Infertility Busy Bodies – You Know, Family, Friends

So last week was sort of an introduction to infertility with a few terms and definitions sprinkled in among my usual smart ass remarks. http://laughingisconceivable.com/infertility-virgins/ This week, let’s discuss “Infertility Busy Bodies, You know, Family & Friends etc” in other words– those who deserve smart ass remarks.

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Infertile Holidays: Checking Our Expectations List

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.

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Infertility Transparency: Tell them Everything

Infertility Transparency. Tell them everything. No secrets. CEOs and politicians talk about transparency all the time. Let the people know everything that’s going on. I think people struggling to get pregnant should have the same policy: Infertility Transparency. The people in our lives-family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, coworkers think they want to know everything about our infertility. I think we should tell them. We should tell them all. We should tell them everything. And I mean everything.  If that doesn’t get rid of them…

women gossiping -funny old fashioned at work

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How to Get Relatives Off Your Back & Out of Your Ovaries This Holiday Season

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
http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Richard-Marrs-Fertility-Book/dp/0440508037

2) On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility (Helen Adrienne, LCSW)
http://www.amazon.com/On-Fertile-Ground-Infertility-ebook/dp/B00529QMOM

3) The Fertile Secret: Guide to Living A Fertile Life (Robert Kiltz MD)
http://www.amazon.com/Fertile-Secret-Guide-Living-Life/dp/0983845891/ref=la_B005EIXDWU_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355191947&sr=1-1

4) Conquering Infertility- (Alice Domar Phd)
http://www.amazon.com/Conquering-Infertility-Domars-Enhancing-Fertility/dp/0142002011

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?)
http://www.amazon.com/Laughing-IS-Conceivable-ebook/dp/B007G9X19A

Mother, Mother on the Wall: Who’s the Fairest of them All? Mother’s Day Comedy Blitz

So have you ordered my e-book yet? (Geez, that was subtle. I promise I’ll peddle quickly and then move on to the real reason you’ve come for a visit.) My e-book is on Amazon. It’s available on Kindle or if you have a phone or other device like i-Pad that has a free Kindle app. It’s called:

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility.

It’s a measly $3.99 and got some great reviews from people I’m not related to, have never slept with, and am not planning to be related to or sleep with any time soon. See for yourself if you’d like and get a sneak preview and more reviews when you click to “see more” or “see inside”: www.amazon.com/dp/B007G9X19A Thanks!             

So, why did I name this post: “Mother, Mother, on the Wall: Who’s the Fairest of them All?”? I have no idea. Sometimes when things pop into my head I just let them pop out into the blog. I figure it’s cheaper than getting a prescription for schizophrenia medication.

So have you started holding your breath yet in anticipation of Mother’s Day?

“How will I feel? Will I be depressed all day? Will I be around people who will make me feel sad or anxious? Will people ask me when am I going to become a mother? What will I say? I never know what to say. How do I respond to people saying: “Happy Mother’s Day”? Should I say: “Thank You. You too” and let it go at that? Or should I tell them the truth? Why don’t people just shut up? Why are they always in my business? Look how their kids turned out. Who needs to see these losers on Sunday anyway? I just saw them at Christmas. Why don’t people ever stay at their own house? “… Okay, I got a little distracted at the end there.

So for this Mother’s Day, (Warning: The following visual may not be suitable for sensitive audiences) I decided to stick my finger down my throat and vomit up all of my old Mother’s Day posts from Mother’s Days gone by. (I hope nobody was snacking while they read that. Well if they were then, they’re not now. )

Here’s my Mother’s Day blitz. I think there will be a little humor somewhere in the blitz for everyone. Also, there are a couple of posts by Tracy Birkinbine. She’s a counselor who specializes in infertility as well as an infertility survivor herself. You probably won’t find her posts funny…I mean you shouldn’t. I mean, she’s not trying to be funny so please don’t email her and tell her it was hilarious. I’ve sandwiched her posts in among my own so you can get a break from my ranting and listen to a voice that’s calmer and more reasonable.

Have you bought my e-book yet? Okay, I’ll stop…Here’s the comedy blitz or so I say.

This first group of posts was written about a month after I first started this blog in May 2010.  Back then, I had some delusion of grandeur that I could write a spectacularly hilarious post every day of the week for the next 70 years or until it killed me. I think I had visions that I would be sitting at the keyboard at 91 typing: “And don’t you hate when you go to the fertility clinic…” and then my head would hit the keyboard and that would be it. I should have realized even back then that I was fighting a losing battle. I was the infertility blogger version of Lucy Ricardo at the chocolate factory. And that is why this set of posts was written the week after Mother’s Day. So pretend it’s not would ya? Hopefully you’ll still get a smile or two out them anyway. Without further ado, I present to you:

Because Every Woman Has Been Some Kind of a Mother to Someone 

first posted: Monday May 16, 2010

Obviously Mother’s Day is an extremely touchy subject when your blog is largely read by people in the infertility community.  For those in that community…stay with me…I’m rooting for you as much as ever this week…For those still unfamiliar with the infertility community, it’s the same as a senior living community: A bunch of cranky people who go to several doctors’ appointments a week and whose hobbies include comparing medications and side effects, and asking each other for a second opinion. In fact, the only difference between the two groups is that we’re a little younger and they eat out a lot more.

