Heads Up: Infertility Sounds Like a Scam to Your Boss

It’s tough to be going through fertility treatments under any circumstances. It’s extremely tough going through fertility treatments while you have a full-time job. Infertility itself is a full-time job. There are things you have to do in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night. There are things you have to do on the weekends. Sometimes you even have to go to the doctor’s office on a weekend. You don’t call the shots. (Pun?) Your doctors and your ovaries call the shots. (Pun?) Everything during treatments has to be done when it has to be done. Not the day after. Not on Saturday instead of Tuesday. Most employers don’t want to hear it. And I’ll have to admit: To someone who hasn’t been through it, like your boss, infertility sounds like a scam.

 

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Final Valentine’s Day (Month) Post- Really

So this will be my final Valentine’s Day /Month post this year. (Who said: “Thank Gd?”) And you know why I’ve done so many. Because life has a way of wedging its way into our romance if we let it and infertility, with its blame, guilt, social stigmas, physical, mental, emotional, and financial tolls, is its own special crowbar all by itself.

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…What Would You Say to the “Parents”?

Last week I wrote about: If you KNEW you were going to be pregnant tomorrow, what might you say to your doctor. This is Part 2: If you KNEW you were going to be pregnant tomorrow, and everything was going to be fine and you’d never have infertility issues again… What would you say to all of your friends with children?

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The Dreaded “Our Year-in-Review” Holiday Card

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

Happy: ‘Thank You for not Being a Schmuck’ Day

homer simpsonI want to thank Bianca Smith for putting this post of mine on her wonderful “Where’s My Stork?” blog.  http://www.wheresmystork.com/?s=Lori#popup  

If you missed it there, here it is here. 

My father lived by himself in a retirement community in Florida among a lot of couples. I noticed that just about all of the people he was friends with were women. I asked him about it once: “Well,” he said. “…the wives are all very nice… but their husbands are a bunch of schmucks.”

So this week, while we may not be in a position to, or at all interested in, celebrating Father’s Day this year, I propose an alternate holiday:

Happy: ‘Thank You for Not Being a Schmuck’ Day -and the “day” runs all week. (Feel free to run it all year if you like.)

Your spouse/partner/husband–whatever he is– probably does some things that irritate you. That’s normal, of course. And yet, even with those small annoyances, minor aggravations and colossal pet peeves that drive you up a fkn wall… He’s the one, the only one, you’ve hand-picked to have calendar-induced copulation with and to sire your future children. You know you wouldn’t have your eggs in a freezer, snuggling together for warmth with anyone else’s sperm.

So he’s not perfect…

I would have to say that all of the stereotypical bad habits that we accuse most men of having… well, that’s pretty much me. Continue reading

Should Our Online Friends Stay There?

woman in front of computerOur online friends to me are like our celebrity crushes and idols. They seem so wonderful from waaaay over there. But do we really want to meet them over here?

I’ve had two celebrity idol/crush encounters: To make two interesting but very long story’s short: The idol was mine– singer/songwriter Carly Simon. The crush was my friend Maria’s: Actor Jackie Earle Haley. I met them both and they were both amazing.

But when people online say: “If you’re ever in ———— call me. We can meet up.” I never know who really means it and who’s just using it as an expression like: “How are you doing?” “What’s up?” “If you’re ever in Des Moines…”

I’ve become pretty close with a couple of women from the infertility support sites. We’ve even texted occasionally and talked on the phone once or twice. But to put away the electronics and meet face to face? Continue reading

Some Jobs Have Perks THEY Don’t Even Know About

In last week’s post, “Stealing… It’s Such a Strong Word”, I talked about my family’s inclination toward petty pilfering: Just your average, run of the mill pocketing-Sweet-‘N’-Lows-at-the-neighborhood-diner type of thing. (I was once in a supermarket with my father when he saw boxes of them on the shelf and said: “People actually buy these?”)

At a job it’s different. I feel no guilt or remorse for anything I’ve done. I have nothing to be ashamed of. Still, I won’t give too many specifics, because, well, you know… statute of limitations and all that.

Naturally, everyone likes a job with good benefits. I mean health and dental coverage are fine. So are 401Ks. But for me, at a job, just like in life: It’s the little things that matter. For me, the best work place perks that a company can provide are the unintentional ones: The benefits they have no idea they’re providing.

All the “up & up” benefits are published. They’re right there for everyone to see. They’re in the employee handbook. They’re in the handouts at the orientation. They’re on your bi-weekly pay stubs. But if you go into the main employee restroom, hold your pay stub up to a mirror, turn it upside down 3 times and take as many steps backwards as you can without falling into an open stall, you’ll clearly see your “other” benefits revealed.

It’s called the law of inverse reciprocity. (Don’t look it up. You’ll be sorely disappointed.)  This means that the stingier the company, the more “other” benefits you’re entitled to.

For instance, if I get a job and I think I should be paid $50,000 a year for doing what they’re asking of me,  and they only offer me $35,000 a year, then it stands to reason, I’m in a $15,000 deficit. So while I appear to be working diligently for them all year, I’m also working for myself figuring out creative ways for them to make up that 15 grand they owe me.

