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Monday, December 20, 2010

What's in Your Infertility Survival Kit?

What would you want in your infertility survival kit, if there was such a thing.  Well, there actually is.  I created one in my 1st blog giveaway.  It has all the necessities for pampering the infertile soul... and feet ;-).  If it is prior to December 23rd, read this post and follow the instructions on Celebrate the Holidays with My 1st Blog Giveaway

The infertility survival kit includes:
  • $25 gift card to SpaWish
  • Pedicure Kit
  • Nail Polish
  • Cute, Fuzzy Socks
  • Midnight Pomegranate Lotion and Soap
  • Shower Puff
  • Tissues
  • and more....
Many of the items are for your feet... Why feet you ask... "it isn't my feet that are the problem".  Simply because I want your feet to look cute when you go to your RE and they are in those terrible, cold, sterile stirrups!!! 

Other essential survival items are:
  • Books and Magazines
  • Any Sandra Bullock movie (or the chic flick of your choice)
  • Favorite Playlist (something fun like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, PINK)
  • Try Scrapbooking, Gardening, Sewing or something else to occupy your time and mind
  • Journal or Blog
  • Online Community or Forums for support to get through the really tough days
  • Of course, at least 1 HPT for emergency use ONLY!
  • Band-aids
Please add your must have survival kit items in the comments below....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Honoring Losses During the Holidays

As festive and wonderful this time of year can be with celebrations, gifts, family, traditions and decorations it can also be a time to remember those we have lost in our life that are special to us. This may be a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend or even a lost pregnancy or grieving the emptiness that comes with the inability to get pregnant.

Select an ornament for your tree, light a special candle, donate to a charity that supports a cause that is very dear to you or create your own tradition to honor the memory of those lost. 

Each year I have a special ornament on my Christmas tree in memory of my loss!  It is always the last ornament to go on the tree. It is my way of honoring and remembering where I have been on this journey.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Celebrate the Holidays with My Very 1st Blog Giveaway!

NOTE: Each entry must be submitted here so I can keep track of the entries!

Infertility is difficult no matter what time of year but around the holidays can be especially tough! I have 2 gifts that I think you will enjoy and hope they will pick your spirits up. 

The Bounce Back Book: How to Thrive in the Face of Adversity, Setbacks and Losses by Karen Salmansohn.  It is an “easy” read with practical, realistic information.  It is not an infertility book but the information in here is relevant.

“Infertility Survival Kit” - Will include a $25 spa wish gift card, pedicure set, fuzzy socks, nail polish, shower puff, lotion, and much more….

I have a post dedicated to the Infertility Survival Kit with more details coming soon!!!

Comment: Leave a comment between December 6th and December 21st on any of my posts and you will receive an entry. (1)

Status Updates: Tweet or update your facebook status about this giveaway or any of your favorite posts and you will receive an entry for each. (2)

Blog post: Link to or write a blog post about “My Hopeful Journey” and you will get an entry. (1)

Follow me: Join me on facebook, twitter, follow my blog (or enter your email in my RSS feed) and you will get an entry for each (3)

To submit an entry for the above categories please add a comment to this post with the information including the category (maximum of 7 entries). If you are an existing follower and would like to be included, simply add a comment on this post and it will be included. 

All entries will be  tallied on Wednesday, December 22nd and will be announced by Thursday, December 23rd.  Due to the nature of these gifts, please limit your entries to US addresses only. If you do not reside in the United States, you may gift your giveaway to someone that has a US address. 

Infertility Survival Kit image is from sirsnapsalot.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Educating College Women and Men on Infertility

As if I wasn't already involved in enough...  I was working on a Breast Cancer Awareness initiative and just asked a simple little question about infertility resources to the Women's Center at work.  That one little question opened up a new opportunity for me to advocate for infertility in a place that I would have never imagined.  I just never even connected that college aged women (and men) would be interested in infertility.  I obviously thought that most people would be concerned with how to NOT get pregnant.  But I never thought about it from a planning standpoint like... "I don't want to get pregnant today but I do want a family in the future".