So the $64,000 question here is: Why in the world am I dredging up Mother’s Day two weeks after most women have already rolled their eyes at their husband, thrown the gift back in his face, and asked the rhetorical question as it was heard around the globe simultaneously through clenched teeth in 803 languages: “Do you know me at all?!”

Followed usually by the shocked husband’s standard comeback: “I didn’t have to get you anything for Mother’s Day. After all, (all together now) you’re not MY mother.”

This warm repartee usually sentences the husband to a week of getting the wife’s cold shoulder followed almost certainly by all of her other body parts being temporarily relocated to the freezer section as well.

So most women have celebrated Mother’s Day, seen Shrek every time they looked at their husband for a week or so…and now moved on. But most of you going through conception issues probably didn’t feel much like celebrating and are getting extremely mad at me right now, mumbling under your breath: “I made it through that horrible weekend and now this sadistic bitch with the blog wants to drag me through it all over again?”

I’m sorry if that’s the case. I suspect, however, that some of you haven’t moved on. And now you feel guilty because everybody is telling you it’s time to move on…including you. Mother’s Day was two weeks ago. But maybe some of you still can’t move on.

I totally get it…to make a long story short (my sister’s favorite preface to a story via telephone which usually indicates I have enough time to put down the phone, take a shower, and shave my entire body, including my head, before she gets to the wind-up…a family trait, I suppose.)

Let’s just say there was nearly a twenty year period in my life, nineteen Mothers’ Days to be exact, when I was neither a mother nor had one. That’s all I’ll say lest I suck the entire word “Humor” out of “Humor blog”.

So hang in there. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that by the end of the week, Thursday, Friday of the latest, I will have beaten down this holiday so badly, people will be embarrassed to admit they ever heard of it, let alone celebrated it.

Listen I gotta go. I’m going to sit down by the pool in our development. It doesn’t open for another two weeks, but the dues are so high… it’s the principle of the thing. Even if I blister. I’ll talk to ya tomorrow.

Tuesday

(Start with “Monday” if you can. I promise to wait until you get back)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. You were holding your breath waiting for Mother’s Day to be over, and then, just as the sun finally set on the wretched holiday, you came up for air and I shoved your head back down into the Mother’s Day mire.

I really don’t want you to be so upset over this holiday, because, well, like most holidays, it’s a stupid one. I’m sure it didn’t start out as stupid. Probably none of them did until someone decided there was money to be made.

Maybe the Jehovah’s Witnesses have it right: No celebrations: No Mother’s Days. No Thanksgivings. No birthdays. Nobody gets depressed. Nobody gets bloated. Nobody gets older.

Let’s look at Thanksgiving, shall we? At what point did the pilgrims gather round, raise their goblets, and announce: “We have survived the long, hard winter. We must now rejoice with football, a giant Kermit The Frog balloon, Seinfeld’s Mr. Peterson announcing a Dog Show and many Tums”?

Our family Thanksgiving tradition usually includes me watching every bit of the Macy’s parade on every channel by myself. Most people’s Macy’s parade experience ends every year with Santa riding gloriously into Herald Square.

Mine ends with my husband standing in front of the TV with his winter coat and gloves on, looking as far up Broadway as our 26” screen will allow, and muttering: “I want to get out of here already. Where the hell is he?”

Now here are all of my Mother’s Day memories growing up……………………………..

I admit, I was the kid, not the mother. Maybe I don’t remember anything about any Mother’s Day because it wasn’t about me. I don’t remember anything I ever made for her in school. I don’t remember going anywhere, doing anything, a particular card I gave her, buying her anything. 

Honestly, I doubt if my mother were still around, that she would have had any memories of any Mother’s Day either. She wasn’t sentimental over stuff like that.

On the other hand, I have a few vague memories from Thanksgivings past. My sister and I basically use Thanksgiving as a point of reference of when people died. “No. You’re wrong. Aunt Blanche definitely didn’t die in 1996. She was at that Thanksgiving. She brought her same crappy cake that nobody ever liked….The next year, the one on Long Island—She wasn’t there. I don’t remember if she was still alive, but she wasn’t there.”

Mother’s Day, if you can believe everything you read on the Internet, began as part of Lent in seventeenth century England. Older children were either away learning a trade or working as servants. On this special day they all came together, there was a feast instead of fasting, and Mom was honored.  I would have remembered doing that.

I suppose shelling out sixty bucks for a dozen roses, guilt-laden commercials from mall jewelers and dinner at Cracker Barrel came much later. 

Listen, I gotta go. It’s the sixth inning, two out, bases loaded, and the Mets desperately need me. I’ll talk to ya tomorrow.

