I haven’t done one of these in a while, perhaps because everyone has been pretty darn quiet on the infertility front celeb-wise. But Dawn Robinson deserves a nod.
A few years back, I had the displeasure of sitting in a radiology waiting room with a 40 year old black woman who was being tested for fibroids. She had no idea what fibroids were. She was scared and alone, with a look on her face that said clearly how terrified she was about the x-ray itself, but also these tumors her doctor carelessly told her she may have. My heart broke for her, and for the countless others who had probably sat in the same seats, thinking those same terrifying thoughts.
So tonight, for Dawn to openly discuss her removed fibroids as well as the endometriosis she’d also been diagnosed with, was huge. But let’s not just stick with that. No. Dawn has done so very much in the past few weeks of R&B Divas L.A., with just her honesty and vulnerability, that I don’t know that I could have asked for a better spokesperson. (more…)
Do I want to be known for this? For infertility?
Quick Answer: NO.
Thoughtful answer: I guess so.
Honest and final answer: I have to be. (more…)
This week, I am completely and totally floored by the amazing outreach initive of Redbook Magazine. Through partnerships with Resolve: The National Infertility Association and First Response, Redbook has launched a massive no-shame campaign entitled “The Truth About Trying“. From behind the scenes, I’ve known about this campaign for a couple months now, but even as I got excited and prepared for it, I had no idea how absolutely amazing this movement would really be.
If you haven’t seen it, let me explain a little about what it is. (more…)
A glaring dilemma about infertility is that it is a private matter. The entire core of the situation is sexual, which contrary to how open Americans seem to be about everything sex these days, remains a private matter when problems are exhibited. Going beyond the scope of the embarrassment, there are cultural and societal taboos associated with procreation. Having a seed, an heir, a child, is something we are programmed to expect as part of our lives even from our own childhoods. The first thing a woman tells her daughter at the first menstruation discussion is, “you’re a woman now, you can have babies of your own”.
What a crock.
But until you’ve dealt with it head on, I doubt you’ve thought to care.
How wrong we’ve been to think it is exclusive to the people directly involved.
Every day you walk past someone dealing with more than you’ll ever know.
Just today, you walked past someone with a negative bank balance.
You walked past someone who is not speaking to a family member, or who is fighting with a spouse.
You walked past someone this afternoon who is in some form of physical pain that you’d never be able to tell from looking at them.
This morning you passed by someone who has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition.
Sometime today, you passed by someone who is struggling with infertility.
Working with children every day was hard for me as an infertile person.
Every day I encountered families who made poor choices concerning their kids. I saw children who had obviously been neglected and sometimes verbally or physically abused. Couple that with the general stress of dealing with 400 students, kids who saw no problem with BLASTING my childless status, and then tack on the yearning for my own children, and you had a cocktail for mental disaster.
And nobody really knew that.
Even if you don’t feel directly affected by infertility, we all have a stake in the awareness and advocacy. Psychological alarms as related to infertility are becoming a very serious topic in the psychology community. The stress, depression and grief that goes hand-in-hand with infertility and miscarriage are serious conditions that are far too often overlooked.
Don’t believe me?
Ask Juan-Carlos Cruz.
Cruz, formerly of the Calorie Commando Show on the FoodNetwork was recently arrested for trying to hire a homeless man to strangle his wife, Jennifer Campbell. After being identified by the SEVERAL homeless men he approached for the crime, Cruz was arrested on attempted solicitation of murder and held in lieu of $5 million bail.
Sounds like your typical marital murder plot, huh?
Well here’s where it gets long, empathetic sigh worthy:
Juan needed to find someone willing to strangle Jennifer because after a 20year battle with infertility, she wanted to kill herself but as a devout Roman Catholic, she couldn’t bear to do it. The full details of the scheme, as reported on CNN and other sources, included the homeless person strangling Jennifer and then Juan killing himself.
As hard as I’m SURE that it is for many others to see, it is very easy for me to understand how this man could have been driven to want some form of mental euthanasia for his wife. Did he make the smartest or most moral decision? Absolutely not. But I think it is very important that we use this story to understand how infertility affects not only the woman or man battling it head-on, but those around who have to be directly involved as well. The pain of watching a wife suffer through something so inconsolably that she wants to end her life, had to have been heartbreaking.
Even as he sits in jail pending a June 23 preliminary hearing, Campbell is said to still love him and have no comment on her own involvement or knowledge of the plan.
|Juan an Jennifer via TMZ.com
Stories like these should be referred to the next time someone fixes their mouth to tell someone else to “just relax”. They should be emailed to the next person who says, “well, maybe you’re trying too hard”. They should be nailed to the front door of the next someone who says, “Just adopt”.
Every piece of our culture and society places a huge weight on the ability to procreate and even in some communities, not just have a baby, but have CHILDREN. Imagine the struggle to get pregnant, added to the stress of carrying to term, and then once you’ve crossed those hurdles, having everyone THEN asking when you’re gonna have ANOTHER ONE!
Hold Fast! One miracle at a damn time!
It is equally important to note that another result of the mental hazard is sexual malfunction. When the majority of your sexual acts is brought on by the goal of achieving a pregnancy, the stress can not only be overwhelming but sexually damaging. Periods that last for months can halt sexual activity, which increases the anxiety and guilt of not getting pregnant. Even knowing ways around THAT, through tools such as the Instead SoftCup, mean nothing if you have already lost your desire to perform because you know that nothing “meaningful” is going to come of it. These are serious complaints of infertile couples. Medications that make you lethargic or temperamental are also sexual interferences.
There is a fear attached to infertility that can become linked to personal belief systems such as religion. The feeling that you must have offended your god to have received this “punishment”, can cause faith to waiver. Guilt and fear of resentment from your partner or spouse can cause self-doubt. The thought process of a woman or man struggling with their fertility is a jumbled one that bounces from a billion reasons, ideas, theories and emotions, MILLIONS of times a day.
I can’t tell you the amount of things that cross MY mind every day.
When I see other women, I wonder if they are as fearful of the bathroom as I am, because I never know what I’m going to see. I wonder if their periods are 3-5 days, and if they come on schedule, like mine never has. I am envious of women who are flirty and highly sensual, because I’m not afforded that comfortable womanliness. I wonder how much other women pay for sanitary napkins and if they know what Pre-Seed and Instead Softcups are. I watch women who wear white clothes, and wonder if they have ever had to know as much about their uterus as I have. I look at other men and wonder if they are as patient with their wives as my husband is with me. And I think these thoughts…EVERY.DAY.
Wherever I am. Whatever I’m doing. Whoever I’m with. I’m thinking about them and me, and It.
This is not an exaggeration.
So when I finish thinking all of that, and you add rent, car, family, dinner, cleaning the house, getting the mail, taking a shower, get out of the damn bed….just…
My prayers go out to the Juan and Jennifer’s of the world.
The implications of infertility are important to ALL of us, not just those who are dealing with it personally. We EACH have a stake in spreading the word about this topic to help remove the stigmas and taboos that are tied to it. Imagine that YOUR concern and care about someone else’s struggle could very well be the tip of their scale that stops them from feeling as desperate as Juan and Jennifer. As you walk through life, remember to take a look at the hearts of those around you. These things cause so much more than a case of “the blues”.