I have been working with the American Fertility Association on using their educational materials and possibly even having Corey Whelan, Program Director, come speak to this group.  Just in case you didn't know, the AFA is touring campuses to educate college students on infertility.  Their program focus is on prevention - Infertility Prevention Program.  What an amazing perspective to take!  I realize infertility isn't "preventable" in many cases BUT in many cases there are risk factors and lifestyle changes that can be made to improve our chances.

  • What IF women were educated on those things that they could do to decrease their chances? 
  • What IF women were aware at a young age that their biological clock does play a huge role in conceiving and how long it will take?
  • What IF women and men understand that unsafe sex could reduce or eliminate the possibility of ever being able to have a baby?
  • What IF women knew the signs and symptoms of certain diseases like PCOS and endometriosis and could address them earlier in their life?
  • What IF someone that attends this event could educate 2 of their friends, and they could educate 2 of their friends and the cycle continued?
  • What IF you could educate just one person on infertility and it helped them to prevent it or address their symptoms earlier?
I obviously want a ton of people to show up and would love your feedback on how to get students interested in this topic.  (BTW - I will also be open to staff & faculty.)

I also want to reinforce that this opportunity came to me by just asking one question.  There are still many unknowns in how this event will take place BUT I don't think that really matters.  If 10 women come and learn one thing about infertility, it is a success.  And we never know who else is watching and learning and passing the information on.

CALL TO ACTION: Do me one favor?  Think of your life and if there are any opportunities for you to educate others about infertility.  It could be as simple as you sharing this post with your network of family and friends? You don't need to do the educating, maybe you just connect the resources like I have done?  Maybe you start a local support group or have lunch with someone that you heard is having trouble trying to conceive... information sharing is so important to navigate infertility.

Stay tuned for the ABC's of l-IF-e!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Be sure to come back and visit me soon.  My next post is called "Educating College Women and Men on Infertility".  Maybe you can help?!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ICLW - Welcome & Thank You

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, thank you for visiting my blog.  If you are part of ICLW for November, please check out my comment tracking spreadsheet by clicking on the ICLW Comment Tracker Link right above the button on the left.  I keep a copy of it for myself so I can track the many blogs that I visit during this time.  I also take notes for later reference when I find something especially notable.

My Hopeful Journey is not a recap or an ongoing day by day story about my infertility journey (at least as is).  It is about using my experience to try to help you through your journey.  I am working on several projects in the spirit of trying to help other women who are on their infertility journey.  I hope to be able to touch many lives with these projects!  Ultimately, if I help at least one person in a meaningful way, it would make it all worth it! 

Please poke around my previous blogs.  I hope there is something here that you will find helpful and hopeful!  Stop back in a few days, I am in the process of drafting a post about a project that I am working on.  I think you will enjoy it and I am hoping to get your feedback also!  Oh yeah, if you have an extra minute, please pop over and complete my survey on infertility treatment tracking. 

Feel free to follow me... I love followers.  With thanks, hope and hugs.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How Do You Refer to Infertility?

Am I infertile?  I hate to use that term... I think that is a term that comes with an implication of failure or the inability to EVER conceive. 

But how do we refer to each other in conversations about infertility?  I start to say "women experiencing infertility" but I don't like the sound of that.  It is not a single experience.. it is by definition at least a 12 month struggle to reach the clinical definition of infertile.  But from the beginning of your TTC journey until the 12 month point the doctor really won't "do" anything because there is nothing to "do" as there is no problem.  Then at 12 months you are sort of thrown into this whole new category called "infertility".  Your world is turned even more upside down than the prior 12 months of trying to conceive.  Now you know there is a problem but exactly what is the problem?  Many won't know yet because you most likely didn't necessarily "do" anything more because there was technically nothing wrong. 

