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Monday, April 30, 2012

finding the purpose

The only thing worse than the 2 week wait is the "no week wait". Yesterday I ovulated and my hubby was stuck at work. Darn fire service. They take my husband away for 72 hours when I need him home to make a very important donation to grow our family. They should totally implement a family-building policy in which firefighters that are experiencing infertility are allowed "conjugal" visits while on duty (accompanied by a doctor's note, of course).

So, this month was a big, fat bust. Next baby making opportunity won't be until June due to my ridiculously long cycles. We decided that June was our last month of trying naturally before moving onto IVF. Losing a month wasn't in the plan. Needless to say, I was feeling a little sorry for myself.

While I was fully immersed in my melancholy mood, I began thinking about how much time I've devoted to my blog in the last few months. Is it worth it? Do people even care what I have to say? Other things in my life are being neglected. Reading books. Exercising. Watching my favorite shows. All of these past times have taken a hit since the birth of my blog.

In the midst of my pity party, I had to pull myself together for book club. Since I'm the groups' organizer, there was no bowing out. But I'm glad I went. This group of wonderful ladies took my mind off everything that had been swirling around in my head.

A few of the book club girls
The book selection this month was Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It was a fantastic, inspirational book! We had a great conversation about life and how your outlook on your circumstances can most certainly affect the outcome. How obstacles are always going to come your way (hopefully none as horrific as the main character endured in the book) and it's all about how you choose to react to those situations.

The timing was perfect for me to engage in that discussion. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Infertility sucks. Like, really sucks. But these are the cards that I've been dealt. Everyone goes through tough things in life. I can curl up in the fetal position and feel sorry for myself. Or I can stand up and fight. Fighting for me means...sharing intimate details of life on my blog in the hopes that my experiences will help others in some small way. It means being an advocate for people struggling with infertility. Helping others understand the real impact of infertility on women, men and families. Raising money to support RESOLVE's efforts. Shining a light on a disease that society has ignored long enough. Maybe this is my purpose. Or maybe I'm struggling with infertility because there is a lesson to be learned.

As if God hadn't made himself crystal clear....I got home last night and checked my email before bed. One email caught my eye. It was from a woman in Arkansas who had read my Infertility Etiquette post and was distraught about telling her infertile friend that she is pregnant. She thought I might be able to help. Stop the bus! She thought of me. This is a woman that I've never met. She lives half way across the country. But she thought that I could help. That blew me away. The realization that these words that I spend so many hours thinking about and crafting are meaningful to people. They can make a difference (at least to one woman in Arkansas).

Then this morning, I received an email from a blogger that I've come to love, Samantha. She wanted to tell me that God laid it on her heart to blog about me today. The NIAW post that I wrote inspired her and she wanted to empower others by sharing it on her blog. Wow! I'm humbled to receive emails like this.

My little blog (that I was cursing yesterday morning) is such a blessing. What on earth was I complaining about? It has allowed me to connect with fellow IF bloggers who have embraced me and continue to offer support in a way that only someone who has walked in your shoes can. And in return, I support them. And it has given me a platform to reach other women like Samantha who knew nothing about infertility before reading my blog and Mrs. Arkansas who actually took her infertile friend's feelings into serious consideration before announcing her pregnancy as a result of my post. That is powerful.

Message received. I hear ya loud and clear up there. I'm going to keep fighting...and blogging!

One last thing..I'd like to offer a sincere thank you from the bottom of my heart to those of you who read my blog posts and share them with others...and to those of you who support me through this difficult, heart wrenching journey and allow me to support you.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

don't ignore...your body


In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), I've been racking my brain trying to decide the best way to help educate people about infertility.
It is such a complex, emotional subject.
Where do I even start?

All week my Google Reader has been filled with wonderful, informative posts about all things related to infertility.
So what can I contribute that hasn't already been covered?
Well, I guess I'll try this.
Don't ignore your body.
Before I was officially diagnosed with infertility, my intuition kept telling me that something was wrong.
But I didn't listen.
I put off having children until my husband and I felt the time was right. Why hurry?
When cramps had me doubled over in bed every month and even Advil wouldn't take away the pain, I told myself that everyone has painful periods.
When large droplets of blood fell into the toilet after urinating during the few days before my period, I knew something must be wrong but my doctor said "that happens".
When I started tracking my cycles and realized my luteal phase was too short, I didn't worry too much because that wasn't addressed in the fertility books that I read.
But somewhere inside of me, I knew.
I knew something wasn't right.
But I did nothing.

