The Fertile World - When We Isn't Me
When we doesn’t include me. That may be a very well known phrase.
It isn’t to me.
I heard it for the first time the other day on NPR (National Public Radio, not yet another Infertility acronym). The phrase caught my attention. I wish I could give credit to the speaker but I have no idea who was speaking at the time. If you know, could you please email me at FertileYoga@gmail.com?
Back to the point.
Managing the Fertility Treatment Process
Why do we, I, you, feel so isolated, alone and lonely while managing the fertility treatment process?
Not all of us. Not all the time.
But a lot of us. A lot of the time.
That’s where this phrase comes in.
Me? I felt alone because I was alone. That was the simple answer. I didn’t know many other people, women, who were going through fertility treatment when I was. Thank goodness for my dear friend, Pamela Madsen, who eventually led me to Resolve and then to The American Fertility Association.
If it weren’t for Pamela, Resolve and The AFA, I would have been sunk.
Because we didn’t apply to me.
We were people who didn’t know they were having a problem having children.
We were having morning sickness and swollen ankles.
We were pregnant friends.
We were mommy and me programs.
We were happily married couples conceiving in the privacy in their own bedrooms.
We were the “normal” procession of dating, engagement, wedding, baby shower, baby. (How grateful are all of us for the new normal?)
We weren’t me.
No wonder I felt lonely. No wonder at all.
I found we in groups with Resolve and The AFA. That was my we. That was where I fit in, whether it was the we I really wanted to be part of or not, it was the we that I felt a part of. A place where we fit me.
Maybe you too don’t fit with we right now. Not the we that you are used to, anyway. There are other we’s. That’s what I found out.
Why not try Ladies Night In at RMACT? Carrie Van Steen and I would love to meet you. We have a place where you may fit right in.
The we you are looking for.
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Jaime King's Infertility Message
Actress Jaime King laid it all out on the line.
Eight years of infertility.
Undiagnosed PCOS and endometriosis.
Twenty-six IUI’s? That might actually be a record. And it’s totally not the point at all.
Photo: Instagram Jaime_King
I had no idea who Jaime King was until this news broke.
Infertility Struggles and Privacy
And it broke really big. It’s huge when a celebrity comes out in such a public way about their infertility struggles. Many celebrities chose privacy and even secrecy when it comes to infertility. Some even lie.
And before we jump onto some holier than thou platform, a lot of us lie when it comes to infertility. We say we are fine when we are not. We say we aren’t interested yet in having children when we are. We say that we’ll show up for events, like baby showers, when we have absolutely no intention of doing so. We lie to protect ourselves. Like a lot of celebrities lie to protect their privacy and that of their children. We don’t absolutely know when a celebrity is lying but it is pretty suspect when a woman of 49 gets pregnant and says that she was able to do so with her own eggs.
Still, why is it any of our business?
Jaime King spelled it out pretty good. Maybe it is none of our business, but she chose to share because she didn’t want any of us to feel alone. Or think that we were the only ones going through fertility treatment and the disappointments, pain and damage that we go through sometimes.
She chose to tell the truth, in black and white and in living color. And very out loud.
Money, youth, beauty, and celebrity did not protect her against the experiences of infertility. She may not have the worst, most painful story out there, but really, it’s pretty bad. A lot of pain. A lot of money. A lot of disappointment.
And not an easy birth. Not an easy adjustment to motherhood.
She laid it all out for us.
I take it for the gift that it was meant to be; for us not to feel alone.
We are not alone.
And although most of us don’t have the resources that she has, neither do we have to have our fertility treatment in the public eye and decide about lying. She could have kept this secret. We wouldn’t have known about what she went through unless she chose to share it.
Trying to Conceive and Knowing We Are Not Alone
It is a gift to know that we are not alone. We are not alone in the struggle of trying to conceive and carry a child. We are not alone in continuing the struggle despite tragic disappointments.
We are not alone.
Is this a matter of misery loving company?
Or is this a matter of knowing that we are all part of the human race?
Or is this simply a reminder that infertility is a very common group of diseases that prevent us from having our children when we are ready?
Maybe it’s a comfort to you that others have experienced infertility and have had this difficulty. Maybe it’s not.
Me, I’m grateful that Jaime King chose to share her story. I’m impressed with her honesty. I’m proud to have her on our team, so to speak.
Thanks Jaime King for the choices you made and for letting us know. Congratulations on your child and family. We wish you well.
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Coping With Infertility
Our CT infertility program has been getting a lot of mail lately.
A lot of baby announcements.
Reminders of what we do and why we do it.
To create loving families.
To add to loving families.
For those of us still waiting, we wonder.
