Posts Tagged ‘family’

Into the Woods?

I’m a theater geek.

The Original Broadway Cast of Into the Woods

Even as a small child, I enjoyed watching random things that aired on the (at that time true) Arts & Entertainment channel.  I watched things that most of my friends thought were “lame” or boring and didn’t care.  I was, and still am, a Rogers & Hammerstein nut.  I can sing showtunes at the drop of a dime, and I have my faves of Old Hollywood theater.  So when I found clips on YouTube of Steven Sondheim’s Into The Woods, with Bernadette Peters, I was positively giddy.  My husband, being of bus driver mind, and rapper body, was giving me the Smiley face.  But I didn’t care!  I was caught up in the songs and the witty jokes that captivated me about the fractured fairytale when I first saw it as a child.

But I have to tell you something about watching childhood favorites as a grown-up.
It can lead to thinking too damn much.

In case you’ve never heard of Into the Woods, allow me to give you a brief synopsis.

The story revolves around the well-known tales of Jack & the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Cinderella.  Each story is interwoven in small vignettes that show how sometimes what we most wish for, can cause more problems than what we actually have.  The story begins with The Baker and His Wife, whose only desire is to have a child.  After an encounter with their neighbor, the witch, they learn that the baker’s family has been cursed with infertility ever since his father stole a rampion plant from her garden to give to his pregnant wife.  To repay the debt of stealing, the baby was named Rapunzel and given to the witch.
Now, many years later, to get the baby that they so desire, The Baker and His Wife must fetch things for the witch:
Hair as gold as corn(Rapunzel’s), a cloak as red as blood(Little Red’s), a cow as white as milk(Jack’s), and a shoe as pure as gold (Cinderella’s).  Meanwhile the stories we all know about those other characters are taking place.
Thus begins the tale of Into the Woods.

What  initially drew me into the play as a child, was seeing how the fairytales overlap and intertwine.  It never occurred to me then, and probably wouldn’t have now, had it not been for my own life, that the entire story centered around one couple’s battle with infertility.  The full scope of the play, actually touched on three struggles for children, as the witch herself apparently couldn’t have a baby either.

As I watched the snippets, my smirk began to fade away as lines like,
“If you want something, you go get it. We want a child!” were spoken.
They shot me dead in the heart.
I just kept thinking how selfish and relentless that baker and his wife seemed to become with each hurdle.  There was trickery to take the cow from Jack, bribery to get the shoe from Cinderella, stealing to get the hair from Rapunzel, and guilt-trips to get the cloak from Little Red.  At one point, when the wife decides not to do one of these acts, the baker tells her “Then resolve to living a childless life”
Is that how people see the infertile?
Is our desire for children so misunderstood that people think we would do anything?

I’ve recently been so annoyed at the question of why infertile people are choosing to fight for our right to reproductive choice.  I hate the questions of why we don’t “just adopt”.  I’ve grown aggravated with side-eyed o_O glances and assumptions about our struggle.  Primarily because it isn’t fair.  No one asks fertile people why they don’t “just adopt”.  The number of children available for adoption and foster care doesn’t go up because infertile people choose to pursue their family-building options.  We aren’t odd or crazy or “extra” because we have to go about things differently.  It kind of hurt my heart to see how we have been programmed to believe that even from our earliest childhood stories.

In true librarian form, this made me begin thinking more about how fairytales, for all their “Happily Ever After”, have always been biased to the childless.  What I found in my brief research, was that the desire for children is often thought of as careless, whimsical and frivolous and that the methods for achieving the goal run the gamut from magic to wishes and potions. In many of the stories, infertility is often used to preamble a cautionary tale. The children they crave, are usually noted as disobedient or unruly, implying that those who want children so badly often aren’t prepared for what they’ll get, or in worse plots, someone even dies.

Vanessa Williams as The Witch inInto The Woods
  • The Gingerbread Man – An old couple wanted a child so much that they eventually made one out of gingerbread, only to have him then run away from everyone until finally eaten by a fox.
  • Pinocchio – A kind-hearted puppeteer, Gepetto, wishes for a son so badly that he fashions one out of wood. His puppet, Pinocchio becomes his son.  The puppet is a mischievous and disobedient son, until his wayward adventures finally teach him a lesson and he becomes a real boy. However, in the very original writing, which was not intended for child audiences, he is hanged for his devious ways. The “real boy” thing didn’t come about until the author’s editor asked that the ending be lightened as a children’s story. source
  • Rapunzel – An infertile husband and wife, are finally blessed with a child.  The wife becomes so overcome with her cravings and her fears of losing the baby, that she persaudes her husband to steal from the witch’s garden next door.  Once caught, the couple must give the baby to the witch as payment.
  • Rumpelstiltskin – This dude wants a child so much he helps a pretty jerky chick spin straw into gold, if she will just give him her firstborn.  Amazing to me that the one story that talks of a MAN wanting a baby, paints him as a goblin-like dwarf who is hideous and conniving. AND, when his “adoption” doesn’t go through, he clowns so bad that he is never heard from again. Smiley #MESSAGE# Think of all the times you heard that story and thought he was the villain.
  • Sleeping Beauty – A King and Queen wish for a child.  When they finally have one, they offend a witch and the daughter is cursed with eternal sleep.

