Infertility is like an advanced placement life-lessons course. A training ground where many of us build up strengths and skills we never knew we had. We learn how to put ourselves on a schedule that’s as detailed as a kindergarten teacher’s. We figure out how to measure medications in syringes much smaller than the beakers we had in biology class. We learn how to be kick-ass, proactive, and strong.
But boy wouldn’t it have been nice to learn some of those things a little earlier.
Dear Younger Self,
- Congratulations on the new job! I know you don’t know this yet, but that health insurance package is top notch. Take advantage of it by going right now and scheduling yourself a complete workup.
- I know, I know. You don’t really want to think about this just yet, because the “timing” isn’t right, but I think you should really ask that doctor to do some more tests. If your period is this much of a hassle, maybe it’s more than just your thyroid. You don’t want to have to take birth control pills forever, do you?
- You can ask questions, you know? If this doctor isn’t going to listen to your thoughts about the Clomid not working, you can ask her to discuss a plan with you, or you can find a new doctor.
- Take your medicine properly! Why are you wasting prescription bills?
- You can be honest about wanting kids.
- Ask for an HSG test! Ask for an HSG test! Ask for an HSG test!!
- Crying about this doesn’t make you weak.
- Write EVERYTHING down. No matter how insignificant you think it is.
- Be honest. With yourself, with your spouse, with your family, with your doctors.
- Don’t forget to enjoy your life. You are bigger than your fertility.
If you could tell your younger self something, knowing what you know now about the journey, what would it be?
Dear Toni, Towanda, Traci, Trina, and the “Diva That is She”, Tamar, LOL
I just watched the season finale of your reality show and was absolutely floored at the candor and gentleness with which your family responded after learning about the fertility issues Tamar and Vincent are facing. I applaud each of you for not making your baby sister feel uncomfortable. For taking her feelings and situation to heart and reacting with hope and love. You have NO idea how important that is to someone who is facing such an unexpected blow to their life plan. That meant the world.
Towanda, to offer your assistance as a gestational carrier for Tamar without hesitation, was such a selfless and loving act. I was also moved by your words that every woman should have the opportunity to become a mother if they desire. This very fundamental belief is one that many of us who deal with infertility have to fight to get across. That you GOT it, even as someone who is already a mother, meant more than I think you know. Finally, to say “YOU WILL”, when Tamar was saying “What if I can’t,” was PRICELESS and powerful. Thank you.
Tamar, first and foremost, as a reality star I’m sure you are no stranger to discussing personal issues in front of the world and are pretty used to being in a fishbowl, but I wanted to take this opportunity to say from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for taking the world into that fertility discussion with you. I am consistently floored by women and men in the African American community who are so very sure that our race isn’t a part of the 7.3 million people who are dealing with fertility issues. That being said, it was a powerful statement, even through your usual jokes and sarcasm, for people to see a young, African American couple dealing with fertility challenges.
Many people who watch or have seen parts of Braxton Family Values usually fall into the “Love Tamar” or “Hate Tamar” categories. I’m biased, because in my house, I’m the “EXTRA” person, who has always said things to people like “Get your life together”, and is quick to cover up my feelings with my dry wit, so I can relate to you. For that reason, I personally feel that if more people looked past your delivery into the feelings that are behind them, there would be far more in the love bracket. I watched the discussions between you and your sisters concerning your fears and thoughts about fertility treatments, and while you were blunt and at times a bit brash, what I saw was a young woman who was trying to figure out how to grasp the situation for herself and also how to explain that situation to the people she loved.
This emotional hurdle is one that many of us have to face. When that diagnosis comes down, and the road to parenthood seems much longer and rougher than we’d originally thought, we start to question if it is what we even want. Do I really want to be pregnant at all if its going to be this expensive/difficult/invasive? Do I want to gain that weight? Am I sure that I’m not just compensating for something that could be really solved by a good shopping trip or change of scenery?
The answer is usually yes. We want to be mothers. Which leads to another point of discomfort when we start to think beyond what we want, and start thinking about what those who love us, want for us. My mother would love a grandchild from me. My husband would love a child of our own. My sisters and brother would love a niece or nephew. How will I tell them that I may not be able to give them that?
So we cover it up with vague explanations and joking responses, and we talk about it in a “no big deal” tone, when it is really beating us up inside. I could be wrong, but that is what I saw as you talked to your family. I felt as though I’ve done that “yeah so I’m gonna have to do this other thing” conversation myself before, and my heart wanted to hug you. We do have to work on a little of your phrasing about certain fertility terms, LOL, but above all else I wish you and Vincent nothing but the very best, and pray that things work out in a way that best suits the two of you.
