Fertility Blog Apologies
Recently on this fertility blog, I wrote a post called Infertility @#*&! Words, and asked a question.
What are the things that you are asked about having children that are distressing, upsetting, or just plain insensitive? Even if not meant to be unkind or hurtful.
I asked the question and someone answered me. Here was her answer:
“I dislike when people not even going through ivf say “so overwhelming". How do u know? Be considerate and understanding... If someone was fighting cancer would u tell them it was overwhelming!”
How did I read this?
I thought she was talking to me, about me! I felt attacked.
Infertility Emotions and Triggers
Sigh. Every time I think I am completely over my infertility emotions, something comes up and triggers a response in me. Infertility hits such an essential, primal place in us that the feelings can reverberate for a very long time.
Want to hear the snotty response I gave? After feeling sorry for myself that I got a first “negative” comment in four years?
How do I know? Six and half years trying to conceive, that's how. Four of those years in treatment. More IUI cycles than I can remember, as well as IVF cycles. That's how I know. I know because I experienced it. All of it. My friends getting pregnant, while I did not. Baby showers that were not for me. Birth announcements while I was lying on the couch recuperating from surgical procedures to help me get pregnant. And yes, cancer is overwhelming too. I've supported family members through it. Absolutely overwhelming!
Some people find it considerate and understanding to acknowledge that what they're going through is overwhelming. I was certainly overwhelmed. Luckily not every minute, but many, many minutes, I was. This blog comes from my own experience, my heart and daily conversations with those men and women still trying to conceive.
I'm interested in knowing what you would consider considerate and understanding? What would you prefer to hear to support you? I'd really like to know. Thanks for writing and letting me know how you felt about what I wrote. Sorry it didn't help you.
Keep reading, I'll keep what you have to say in mind.
Sigh. Yep, I owe this woman an apology!
Here’s what made me remember how much I love my life and my friends (thanks Greg for pointing out my misunderstanding her comment!) and the universe.
I’ve gotten hundreds of comments on the blog in the almost four years (birthday coming soon!) that I’ve been writing PathtoFertility. Most from men and women that I don’t know and have not met.
Fertile Yoga Class and A Gift from the Universe
I was preparing to write my mea culpa, apology note on the blog and didn’t get to it because I needed to drive to Trumbull to teach our first ever Fertile Yoga class in RMACT’s beautiful new space.
We were chatting before class (because we do a little peer support first and get to know one another), and one of the lovely ladies there said this, and I quote:
“I hate hearing about how overwhelming fertility treatment is. Would you say that cancer is overwhelming?”
I got very focused. And of course I asked the obvious question.
“Did you post a comment like that to the blog last week?”
How do you not appreciate the universe when she plops the very person that I need to apologize to right in front of me so I can do it face to face?
And right after I had given her a beautiful bracelet from a former RMACT fertility patient who wanted to share her strength with women still struggling.
Oh yeah. I love the universe.
And just for the record, that was also my first snotty response to any posting on the PathtoFertility blog.
And also my last.
From now on, I read more carefully. I check my own reactions more thoughtfully. And I remember that infertility is still a little closer than I sometimes realize.
Thank you universe! And Greg for pointing this out.
Thanks for the opportunity to apologize in person. I probably appreciated it even more than she did.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
The reality is that fertility treatment is successful, a lot of the time.
The reality is also, that fertility treatment does not work, at least some of the time.
Here are a few more realities.
Sometimes, more often than you realize, a fertility cycle will work the very first time that you do one.
Sometimes the journey is longer than that and will need a longer view and reach, more diagnostic tests and fertility treatment cycles.
A fertility cycle that is not going well, not going as planned, can turn around in the middle and absolutely flourish.
And sometimes the best, most wonderful looking outcomes do not result in a pregnancy.
Those are all realities. They are not even possible realities. They are realities every day, side by side.
None of them mean that you won't eventually be successful. What they can mean is that sometimes the road to parenthood will be longer than you think. Or shorter than you think.
The question, or the point, is how you spend your time in fertility treatment.
Expect a wide range of emotions and reactions.
A growing awareness that you have all of those feelings and much more. You have the emotional, physical, and mental fortitude to push through the feelings to get the medical care that you need to meet your goal of having a baby.
Whatever holiday you are celebrating, please remember to celebrate yourself. Fertility treatment is not for the faint hearted.
As I say in Fertile Yoga:
You are beautiful.
You are graceful.
You are whole and complete.
Just as you are in this moment and breath. Nothing that needs to be different in this moment.
"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." - Edith Wharton
Between last night and tonight, we have experienced the shortest day and the longest night.
More darkness than light.
A lot of us are afraid of the dark. Even those of us who don't admit it.
Being in the dark throws off our sense of balance. Last night in yoga class, we did balancing poses with our eyes closed. It was astonishing to people that coming onto their toes, raising their arms to the sky with their eyes closed was so challenging.
Being in the dark challenges all of our senses. Our eyes strain to see what they cannot see, our ears become more alert, our skin tingles with every change in the stream of air around us. Our sense of smell becomes more acute.
Our intiution also comes alive in the dark.
We hear, see, smell, and feel things that we could not see with the light shining in.
Darkness is not evil, nor bad, nor our enemy. Darkness is a place where we are invited to rest, to find quiet and stillness.
It's a place where our heart can open more calmly and more completely. We feel, rather than see. We can listen to our hearts because there is nothing distracting to look at with our eyes.
There are subtle shifts in our thinking when we sit quietly in darkness. When we deliberately close our eyes and look inside, we do not see darkness, we see ourselves.