I had never heard of endometriosis.
The thought never crossed my mind that I could have this incurable, painful disease.
Why?
Because certainly my doctor would have told me.
Over the years, I had complained to my doctor about spotting in between periods. painful periods. painful intercourse. extremely heavy menstrual cycles (one menses landed me in the ER at 2am because I thought that I must be having a miscarriage). 
And my OB knew that I was experiencing infertility.
Surely, he would've told me if he thought I might have this disease that I had never heard of.
But he didn't.

Endometriosis.
The disease that affects nearly 50% of infertile women.
Is it the only thing keeping me from my dream of becoming a mother?
Who knows.
Would it have made a bit of difference if I had known years ago that I had stage II/III endometriosis?
Maybe.
Maybe not.
But I would have liked to know what I was up against.
Do I blame my doctor? no.
I blame myself.
I didn't listen to my body.
And I should have.
I've learned a valuable lesson that I believe will help me be a better mother if I am ever blessed with a child.
Be an advocate for your own health.
Ask questions.
Do research.
Push for answers.
And most of all, listen to your body.
It may be trying to tell you something very important.

Find out how you can get involved with National Infertility Awareness Week or learn more about infertility at RESOLVE.

Friday, April 27, 2012

gettin' and showin' some love

Back in January, the lovely Samantha at Puppies Pearls & Problems nominated me for the Liebster Award. Obviously, I'm a little late in responding. But it is certainly not because I didn't appreciate it and think it was the sweetest thing ever. Thanks, Samantha!


 Liebster in German means dear, beloved or favorite, and is for bloggers with under 200 followers.
The rules are as follows:
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
3. Copy & paste the blog award on your blog.
4. Reveal your 5 blog picks.
5. Let them know you chose them by leaving a comment on their blog.
My choices for the Liebster Blog Award are:
  1. Trish at Trying To Do It Gracefully
  2. Shannon at You, Me and Baby G
  3. Sybil at Peace It All Together
  4. Melissa at Adventures of a 30-Something
  5. Brianna at Sophistifunk
My beloved blogger friends listed above were chosen because they all inspire me in one way or another and they're all new bloggers (less than 5 months).

Oh but I'm not done yet. Yesterday a fellow infertility blogger, Ali at Not All Dreams Are Free nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award. Thanks Ali!


 Here's how this one works:
  1. Link back to the blogger that awarded you.
  2. List 7 random facts about yourself.
  3. Give this award to 15 other bloggers.
  4. Let them know you've nominated them.
So, here it goes. Some random facts that y'all probably don't know about me...
  • I'm allergic to cats.
  • My first job was jumping large polystyrene airplanes in the middle of the mall (yes, I even wore a flight suit).
  • I'm quite addicted to pirate's booty.
  • I collect friends. My hubby says the only qualification to be my friend is to have a pulse. Totally not true! You need to have a pulse AND be nice.
  • My fave coffee drink is a tall, nonfat, decaf, extra-hot soy latte from Starbucks (it's a mouthful)
  • Running is not my forte but I force myself to do it on occasion.
  • I wasn't always a Cali girl. After college, I lived in Maryland and Boston.
And for the nominees...can I get a drum roll, please?
  1. Tracy at Then I Got To Thinking...
  2. Kristin at Live, Laugh, Frappy
  3. Valerie at Along the Way with V & J
  4. Daina at New York State of Mind
  5. Renee at This Won't Hurt A Bit
  6. Jess at Two Smuppies
  7. Shanna at Because Shanna Said So
  8. Katie at For Lauren and Lauren
  9. Alissa at Long Time Coming
  10. Andrea at left brain, right brain, pug brain
  11. Lay at The Next Chapter
  12. Lindsay at Tiny Bits of Hope
  13. Laura at The Adventures of an Infertile Myrtle
  14. Mrs. H at Life as Mrs. H
  15. Denise at This Blondie Wants Babies
That's my list. You should check out these ladies' blogs. They're all very deserving of the lovely blog title. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

weekend getaway + location reveal

On Friday morning, we got up bright and early to travel to our surprise destination. After dropping off the pup at a friend's house, it was time to hit up Starbucks. The barista asked A if he had any plans this weekend. He responded (with confidence) that "we are on our way to Half Moon Bay". Thanks to my stealth planning...he was still convinced we were travelling to an incorrect location.