Infertile is a label, a tag, an identity to me that implies that you must deal with the cards that you are dealt and we all know it is more than that. There are in some cases things we can do to increase our chances of getting pregnant... yes expensive, time consuming and painful but there are options.  I do recognize that some of us will never conceive, that is the reality of "infertility". But the diagnosis of infertility is not necessarily the end of the road.

I see so many people refer to infertility as a journey hence the title "My Hopeful Journey" which, by the way, is more about trying to help others with their journey vs. a play by play of mine!  I think I just answered my own question.  When I refer to women and infertility I think I will say... "going through the journey called infertility".  That seems to make sense to me.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What I Learned from October ICLW

I am so glad that I participated in October's ICLW!  I knew I would meet some great people and read inspiring and heartbreaking stories.  What I didn't realize is how much I would learn in the process.  I am officially hooked!

Here is a summary:

Many people were inspired by the SELF article "Breaking the Silence" including "As Fast As My Baby Can"  and myself at "Finding a Voice for Infertility".  I think I will have to write a letter to the author (or at least the editor of the magazine!) for inspiring so many women to find their voice!

I learned about a cool tool virtual bookshelf (  from Stress Free Infertility.  Thanks... I have already started recommending this to others :-)

 I also found Nirvana Mamma and her "Blog for a Cause".  I will for sure be putting in my request for NIAW in the spring.

 Lastly I learned how different people can read the same post and get vastly different meanings and intentions.  It really shows how much our own experiences play a role on how we perceive our environment!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

October ICLW Scorecard

I am so glad I participated in my 1st ICLW!   If I had to give myself a grade based on the rules of ICLW, I would say I got an A.  I got behind one day but I did catch up the next day.  I also made up my own rules so I didn't get so overwhelmed with the ICLW commitment.  Based on my rules I would say I got a B. 

My ICLW Rules
  1. Log each blog comment made each day on my spreadsheet*
  2. Visit new blogs each day for the entire week (tracked on spreadsheet)
  3. If I didn't connect immediately to the 1st post I read, I read more posts so I could really try to relate and connect
  4. Reply back to each comment that I get on my blog
  5. Write a new post each day (I didn't quite follow this one which is what made my grade a B instead of an A.... I wrote 5 but that was a record for me)
I really wanted to try to get to know and read as many different blogs as possible for the first go round... hence rule #2.  There are so many great stories out there to follow!  The blogging community is overwhelming and I don't want to bite off more than I can chew with following too many blogs.  I feel like I could get lost for hours upon hours on my computer screen if I don't set limits... How do you manage your blogging time with everything else?  How do you choose which blogs you will follow?  Any ideas?

* I created a spreadsheet from the master list of October participants to keep track each day of the blogs that I read and commented on.  (I will do this each month that I participate and post it right next to the ICLW button just in case you are an anal as I am). 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The IF Race - Dear Lucky Ones

First, thank you so much for the comments from my “I'm Sorry” post. I decided to leave it up for an extra day during ICLW so more people would have a chance to view it. I will still be doing 7 posts but in 8 days instead.

I was reflecting on potentially who MY infertility impacted (in the prior post) and it started to move into realizing how I, often times, judged other women that had gotten pregnant very easily or had several children. I decided to break it into 2 posts. Here goes part 2...

Dear "Lucky Ones",

I secretly questioned your parenting and why you were able to be a mother so easily and I had to work so hard. I judged you and your ability as a mother and whether you were deserving. I questioned your relationships with your husbands and families. I questioned how you intended to raise your children and turned my nose up if it didn't meet my HIGH expectations. I know this was wrong of me... it was the way that I chose to cope with my own pain.

I realized that I judged you about your fertility vs. my lack of fertility. It was like a race to me in that I was working so hard to get pregnant and therefore I should win (I am competitive in nature)! I thought that you weren't "allowed" to be pregnant because you didn't work as hard as I did. After all, I was getting 3 shots a day, waking up super early to go to the doctor, canceling my vacation plans, and in general scheduling my entire life around trying to get pregnant. How is that fair?