Wednesday

 (Start with Monday if you can. I’ll await your return with bated  breath)

So what were we talking about? Oh right. I was saying how pointless a holiday Mother’s Day really is.  There’s no parade, no football, and no good food. Who makes the best food? Mom. But she has the day off. So in honor of her, the great cook, let’s cram eight people around a table for six at a restaurant chain.  Personally, I’d just as soon visit the drive-thru.  At least there aren’t forty other loud happy families in my car.     

I mentioned the other day that for nearly twenty years, I was neither a mother nor had one. Big deal.  Don’t cry for me Argentina, or Cincinnati, or Madrid. It’s life. We all live through one.  My point is, that for all of those Mother’s Days I never knew how to respond when people would say “Happy Mother’s Day.”

I took a little poll of women in my life to see how they handle it. Neither Julia nor Leonore have kids though they both breastfeed their dogs.

When someone asks Julia if she has children, she says: “No. I’m allergic.”

When someone says “Happy Mother’s Day” to Leonore she says “Happy Mother’s Day to the mother in all of us.” So, what we can conclude from my little study, I believe, is that, I’ve surrounded myself with smart asses. Go figure.

I’ve come to the realization that there are only two response options to the “Happy Mother’s Day” debacle: Educate or Evacuate. You decide.

Do you want to explain things to this person or do you just want them to go away? Personally, nothing is more pleasing to my ear than the sound of a greeting trailing off as the well-wisher gets smaller and smaller into the horizon. “Happy Mother’s Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.”  And they’re gone.

For years I used the “You too” method to keep ’em movin’.

“Happy Mother’s Day” “You too!”

“Happy Vacation” “You too!”

“Happy Birthday”    “You too!”

“Happy Anniversary” “You too!”

“What’s your favorite band?” “U2!”

About once in a thousand, it’s actually an appropriate response.

I mean, I could have taken the “Educate” route. If someone said “Happy Mother’s Day”, I would have gladly explained that I didn’t celebrate Mother’s Day because I had no kids because I was an old broad when I got married and apparently my eggs had turned to ash…

…… and then I went broke going for treatments and did 3 IUI’s that didn’t take…

…… and then the doctor OD’d me on hormones the fourth time so they had to cancel it…

…… and then I had an egg retrieval and they took out 21 eggs and 16 looked good…

…… and then they put 4 inside of me and froze four more…”

I think I’ll stick with: “You too.  Keep it movin’.”  It’s so much simpler.

Listen, I gotta go. My lunch hour was over two hours ago and it’s time to go home.. I’ll talk with ya tomorrow.

Thursday

(Start with Monday if you can. If you can’t, don’t worry. You’ll just be hopelessly lost forever.)

So what were we talking about? Oh right. We were discussing how Mother’s Day began as a beautiful annual Spring ritual to worship Mother Earth, evolved into a tribute to the many attributes of women and has, after centuries, culminated in the pancake house visit we know today. 

If you can’t ignore the idiocy of that which is Mother’s Day altogether, consider this: The holiday is for you too. Even if you don’t have kids (yet), I guarantee you’ve still done plenty of mothering in your time.

When I was in my mid-thirties (back when we were still worshipping Mother Earth), I worked with girls in their late teens and early twenties. It wasn’t a counseling center. Not officially. Officially, it was a limousine company. I literally worked with them. 

I did customer service and in between clients, practiced social work without a license. I may not have been their biological mothers, but I spent many hours a week nurturing them in the same way my Mom nurtured me: 

“Why are you still dating that loser? You must be a moron. Only a moron would date a loser.”

“Don’t you think those pants are a little tight? I can see what you had for breakfast. Don’t you dare leave this office looking like that!”  

“You think this is funny? Don’t make me come over there and knock you out of your cubicle!”

“You were fifteen minutes late coming back from lunch. Did you even once consider that I might not be able to sleep at my desk because I’m up worrying?”

“I told you you should have gone to college. See what happens to people who are uneducated? They work here.” 

“Look at this desk. It’s a pigsty. Never you mind about the nine-layer pile of gas receipts, fast food napkins/coasters and candy wrappers on my desk young lady. Do as I say not as I do.”

Did I overstep my boundaries as their coworker when I put parental controls on the company computers? I think not.  You see what I had to deal with.

Listen I gotta go. I have to measure the grass. We have up until four and a half feet before the housing association reports us to the county.

Friday

(Start with “Monday” if you can. If the boss comes by, just minimize, Sista, minimize.)

So what were we talking about? Oh right. I was telling you how I felt entitled to celebrate Mother’s Day while I was going through fertility treatments because of all the babies I had to deal with at my job.

Mainly we were discussing the immature and irresponsible young ladies I worked with who needed my guidance and/or the toe of my shoe in the back seam of their extremely short skirts.

“What are you planning to wear for “dress down” day? That skirt without underwear?” 

“You are aware that in Customer Service, we don’t actually service the customer?”

I guess the maternal instinct just comes more naturally to some of us.