Shortly after getting on the freeway, the radio DJ announced that the Yolo Causeway was shut down in both directions. The police interrupted a burglary and the gunman was on the loose. This was a big problem because that's the only route (to my knowledge) to get to our destination. So, I had to spill it and tell A where we were headed because I needed some navigational assistance. But I still threw him off a bit by telling him that we were going to Capitola when we were really staying in neighboring Santa Cruz.

After a short detour, we arrived in Capitola. It was sunny, beautiful and 80 degrees. Yes, folks. 80 degrees and no fog at the beach in Northern California. It is unseasonably warm weather right now. I told A that all of the hotels were booked and the only one I could get was a shabby little motel near the freeway. He wasn't ecstatic but didn't say anything negative and was a total trooper. We walked around the Capitola shops and had a great time. Then for lunch, we drove over to Aptos to enjoy some Mediterranean food on the patio at Zameen.


Next stop: Santa Cruz. We decided to drive over to Natural Bridges State Park to hike and play in the tide pools with the sea stars, crabs, and sea anemones. This spot is one of Santa Cruz's best kept secrets. The park is filled with Eucalyptus trees and in the winter it is a temporary home for up to 100,000 Monarch Butterflies.

On the drive over to Natural Bridges, we passed our favorite hotel, Dream Inn (the only beachfront hotel in Santa Cruz). A looked at it longingly and asked if I tried get a reservation there. I said "yes, but they were booked". He sighed. Just as we were about to drive past the entrance, I told him "pull in...our room should be ready." He smiled from ear to ear and told me that "I got him." He really thought we were staying in Capitola with a view of the freeway so this was quite an upgrade.


Dream Inn is a retro-chic, boutique style hotel with a view of the Monterey Bay. Our room was on the cloud level (9th floor) with our own private balcony. But my fave part...the delicious little lobster chocolates and amazing lavender mint bath products that are included with cloud level rooms. Love!


View from our balcony

After our hike, we spent some time at the pool and then went downtown for dinner. Conscience Creations Cafe is where we landed. It's a local, hole-in-the-wall that serves locally grown organic food. A and I were in heaven! If they opened one of these restaurants close to where we live, we'd pretty much have to sign over our paycheck every month. We would eat there every day. The food was beyond fresh and so delicious. 

To give you a feel for the environment, this is the kinda joint that serves water with no ice cubes. You sit on wooden benches with hippy-decor cushions. You can help yourself to a book about surfing or yoga from the communal bookshelf while waiting for your food. The menu is handwritten as the dishes are made with whatever is fresh that day. I ordered the veggie enchiladas and A had the shepard's pie. We can't sing this restaurant's praise enough!

handwritten menu

Afterwards, we wandered around the shops in downtown Santa Cruz until we passed the movie theater. 21 Jump Street was starting in 10 minutes so we bought our tickets. There are very few movies in which both A and I laugh out loud constantly. This was one of those movies. If you haven't seen it, I'd highly recommend checking it out. Seriously, it kept our attention the whole time and was genuinely hilarious.

The next morning, we woke to the sound of the waves crashing since the sliding glass door was open all night. We walked on the beach and then took a drive to find breakfast. And let me show you what we found, Windmill Cafe.

quaint, cute little cafe
Lattes with coconut milk. Strawberry banana whole grain muffins. Veggie egg white scrambles. Delish! With our bellies full, we enjoyed more pool and beach time before heading up highway 17 for another adventure. One of the locals told us that the best place to hike is Henry Cowell State Park in Felton. Last time we were in the area, we stumbled upon it but didn't go into the actual park. This time we did and I'm so glad. It was a magical place filled with giant, ancient redwoods.


Another cool landmark (also located in the Henry Cowell state park) is the Roaring Camp Railroad.



Our last stop after hiking was Los Gatos to visit A's best friend V. I called V earlier this week to make sure he was available for dinner and he was. We enjoyed another great meal with even better company before driving home. Although the trip was short, we made the most of every moment and packed in a lot of activities. Hopefully A enjoyed his surprise trip and that it inspired him to plan one for me someday. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

How was your weekend?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

undisclosed destination

#12 on my 40 before 40 list. To surprise A with an unplanned vacation. Today, I sprung it on him that we are going out of town this weekend to an undisclosed destination. After relentlessly hounding me to just tell him where we are going, he started guessing.

He named every city that has water near it within a 3.5-hour radius of our town. I just let him keep guessing and I responded to each city with the same answer. Yep, you got it. Totally annoying and it was driving him crazy. Here are some of the locations that he guessed.