Well, there is no fair in infertility. It is not a race, that the harder you train, the more likely you are to win or the more deserving you are to have a baby. I can't compare my efforts to my ability to have or not have a child OR somehow think that you don't deserve a child as much as me because I worked harder. There isn't just a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize here. Having a child does not require a set amount of desire, pain, time or effort. It does not mean the lack of any of these makes you less deserving! We all have the right to be a mother and it sucks that some of us have to go through such extraordinary steps to make it happen, if it ever does happen, that is.

 I know I am not alone as I have read that many women on their journey do exactly what I have done. It is natural and normal (I think). What I have learned from this is awareness and acceptance. I know we are all human, we are not perfect as wives, sisters, daughters, nieces, aunts and even mothers. We do the BEST that we have given what we know at the time. It is the only thing we can do. We are not bad people because this is how we cope.. it is just how we make it through some of the days on our journey.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm Sorry

Dear Fertile Friends and Family,

 I want to say I am sorry!  I am sorry for never seeing how my infertility impacted your lives.  I didn't think about the far reaching impact.  I only thought about how it impacted me and my husband directly. 

 To my parents, I didn't ever consider the fact that you might truly be grieving for a grandchild that you lost and may never have.  I didn't imagine that you might have longed to see your grandchild's first birthday or Christmas.  It didn't even cross my mind that you could be grieving for that in your life! I AM SORRY!

 To my siblings, I also didn't realize that you might really want to have a niece or nephew and how that touched your lives.

 For my friends, I dismissed the fact that my infertility could even impact you at all.  We are friends and that is that.  But that isn't true, I mean we are friends but it can't be taken for granted.  I didn't recognize that we were disconnected in some ways because I was not a mother and you were. I am SORRY!

To my co-workers, (These people mostly fall in the family and friends category because I work with a great group of people... I consider them to be my family and my friends.)  I know my infertility impacted you as well.  I started to change as a person. I retreated and isolated myself from you, at times.  I kept my infertility a secret because I didn't want to be treated different.  If you did know about my infertility and loss, you were scared to tell me about your joys of becoming a grandparent or a mother yourself.  I would never want to take away your happiness on something that is so important to you.  I AM sorry!

To everyone above, I know that infertility has impacted you in so many ways without actually walking through the shoes of IF.  I know that it is tough to see someone that you love and care about be in pain.  I also know that you felt helpless in all of it.  I know there were times that I got frustrated because you just didn't understand.  You didn't understand what I was going through because you never went through it yourself.  I hope this letter doesn't come to late.  There are some relationships that could have been truly devastated by my infertility because of my inability to cope with it.  I think I was able to see what was happening and finally make the changes necessary before it was too late. 

Is there a relationship that has been significantly changed because of your infertility?  Is there something that you can do today to help mend that relationship? Maybe you can pick up the phone, send a text, write a letter, extend the olive branch in some way to start to resolve a relationship that has been impacted.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Journey of a Thousands Miles Begins with One Step

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, by Lao Tzu. This is such a deep and powerful statement. I found a ring that has this quote inscribed on it.  I am wearing it as a reminder of where I have been.. but more importantly where I am going.  I am hoping to use my experiences, both positive and negative, to help other women like me.  I believe that it is both my positive and maybe even more so my tragic experiences that have not only made me a stronger person but also made me appreciate my life that much more.  Sure, I could be bitter and angry... and of course I have experienced those emotions.  I hate it.. it makes me feel terrible.  But I have healed and feel like I have grown to be a better person.

 I realize that I control my perspective and how I react to life.  Sometimes I literally made myself get out of bed and forced myself to face the world.  It was the hardest thing to do... to put one foot in front of the other instead of putting my head under the covers.  It is not easy by any stretch of the imagination.  But it is very important to try as best as you can to have a positive outlook.  It is normal to be devastated if a cycle is canceled or your lab work isn't what you expected it would be or there aren't as many follies as you would like.  Take the time to grieve the way you need to and deal with your emotions.  If you need to lay in bed and sleep all day.. DO IT!  But set limits for yourself and look at the positive in each day that you have.  And when I say look.. I mean it... seek it out, search for it, create it, even if it is something small! 