Aside from the tongue-in-cheekness of all the stories, the idea of wanting parenthood without care of the cost is one that I was deeply saddened by.
Why should we be accused of not caring about what it takes to be a parent, when we are the ones who know all too well how very much it can take to become one?  Those who are chronic “oop’s” babymakers, NEVER have to think of this much.
Sigh.  Smiley
I have to say, I’m truly gratefull to God that my husband and I can in fact write our own fairytale and live Happily Ever After, be it by birth, by choice, or just by ourselves.

For more brief history of infertility in FairyTales, check out The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folk an Fairytales
Also, despite my ramble, Into the Woods is truly an interesting and funny performance.
Google it!
There is also a great song between the baker and his wife (as they commit their dastardly deeds) about learning how to work together to reach their goal of having a child.
Meanwhile, here’s two of my favorite scenes. The witch’s promise…and the baker’s ultimatum to his wife.

ps. in case you’re a theater freak too, there is a hip-hop adaptation of this show called Into The Hoods, in London that is phenomenal.  Youtube it!

Guest Post – Using ART to Start Your Family: An Industry Insider’s Tips on Managing Your Treatment

There has been an amazing influx of people seeking information!  Though I hate that there are so many people who need this info, I’m glad to see that there are those who have gained the courage to speak out and ask for it! Anywhoo, recently I had the pleasure of meeting a professional who I just love, Mindy Berkson of Lotus Blossom Consulting, an infertility consultant who everyday makes headway in teaching people how to build their families.  Aside from lending her services to the A.H.A gala in September Smiley , Mindy has also provided The Egg with some amazing advice.  For whatever reason, Blogger is being a jerk about me copying her outstanding article into the blog, but I have uploaded it into Scribd! (take that Blogger! Photobucket )Enjoy it and pass it on!

Fourteen years ago, I was confronted with my own infertility struggles: after having a successful first pregnancy, my husband and I were not able to get pregnant a second time and I was eventually diagnosed with unknown secondary infertility. Over several years’ time, I wentthrough numerous insemination cycles and several in vitro fertilization cycles before becoming pregnant with twin boys. Treatment was difficult, both physically and emotionally and at times strained what was, until then, a very happy union.

Going through all this instilled in me a desire to help others through their own infertility cycles,and eventually lead me to start my own company, Lotus Blossom Consulting. What I present in this article are the lessons I learned not only from my own treatment, but also the sum of over fourteen years’ experience working in the industry and walking with others through their cycles. I hope that this toolbox of ideas and pointers helps you as much as it does all my other clients.

Using ART to Achieve a Family

About Mindy Berkson and Lotus Blossom Consulting

As one of the first infertility consultancies in the United States, Lotus Blossom Consulting, LLC was founded by MindyBerkson in 2005. With more than a decade of experience at physician’s offices, and egg donor and surrogacy agencies, Berkson assists individuals working through the often-challenging roadblocks of infertility, by providing thebest information and resources available to them from around the world – all in one location.

Lotus Blossom Consulting works with individuals on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration clients’emotional, physical and financial infertility issues and then develops an individualized, comprehensive plan, to helpclients make informed decisions and pull together a team of unbiased professionals to accomplish a treatment cycle. 

Mindy is a sought-after infertility expert and has appeared on countless media programs and speaker panels educating audiences on the topic of infertility, egg banking and surrogacy. For more information about Lotus BlossomConsulting, LLC, call toll free (877) 881-2685, email or visit the web or


Three Booktalks!

Alright, so I missed a couple days…I know, bad me.

So, lucky for you, I’ve included THREE stories for you.  Books about grandfamilies, foster care and other family building options are in today’s video!

For one of the books, I didn’t have the book on hand, but I do have some pics for you!  So, since I’m behind,..I’m gonna shut up and let the vlog do the talkin!

Hope and Will have a baby

Byrne, Gayle, and Mary Haverfield. Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas, Not Mommies and Daddies. New York: Abbeville Kids, 2009. Print.
Celcer, Iréné, and Horacio Gatto. The Gift. Niskayuna, N.Y.: Graphite, 2009. Print.
Nelson, Julie, and Mary Gallagher. Kids Need to Be Safe: a Book for Young Children in Foster Care.Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Pub., 2006. Print.
Free Spirit Publishing


Techno Stuff and Today’s Booktalk

So, I’ve been toying around for a couple months now with moving The Egg to WordPress.  Today, that really took on a lot of my brainpower and I neglected to provide you guys with the video!  Sorry. It’s done, so I’m gonna add it, but know that in a few weeks or so,..we might be moving, so get yourself a movin buddy!  You can help me choose where to stay by previewing the BBE’s dummy site on wordpress    and leaving me a comment here!