I was about to let this episode get past me without mentioning it here on The Egg, but I couldn’t. The vision and voice was too important. I sincerely thank each of you for being what you always are if nothing else, and that is honest.
P.S. I TOTALLY bought The Braxton’s CD TWICE back in the day, and still think “Where’s the Good in Goodbye” is a sleeper cut. Thanks for being a part of my high school soundtrack. LOL
P.P.S. Z-PHI Towanda and Traci!
I’m a gamer.
Have I told you guys that before?
If not, then let me say it proudly now. I am a gamer.
I’m not the wife who complains about her husband playing too many video games. I’m the wife who complains because he’s hogging the Playstation when I want to get on.
I’m not the wife who complains about her husband spending too much money at Gamestop. I’m the wife who’s upset she can’t buy more than two games at a time.
That being said, I’m also a librarian. So when I find a game that I like, I tend to overdose on it. I dissect it, pulling out parts that I can study and theorize. I go into game overload. LOL
This summer, one of those games was Portal 2.
A highly addictive puzzle game, Portal 2 became my LIFE for three weeks until I beat the game. The idea behind Portal is that a sadistic computer named GLADOS is making you complete these physically and mentally challenging trials all while promising that they are not intended to hurt you, and that at the end of it all, you’ll be given a celebration! With cake!
You’re to jump through hoops, dodge bullets, evade sentries and even cross fire, with the belief that there will be a cake party for you waiting at the end. I mean, who wouldn’t endure all for cake? Who wouldn’t continue to follow directions if they knew there was a chance for reward?
As the game progresses, however, you begin to find secret messages scrawled around the walls. They vary from ridiculous random words, to finally one sentence that stands out, “The Cake is a Lie.” At first, you’re so caught up in completing the puzzles, that you can’t understand what it means. Then it dawns on you.
The cake is a lie. This evil supercomputer has you risking your life…just for sport. She has no cake for you. You could die, trying to “win”, and it wouldn’t matter because there is no “winning”.
How many times have you had an “I did everything right” moment?
I’m on moment 21 of just this week.
I was upset about my health and my dreams, and feeling very much cheated.
Not that life isn’t pretty good on the whole. And not that God hasn’t blessed me with more than I’d imagined. No, the truth is that He has and it is.
What frustrates me to no end is the fact that those blessings are all happenstance for the most part.
“Go to school to get a good job”, isn’t quite as accurate these days.
“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes babies”…we’ve learned is also equal to b.s. at times.
1+1 does not always equal 2.
The cake is a lie.
And it hurts.
And to tell the truth, I don’t think it hurts because we really wanted the promised results. I believe what hurts is feeling as though our control was false. Our power in the situation never really existed. I think we aren’t even mad that we were lied to, but because we believed so strongly that eventually we were lying to ourselves.
You can do everything “right”.
You can find the partner, fall in love, get married, buy the house, and still not have the home you imagined.
You can get the grades, get into the school, attain the degree, and still be on the unemployment line.
This is true.
And yes, it sucks.
You can also be in the wrong place at the right time and walk away with a friend you didn’t know you needed.
You can start a blog about your greatest pain and meet a horde of inspiring people you never would have known otherwise.
You can chart and plan, only to find that you were meant to be the adoptive parent some child needed.
You can get a life you never imagined, even when you don’t get the life you dreamed of.
The cake is a lie.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Grab a spoon. I’m hoping you get your slice real soon.
photo credit: savit keawtavee
This past week, I was absolutely floored to see a good blog buddy, Jay, over at The 2 Week Wait be heckled on her site because she is currently pregnant. A reader basically got offended that the site discusses infertility at all, and ranted that Jay should rename it because she is obviously no longer in “the wait”. This hurt my heart because it adds just one more hurdle for this community. Infertility is hard enough without adding the fear of success onto the fear of failure. We need as many voices in this fight as possible, and that includes those of us who’ve made it to the other side. Isn’t that the goal, anyway?
Followers of The Egg, know that from time to time, one brave sister, Mimi, or BrokenBrownBelle as we call her, submits an entry that chronicles her personal infertility battles. In this three-part post, she will describe just how it feels to be a pregnant infertile who is finally close to being on that other side.