 So often when one door closes another door (or two) opens.  I know for me I went through 5 doctors and it wasn't until doctor number 4 that I actually found out what was wrong with me... I think that was around the 3 1/2 year mark.  I was devastated when doctor number 4 closed the door because she said they don't do IVF on patients with high FSH.  I was devastated.. the door didn't only close.. it slammed shut!  I guess I was naive but up until this point I didn't know that a doctor could or would turn me away from treatment, after all I have insurance!  I had a whole bunch of emotions that were not so positive.  I realized that I could let that stop me in my tracks... or I could keep going.  Right, I could keep going... well of course I could, there were still 1 or 2 doctors in the area that I hadn't seen yet ;-).  Soooo on the phone I was armed with new information.  Yet another step in my journey....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why Blog? My 1st IComLeavWe!

I have been “blogging” for a little more than 2 months. It has been a struggle for me to find the right words to say (and to hit the publish button once I do have the words). I currently have 34 posts started and only 9 finished. I am excited to participate in my 1st IComLeavWe and make myself write and finalize 7 posts in 7 days! My intent is to inspire hope, to help, and to advocate for infertility from an average Jane’s perspective. I hope you can relate to me and I hope to meet and get to know many more of you than I do now.

I originally didn't start a blog so I could actually blog. Um yes that is what I said… let me explain! I have been working on a project on and off for a few years that will help women that have gone through infertility treatments, like I did. The work was mostly “off” until recently but I won’t bore you with the details! So I was looking at reviving my efforts in this and here goes the story…

I was originally searching for ways that I could distribute my Infertility Treatment Tracking Survey so I could get feedback for an infertility web-based application that I am developing. I did what any other person would do and I googled it! I, of course, got about 1,790,000 results in 0.26 seconds.. or so I was told.

I really didn’t know what I was looking for in my google search but I surely didn’t realize that I could set-up a free survey with google docs and then embed it in a blog for free! (No I don't work for google ;-) On the first page of results I found this blog, A Girlfriend’s Guide Through Infertility.   I was only looking to get my survey out in a more efficient, organized and professional manner until I was able to get my website up and running. I didn’t want to send individual emails out to my IF community and then spend time compiling the results based on their email responses back to me… there had to be a better way! I was inspired by the “girlfriends” and so I gave it a whirl.

Soon after I started the blog/survey I read the article called "Breaking the Silence on Infertility" by Jennifer Wolff Perinne and it inspired me to write my first post. I wanted to provide this article to the women that were coming to my blog to complete the survey.  It was at that time that I started to read other infertility blogs and saw all the wonderful things that you all are doing. I really wanted to be a part of this community and I am regretful that I didn’t “join” earlier. After all, I have been part of the IF community for so many years (over 5 years). How had I discounted blogging all together? I don’t think I knew the true community that exists here OR that I had anything to really say that anyone would actually read or care about. I am so happy that I have found that both are true.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Candle Lighting and Rose Petals

I thought I would share some of the pictures that I took last night.  The rest are on my new flickr page:

Thanks to all that supported October 15th and however you chose to honor the day!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Petals Honoring Infant and Pregnancy Losses Today - October 15

October 15th is National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day!  On Tuesday I read the post Reading Aloud on October 15th by afteriris.  She invited people to leave the names of those pregnancies and infants that they have lost so she can read them out loud in remembrance.  I thought this was such a wonderful sentiment to support others that have experienced such a painful loss. 

This post inspired me to do more.  Each day I remember my lost daughter in my own way, privately.  I wanted to do something to honor all the losses experienced by each and every one of you (including those that have never gotten a BFP because you experience loss as well).  Tonight I will be taking white rose petals, in honor of each of you and spreading the petals at my local pond.  I have invited others in my family to join me. 

