Monday, April 30, 2012

Mother's Day Guilt

It's coming, whether I'm ready for it or not. Mother's Day. Once just a day to celebrate my own amazing mom, it's now a reminder of something I'm not celebrating. Actually, it's just like any other holiday over the last year, but this one is more painful somehow.

Holidays in general suck when IF is part of your life. My birthday, for instance, is now associated - at least for me if not anyone else since I don't expect anyone else would remember the significance of the date - with finding out about Buddy's MFI. Christmas, as a family-focused and magical-for-kids holiday, is a reminder that there aren't enough stockings hanging on our mantel. Thanksgiving reminds me there's something missing from my list of blessings. Halloween makes me think of all the cute themed costumes we could do as a family. Valentine's Day? Eh, don't really care about it between me and Buddy, but it was a day that my parents always made special for us and I had visions of pink-and-red-wrapped gifts and heart-shaped pancakes for my little loves. Pretty much any holiday on the calendar brings with it pictures from friends of cute kids in some kind of outfit and "baby's first _______" onesies.

Mother's Day is different. Last year at this time, we'd officially passed the one year mark, but we didn't yet know what was going on. I was down-hearted, for sure. Buddy got me a card from the pups and we got together with my parents. This year, I just want the day to be over with as soon as possible, and that comes with a special kind of guilt because we each have a great mom who deserves celebration and recognition. At Christmas, I felt okay asking for a little consideration - I wanted to be in my home where I was comfortable emotionally, and they obliged me. But this holiday isn't about me. It's about my mom and Buddy's mom. As much as I'd rather plant myself in bed with a pitcher of margaritas for the day, I want so badly to express to them both how much we love and appreciate them. I wish I could just say that we're going to go away for the weekend, but both our siblings live out of state and I can't bear to leave our moms without one of their children on their day. That's just not fair to them.

It's hard to feel so torn. I know what I will do - whatever our Moms want to celebrate their day - but my heart aches just thinking about how I feel left out. Normally, my mom and I would have made our family's Mother's Day plans by now (Buddy's family does things more on the fly). This year, I don't have the balls to bring it up, and I feel bad about that. I don't ever want to take away from anyone else because I hurt inside, but this one just sucks so much.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Last night, I went to my first Resolve support group meeting. I love my individual therapy, but I was really curious to see what a group session was like. So to "celebrate" NIAW, I went. I'm so incredibly glad I did! It was as fun as you could hope for when you're at an infertility support group. There were 4 other ladies there, including the leader. One had PCOS, one was unexplained, one had MFI, and the leader has DOR (diminished ovarian reserve) and eventual POF (premature ovarian failure).

In addition to being a mix of issues, ladies were in various stages of treatment. The unexplained couple had done 3 IUIs and was in the process for their first IVF when they decided it wasn't for them. They've put all treatment on hold until something speaks to them. The MFI couple is in their 1st injects IUI cycle, and the PCOS couple is preparing for their first RE appointment. I carry with me an insecurity (which I know is silly) about not being able to relate to ladies who've been through treatment and its roller coaster of emotions. The leader has actually not been through treatment either - her egg donor backed out at the last moment and any treatments are now on hold. So she related to my feelings of having not been through failed treatments.

We were there for 2.5 hours, just sitting and talking. We covered so much in that time: dumb things people say, how our husbands deal, how we deal, how IF makes us feel like we need something more fulfilling than our current jobs, charting, what we mourn most because of IF, misconceptions from our 8th grade health class, how we're feeling about Mother's Day coming up. I love how I can talk to the ladies on the Bump about all these things, but there was something wonderful about having that face-to-face.

I would definitely recommend attending a group if there's one in your area. You can find the listing here.

Oh, in relation to Resolve Groups but on a kind of amusing note, I was looking at the list of groups in my area. There are meetings for IF, PAIF, and adoption across the metro area, as well as a group for men. The IF, PAIF and adoption groups meet in restaurants and cafes. The men's group? Meets at Dave & Buster's.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


April 22-28th is National Infertility Awareness Week! After much discussion, some talking with my therapist, and compromises with Buddy, he and I decided that I would be participating in a public way, meaning on Facebook. Buddy is private, and I totall understand and respect that. I, on the other hand, feel drawn to speaking out about this, in an effort to both educate and to help other couples like us not feel so alone. I've hinted here and there on Facebook about our frustration, but this will be the first time that I state facts about IF and will openly acknowledge that this is our struggle. Also, Buddy's concern (and a possibly valid one, even if I don't want to admit it) was that I would get hot-headed and get into an argument if someone questioned me on certain topics. I think he fails to realize how often I'm faced with questions, though, and that I feel confident that if I can answer calmly in a face-to-face encounter, I can handle myself from behind a keyboard. Besides, while we may not have made the same choice everyone else would, if my "friends" can't at least respect it, they don't really need to be in my life. I'm fully prepared to do what I can to explain our stance calmly and respectfully and delete people if necessary. Harsh reality.