San Francisco
Carmel

Sausalito
Santa Cruz
Stinson Beach
My friend took his wife to Half Moon Bay a few weeks ago. As a result, A is now convinced that we must be staying at the Ritz in Half Moon Bay. It is pure bliss seeing him squirm and try to figure it out.

Ritz Carlton - Half Moon Bay
On Friday morning, our little adventure will begin. I can't wait! Hubby will FINALLY find out the surprise location. Where do you think we're headed?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mug Swap Link Up



Thanks to everyone that participated in the mug swap! This has been really fun. If you received your mug, write a blog post about it and don't forget to link-up below so that we can see all of the different mugs that everyone got. Don't worry if your mug hasn't arrived yet, just link up when you get it in the mail.

Check out my mug from Stacy Lee at Conceptionally Challenged!


I am now enjoying my stress-free herbal tea in this brightly-colored, cheerful mug every morning.  Thanks so much, Stacy Lee!


Friday, April 13, 2012

zen

When I woke up this morning at 6:45am, it was cold and rainy. My bed was holding onto me tightly and didn't want to let me go. But I struggled and fought, and finally freed myself from the sheets. I pulled on my gym clothes and uggs and off to the gym I went. The game plan: an hour long yoga class.

Usually yoga sucks. I can't get into it. My breathing isn't right. Body feels weak. My mind is wandering all over the place. But this time, something finally clicked. My body started to relax. My mind was focused on the poses and deep breaths. I didn't let the fact that I'm completely inflexible discourage me and found that I was actually enjoying it. I'm feeling quite zen-like now and am very proud of myself.

Now I just have to keep going and accomplish my goal of channelling my inner Yogi 3x per week. Maybe someday I'll actually look forward to it and for all of my hard work I'll be as limber as a 5 year old kid. A girl can hope, can't she. Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Back at it

Dear A,

Your injuries are healed and your itchin' to get back on the horse. I get that. But I worry about you doing this crazy sport. It's times like these when I ask myself why I didn't marry someone who loves golf...or chess. Seriously, though. Good luck in your race this weekend. Hope you have fun, win and most importantly...come home in one piece.

Love,
Your biggest fan




Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2am

At 2am, I bolted upright in bed with the realization that I'm (in all likelihood) less than 90 days out from starting my one and only IVF cycle. This totally freaked me out. After laying in bed for an hour with my thoughts, worries and fears swimming in my head, I finally got up. I took my ipad to the couch and began researching, preparing and reading forums. One thought was driving all of my energy: no regrets.

I have no control over whether IVF works for me. Or how my body responds to the drugs. Or whether my little embabies decide to implant. But I can prepare my mind and body as much as possible to give myself the best possible chance for success. I just don't want to look back at a failed cycle (if that's the way it happens) and think that if I had done something different...maybe it would have worked.

After hours on the computer and several articles about your egg quality being affected by stress, circulation and diet, I feel immense pressure to get myself ready immediately so my body has a chance to adapt to the new routine. Things I'm going to incorporate are:
  • yoga (3x per week)
  • acupuncture
  • daily meditation
  • additional supplements - zinc, selenium, fish oil, COQ10, L-Arginine
  • adjustments to my diet
Diet
This is the most challenging area because the right thing to do to improve my fertility is unclear. One article says if you're a vegetarian (which I am), add organic meat to your diet. Another one says that the Paleo diet is best and gluten should be cut out. Yet another states that if you have endometriosis (which I do), dairy, gluten, sugar and red meat should be avoided. Some swear by juice fasting while other sites caution against it. It's truly overwhelming. But most articles say that you should avoid caffeine (been on decaf for 3 years) and cut out all alcohol. Although giving up wine will be the hardest part for me, it won't be as hard as living with the knowledge that I didn't do everything I could if my cycle fails.

In the end, does any of this really matter? I don't know. But I don't want any what ifs. Did any of you feel this way before embarking on IVF?

Friday, April 6, 2012

baby mama

In preparation for National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) later this month, I decided to host an Infertility Movie Night to raise money for RESOLVE.

It was such a fun event and a great opportunity to talk about the common myths and facts about infertility and family building in popular culture today. The menu was simple: pizza, salad, wine and chocolate chip cookies.


Only a few close friends were invited so that we could have an intimate conversation. We talked, laughed, cried and shared stories. But most of all, there was some deeper insight gained in regards to infertility.