Will you join me as well?  I bought a single white rose at my local grocery store florist but you can take a flower from your garden... if you don't have a pond close by... take the petals and throw them in the wind. Or do something else that is meaningful to you, light a candle, say a prayer, sing a song in remembrance, write a letter, post a poem or reading in "After Iris Reads Aloud" AND leave a comment here.

At times I think that I have become so strong in handling my losses until I speak (or type) about it.  It is still hard to not let the emotions take over completely!  I realize that I have learned to live with the pain fairly well, but it is always on the surface.  It is a part of me, it is part of what makes me who I am, I hate that I have had these experiences and I hate that so many of you have also.  But it is part of my journey and in the end it is the journey that I live.  I saw a poster this morning entitled “Journey” that said, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end”, by Ursula K. LeGuin.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Blogging Jitters! Anyone else?

Why do I have so many blog posts started and only 8 finished.  I really need to get the hang of this.  I feel like I am totally over thinking everything.. like I am writing something that could be viewed by the whole world... oh never mind - I AM!  Has anyone else experienced this? 

Hitting the publish button makes me a little, actually a lot nervous.  I am THINKING way too much about this.  I guess that is both a blessing and a curse?  And of course, I started this on September 24th.. lets see how long it takes me to hit publish. 

I really want to get up the nerve to do a 30 day blog challenge but I can't even commit to 1 post a week much less a day!  I have signed up for the October IComLeavWe from October 21st - 28th.  This will absolutely force me to post and comment and hopefully get me in a good blogging routine. 

Is it ludicrous for me to have 8 posts (now 9) published and 22 drafts? 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Birthday Wish - Send a Card TODAY to this Sick Boy!

I received this email this morning from a close friend of mine.  It touched my heart and also made me very sad.  I wanted to share this with each of you because I know how supportive this community is.  I can't imagine being blessed with a child and then knowing that they would be taking away too early!  I am going to the bookstore today to send Hunter a card... His birthday is in 2 days. 

If you are like me... I did my shopping over the weekend so I would have a tough time getting to the store today if I didn't have a store that I could walk to from work.  I ask that you send anything... it will only cost you a few minutes and a stamp.  Maybe print a page from an online coloring book, type a Happy Birthday message in Word, send a quick note that just says Happy Birthday Hunter, it doesn't have to be big.. he is just asking for lots of birthday wishes (and prayers)!

Hello All,

I was at a meeting last night at our Women's Church group and one of the women put out a request. The grandnephew of one of our members, Hunter Scott, has been fighting for the last couple of years with brain cancer. He is going to turn 7 years old on October 13th. When he was asked what he wanted for his birthday, he said he wanted to get a lot of birthday cards. We have been asked to reach out to others to see if they will send him a birthday card. We're not asking to send money, only a card. He has been in and out of Childrens' Hospital in Washington , DC , and is a real fighter. Though the doctors have said that this will probably be his last birthday. If you have time and an extra card, can you send one to him? If you are comfortable sending this request to your friends, I know he would love to get cards from all over the country. More than anything though, he and his family could use your prayers.



Send cards to:
Hunter Scott
c/o Jessica Koehn
P.O. Box 278
St. Leonard , MD 20685

Friday, October 8, 2010

Infertility in the Media - October 8, 2010

I am really making an effort to keep my eyes and ears open for infertility in the media.  The BIG news this week is that Robert Edwards won the Nobel medicine prize.  I was so happy to see that sooo many of my facebook friends posted this news!  It is so impressive to me that the IF community is so supportive of one another.

Sunday, October 3rd - One of my mentor's sent me this link about Stanford researchers predict fate of tiny embryos based on observing their growth.  If this is true, could knowing this change the protocol for day 3 IVF transfers?