We see the reflection of our truest self, which shines brightly.
Our heart reminds us of this as well.
After the darkest day, longest night, light comes back in.
Tomorrow, the day will be longer, the night will be shorter.
Tomorrow, we turn towards spring.
Winter solstice, welcome the darkness.
We will find a path together through the darkness.
Last night in Ladies Night In (next Wednesday in Norwalk!), we were talking about pregnancy rates.
Mainly, if one is going to spend all that time, effort, money and more for IVF, wouldn't it be nice if it was 100 per cent guaranteed?
It would be nice.
It would be really, really nice.
Me, I'm amazed when I look at pregnancy rates. While I'm fully aware that a 65 per cent pregnancy rate means that 35 per cent of cycles result in failure, I'm blown away by the 65 per cent success.
In a couple with no fertility issues, younger than 35, mother nature gives you about a 20 per cent chance. Lower than that if you are older or have irregular cycles or any problems with sperm, etc.
20 per cent chance with mother nature.
In the top fertility programs, depending on your age and diagnosis, the chances can be more than triple that.
Yep, I'm amazed.
And still, with all the time, effort, energy, and money that goes into an IVF cycle, wouldn't it be so much nicer with a 100 per cent guarantee?
It would be so much nicer with that 100 per cent guarantee.
Especially for those of us who have no insurance coverage and are paying entirely out of pocket for the entire fertility treatment cycle.
It's a lot of money.
And there is not a 100 per cent guarantee that it will work.
There are a lot of you out there that have faced this.
How did you make the decision to go ahead to IVF?
What pushed you into taking the risk?
For me, it was that I wanted the baby more than I needed to stay safe.
I am not a gambler. I have never been. I like to be safe, I like to know what to expect, I don't really like surprises. I don't bet and I don't gamble. Period.
There came that time in my own fertility treatment where it was clear that if we did not go ahead, I was deciding not to have a baby.
I could not make that decision. I had to live with the risk and uncertainity of the percentages. Because I could not live without trying everything to have that baby.
I was 100 per cent certain that I was ready for a baby. And that a baby was in my future.
So I took the risk and the percentages.
I took the leap of faith.
And in doing so, I learned something about myself.
I didn't need to be as safe as I thought I had to be. I could stretch farther than I thought I could.
I could lean so far out that I thought I would fall and when I did, I found wings that I never knew that I had.
Wanting a baby taught me how to be a mother long before I became one.
What helped you make the decision to take the leap into fertility treatment?
I'd love to hear your answers, your stories, your questions.
Fertile Yoga tonight in Norwalk at 5:45 and in Brookfield tomorrow night at 6
Pre-natal Yoga at 7:15
Come Join Us!
Here are a few ways that are very common to feel when you're struggling with infertility.
Did I miss one? Or eight? Probably.
I found that the feelings that I had while in fertility treatment were somewhat akin to the weather in one of my favorite cities, San Francsico. It's said about New England too, but more accurate for SF.
If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes, it will change.
There you go. If you don't like how you're feeling, if it's uncomfortable or just plain awful, wait a minute or at the most, five, and see how it's changed.
But that's only true if you actually check in with how you're feeling. Most of us say how we're feeling without even feeling how we're feeling.
Ok. I admit. That was a confusing sentence. Let me clarify.
Raise your hand if you automatically say fine when someone asks you how you are.
Even if it's a good friend, we usually answer automatically. Fine. Even when we are most decidly not fine.
So check in with yourself. Feelings are not permanent states of being. You can feel truly awful and then realize that it's lifted a bit.
Before you answer how you feel, feel how you feel. Then answer.
The answer may surprise you.
Ladies Night In- Norwalk, tonight, August 18th, 6:00. All are welcome. Especially if you want to talk about some of those feelings listed above. Carrie Van Steen and I will be there to eat, chat, cry and laugh with you.
Ever wonder about the mind/body connection? Whether what you think and how you feel can transform your life? Me too. Just as often I’ve wondered whether feeling upset, angry, hurt,
disappointed, resentful, jealous or furious can adversely affect my life.
A few things happened this week. I have felt intensely happy, much of the week. A week in my life, like many others, full of ups and downs. I’m starting to consider that I have finally taken yoga off the mat. That being in the present is not just for the hours that I am “practicing” yoga, but for all the moments in my life. That’s what I consider taking yoga off the mat. Practicing what I preach. Breathing into the moments and then letting them go.
Interesting to me, it felt a little scary. Scary to let go of worrying, particularly. There is a part of me that still feels that if I’m not worrying about something, I am not paying enough attention to a problem or challenge. That if I’m not worrying or concerned about something, I’m not treating it as if it’s important. That if I’m not thinking about something, it could get out of hand, quickly. I’m defining worrying here as frequent thinking about something that one cannot do anything about in that moment of thought.
More specifically, I also felt strange about letting go of things. A few very upsetting things happened this week and I didn’t hold onto them. Perfect, right? Experience them, let them go. Perfect.
So how come it felt so strange to let it go? That an hour after something upsetting happened, it felt strange to feel ok? It was a little like having a toothache, having it go away, and prodding at the tooth with your tongue to see if it really really felt ok or if the pain was back. Wasn’t more pain necessary, more upset?
Interesting week. Having these feelings and moving on. Coming back to a base of happiness, as a grounding place. Loving it.
Looking forward to seeing my yogi’s tomorrow at Fertile Yoga. For those of you not able to come, we will be thinking of you and missing you. If you can, come join us. We’d love to have you.