Disclaimer: My dearest pregnant, and post-pregnant readers and friends, I love you. I love your children. I would like to take this moment pre-rant to say that I know pregnant people have their own issues. That your having a difficult pregnancy should not be slighted by my or anyone else’s infertility. I understand completely that your blues ain’t like mine. Things that WE infertiles do, probably piss you off a bit as well….and I sincerely hope you have a blog where you can rant to high heaven about it…because I DO, and I plan to do so. If you’re in the touchy, easily-offended stages of your life, I hope that you take this time to close your browser and scram. This won’t be for you. If you are, however, the kind of chick that can handle good-humored rants and raves, then by all means stay, maybe you’ll see something that annoys you too.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’ve been sitting on this one for a few weeks now. Well, that’s a lie. I’ve been sitting on this one for a few years.
I’ve rested quietly on my frustrations, primarily for the sake of not causing a rift between myself and the preggos that are driving me insane. Annoyances aside, I love them, and I know they sometimes can’t help how “drive-a-nail-into-my-eye” bothersome they become. But then I reminded myself that one of the ways this blog reaches so many is by my saying the things you(readers) WANT to say. LOL So it would be downright cruel for me to not rant on you all’s behalf! I opened the floor for Eggshells to send me their most annoying things about pregnant people, and I gotta say….I love you guys. You’re HILARIOUS, and all of your mentions are included in this post!
To be fair, I don’t know that pregnant women understand the work that goes into trying to be genuinely happy for them sometimes. On the surface, sure, who wouldn’t be happy for their best girlfriend or sister bringing a new life into this world!? We stifle all our initial sadness and focus in on the beauty of it all. Instead of being disappointed about ourselves, for once, we do our best to put on a happy face and think about the bigger picture. Then they go and %$& it up by being jerks about the whole thing.
1.IF I CAN INJECT A NEEDLE INTO MY OWN A$$, YOU CAN LIFT THAT PEN!
The last thing a woman who spends her evenings ramming sharps into the side of her gluteus maximus wants to hear come out of a pregnant woman’s mouth is how she just can’t function now that she’s 72 hours pregnant. The woman who’s had her second hysterosalpingogram is NOT at ALL interested in your back pain, when you’re all of six weeks along. She’s really thinking, “Go flog yourself, whiny heffa! If I can take gushing liquid into my fallopians, you can handle back spasms.” Now this is not to say that once she gets pregnant herself that she won’t feel you on some level, but trust me when I tell you that she could give a hell less when her whole body feels like a pin cushion and you’re floating glowingly into your FIRST trimester. She is taking one for the team every single day, dealing with just as many hormonal bounces as you, and with nothing to show for it. I’d advise you to shut it before she throws a box of Gonal-F at your head.
2. YOU ARE NOT A CELEBRITY, SECRET SQUIRREL!
Celebrities hold off on sharing bits of their relationships and pregnancies because they already share so much of themselves with the world. They deserve to keep a little of it to themselves for as long as they can. They wait until they can’t wait any longer to reveal parts of their lives to us. I get that. YOU, however, are Loquitta from 75th street…NOT Beyonce. You share yourself willingly on every social media site known to man. So when you get knocked up and post phantom ultrasound pictures in your profile, of course people will want to know what you’re having and if IT has a name! Why the hell are you brow-beating us with your secrecy? To YOU, it may not seem like a big deal. Perhaps there’s a warped sense of modesty in your “No, we’re not pregnant. NO, the secret baby in here does not have a name, PLEASE stop asking us!” However to US, it just feels like you’re holding a gift box out in our faces and saying “Nah Naahny Nah Nah, It’s my Secret Box of Goodies and you better not ask about it“. At the point where you start withholding information for kicks and giggles, you lose us. We no longer want to know a damn thing about YOU, your pregnancy, or your squirmy secret spawn. Keep ALL your crap to yourself if you wanna act like that. Don’t facebook an ultrasound, don’t mention your morning sickness, don’t post a weekly bump shot, and don’t use passive-aggressive wit to let us know how angry you are with the next person who asks you a stupid question like, oh I don’t know, “do you know what you’re having and does it have a name”?
3. I’M ASKING FOR COMMON RESPECT, NOT SEGREGATION
So the cat is out of the family bag about my infertility. For whatever reason, the whole gang knows that my procreation plans are shaky. A bit of care with what you say to and around me is appreciated. Hiding entire new pregnancies from me, not so much. I understand that in your head, the thought of having to use tact and decorum when informing me of your new baby was hard, I mean who could ask for crazy things like those? So instead you decided to completely distance yourself from me until the shower invitations were out? What the smelly hell? You think my having to go to Babies R Us and decipher your registry is going to be easier because I didn’t know about it until your third trimester? FAIL. The simplest thing in the world would have have been to just tell me. Tiptoeing around me is a cop-out. It doesn’t make me feel any less frustrated to come to family gatherings and find that everyone knew about your news but me. The largest hurdle in my life is feeling normal, so thanks for finding yet another way to make me feel less than.