I also had an employer who was a whiner and a tantrum thrower: Going through his terrible 52’s I guess. “Where’s that paperwork? You said I could have it yesterday….You prooooooooomised. Where iiiiiiiiis it? Waaaaaaaaaa! I want my paypawok!” 

I apologize if this post is a bit of a mishmash, but there’s so much disdain I still want to share with you about Mother’s Day and here it is, Friday already. So here are some rambling thoughts. Call it stream of consciousness. Call it hormone injections that never wore off. 

If you didn’t get a Mother’s Day card this year, I truly am sorry. Your efforts to become a mother deserve a truckload of cards…

Now, please allow me to catch you up on the great literature you missed because, after all, a Mother’s Day card does say a lot.

A three page card says you paid four bucks and ticked off Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel for something with eight words on it:

“Happy Mother’s Day” (cover), “Mom” (page one), “You are” (page two) “the BEST!” (Page three). End of card and four bucks. Five bucks in Canada. I love Canada but I’ll admit I’m always grateful I don’t live there when I buy a greeting card.

A card with eight hundred words in fancy script writing says you paid four bucks to watch your mom squint, and skip every other word. (Why do you think nobody ever reads those cards out loud? If she read it aloud she couldn’t skip could she?)

Then there are the whimsical Mother’s Day cards, every single one of which has a kid’s messy room as the wind-up:

“Mom, here’s a great Mother’s Day gift just for you!” (Open card. Messy room.)

“I know it’s in here somewhere.” OR “I promise I’ll find it by the Fourth of July.” OR “I’m sorry I still haven’t found last year’s gift.” OR “Don’t feel bad. Dad’s Father’s Day gift is in here also.” OR “I think it’s in here anyway.” OR “Look! I cleaned my room” OR… please, someone, uncurl my fingers from the keyboard so I can stop. 

The point is, I suppose, what I’ve been beating into all of us all week: Mother’s Day, like most holidays is totally overrated. Some people get great joy out of holidays while probably a lot more suffer through them because of some phantom ideal of what it’s supposed to look like.

You want a Mother’s Day card? I’ll give you a Mother’s Day card.

“Mom, I took money out of your wallet every week when I was twelve.” “Just kidding! Promise to pay you back! Just Kidding!” “Happy Mother’s Day!”

“Mom, remember when I was sixteen and I told you about my boyfriend Robert?” “Happy Mother’s Day! It was Bob, your boss! Have A Great Day!”

“Mom, thanks for paying for my entire college education. I’ve decided to finish my sixth year at the University of Cancun! I even have a job lined up! I’m the alternate judge at the wet T-shirt contest during Spring break! You’re the best! Happy Mother’s Day!”

“Mom, you’re irreplaceable! That’s why I left my wife and drove right over with the three kids, two St. Bernards, and a giant U-haul! You’re number one! Happy Mother’s Day!”

Listen, I gotta go. There’s someone outside yelling my name.  I think it’s Hallmark calling.  I’ll talk with ya on Monday.

Now here’s Tracy Birkinbine’s posts:

Surviving Mother’s Day for Those Facing Infertility   

Could there be a more painful day for a woman experiencing infertility than Mother’s Day? All the cards in the stores, the commercials on TV showing the joys of being a mother, the little kids scurrying around to find just the right gift or bringing home the nauseatingly cute homemade gifts made in school or daycare…it’s enough to make one want to boycott the whole darn thing. Well, I’m here to tell you if that’s what you need to do, do it!

The level of pain or comfort that you have when dealing with such holidays is something only you can gauge. If you can muddle through it with the fake smile while hurting inside (or wanting to strangle someone), then you go for it. If the pain is just too much to handle, then why put yourself through it? It’s perfectly understandable and normal for you to want to just get away from it all and seclude yourself from all the festivities and pain that it might bring. Like I said only you know how much you can handle.

Mother’s Day celebrations often include time with the family. It can bring with it the uncomfortable questions of, “So, will we be celebrating your first Mother’s Day next year?” Or, “So, when are you two going to get busy and bring us another baby into the family?” Or, for those who know of your struggles, how about the tried and true favorites of, “Just relax and it will happen. Take a vacation; people tend to get pregnant while on vacation.” Or, how about, “Why don’t you just adopt? You can have a child that way, and you know what they say, just adopt and you will get pregnant.” But, my favorite has to be, “Just relax!”

Relax? Are you serious? Have you been in my shoes? Do you know what I am going through? You try sticking yourself with needles every day and running to and from the hospital for blood work. You try buying boxes and boxes of pregnancy tests, so many that you realize you should have taken stock in them. You try having the disappointment month after month upon seeing the first drop of blood denoting yet another period beginning, and therefore, another FAILURE! Yes, you try crying yourself to sleep every night while thinking of how much you want a baby and then tell me again to RELAX!”