And it doesn’t matter where you work. The law of inverse reciprocity still applies. When I worked in a fast food place, according to them, I received minimum wage. According to me, I also won a raffle for a lifetime supply of plasticware- Not to mention salt, pepper, and ketchup packets. Granted, I never put salt or pepper on anything, and it would take 40 of those ketchup packets to fill a tablespoon… It’s the principle of the thing. And I’m nothing if not principled.

I’ve worked for some pretty generous places that gave holiday bonuses, incentives, Thanksgiving turkeys, umbrellas… something. Coincidentally, they were never missing office supplies. But the only thing worse than a company that offers you nothing is a company that offers you nothing and thinks they’re doing you a favor. If you think you’re going to cater a smorgasbord for a meeting with the big-wig, hoidy-toidy, grand puba, company honchos and then, when they’re done mauling at it, you’ll toss the plate like a Frisbee onto the break-room table for us commoners to fight over… Watch your back… and anything else not nailed down.

Most jobs are the same to me. They’re really just glorified office supply stores. I’m a writer. Writers need lots of paper… and copies. We need to print things: Double-sided things… in color… and collated.  We need those giant staplers, paper cutters, markers, envelopes in all shapes and sizes. (You can keep those ones with the windows. We have no use for those.)

To these companies I ask you: “How else could I possibly afford those things? You know better than anyone how much I earn. You don’t want to stand in the way of my dream. Do you? Don’t look at it like I’m stealing from you. That just spreads negative energy. Instead, consider yourself an investor in the career of a budding “young” author. Doesn’t that feel better?”

Surely you’ve heard of silent investors. Mine are not only silent, they’re totally oblivious.

So if you ever work for a job where they give you a polygraph before you’re even hired, and they have cameras every three feet of the building, keep the copy paper, ink cartridges, and paper clips in a locked cabinet that you need a combination to open, and have all the pens and staplers chained to the desks… I am so sorry… I take full responsibility. I probably used to work there.

If Only I Had 2 Cents for Every 2 Cents I’ve Put In…

There is an art which I have yet to master. No, I don’t mean the art of writing. I mean the art of minding my own business. Every year on Yom Kippur, I throw bread into a lake. To Jews everywhere this symbolizes casting away our sins. To others, it symbolizes feeding the ducks. (Occasionally I’ve been chased by zealous park officials: Apparently tossing away sins is prohibited there.) Every year, for as long as I can remember one of my “sins” that I throw away is “minding my own business”. Unfortunately, it usually limps out of the lake and boomerangs back to me about two days later.

Don’t you hate those people who, when you’re having a conversation, just show up out of nowhere and start commenting? That’s me. And it could be about anything from gardening to why the husband of the woman talking ran off to Brazil.

I just float in like Tinkerbell to save the day:
“You told us months ago that he’s been learning Portuguese. Come on Alyssa, the red flags were everywhere! You probably didn’t give him enough attention and oh yeah, ditto for your tomatoes. That’s why they’re not growing. It’s all related somehow.”

And I’m sure after I put in my two cents and finally leave the room, they look at each other and say: “I’ll bet she doesn’t even realize she’s doing it.” That’s where they’re wrong. I realize it. My problem isn’t ignorance, it’s arrogance. I just always think I have something vital to contribute to their otherwise humdrum conversation. I know more than they do. There are thousands of topics in this world I’m sure I know nothing about, from UN policy to opera, but that doesn’t stop me from playing “Jeopardy!” or from being an authority. As my ex-boyfriend used to say:

“Hi I’m Lori and I’m pretty sure I’m some sort of a genius.”

That’s not why we broke up. I mean, he had a point. I think this is a trait I inherited from my father. You’d be working on something: Putting a toy together, washing a dish… and he’d nudge you aside and say: “Better let me do it.”

And you’d think this would make me more compassionate and understanding toward others with the same affliction and yet it doesn’t. Quite the opposite. If I’m having a private discussion and a third party interjects, I’m incensed. How dare they interrupt? I get annoyed and obnoxious: “All who want your opinion raise their hand.”

But when I “intercede”, I’m a master at it. I don’t even have to do it in person. Often I butt in over the cubicle wall. You know when you’re sitting at work in those “sound-proof” “offices” with no door or ceiling? I eavesdrop. Everyone eavesdrops. The discreet, professional thing to do of course, is to pretend you don’t hear a thing and go on with your work.

I’m a busy woman. I have no time for either discretion nor professionalism. It works well in my work environment. My coworkers have chosen to embrace my true self as a buttinsky, yenta, and general annoyance. People have gotten so used to me listening-in uninvited that they’ll just use me as the wealth of information that I am. They know that Big Brother may be watching, but I’m always listening. There will be two women talking in a low voice two cubicles over: “Did they say that meeting is supposed to start at 9 or 10? I can’t remember what time they decided on…. Lori?”
“9!”
See? I may be rude, indiscreet, and unprofessional, but I’m the company’s most vital resource. I seriously doubt if they could function without me.

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

Holiday Shopping Weekend: What? No “Infertile Friday”?

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