Monday, October 4th - IVF Pioneer, Robert Edwards, wins Nobel Medicine Prize.  His work has given many women hope and has resulted in approximately 4 million babies.  (A million thank yous from women around the world!)

Wednesday, October 6th - Mark McGrath's Blog: Our Fertility Journey, Part 2 I love that this is from a man's perspective and he's cute!

I promise I am working on posts.. I just have such a hard time finalizing them... feel free to send me advice on how to get better at hitting the "publish post" button.  :-)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Infertility in the Media

I don't know if I am really seeing a change occur in the media in spreading the word on infertility or if I am just looking for it much harder? 

This week in the media:

Monday: "Rules of Engagement" - Audrey, one of the main characters, is infertile and they have explored several topics around infertility including IVF and Surrogacy. 

Wednesday: "The View" shares their award from Resolve's "Night of Hope"

Thursday: Giuliana and Bill Rancic open up about their struggle with infertility and loss.

Friday: Fox Anchor Reveals Infertility Struggle by Jennifer D'Angelo Friedman in Self Magazine

Progress is being made.  We can all help by doing our part in spreading the word and supporting one another.

Please share links and stories in the comments below.

Friday, September 10, 2010

6 Easy Steps to Writing a Letter to Your Uterus...and other Infertile Parts

I came across this site and thought..... What a refreshing twist on trying to get the word out for IF... I have to share!!! 

The premise here is that writing can be very healing for the infertile soul.  Don't feel pressured to have to publish this to the entire Internet.  You may want to write the letter and get everything out on paper and then rip it up!

Here is a snap shot of the steps...  Visit the site to get the full commentary (I got a chuckle) on each step and submit your letter to your most (or least) favorite part!

6 Easy Steps to Writing a Letter to Your Uterus and Other Infertile Parts

1) Sit down
2) Pick your preferred writing utensil
3) Start with a Heading (Dear Uterus.. Hello Follies.. etc.)
5) Sign it.. or NOT
6) Slap a Stamp on it OR Email it!! (or maybe not...I added that part because I do think it is healing to just write the words to free yourself)

My letter may say something like...

To Whom (or what) It May Concern,

I am not exactly sure who or what is in charge around here.  I would love to know what is going on.  Are there any more good eggs in there or are they all cracked and broken?....

As I said in my previous blog I took "The Pledge" Last Night... "You don't need to donate lots of money or time to advocate for infertility. Just find a way that fits into your schedule to show support in YOUR own way!"  How can you give IF a voice?

With lots of hope and maybe even a :-)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I can't do it alone.. I need support (we all do)!

It is so important for us to surround ourselves with a positive support system throughout our lives and in particular with infertility. Infertility is one of the areas that we need the most support but often times don’t ask for or seek out support because of the stigma and shame associated with it. This was really highlighted to me this morning in a “non-infertility” situation.

We are doing a weight loss challenge at work as a group. I decided to be part of the group even though I only wanted to lose 5 pounds because I felt like being a part of the group would help me to achieve my real goal which was to start exercising again. So far it has worked and I am incorporating exercise into my life each week. BUT that is not the point here! I was in charge of logging each person’s progress this morning. One of the participants got on the scale and lost several pounds from the week prior. What a BIG accomplishment! Of course, I told her how wonderful she was doing as a matter of habit almost. She in turn responds, “It is because I have had such wonderful support that I have been able to accomplish my goals”. That really made me stop and think for a minute about how much our words and actions can really help (or in the reverse destroy) someone’s confidence to achieve their goals. As a group we have supported her in ways that we probably don’t even realize. In turn she has found the strength within herself to accomplish these goals. Therefore, I am adding to my lessons learned list that I have learned that….…. I cannot do it alone! I need to solicit support, recognize all the ways in which I am supported in my life and acknowledge when I receive it.