Now, maybe I’m getting a little carried away with myself. Not all families react this way. Some are very supportive and loving and truly do understand what you are facing. Some family get-togethers can be the perfect refuge during such an emotional time. Sometimes surrounding yourself with those who love you and care about what you’re facing can be very comforting. So, like I said, only you can gauge your level of comfort regarding how you plan to spend this year’s Mother’s Day. I personally just like the idea of imagining slapping the next pregnant woman you pass or encounter who decides to rub her belly longingly in front of you! But, that’s just me! 😉

Keep in mind that you are a mother already—in spirit. You are in heavy duty training that will pay off big for you when the time is right. I loved the way I saw it put in writing the other day (unfortunately I can’t give credit as I don’t know who wrote this), the writer stated, “A woman experiencing infertility is already a mother whose child just hasn’t been placed in her arms yet.” Beautiful, huh? So, celebrate yourself…no matter where you are on this journey. And celebrate the way you want. If others around you don’t understand, does it really matter? Happy Mother’s Day…or not!
~Tracy

Tracy Birkinbine is a licensed professional counselor specializing in infertility and adoption. She bases her private practice out of St. Louis, MO.  You can find information on Tracy Birkinbine and her private practice, Counseling With TLC, LLC by going to www.counselingwithtlc.com.

The next is also from Tracy:

Don’t Tell Me “Happy Mother’s Day!” (Unless you want to risk getting slapped!)

I have been noticing more and more that I have been getting a lot of Mother’s Day greetings.  I went to the store to buy cards and the cashier sent me on my way with, “Happy Mother’s Day!”  I was at the bank and the teller cheerfully ended our transaction with, “Have a nice Mother’s Day!”  I went to get a morning latte and the barista handed me my beverage and stated, “Enjoy your Mother’s Day!” 

Hmm.  Now, I will admit to sometimes wearing the occasional awful Mom Jeans, and perhaps, at age 40 I have now developed a very matronly appearance despite my effort at still trying to look “cool!”  But, at each of these places I didn’t have any children with me.  I didn’t open my wallet to show pictures of any kids.  I didn’t have those “oh so typical” #1 Mom necklaces on, and I wasn’t sporting a World’s Greatest Mom t-shirt.  So what made these individuals assume I was a mom? 

I got to thinking back to my days of struggling with infertility and how desperate my feelings were to be a mommy and to have a child.  My minutes were consumed with overwhelming urges, needs, wants, and desires to become a mom.  I was more aware of the day called “Mother’s Day” than most moms I felt!  I would treasure that day more than anything if I could just have a child.  I would love having people tell me to have a good Mother’s Day…someday…

But, I hated hearing that then.  It was like driving a knife further into my chest and made me even more keenly aware that I was not celebrating what I so badly wanted to be…a MOM!  I hated the Hallmark commercials.  I hated the 1-800-Flowers ads.  I hated the card aisles at the stores.  And I absolutely hated the items stating the above mentioned “World’s Greatest Mom,” or #1 Mom!”  Surely none of the moms out there were as good a mom as I would be.  Surely none of the moms appreciated the day as much as I would.  So, the last thing I wanted to hear was someone say “Happy Mother’s Day!”  It made me just want to slap that cheerful grin off their face! 

So, now, even though I have been blessed to be a mom, I still remember those feelings of hurt and pain as if they were yesterday.  I urge you to be careful when wishing a stranger a “Happy Mother’s Day.”  Those simple words, however well intentioned, may be the most hurtful thing you could say to someone longing so desperately to be a mom.  Proceed with caution.  Never assume.  Unless you know for sure that someone is a mom, take a moment to consider your words.  I’m sure you would hesitate about asking a woman when she is due if there was a chance she could just be overweight!  Food for thought!  For now…have a good DAY! 

*********************************************************************************************************************************

The final set of posts were from Laughing IS Conceivable at this time last year. In fact, precisely one year ago today. Please enjoy:

I’ve Met All Sorts of Mothers in my Life

Monday

About twice a year I have a serious moment. So here’s one now and then we’re a’movin’ on:

Before I went through infertility treatments, in fact, before I ever knew I would have difficulty conceiving, in fact, before I even met my husband… I was this nearing 35, single woman living in an apartment- a four floor walk-up- in Queens NY.

One day, I was at my girlfriend’s apartment across the hall (about 8 feet away from my front door). We were all hanging out there: The six of us: My friend,  her two pre-teens, my low-self-esteem, my self-pity, and me. 

I made a comment: “I know I would be a good mother.”

Her daughter, who was about twelve at the time said:

“Lori, you’re already a good mother. You just don’t have any kids yet.”    

Not many things can make me shut up but that sure did. And  I guess it had enough impact for me to remember it since that twelve year old young lady just turned 26. 

I thought I’d pass along that sage quote by a twelve year old, in case, by chance, it might also apply to you.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled shenanigans:

So this week of posts will attempt to ease you out of the horrible little holiday that was yesterday and maybe, hopefully, a little bit back to the world of “When in doubt, ridicule everything.”

So this week I may mock the wretched holiday and its traditions: 

Taking that special woman in your life out to a buffet lunch. Show how much you love her by giving her the motive, means, and opportunity to eat twice her body weight in macaroni and cheese.  

