Posts Tagged ‘Tales From the Darkside’

How to Lose Faith and Alienate People

A pastor once told me that the difference between joy and happiness is that while happiness is often a result of a happening, joy is something that you have in your heart regardless of what takes place.

How do you find joy when dealing with fertility issues?

Everyone has something they hold on to when they are in turmoil.  For some, it can be work and career.  For others, they surround themselves with family and friends.  Others, turn to their religious beliefs and cling to God. For so many though, it is much easier, when in despair, to instead turn away from all of those things.  Trying to keep yourself happy so that you don’t bring everyone else down becomes a chore that you strongly resent, and one that you wish you didn’t have to endure.  So much so, that soon, you stop going places where you have to take off your sadness at the door.  Pain can condition you to the point where you’re more comfortable in it than out of it, and with a subject like infertility, loneliness and pain go hand in hand.

My bible was once my most coveted possession.  I carried it with me in my book-bag. I carried it in my purse.  I carried it to work.  It was my voice of reason.  I’d like to say that it still is, and that I read it everyday with passion and devour the pages like crackers.  But I’d be lying.  Which is something I said I’d never do on this blog.  To be perfectly honest, if I move my bible and prayer journal from their place on my mantle, there would be a dust outline.  The most scripture I’ve obtained has been through the digital app on my phone that I have vaguely scrolled.  

I miss it.
And you don’t have to be a Christian, to understand why I do.

I miss the peace I found there.  At one time, everything on those pages made perfect sense to me, and seemed written just FOR me.  There was a tremendous amount of hope that I could walk away with, that I could repeat to myself when I was tired, struggling or just overall “goin through”.

And infertility tried to steal those things from me.

I believe the disconnect comes from the fact that when you’re going through something this internal and confusing, there is no one or nothing to blame at first.  There is no real reason that you can stick this problem to.  It just is what it is.  Even with a diagnosis, you can’t quite understand it.  I know that I’m an-ovulatory, but why?  I know that I have PCOS, but why?  And trying to figure that out, leads to your brain becoming cloudy and choppy because now you’re trying to define what is going on.  Who am I now?  What will I do now?  What do we do next?  And when you’re THAT much in your head, there is no way that you can hear God, the Bible, the Quo-ran, the husband, the mama, the ANYTHING.  You can’t hear ANYTHING over the voice in your head that believes it can figure out how to force an egg into the right place.

Then you look up, and everyone is gone.  After dropping out of dinner dates and movie trips for the past few months, they’ve decided that they can pass on you too.  Not answering the phone for these few weeks, has made it so that your phone just doesn’t ring anymore. People who used to send you an email saying that they missed you at church, just don’t look for you.  And then you know what is the irony of all ironies?


You get mad at the world for not letting you have your tantrum.  Those “friends” can all kick rocks if they don’t understand that you needed some “me” time.  If your husband won’t let you mope in a cluttered house without whining about dishes and laundry, he can take a walk.  And if God, who you have been raised to believe could change ANYTHING He wanted to, is gonna just leave you to be so discouraged without dropping the world to come to your rescue,….

I know the feeling of disparity.  I know how it feels to just want to lay out in the floor and kick your legs.  I have lived through willingly allowing my phone batteries to die so that I wouldn’t have to “lie” to concerned callers.  I’ve gone into seclusion’s where people had to call me at work to know that I was there and alive.  I’ve had my times of giving God the “aw man, we just keep missing each other’s phone calls!” lie.  

I’m not telling you this so that you’ll follow any set method or viewpoint.  I’m not telling you this to wag my finger.
I’m telling you this because I want you to know that if no one else says so, I’M SAYING, “I’ve been there, and I understand”.  

I watched a video yesterday morning of  Joy Bennett-Thomas, author of the book “Infertility Hurts!: You Are Not Alone”.  She spoke candidly about her 10 year marriage and their struggle with infertility that has been caused by a double-diagnosis of Lupus and Sjogren’s Syndrome.  The two autoimmune issues actually caused her immune system to attack and destroy her reproductive system.  When  you hear of infertility, how often are they telling you about treatments and how to fix it?  Now think of what if you couldn’t fix it?

I encourage anyone to watch this video, regardless of religion, because Joy displays a tremendous amount of strength and a pure willingness to believe that even in the midst of a seemingly hopeless diagnosis, somehow she will find the God in it.  
She doesn’t have a lot of happiness on her face, or even in her words, but there is a joy in Joy Bennett-Thomas that is clearly evident in her spirit.

Be encouraged, whomever and wherever you are.
Reclaim your relationships, both physical and spiritual.
And if you need to talk.
I’m here.

Infertility Prejudice

From The Broken Brown Egg

Picture it, Sicily, 2010,

Ann, 26, has been trying to get pregnant for a year. Her husband assures her that it is okay, and that they will go for fertility workups after another six.  He doesn’t quite get what she’s so worried about since his mom had him at 33 with no problem and believes they have plenty of time to grow their family.  Ann isn’t so sure and feels upset that he is blowing off her fears.  Though she’s the only person in her group of friends that is married, she’s also the only one without any children.

Felicia, 37 has had it up to here with the infertility journey.  She and her partner, Brianna, 40, have had two miscarriages and rounds of IVF between them, and are now taking a break even-though they know that at their age, the idea of waiting could seriously cancel their hopes for a baby of their own.