Anyway, I've been compiling a list of facts and such that I might use for status messages. I don't want to go overboard with them, but I do want what I say to have an impact. Feel free to use any of these for yourself or to feel inspired.

- One in 8 American couples deals with infertility. That’s greater than 10% of the population. Infertility is defined as inability to conceive within 12 months (or 6 months if over age 35). The source is a male issue in 35% of cases, a female issue in 35% of cases, a combined issue in 20% of cases, and unexplained in 10% of cases.

- Relaxing, adopting, taking a vacation, getting drunk and screwing in the back seat, and not thinking about It aren’t solutions to fertility issues.

- Impatience is not a fertility problem. With only a 20% chance of success in any given cycle, it can take a healthy couple with perfect timing up to a year to conceive. If you've tried for a year without success (or 6 months if over the age of 35), schedule an appointment to speak with your doctor about a referral to an infertility specialist.

- Adoption is not a cure for infertility. While it’s an opportunity to parent, it doesn’t solve the biological problem and the psychological side effects. Telling an infertile couple, “just adopt and you’ll get pregnant” is insensitive. There is no “just” about adopting, and it doesn’t cure the cause of infertility. Choosing to not adopt is not selfish. It’s also not the job of infertile couples to adopt orphans and foster children. So before you say, “just adopt,” ask yourself this: “how many children have I tried to adopt?”

- Deciding to live childfree is an acceptable and positive end to infertility. Choosing to be childfree means embracing life as a family of two. It is not an easy decision, and there is no less grief, but couples who choose to be childfree are worthy of love and support, too. For more about childfree living after infertility, check out Sweet Grapes by Jean and Michael Carter.

- Infertility doesn’t just affect the ability to create a biological family. It puts stress on relationships, wallets, and emotions. Relatively non-invasive procedures can cost $400 each, with IVF costing roughly $15K. And that doesn’t begin to cover the cost of the medication cocktails to make the procedures happen. It also doesn’t address the roller coaster of emotions of that treatment brings.

- Insurance companies often don’t cover infertility treatments, despite the fact that infertility is a health problem. Many sources of infertility are diseases that cause sub-optimal health. Infertility affects quality of life for many couples. Any other disease that caused such physical and emotional distress would be treated and covered by insurance, yet treatment of infertility is an out-of-pocket expense for most couples.

- Clomid isn’t candy, and its purpose isn’t to create multiples. It should be used under proper supervision of a specialist to avoid situations like “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” Likewise, the goal of infertility treatments is to create ONE baby, and even that can prove to be very difficult. Yes, the chances of multiples is always something to consider and more realistic with treatment, but it’s not the goal.

- IVF doesn’t always work. It’s expensive, emotionally draining and physically difficult. It’s a very involved process with many opportunities for things to go wrong. IVF isn’t feasible for everyone, and trust me when I say that you’re not suggesting something an infertile couple hasn’t considered.

- God doesn’t punish couples with infertility. It’s a health problem, not a punishment. Infertile couples aren’t being “tested.” It’s not comforting to hear that God thinks an infertile couple is unworthy of conception, but dead-beat drug abusers and ill-prepared 16-year-olds are gifted with children. THINK about what you’re saying when you suggest to a couple that God has decided it isn’t their time or they aren’t meant to be parents.

- For a fabulous blog post about life and hope after infertility, check this out:

- For information about supporting your loved one dealing with infertilty and to learn more about how it impacts couples, check out

- Infertility is a life-changing, relationship-testing, faith-shaking, sex life-dictating, wallet-draining, dream-crushing, and emotionally- and physically-demanding beast I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

And to the ladies who will not be outing yourselves next week, our silent sisters in this sorority no one wants to be in, you're in our thoughts. Whether you decide to come "out" next week, next month, or next year, we're at your side.

Do you have ideas for status messages you'd like to share? How about a link-up? Let's all support each other in bringing awareness to the forefront and keeping the conversation going.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Two years

Today marks two years since we started trying for a family. It also marks a year since infertility has officially been a part of our lives. A lot has changed since two years ago. I remember how excited I was, assuming we’d be expecting in no time. We talked about names and I thought about how we would announce to our families. We thought about how we would decorate and I had a mental list of baby gear I liked. Things are very different now. The room that I once walked by thinking, “that’ll be our nursery” is now part-way through its craft room transformation. I’m working daily at dealing with the loss (even just infertility itself is a big life-changer for couples, much less deciding to walk away from trying anymore) and taking care of myself and my husband emotionally. Still, it’s a sad day for us. I miss this day two years ago when we were hopeful and optimistic for a family. I’m hopeful and optimistic for new things now, but there’s an empty space where a dream once was.

I am thankful that the most important thing - my wonderful husband - hasn't changed. He continues to be my rock, and we continue to be strong and loving. The last year especially has had big challenges and disappointments for us, but if we can get through this, I know we can get through anything life throws our way.