Or the men who treat their wives or girlfriends like crap all year, then on that one day a year, yesterday, spent $200 on a bouquet.   

Or saying “I love you” with a card that costs more than a gallon of gas. So if you drived a few miles to buy the card—there goes eight bucks you’ll never see again.

Then we might delve into all of the mothers in our lives:

The Mother Teresa’s for instance: Those women who are so needy they give and give and give  even though nobody asked them to and then get pissed that nobody appreciates it enough.

Just let’s all hope that my posting time is up for the week before I run out of different types of mothers  to discuss.

If I only get to my Mother A, B, C, D and E files, we’ll be fine. But if I have to dip into my Mother “F”  files, it could get messy. It’s a very thick file—I’m on Volume 42… and adding new entries all the time.

Listen, I gotta go. My boss has been really nasty to me lately. I wonder if it has anything to do with my “Mother ‘F'” file. I noticed the other day that Volume 14 was in front of Volume 9… and  I don’t remember ever putting it there. 

I’ll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Tuesday

(Start with “Monday” if you can.  When I get going ridiculing a holiday, you don’t want to miss anything.)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Now that the horrible little holiday is history for another year….What do you say we make fun of it behind its back? 

Mother’s Day was always a great holiday for me. Except in 1988, 1989, 1990, ’91, ’92, ’93, ’94, ’95, ’96. ’97, ’98, ’99, 2000, 2001, and 2002.

You might say, during that time period, spanning two centuries, I was in a Mother’s day drought.  

My mom was no longer around (I’m trying not to be morbid… I figured  “no longer around” sounds like maybe she ran off to Bermuda with a flamenco dancer) and I had no babies arriving in the foreseeable future.

And for those fourteen years, I never could figure out how to respond when random people would say:

“Happy Mother’s Day!”

Being a non-Christian, I had the same predicament with “Merry Christmas!”

I apologize that I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve created a system that I think works well in these awkward or at least, pesky situations that I always like to share.

When people wish you well on these holidays that you don’t celebrate, I feel there are three possible solutions: 

A) Be sarcastic- (My first choice for most everything) 

Pesky Person:  “Merry Christmas!”

My response: “Happy Rahmadan!”

Pesky Person: “Happy Mother’s Day!”

My response: “Happy AA Meeting!”   

B) Educate (My least favorite option)

Pesky Person:  “Merry Christmas. Did you buy your tree yet? ”

My response (against my better judgment):  “I’m not Christian. I’m Jewish. We celebrate Chanukah.”

This is my least favorite option because it’s too much work and never goes well. The dialogue usually continues thus:

Pesky Person: “Oh. But did you get your tree yet?”

My response: “I told you we don’t celebrate Christmas. Will you stop with the tree already?!”

And educating people about your Mother’s Day situation is ten times worse.

“Happy Mother’s Day”

I don’t celebrate Mother’s Day. My mom passed away and I have no kids.”

Well that’s going to brighten anyone’s day.  That’s why the best choice is usually #3.

C) Don’t Educate…Evacuate…(For those of you who are rock fans: aka “The Bono Method”)

“Merry Christmas”

“U2”

“Happy Mother’s Day”

“U2”

And keep on walking.

Listen, I gotta go. “Dancing with the Stars” is on for two hours tonight and I’ve got to plan something else to do for two hours.

I’ll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Wednesday

(Start with “Monday” if you can. We’re looking back at Mother’s Day and giving it the kick in the teeth it deserves…. And speaking of kicks, please consider subscribing to this here Laughing IS Conceivable blog to receive weekly blog happenings, offers, and chats on why in the world I wrote what I wrote that week.)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How to respond to those who wished us a Happy Mother’s Day, the bastards. The reason why I’m discussing this now is that there may be an aftermath. Like an after-shock from an earthquake.  

As if it wasn’t bad enough to have all these yutzes wishing you a Happy Mother’s day, now they might boomerang back at you with:

“So, how was your Mother’s Day?”

Friday they wished you a good Mother’s Day, and now the psycho control freak wants to know if her wish for you came true. Like she’s your fricken fairy godmother.

As we discussed a bit yesterday: The way to handle anybody who is trying to suck you into any holiday that that you’re desperately trying to avoid is: “Don’t Educate…Evacuate”. 

There are precisely two ways to approach the following question: 

“So, How was your Mother’s Day?”

1) Educate:

“Well, I don’t have any kids yet. We’ve been trying to have a baby for two years. First we went to this one clinic and I was on some drugs to regulate my cycle and then we were going to do artificial insemination, but now we think maybe my husband also has a sperm count issue.

And I know Mother’s Day should be time I spend with my mom, but I’m really too depressed and watching her celebrate with my sisters and their kids and having to listen to them all tell me ‘not to worry so much…if it’s meant to happen it will happen’ really just depresses me more….”

OR

2)  Evacuate

“So How Was Your Mother’s Day?”

“Fine thanks. See ya tomorrow!”

It’s all about keeping the goal in mind. You really don’t want to confide in the average passerby. You want them to keep passing you by.

