Supreme Court Debates the Meaning of Family
It's all about family this week.
All the way to the Supreme Court, it's about families.
There are very few places you can go without seeing red equal signs. Maybe you have seen them on Facebook. Maybe you're not on Facebook and haven't seen them.
What do the red equal signs mean? What do they stand for?
The Human Right's Campaign, dedicated to advocating and supporting LGBT rights and marriage for all, started the buzz and it has taken off like a wild fire.
Prop 8 and DOMA In the Supreme Court
Yesterday, the Supreme Court was deliberating about California’s Proposition 8, which bans the right for same-sex couples to marry. Today, arguments will be heard regarding the national Defense of Marriage Act, which has legally defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman since 1996.
The LGBT community supports being able to be married. To create their own families, legally and with the rights of heterosexual couples. Many have the same desire that heterosexual couples do, to have children. To have those children, often times using fertility treatment, protected legally as any other child is.
I read over and over yesterday about how simple this is. Because my Facebook page, it was covered in red equal signs and the conversation was that this should be a slam dunk, done, right thing to do.
Maybe it should be that simple. But it isn't. I get that one side of this is that this is the morally correct thing to do for our country.
The other side of the issue is that it is not the morally correct thing to do.
Regardless of what side you are on, the point of even having sides means that it's not simple. Simple would mean not caring about bringing people together in peaceful agreement. Simple would mean getting what I want and not caring about what the other side wants. Simple would mean no more discussion on how to find ways to talk to each other when we disagree.
This isn't a simple issue, not if we want to find peace with one another.
Let's care about the issue enough to continue the conversations, respectfully, with regard to the other point of view. Let's not be dismissive.
Because if we are dismissive, then we create further divisions between us.
Families are about love. That does seem like a simple enough place to start and continue a conversation.
If I had conceived a child when I first wanted to, what would be different in my life?
Given how young I was, I wonder if my marriage would have survived the challenges of parenthood.
What road would my passion have taken instead of patient advocacy, education and support?
Where would I be living?
Who would my friends be?
Would I be working in a very different way?
How would I have found my connection to working with women?
Would yoga have called me or might I have missed the incredible depth of peace that I find while teaching and practicing?
Who would my friends be? My neighbors?
Where would I have found the compassion that I have about other people's pain?
What would my travels and adventures have been like?
How would I have discovered how deeply important it was to me to have children?
If I had conceived a child as soon as I wanted to, what would I have missed?
FYI for tomorrow:
Peer Support Group from 9:30-10:00
Fertile Yoga from 10-11:00 in Norwalk- 20 Glover Avenue- Free of Charge
Fertile Yoga-YogaSpace- New Time! 5:15-6:30 at 777 Federal Road, Brookfield CT
Nutrition & Lifestyle Tools for Fertility Success
Spring into a healthy and fertile lifestyle with knowledge learned in this seminar, led by Carolyn Gundell, RMA Nutritionist and Monica Moore, MSN, RNC. Come join us for an interactive nutrition discussion on The Fertility Diet, fertility secrets for meal planning, and shopping for fertile foods. We will also discuss how lifestyle behaviors, such as activity, sleep and stress can affect fertility.
Norwalk: Saturday March 26th 8:30 AM – 9:45 AM
10 Glover Avenue, Norwalk, CT
Please call Nina to reserve a seat at 203-750-7484
* Please visit our website or call to confirm date, time and/or location as they are subject to change.
Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut: www.rmact.com
Date night in my family. We had been trying to make date night on Saturday night, but it never seemed to work. These days, though, in my family, my husband tries, very hard, to meet me at the house at 4:45, to take me out on a date.
Where we go doesn’t seem to be that important, although we have discovered that going food shopping or errand hopping, ultimately does not feel like much of a date. We have not established much of a routine yet, although it seems that going to a bar, sitting together, and having a drink, works for us. He doesn’t drink alcohol at all, I drink very little. It’s not the point. The point is to reconnect, meet each other in a place and way where the only point is to be together.
For us multi taskers, we focus driven, task driven, highly productive people, this is a different path. Sitting and talking for the sake of being together. No work getting done.
It has served the purpose of re-igniting the marriage. I’ve been married 26 years. Yes, 26 years. Yes, it’s a very long time. And my husband and I have gotten out of the habit of spending time alone together. We are re-discovering doing just that. We are re-discovering that we like each other, find each other amusing, can have a conversation that is not interrupted by the details of our lives and that it is fun.
It has been easy over the years to assume that the marriage, our love, our commitment to one another does not need to be fed. That simply being married, having a life, taking care of the household is enough.
It’s not enough. All those things come from the commitment between the two of us. None of it works unless our connection is strong and vital. A strong and vital connection comes from our communicating, on a deeper level than who is picking up the groceries or paying the electric bill.
It seems that we have gotten lazy or complacent, at the very least. We did assume that everything else had to be taken care of first and then, if there was time, we would spend it together. It turns out; it’s like a savings account. The savings come out of the paycheck first, not last. You pay yourself before everything else, not after everything else.