4. JUST BECAUSE YOU USED TO BE ON THIS TEAM, DOESN’T GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO SAY WHATEVER FOOLISHNESS BUBBLES TO YOUR LIPS
You know, if anything, I would hope that the persons most understanding of what not to say to infertile folk would be those who have graduated from our club. I mean, truth be told, you never fully do graduate. If you’ve survived a miscarriage once, I’m sure you go into all pregnancies with that extra bit of concern. If you worked hard to get knocked up this first time, I’m sure you have your worries about a “next” time. Yet some of our “graduates” find some of the worst ways to offend! I’m not sure if its because you believe that you’ve been where we are, or if pregnancy brain has gotten the better of you, but saying crap like, “Well, I’ve gotten pregnant, now it’s your turn” or “Well I bet now that you’ve adopted, you’re sure to get pregnant now just like I did”, makes me want to assassinate you. Did I miss the memo? Did the old stork die and you took over his post? Is that what the holdup was this whole time? Your womb is the fountain of life now? Kick rocks, jerk.
5. OH, WE CAN BE BITCHES NOW? I DIDN’T KNOW! LET ME GO GET MY COSTUME!
Considering the fact that I’ve received some of the most heart-wrenching news in my life during these few YEARS of infertility, I’m sure I would have just loved knowing that it gave me the right to be a bitter a$$hole. I mean, you’ve only been pregnant for about six days and you’ve already picked up more than your fair share of bishitude. Had I known that reproduction was warrant for talking to people any kind of way, I wouldn’t have worked so hard to hold it together. I mean here I was letting silly comments roll off my back and all the while I could have been telling people off just like you! Who knew!? I’m sorry but the grapefruit in your belly is no excuse for you treating everyone around you like they’re incompetent and annoying.
6. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, ASK.
If you are a pregnant reader of the Egg, this is my greatest advice. Ask us if we’re okay with being involved in situations where we will be the ONLY never-been-pregnant person in the room. ASK us if we’re comfortable with your making suggestions about what we should do to get where you are. ASK us how OUR IVF cycle is going, or how we feel sometimes. Just that small bit of concern, can change half of these rants into water under the bridge.
At the end of the day, it is hard to be happy sometimes. As much as we want to be okay, it is truly difficult. Many of the things that annoy us, overlap with the things we don’t mind so much. Basically, the entire thing is confusing, even to us. This post is not meant to “change” anyone, or to demand anything. For all we know, those of us who contributed to this post could all get pregnant eventually and be JUST as aggravating for someone else. But today, is not that day. And today, we just had to get it out.
Got anymore preggo pet peeves? Rant away in the comments!
So, to tally…I’ve had
Five changes of thyroid meds
One cycle of Clomid
Two cycles of Metformin
A husband being diagnosed with diabetes
12 lbs regained
Three books read
and three 1/2 years of this journey.
I wonder how many bouts with infertility have been prolonged because of fear. Just because things haven’t worked yet, doesn’t mean you should stop trying. I totally understand that often the discouragement is intense, but you have to keep moving.
I owe a great deal of my peace of mind to my blog,…
This experience has been a sky-dive with a parachute that has a small hole in it. LOL I dip and fall and coast and float and scream, and smile, and yell….but for the amount of women I get to help…I wouldn’t trade it. At all.
But I’ve come a long way.
I still have my small hurdles. Holding other people’s babies, thinking of myself as a mom,etc. But I’m getting better.
The peace of mind that I have is a direct result of understanding the purpose behind all of this. I truly believe that God gave this fight to me so that I would pick it and speak about it.
I am constantly humbled when I’m reminded of the people who have come out of this thing either sucessfully with children, or childless by choice, etc., but still won’t speak about it. The reasons are many, but primarily, nobody wants to be “defined” by their fertility. Nobody wants people feeling sorry for them. A few don’t want their baby to know how hard it was for them to get here. Many are actually ashamed.
I’m just floored that people feel that way, but also grateful to God for finding yet another way to tell me how brave I can be when I need to be. For a while I joked that I was unwillingly becoming the scapegoat for all things black infertility. And I laughed.
Now, I don’t laugh.
I’m proud that I have this courage.
I’m proud that I have this ability to change a part of the world.
I’m proud that my words could actually bring LIVES into this world for other families.
I’m humbled and extremely grateful for this experience. As weird as that even sounds, it is soo very true.