My support system can help me to....
  • Just get through the day (or maybe even the hour)
  • Help me to see a different side of the situation that I didn’t see because I was too close to it
  • Lead me through my journey through their knowledge and personal journey
  • Be there to listen to me vent and blow off steam and at the end say nothing at all
  • Give me a hug, a pat on the back OR a swift kick in the butt
  • Tell me I look nice today when I feel a mess on the inside
Who are the people that you get support from?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lessons Learned from Infertility

I learned...

  • Infertility can happen to anyone.. at all ages
  • Struggling with infertility actually has made me a stronger person
  • Patience
  • Sometimes no matter how hard you try to, you can't control what happens in life
  • To appreciate what I have and to not take for granted my family
  • To put things in perspective
  • Sometimes doctors don't have all the answers
  • There is still so much unknown about infertility
  • Infertility affects LOTS of people
  • Insurance coverage needs to be changed to include infertility diagnosis & treatment
  • That the emotional pain is so much worse than the needles (even the huge ones for progesterone-ouchie!)
  • What sacrifice really is
  • That once you have dealt with loss and IF, you never are worry free even when you do get pregnant
  • Lots of new terminology like follicles, estrogen, FSH, progesterone, LH, cysts
  • To not look too far in the future..sometimes minute by minute, hour by hour and day but day is good enough!
  • I need support from others.. I can't do it on my own (added 8/31)
This is going to be a work in progress.. so I will continue to add to this post.  Feel free to send me your updates and I will add them to OR you can add them to the comments below.

My hope is that through research, advances in medicine will help more and more women realize their dreams.... but I have to say infertility taught me a lot of lessons in life that I probably would have never known.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I took “The Pledge” last night… Will you?

So... What is "The Pledge" you ask? The pledge is a promise to...

  * Recognize that infertility is a disease that affects 1 in 8 couples of childbearing age.
  * Raise awareness through conversations about infertility with friends and family.
  * Show compassion to others who are diagnosed with infertility.
  * Get more involved with RESOLVE's advocacy, awareness or education efforts.
  * Use RESOLVE's resources for myself or refer others in need to RESOLVE.
  * Help people diagnosed with infertility find the resources and support they deserve.
  * Stay connected to RESOLVE, even if I have reached resolution.

Click on the RESOLVE link (scroll half way down) to enter your information and make the pledge!

As a result of a promise that I already made to myself, I was working quietly to try to find ways that I could help other women through this project. I am committing to be more vocal about IF. I believe we need to join together and support one another to get the word out. There is power in numbers. I believe WE can make changes about the way infertility is perceived by insurance carriers, government and overall socially!

But think about it this way, can you imagine if you had the power to help someone realize their dreams of becoming a mother (or father) because of something you said or did to inspire them? I hope that I can touch just one life in that way.... how amazing!!!

You don't need to donate lots of money or time to advocate for infertility. Just find a way that fits into your schedule to show support in YOUR own way!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Finding A Voice for Infertility

The Self article, "Breaking the Silence on Infertility" by Jennifer Wolff Perinne gave me the push that I needed to start this blog.  Please take a few minutes to read this article. 

I have experienced infertility for over 5 years.  There is a certain guilt associated with infertility.  Women seem to find refuge in sharing information anonymously in forums and blogs (like this) but can't share their experience with their closest family and friends.  I do understand...

I felt like I needed to get support from my family and friends and when I tried to explain the frustrations of treatment and my progress or lack of progress the conversation turned into an advanced science lesson about reproduction... what is a follicle, why does it matter that your estrogen wasn't increasing the way it should, etc.  I ended up feeling like I was providing the support and spending so much time just explaining.  This was NOT what I needed! 

For the first few years I didn't talk to the women that were sitting next to me in the waiting rooms even though they were going through exactly what I was.  After awhile I started to meet the women that I was sitting next to and across from.  I started to form a support system with these women.  We encouraged each other, we spoke the same language and we shared information.  How can we better support each other in our journey?  As tough as it is, we need to create a support system, whatever that may be.  We need to take control. 

Please share here what worked for you and what did not work for you.