That’s why it’s vitally important that you don’t use too many words (obviously I’m still working on that). You don’t want to say anything that they have to break their stride to catch.

You also want to speak loudly and clearly. If you whisper, not only will they slow down (or Gd forbid, stop) to hear what you said, they’ll come closer.

And whatever you do…I mean WHATEVER you do… Do not, I repeat, DO NOT “and yours” them!

“Hey, how was  your Mother’s Day?”

“Great. And yours?”

Don’t do that! This is no time to be polite!

“Great” was good enough. In fact it was perfect. Not only is it just one word, it’s only one syllable. Nobody would have to slow down to hear that. You could yell it while they’re closing the car door.

You had one quick altercation with them. Then you couldn’t resist throwing in the “and yours?” and now you just obligated yourself to go another round.  

So remember: “Don’t Educate… Evacuate.”  I’m considering putting it on a bumper sticker and sticking it on schools in heavy natural disaster zones… Or on the side panel of an enema.

Listen, I gotta go…. Okay, it’s how I always end my posts, but maybe an unfortunate choice of words directly following the enema remark. 

I’ll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Thursday

(Start with “Monday” if you can. We’re giving Mother’s Day and the days following, the tribute they deserve: With plenty of good old fashioned anger and violence.)

(And if you’d like to see other aspects of my agressive personality, please do subscribe to this blog for weekly newsletters always guaranteed to be full of… well let’s just say… info.)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The depressing, Hallmark-induced, pancake house celebrating, 24 dollars a dozen half-dead roses delivered to the wrong house on the right day or the right house on the wrong day—holiday that we affectionately (and sarcastically) refer to as “Mother’s Day”.

Enough I say! Today has been declared another holiday for all of us who survived Sunday’s debacle. I proclaim today to be: “Give Yourself a Cookie Day!” For those who sat through your mother-in-law telling you how proud she is of all of her grandchildren (even the imbeciles among them) and wishes she had more… Give yourself a cookie. 

For those who spent time at a family gathering watching their nieces and nephews run around as you secretly hoped they would throw up on one of their parents just to bring a little joy into your day… Give yourself a cookie.

For those who bit the bullet while their mother cornered them in the kitchen and said:  “You know the only thing that would make this day better, would be if you were finally going to make me a grandma”… Give yourself a cookie.

For those who endured cousins showing pictures of their kids on their smartphone, while the damn kids were right in front of you… Give yourself a cookie.

For those who listened to their siblings complain to each other about how hard it is being a parent and how tired they always are, and how they never have enough time for themselves… Give yourself a cookie.

For those who went out with the extended family to some family-style BS restaurant and had to watch while everyone counted six times how many high chairs and how many booster seats they needed… Give yourself a cookie. 

For those who just couldn’t deal with Sunday at all and stayed home and bitched to your husband… Give yourself a cookie. (Even if you already gave yourself twenty or forty on Sunday.)

And for those who were fed up to here with the whole stupidity of the holiday and told even one family member with unsolicited advice, or a thoughtless remark to “Screw-Off”… Give yourself a whole box of cookies.

And for those of you who did nothing…You survived the holiday…and that’s plenty… “Give yourself a cookie” 

Listen, I gotta go. Father’s Day is a month away. I barely have time to jot down all of my gripes. I’m probably the only person who brings a giant calendar with me to the shooting range.

I’ll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Friday

(Start with “Monday” if you can. And I had a little glitch yesterday on this site and had the privilege of waiting on hold for eight minutes to speak to a nasty fool at godaddy.com on top of it, so if you missed yesterday’s post, it’s actually not half-bad I think, so please take a look. In fact it may even be better than what I’m about to write. Who knows? Surely not I.)

So. what were we talking about? Oh right. How proud of ourselves we should all be just for surviving Mother’s Day. And it makes absolutely no difference how you did it.

Whether you were sociable, or merely polite, or ignored people, or avoided people, relationships got fractured, people got arrested, charges were filed…doesn’t matter.

The only significant factor is that THAT was Sunday…Today is Friday…and, guess what? You made it.

I began this week with the title: I’ve Met ALL SORTS of Mothers in My Life: Now, in winding up our week long tribute to the wretched holiday, I’d like to spend a moment this last day, saluting some of those types of Mothers.

In fact, I think we’ll do a twist on this all next week:

One of the biggest cruelties, of having to deal with infertility is all of the women around us who seem to have babies so easily. And in many cases, I personally take a good hard look at those who are pregnant, and they may not be the nicest most pleasant person and my first question is:

“I don’t get it…Who would have sex with this woman?”

So here are some of the mothers we’ll look into next week:

Mother Teresas

There’s no way this woman wouldn’t make any kid neurotic or drive any man crazy…and yet many reproduce with ease.

They give and give and give…Nobody asks them to. They’ll tell you they do it because they’re “just a good person” or “have a good heart”.

No, this is a lie. They do it because they are fueled by a low self-esteem engine.