If you are reading this and being married 26 years feels like it’s about 100 years away, don’t be fooled. You get there faster than you think. If you are in the habit of nurturing your relationship, good for you. Keep it up; make it part of your daily and weekly routine. If you are like my husband and myself and have been doing less than more, my suggestion is that you meet your partner again. Remember why you are together, why you fell in love; enjoy a fun few hours together if that’s all you can manage.
It’s Friday night. Date night in my household. Now I just have to figure out what to wear.
And a reminder that tomorrow is Saturday October 23rd. 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Fertile Nutrition: Tools for Success
A discussion on how to increase your chances of pregnancy and optimizing your health prior to pregnancy with nutrition and lifestyle choices. Led by Carolyn Gundell and Spencer Richlin, MD. (Surgical Director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT) Seminars are $10 per person or $15 per couple
RSVP to Cori at 203-750-7492
Fertile Yoga will be meeting in both Norwalk and Brookfield.
Jane Elisofon, MSW brought couples together last night in Danbury. Compassionately and intelligently, as she always runs her groups. I admire her ability to hear, listen, process and respond so eloquently and thoughtfully. I could speak volumes about the open heartedness about the couples who attended, but will leave it at that, as I need to respect their privacy and confidentiality.
Attending the group reminded me of my own struggles during infertility. My struggles, my husband’s struggles and our struggles together. Jane touched upon that last night. There’s you, your partner, and your relationship. A lot to consider and keep track of.
When my husband and I were going through the rigors of infertility treatment, more often than not, we were not on the same page. We were not even in the same book. The more talkative I become, the more I emoted, the more I raged, the quieter he became. The more that I felt that fertility treatment would never work for me (based on it not having worked, yet), the more optimistic he became. It drove me crazy. It drove him crazy, much more quietly, much more privately. (Jane talked about that last night as well, we women concentrate with all our hearts on the babies, our partners concentrate on us being ok.)
Infertility was a burden that we shared. It seemed that my share of the burden was the worry, the concern, the upset, the raging hormones and emotions. I believe, from talking and listening to my husband, that his burden was equally profound and difficult. It was left to him to support me. It was left to him to remain optimistic. It was left to him to put me first, himself second.
The breakthrough for us came at a moment when he was feeling that he couldn’t do anymore treatment, that he just couldn’t do another injection, go through another cycle with all it’s up’s and down’s. He was exhausted, and although he was always too kind to say it, I think he was exhausted with me as well. In that moment, when he spoke to me about stopping treatment, we found a place to meet. I realized that I wasn’t ready to stop treatment, but recognizing his utter exhaustion, could take a break and regroup. He was relieved at finally having said what he had been feeling for quite a while and touched and grateful at my response.
Rather than feeling alarmed at his stating that he wanted to stop treatment, it was a relief to know that he had his own concerns as well. It allowed me to become the caregiver and it gave him a break from always having to be the cheerleader. I had the chance to say that I thought we should keep trying, that I believed we would be successful, that it was worth all of what we were going through.
And I had the opportunity to feel those things. Optimism, hope, anticipation.
Here I am, wondering about balance, again. Too much medical information for one week in the blog, not enough personal/spiritual/emotional writing? Lots and lots on egg donation
and infertility and more to come tomorrow from very well respected experts in the field. So, yes, today, a little less medical, a little more personal.
Last night I attended "Ladies Night In" at our Danbury office. Jane Elisofon, MSW, led the group of men and women who were courageous enough to take a look at the communication between them. Jane was wonderful, set a relaxing, non threatening atmosphere and even made it fun.
It touched so many memories about how my husband and I coped and didn't cope through the process of trying to conceive. I remember the frustrations that we had with each other; about coming to decisions about treatment, choosing who to share information with, how much time we should spend talking about infertility and finally expressing our feelings. Where was Jane when I was going through this?!!? I listened to her normalize how people were feeling last night and I watched relief wash over their faces. Giving permission to share or not share information, Jane allowed everyone there to fully live in making decisions that they were personally comfortable with. It was outstanding and so helpful, to me even though I was attending as a support person! I also got the full benefit of a professionally led support group. There was tremendous power, validation and empowerment that fueled the evening. I felt very honored to be a part of it.
I have often said that infertility is not for the faint hearted. That this is a challenging path that you are on, one that demands courage, insight and ability to rebound from disappointments. There's a reason that a roller coaster is a fitting image. Watching Jane support these lovely couples, seeing how she knew just when to step back, when to offer a suggestion, when to ask a question, reconfirmed my belief that facing infertility can make your marriage or relationship stronger, more steady, more loving.
And how better than to find a wonderful mental health professional like Jane for some guidance. If you have never gone to a group with your partner, if you're not a group person, if you feel that you're "fine" on your own, there's a whole other world out there. Without revealing what went on last night, I will just say that there was healing, listening, understanding, forgiving and communicating on a level that was, to use one of Dr. Leondires' favorite words, magical.