Lisa and her husband Terrence have been married for five years.  After two years of trying, Terrence finally let go of his pride and gave in to Lisa’s pleading that he go in for a workup.   As Terrence feared, the problem is with him and he’s been diagnosed with azoospermia(no sperm).  Though they want a biological child, they are now forced to think about what other options there are.  Lisa considers donor sperm, which Terrence emphatically refuses to allow.

Chris, 30, has never been married.  What she has been, is suffering from long, painful, heavy periods.  All through high-school and even younger, her mother told her things like “that’s why they call it the curse”, and other little jokes, but never treated the situation seriously.  Doctors usually just gave her birth control pills to control the bleeding without much more diagnosis.  Chris has been dating Shaun for two years and they are seriously considering marriage.  To stop taking her pills though, could bring back her period, so she doesn’t know if she wants to do that.  Also, now she’s reading up and discovering that those heavy periods could have been much more serious than she thought.  She’s already thirty, five years from “advanced maternal age”, and now she feels like someone should have told her sooner that there could be something wrong.

Every single scenario I’ve created above can be traced to a real situation I’ve heard from a real person. Some of the things are jumbled around, but make no doubt, these are REAL issues people are facing.  Each story breaks my heart on different degrees, but each one is VERY real to the person who is dealing with it.  For that reason, I pose this question?

“Has your story caused you to become prejudiced of other people’s stories?”

If you have paid over 40k for your medicines and treatments, is there a small part of you that looks down your nose at someone who is only on round 2 of a $15 Clomid prescription?

Does your having had a 2nd-trimester miscarriage make you MORE sad than someone who may have miscarried at 6 weeks?

When you visit personal infertility blogs, do you find yourself not giving credibility until you’ve read which cycle they are on?  How about whether or not they’ve been to an RE yet?

Is another woman’s fear of being infertile less valid than your diagnosis of infertility?

Do you turn your nose up at women who already have a child, but are struggling to get a second?

Do you believe that just because you’re married, your struggle means more than a single woman who wants a child as well?

Does a lesbian deserve LESS emotional support than you because she chooses to raise a family with her female partner?

If so, please grab a stone at the door and locate your nearest glass house.


This is yet another area where I feel  it is imperative that we begin self-evaluating.  This thing is REAL, to whomever is going through it, at whatever stage they are in the fight.  You can’t judge someone else’s pain to make yours more plausible.  Doesn’t that make you JUST like those who may have used the infertility profanity (“Just Relax”), on you?  Your downgrading someone else because they haven’t gone through as much as you is similar to a woman with five kids that she can’t control getting upset with YOU for wanting a baby.

As lonely as infertility is, it should be the goal of each of us that we find a way to embrace one another in this awareness movement.  This should be done regardless of whether they’ve “put in as much time”, money, or effort as you feel you have.  And remind yourself, other people do not OWE you the privilege of knowing the liner notes to their situation so be careful who you judge, they may have been through more than you think.  If they ask for your support, give it, in whatever (non-financial) manner they say that they need it.

It’s REAL.
For any and everyone touched by infertility in any way, it is REAL.
And pain is pain, no matter how it manifests.

Sticks and Stones…

I love Comedy. My husband and I collect dvd’s of comedic standups we love, I am an avid viewer of comedy central standup hours, and I even have a comedy digital playlist on Imeem. When I was a little girl, my mother would banish me from the room during Def Comedy Jam, though I would find a way to either sneak the channel on my television or watch from a hiding place in the dining room. One major comedian during the late 80’s of my childhood was the late, great Robin Harris. A native Chicagoan and comedic powerhouse, Robin Harris was the inspiration for such comedians as Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence. I myself was and still am a fan of Mr. Harris’ work, and his trademark characters, “BeBe’s Kids”.

While ranting about the unsavory wards of his fictional girlfriend Jamikka, Robin would tell an intriguing and very funny tale of how he came to deal with the kids she babysat, “BeBe’s Kids.” When extremely frustrated with one of the children, Robin would call them a , “TestTubeBaby!” to the great amusement of his audience. We retold the joke to our friends. We took it to school. We laughed while trying to replay the account to coworkers. It was the funniest thing we’d heard! And we couldn’t stop saying it. Calling people, “test tube babies” and snickering. It was a joke.

But while most of black america was laughing at this new joke and the “crazy things white folk do”, we were unknowingly growing a barrier between ourselves and a perfectly acceptable, if not dynamic route to parenthood. We do and say so many things in my community without thinking about the ramifications and implications. This joke, was more powerful than it seemed, and caused countless African American families to shun the practice of In-Vitro Fertilization.

We wouldn’t dare have a “test tube baby”. Folks weren’t gonna be laughing at our expense. And meanwhile, while we were busy hiding behind our pride, other ethnicities were reveling in the new-found science that was helping them reach their dreams.

Now this is not to say that other races weren’t hesitant to assisted reproduction, in fact Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics from 1998 show that there was only a 26.5 percent change in the amount of ART procedures and clinics between 1996 and 98 and that in 1998 there were only 360 ART clinics in the U.S. But, I do believe that stigmas tend to be hard to shake in the black community.

I look at friends and acquaintances now, who still, yet another 10 years later, see IVF as a last resort technology. Or a strange and far-fetched therapy that we add to the list of things that we think “only white chicks do or can afford”. Its funny when you think about it, how hard we still have to fend off the stereotypical thinking we were brought up with.

But, maybe these are just the ramblings of an over-observant writer and librarian who is up at an odd hour…yet, somehow,…I don’t think so.

R.I.P. Robin Harris, and hopefully R.I.P. to the stigma of the “Test Tube Baby” in the black community.


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