Alright, on to other things.  What are you doing tomorrow?
I’ll tell you what you’re doing.
You’re stopping by Twitter and posting a tweet with #infertility in it to help us make it a trending topic!
See, I know that, and I’m not even psychic!
The importance of social marketing and media is amazing.  It really is much more than the narcissistic blab that people accuse it of being.  When used correctly, social networking is a really awesome way to get the word out about important things to a HUGE audience.  It forces companies and groups to get straight to the main idea and allows people to gently suggest great things for friends and family to be a part of.  So, join the campaign!
Here’s some info on how it came to be – The Campaign for #Infertility
And a button to share if you’re participating!

Alright, so, aside from all that, the booktalk today is a sensitive one.   I decided to talk about “Something Happened” by Cathy Blanford.  The book deals with talking to children about pregnancy and infant loss.  i know how sensitive a subject this is, so it terrified me, but I did want to definitely share it.  So here’s my vid.  Also, visit the book’s website to learn more about it:

Something Happened: A book for children and parents who have experienced pregnancy loss. Western Springs, IL.: 2008. Print.


God…Stop Laughing…Hey, for real…What’s so funny, Man?


I lost my job this month.

I’ve put in four years, a few tears, a countless amount of heart and dedication, and walked away without even my full last paycheck, (Good lookin out, heffa).

It’s nothing more than ironic that just a few weeks ago, I spoke on this very blog about what it would mean if my situation changed in any way.  I feel like I can almost hear God laughing.
I had plans.
I had plans for that job.

More importantly, I had hopes for my students and what I could build into them.  I wanted to see them take away from our time together, what I took from my childhood teachers.  I treated them the way my teachers had always treated me.  Firmly, but with a parental compassion behind it that made me feel that they were my extended family.  They didn’t hold back from me anything, because they regarded me as one of their children.  There was a comfort in knowing that they wouldn’t impart anything on me that my own family would not.  And I am forever grateful to them, and even today, in my late 20’s, my friends and I still speak of them fondly and will practically become teary when we see any of them.

I had plans.
And goals.
And dreams.
And hopes.

And there is a part of me that wants to fight.
Not because of anything I feel about myself personally, but more-so because the dreams I had were to benefit children whom I love.  I cannot fathom in my head, how that is overlooked in light of some who may not have that same vested interest.  There are some who work just to get a check.  I believe that in education, that is a slap to the face of our future leaders whom our jobs it is to develop.

As I sat today and tried to work on some level of peace with the situation, I began to notice the similarities in this dilemma when in regards to the fight of infertility and parenting.

That too is a dream that many have.  Love, Marriage, Children, Family.  That’s how it’s supposed to go.
Isn’t it?

Aren’t we supposed to make plans for how we want our futures to develop?
Two people meet.  They fall in love. They get married. They start a family.  Right?
For many of us, that is where things become heart-wrenching.

It just doesn’t work out that way.  And for a lot of us, like myself, there are no answers.
I can’t figure out what is more frustrating; the fact that it hasn’t happened, or the fact that there is no real reason why.  As if knowing the reasons would make it any easier to deal with.

The first instinct is to fight.  To make someone listen to why you think you’re right, and demand that someone recount the damn votes!  How dare they?  Don’t they see that you saved up money for your child’s college fund?  Don’t they know how long it took you to crochet that soft baby blanket?  Is no one concerned that you ONLY bought that house because you just KNEW that upstairs bedroom with the window seat would make the perfect nursery?  IS THERE NO JUSTICE IN THE WORLD!?
And then you realize.
There is no ballot judge to demand a recount from.
There is no jury to plead your case too.
You’re number 22 on your doctor’s list of patients for the day and by the time you’ve read your riot act, they’ve already heard one too many others.

So.  You cry.  You scream into a pillow.  You shout death to the infidels and begin muttering unintelligibles to yourself. And then you sleep. And you wake up.  And 9 times out of 10, nothing has changed but the temperature outside your window.  And there’s that blasted laughing again.  Seriously, God, what is soooo funny?!

But after you do the wake up and sleep thing a couple more days, it gets a little easier.  And before you know it…you’ve got a smirk to go with that laughter you hear.  And then a chuckle. And eventually, you will find yourself laughing right along with God.

Because you know that He knows that YOU will soon know that it will all be okay.  And you know that He knows that YOU will soon know just what the method is to His madness.
There are small reminders.  Sometimes blatant outright statements that will serve to remind you that YOU will live through this.  That delayed is not denied.  Not now, is not No.  Wait, is not forget it.  And peace be still, sometimes means YOU.

