you how many decent eggs you have left?
Isn’t there some easy do-it-yourself home device? It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. It can be an “As Seen on TV” item.
“Ova-the-Counter”: Just 3 Easy Payments of $19.99. And if you order now, we’ll throw in a second one free!” (Why would anyone need two? One for each ovary?—Or have they had a rash of women whose hands were shaking so violently while trying to read it, they dropped one in the toilet?)
“And that’s not all… If you order in the next ten minutes (start clock on screen) you’ll get this handy “Ova-the-Counter” carrying case (Where would you be taking the damn thing? To work so you can count your eggs on your lunch break to see if you still have the same number as when you left home that morning?) It can also hold bobby pins or odds and ends, and it drains spaghetti…”
I’ll be like any resourceful woman: If I can’t find an “Ova-the-Counter”, I’ll just have to invent it. “Hello? Shark Tank?”
(And, if you haven’t yet, please check out my little ebook over there to the right. See what top fertility experts are saying about: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility) $2.99 – Free at Kindle Library
So how did everyone do for Father’s Day?
I think the most difficult part of any of these holidays- the hardest part about being around people in general when you’re going through infertility is: The feeling of being left out.
All of a sudden, when you don’t have a baby, life feels like one big mother of a party that you and only you haven’t been invited to.
Suddenly you can’t get pregnant, and it seems like the whole world decides to get pregnant just to mock you.
“Just this week, two gay guys I work with, my 80 year old grandmother, and a nun at my church… pregnant!… Last week it was my cousin who had a hysterectomy, her sister who was born with testicles and my husband’s boss who just had twins last week and is pregnant again!”
Maybe for you guys this is all new to you…this whole “being left out” thing. I don’t know… I feel like I’ve gone through this my whole life. I’m kind of used to it.
Nevermind the small stuff like being picked last for kick ball in first grade…or waiting on line for an hour for a carnival ride and having them close it just as it’s finally your turn because the carney has to pee (I thought it would be politer if I said “pee” instead of “shoot up” or “dodge a cop showing a ‘wanted’ poster to the guy running the tilt-a-wheel.”).
Can we talk prom for a moment?
I had a lot of male friends but no particular boyfriend at the time. When it came to prom, my male friends either didn’t want to go or preferred to go with someone they liked in that special “I hope to fall in love with or at least do you someday” way.
I probably asked a half dozen guys and got nowhere. Texting wasn’t invented yet so I got to see their facial expressions in real time when they actually told me to screw off.
Finally, at the last possible moment to reserve my spot at the table, my friend Michael agreed to go with me. Michael was a very nice guy and probably just a wee bit gay.
I’m not sure what happened but I also somehow was at my all-time chunkiest at that time in my life. And I decided for some unknown reason to wear a yellow dress. (There’s no reason in the world why any pale woman whose family is of Eastern European descent should ever willingly wear large pieces of yellow anything.)
After the prom, we all went to the shore. Michael didn’t go. Even my maybe gay date baled and I went with my sister. To sum it up, the Jersey Shore wasn’t as nice to me as it is to Snooki. They overbooked the hotel so my sister and I got bounced, I went for a nice stroll on the beach and found the stretch of Jersey with no ozone layer. Who needed to go out for breakfast? You could have fried eggs on my arm and bacon on my back. And then, my friend’s boyfriend, whose eyes looked in two entirely different directions was hitting on me.
So I was nearly left out of the table, then left out of having a date, then left out of the hotel (literally), then left out of having a good time with my friends.
And then from the time I was in my twenties until I was almost 40 and not even close to being married… I was left out of the couples’ world…Then of course when I couldn’t get pregnant… I was left out of the pregnant and/or I have kids world. My point is: So what?
So you’re out of the loop, out of the clique for a while. In this moment of time, we’ve made our own loop… of the millions of others trying to conceive. Okay, it’s a neurotic, depressing, desperate loop a lot of times, but it’s still ours.
And then, guess what? One day, in one way or another, every one of us will graduate from this loop and be back in their old cliques… and probably say to ourselves: “Did I really hang out with these idiots?”