As the night wound down, we watched a funny infertility related movie - Baby Mama. The evening was truly one that I will never forget. I'm blessed to have so many supportive people in my life.


And I almost forgot, we raised $150 to help support RESOLVE's mission to improve the lives of women and men living with infertility.


Click to find out how you can help raise money for RESOLVE, raise awareness about infertility or learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week. If you're a blogger and love competition, join the blog challenge. If you don't have a lot of time but want to help in some small way, post a quick message on your Facebook or Twitter during NIAW to help spread the word.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Infertility Etiquette


If you know someone who is struggling with infertility, please read the very important information below (via RESOLVE) to learn what not to say and how to best support your friend or family member during this difficult time. To make this more digestable, I've included the most helpful tips (in my humble opinion).

Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than seven million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time. 

Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn't coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.

The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money.

A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:
  • They will eventually conceive a baby.
  • They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
  • They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster
    parent.
Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don't know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.

Don't Tell Them to Relax
Everyone knows someone who had trouble conceiving but then finally became pregnant once she "relaxed." Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of "relaxing" are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as "infertile" until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren't infertile but just need to "relax." Those that remain are truly infertile.

Comments such as "just relax" or "try going on a cruise" create even more stress for the infertile couple, particularly the woman. The woman feels like she is doing something wrong when, in fact, there is a good chance that there is a physical problem preventing her from becoming pregnant.

These comments can also reach the point of absurdity. As a couple, my husband and I underwent two surgeries, numerous inseminations, hormone treatments, and four years of poking and prodding by doctors. Yet, people still continued to say things like, "If you just relaxed on a cruise . . ." Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.

Don't Minimize the Problem
Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone's life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.

Comments like, "Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.," do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn't tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father's Day or Mother's Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn't even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child. 

Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen
Along the same lines, don't tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the "worst" thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job? 

Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the "worst" thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the "worst" thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the "worst" thing that could happen. 

People wouldn't dream of telling someone whose parent just died, "It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead." Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don't tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.

Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents
One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, "Maybe God doesn't intend for you to be a mother." How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don't you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn't he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren't religious, the "maybe it's not meant to be" comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.

Don't Ask Why They Aren't Trying IVF
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method in which the woman harvests multiple eggs, which are then combined with the man's sperm in a petri dish. This is the method that can produce multiple births. People frequently ask, "Why don't you just try IVF?" in the same casual tone they would use to ask, "Why don't you try shopping at another store?"

Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy
This message is for pregnant women-Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.

The number one rule is DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don't put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.

Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, "I'd gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby." When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, "I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes."

I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends' new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend's emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can't bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn't rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.

Don't Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant
For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don't follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn't ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.

Let's face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.

Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to "dream" about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.

Don't Push Adoption (Yet)
Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a "stranger's baby," they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy's eyes and Mommy's nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, "Why do you want to adopt a baby?" Instead, the question was, "Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?" Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.

You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn't her "own," then adoption isn't the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.

Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, "Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.") However, "pushing" the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.

So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say "I am giving you this baby," there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn't your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lesson the load. Here are a few ideas.

 Let Them Know That You Care
The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren't going through this alone.

Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments
No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes.

Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don't encourage them to try again, and don't discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don't try to open that chapter again.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mug Swap Matches


Thanks to all who signed up to do the mug swap. I'm very excited for this.
Here's how it will work: below is the list of all the participates, indicating who will send mugs to whom. Once you have your "person", contact them through their blog or email address to get their mailing address. Please do this no later than Wednesday.

If you have not heard from your person by then, please leave a comment here.
Mail out the mug you bought for your person this week so they will receive it before 4/16. Don't forget to link up on this blog on April 16th so we can all see the mugs that everyone received.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Samantha @ Puppies, Pearls & Problems sends to Tiffany @ Blabbering Thoughts

Tiffany @ Blabbering Thoughts sends to Lay @ The Next Chapter

Lay @ The Next Chapter sends to Jess @ Two Smuppies

Jess @ Two Smuppies sends to Stacy Lee @ Conceptionally Challenged

Stacy Lee @ Conceptionally Challenged sends to Jessah @ Dreaming of Dimples

Jessah @ Dreaming of Dimples sends to Lola @ Waiting 4 Baby

Lola @ Waiting 4 Baby sends to Shannon Elise you, me and baby g

Shannon Elise @you, me and baby g sends to Ali @ Not All Dreams are Free



Happy swapping!
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