People who truly give for the right reasons, are satisfied just because they love to do for others. Mother Teresa’s (unlike the real Mother Teresa) give and give and give without anybody asking and then are pissed that nobody appreciates it enough.

Mother Superiors

Women who have to top you at all costs. Whenever you chat with them, if takes about thirty seconds to discover that they only know highly educated, well-paid, extremely respected pillars of the community. 

If they’ve known me since high school, they’ll never admit it. I’m just a short, broken-down impoverished writer with too much hair…what an embarrassment.

Mother Two-Faces

Perfect, friendly, happy,easy-going, smiley-smiley 1960’s sit-com mom (June Cleever, Donna Reed) to your front, and nasty, bitchy, (possibly hard drinking) Roseanne-mom  to your back.

So please join us here at Laughing IS Conceivable next week when we further explore some of the lovely moms among us and mull over the question: “Who would sleep with this bitch?” 

I’ll talk with ya again on Monday.

Funny Fertility Flashbacks (I Hope) #8

So today is the last day of us looking back at some fan fave posts of the past year+. Hope you’ve enjoyed a yuk or two down memory lane. I’ll be getting off my fat ass and posting some new stuff on Monday. Have a great weekend!

“Holidays: I’m Not Convinced”

Originally Posted: Sept 8, 2010 (Wednesday)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. This week is filled with holidays for me. From Labor day to Rosh Hashanah, (the Jewish New Year).

Yesterday we were talking about how the infertile among us dread holidays and despise family functions. And my theory (my Masters thesis) is that most people, those with normally functioning reproductive systems included, also hate going to these wingdings. And this is why: Continue reading

Let the Grilling Begin! (Tuesday)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Preparing for the long weekend ahead and the mandatory Memorial Day barbecue: The unofficial start of summer for grill gluttons and beer guzzling alcoholics everywhere.  (Start with Monday’s post if you can.)

The perfect place to celebrate Memorial Day weekend for me would be at a monastery where the monks take a vow of silence: The ideal barbecue: Plenty of food and no talking.

And even if there was talking, nobody would be talking about their kids, and there’d be none running around (perhaps there’d be some running around at an apartment complex a half-mile down the road with a connecting underground tunnel to the monastery, but nobody would likely bring that up at the cook-out.)  

But since most of us don’t have many monks attending our block parties, we have to work with what we got.

Sometimes as infertiles, you hold your breath as a big wingding approaches. “Will people ask us personal questions? Will we have to explain why we have no kids yet?”

No need to worry this time. For this weekend’s barbecue, don’t be concerned about the baby-making details. And don’t bother buying a cattle car full of beef, pork, or chicken either. Look around the neighborhood. Plenty to grill right here. Continue reading

I’ve Met ALL SORTS of Mothers in my Life (Friday)

(Start with “Monday” if you can. And I had a little glitch yesterday on this site and had the privilege of waiting on hold for eight minutes to speak to a nasty fool at godaddy.com on top of it, so if you missed yesterday’s post, it’s actually not half-bad I think, so please take a look. In fact it may even be better than what I’m about to write. Who knows? Surely not I.)

So. what were we talking about? Oh right. How proud of ourselves we should all be just for surviving Mother’s Day. And it makes absolutely no difference how you did it.

Whether you were sociable, or merely polite, or ignored people, or avoided people, relationships got fractured, people got arrested, charges were filed…doesn’t matter.

The only significant factor is that THAT was Sunday…Today is Friday…and, guess what? You made it.

I began this week with the title: I’ve Met ALL SORTS of Mothers in My Life: Now, in winding up our week long tribute to the wretched holiday, I’d like to spend a moment this last day, saluting some of those types of Mothers.

Continue reading

I’ve Met ALL SORTS of Mothers in My Life (Thursday)

(Start with “Monday” if you can. We’re giving Mother’s Day and the days following, the tribute they deserve: With plenty of good old fashioned anger and violence.)

(And if you’d like to see other aspects of my agressive personality, please do subscribe to this blog for weekly newsletters always guaranteed to be full of… well let’s just say… info.)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The depressing, Hallmark-induced, pancake house celebrating, 24 dollars a dozen half-dead roses delivered to the wrong house on the right day or the right house on the wrong day—holiday that we affectionately (and sarcastically) refer to as “Mother’s Day”.

Enough I say! Today has been declared another holiday for all of us who survived Sunday’s debacle. I proclaim today to be: “Give Yourself a Cookie Day!”  Continue reading

Infertility, Vacations & Other Stressful Events (Wednesday)

(Start with “Tuesday” if you can. I’ve been on vacation for the past week but my tortured soul is still typing. And if it’s entertaining at all to you, consider subscribing. You’ll receive a free weekly newsletter of sorts that gives some inside details of each week’s posts.)     

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The dozens of well-meaning do-gooders in our infertile lives who try to cure us by sending us on a vacation. They’re a triple threat:  psychologist, reproductive endocrinologist and travel agent all rolled into one, operating without a license to advise us in any one of those areas. Continue reading