There are children in my future.  As there are students now in my past.  And one day, this will all be memory recounted to someone else who needs to hear it.  And I will be okay.  And so will you.

Keep crocheting your blankets.
Keep choosing names.
Keep looking for the bedroom with the perfect window seat to read to your babies in.
And try not to forget that you are loved, needed, and important in some child’s life until you can see your importance in the face of one you give birth to.

I got this from a student today via Facebook:

“Where have you been Mrs. T? u were the best librarian in the world.  My sister and I miss your wit and your sarcasm too”….


I’m gonna put that under my pillow tonight.  And continue to dream of children and babies, and raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens.  Thank you Tyanna, Mrs. T needed to hear that today.  Mission Accomplished.

A "Got to Do Better" Moment.

Somewhere, somebody is drinking Moscato, listening to “I Invented Sex”, and getting knocked up.
What’s not beautiful?
They’re probably about 17 years old.

What the hell, colored folk?
I remember a time when grown-folk music was more than just the title of someone’s album.  Grown folk music was meant for…well,…grown folk.  Now, I guess all bets are off.  And you know whose fault it is?  OURS.
I wasn’t planning on doing a “Valentine’s Day”, post, but as I went on a little therapeutic shower curtain shopping spree today, (Don’t judge me, my husband was at work), I stopped into Burlington Coat Factory to raid the housewares section.  As I was walking in, a young mother of two was on her way out.  Behind her, the two boys, ages about 13 and 8 were trailing.  Nothing suspicious or out of order there.  But then, as they neared the door, I heard the younger one singing to himself,
“I am on a 24 hour, Champagne Diet…”

Now, I like Drake as much as the next radio victim, but for real mom, your eight year old is singing about drinking liquor for 24 hours and that’s cool?  That’s in style this season?  Get the frick outta here!

It gave me pause.

Do we not hear what our kids are listening to, or are we so busy listening to it ourselves, that we just don’t care?

But beyond that…my issue is that we have more power over our generational curses than we give ourselves credit for.
Our youth are far too sexually aware of themselves.  This is not to say that folk weren’t having babies when I was in high school, or even when my MOTHER was in school.  What I am saying is that the script has flipped so damn much that our kids are feeling like outsiders when they DON’T have sex, or when they DON’T want to be as try-sexual as everyone else.  What is wrong with this picture?

This is what I believe mainstream America is seeing from our community:

29 year old mother of 10.

Meanwhile, this is what ELSE is going on,

A couple Praying for a strong relationship
I would love it if we could go back to making some things for kids to aspire to become.  Like, for instance…um,…adults!  If they are already singing, acting, dressing, and behaving like grownups, that is our fault.  Babies shouldn’t be singing about making babies.  Babies shouldn’t be out on Valentine’s dates on a Sunday night without anyone knowing what time they’re coming in.  BABIES, should be nurtured and loved and GROOMED into adults.
It’s 12:55am.  Do you know where your teen is?

I know what you’re thinking.  Damn, Mrs.Tiye, all that from a kid singing a song?
All this from not only that kid, but the chick I ALSO saw who was every bit of 16, wearing see-through leggings and a too-short tee…IN CHICAGO, in 18 degree weather.    That’s cute?  That’s hot this season?
Are folk SCARED to parent?  How you let your BABY out the house in that?

All this comes from watching younger sisters of my community brandishing their war-torn love stories all over Facebook.  Seriously babe?  Six weeks of you telling the WORLD how flucked up dude is all over the net, but then you got hugged up pictures on there today because someone’s random status message said post a pic of you and your boo for Valentine’s week?


We gotta do better folk.  We gotta do better because these little girls are trying to be the “I Got this”, women that their mothers had to become. They don’t know or CARE, that their mothers had no choice, it looks good on the outside and they have NO understanding of what was going on behind the scenes.  And these little boys are trying to be the daddy’s that they saw their daddy’s and uncles being; dropping kids all over the place without sending a dime or instilling ANY wisdom.  They don’t know how to help the girls because they’ve only seen their mothers “do it all”, so in their minds, they shouldn’t HAVE to help.  “If my momma took care of me and my brothers/sisters without my daddy help, or with only a welfare check, why the hell you always asking ME for money”.

They got the game allll twisted and what are we doing about it?  Nothing.  Walking ahead while they are listening to Nicki Minaj and Usher tell them that its cool to send your girl out scouting for a girl to have a threesome with.  And from all the glamorization of sex, and the overindulgence of false “independence”, we end up with kids who have kids, who will ALSO not know how to do anything but Fake it till they make it.

I know this post is all over the place.  I know that.  But I’m so damn sick of us producing fruit that is overripe and falling to the ground.  We have got to tend this tree.

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