Will I be the one who doesn’t conceive.
Will I be the one who doesn’t have my baby.
Will I alone, be the only one who doesn’t have my family?
Will I be the patient that never leaves this infertility program?
Because the hard part is that there are no guarantees.
No one will say, “yes, after 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, you will have a baby”.
So we wait.
We wait with you.
We talk with you, laugh with you, cry with you.
We wait together with you.
You are not alone.
We know it’s hard.
No one wants to be the one left without a baby.
We’re here, with you.
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Struggling with Infertility
A common scenario when we are struggling with infertility is that we feel alone; we feel that no one truly understands the magnitude of what we are going through. We withdraw from friends and family because their concern, although well meaning, is frequently hurtful or intrusive. Even when our friends and family say precisely the right thing, at the right time and drop the subject the moment that you ask them to, we still experience pain. It makes holidays, get togethers, even simple conversations a strain where once it was easy and comfortable.
Peer Support Group Privileges
I feel honored to help facilitate a peer support group where we laugh, cry, help, support and educate one another. I’m very thankful and grateful for this group of women who show up, lay it on the line and tell it like it is. Relationships are formed and valuable bonds are made in these groups. Why can we tell strangers things that we cringe about sharing with those who love us?
Simple, really. We understand. We get it. Who else really does get what it’s like to go to friends for an evening and have to disappear into the bathroom? Together, I mean, your partner and yourself. LOL. Who else understands that it makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time? Who else understands that there’s a part of you that hopes your friends think that you are having hot sex in the bathroom, not getting a shot in your derriere? Who else understands that your vacation is being postponed because you’re in the middle of a cycle? Who else understands what it’s like to get one more birth announcement, one more whispered “I’m pregnant”? Who else understands our younger sisters conceiving and having children and our hearts full for them and breaking for ourselves?
Cultivating Gratitude: Make Your Own List
So for those of us who get it, here’s my list of things that infertility makes me grateful for, in case feeling grateful feels like a really big stretch, or even impossible:
- Ovulating each month
- Front desk person at your fertility clinic smiling at you
- Getting your period regularly
- Have insurance coverage for fertility treatment
- Have veins that cooperate in getting blood drawn
- Struggling with PCOS and finding ways to minimize the impact
- Getting a positive pregnancy test
- Able to face the emotional roller coaster that is infertility treatment
- Fertile Yoga
- Are healthy and young enough to be able to consider fertility treatment
- Producing enough follicles to go through In Vitro Fertilization
- Able to do IUI’s (Intra uterine inseminations) with a high probability of success
- Have the financial resources to continue treatment even without insurance coverage
- Professional therapists who have the ability to make us see things differently, espcially our feelings
- Nurses who are approachable and compassionate
- A fertility program where you are treated as a whole person and not a walking diagnosis
- Getting your period after three or four months
- Ultrasound showing a heartbeat
- A painless transfer
- A nutritionist that is not judgemental, but really really helpful
- A retrieval that goes smoothly and easily
- Live in a day and age where third party reproductive technology is available
- Can compare one fertility specialist (board certified reproductive endocrinologist) to another and pick one who is the best fit
- Having access to complementary programs that enhance your chances of conception
- Not strangling your friend/family member/co-worker/boss/partner/waitress who asks yet again when you are going to have a baby
- Live in a state where it’s mandated that infertility is covered by insurance
- Passion tea
- Able to turn to a partner for help and support
- Ultrasound showing a sac
- Feeling hope that this time the cycle will work and there will be a baby at the end of the rainbow
What goes on your list? Share your ideas in the comments and we'll build a new list together. I’m grateful to you, my community, my group who gets it--for reading, for commenting, for caring.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. ~Henry Ford
I wonder if we all think we are alone in this.
We see all the people around us, helping. Wonderful doctors, clinicians, support services. We see them. We even feel that they are there.
I know from speaking to patients that RMACT feels like a safe haven. That they know they are surrounded by people, professionals, who are devoted to their goal.
Having a baby.
Overcoming their infertility struggles.
I like Henry Ford's quote. And I paired it this morning with the picture for a specific reason.
Keep your eye on the goal and don't do it alone.
That's my mantra for today.
I don't mind sharing that with you if it makes sense to you too.
You're trying to conceive, carry and give birth to a baby.
That's your goal.
You don't have to do it alone. We are here. In lots of different ways.
Our Integrated and Fertility Wellness Program includes acupuncture, nutrition, mental health support, Fertile Yoga, and peer support.
You don't have to do it alone.
Our goal is the same as yours.
To help you become pregnant and have a baby.
Keep your eye on the goal and don't do it alone.
Mantra for the day.