Remedial Infertility

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When I’m not stressing out about being born with terrible timing (from embarrassing myself at dancing/aerobics classes of any kind to the most recent evidence: starting a house remodel just weeks before the market went into the Deep South — that hyperventilating you hear is coming from me) …

… I contemplate the irony of being the great granddaughter of a woman who conceived and delivered 14 children and writing a blog concerning the many dimensions of infertility. Lots to contemplate there, wouldn’t you say?

As with most things in my life, when I decide I’m going to do something I strive to excel at it. I want to be among the best infertiles out there — informed, well adjusted, you name it.

Since first venturing out onto the blogosphere I’ve come to appreciate that I stumbled into infertility totally unprepared. And because of that I learned I had some make-up work to do. When the first signs of the dreaded condition started to take shape at 29 I was isolated, confounded, completely ill-equipped to be a good infertile. The lingo and acronyms alone that developed in the interim were beyond me. It was like showing up in fifth grade and not being able to read.

That said, and you heard it hear first, there are some of us who require: Remedial Infertility. For some time now it appears I have been in the midst of the makeshift course so it just seemed right to coin the term.

What better time to exercise the brain and learn more about the topic of the cNAIWonception-challenged than this week. National Infertility Awareness Week (aka NIAW) is upon us once again.

As part of my extracurricular activities I’ve been catching up on all of the basics I missed out on the first time around — including reading some little-known classics such as the Oxford Journal Human Reproduction.

Amid the dry language, I found a keeper or two contained within. If you want to read more (have
a large glass of water at the ready) there are some fascinating
insights to be found, such as in the delightfully titled study: Definite involuntary childlessness: associations between coping, social support and psychological distress. This should whet your appetite:

“Couples [who] remain involuntarily childless often experience insufficient social support, whichfurther aggravates the distress symptoms such as physical healthproblems, anxiety, depression and complicated grief. This studyinvestigates the association of coping style and the degreeof satisfaction regarding social support from primary supportgroups with distress symptoms of involuntarily childless individuals.”

I’m happy to report that based on the findings
I am well on my way to being an outstanding, well-adjusted infertile. Hell, I’ve passed
through stages I didn’t even know existed! My great-grandmother and I excel — just at different things.

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12 comments

  • Ken

    Thanks for your post.

    There are many online social supports and communities for the childfree.

    We share thoughts, stories, and celebrate together. Join in the conversation!

  • Uh, yeah. Lack of social support. Check.

    Now that we’ve told almost everyone in our lives that we aren’t able to have children after all, we’ve heard nary a word about it since. Maybe everyone assumes we’re “over it” now or that because we’re not in heaps on the floor that it’s no big deal to us. I honestly don’t know. But we’re obviously left to cope with this on our own, that is crystal clear. I’m just very glad to have found such an amazing online network of supportive, understanding, inspiring childfree folks. Thanks, as always, PJ. You are awesome. And heck yes, you excel. 🙂

  • Yes, dear PJ, you do excel at your life. And at sharing it and thereby giving hope and perspective to countless others. I know I’m not alone in being grateful beyond what words can express.

  • yeah, I could have definitely used that class. imagine if we had shown up prepared?

  • Luckily, now we do have a support group – spanning across the nations – online.

  • Thanks for the link — I plan to print out the study to read later. I’m always interested in the academic research that’s being done on this subject; pity there’s so little of it…

  • Lack of social support which “further aggravates” – uh yea, they’ve got me pegged!

  • Yes, you are excelling indeed! I only hope to one day be as well adjusted.

  • Bea

    Congratulations! And thanks for the study. Interesting.

    Bea

  • Angie Best-Boss

    Thanks for sharing that post – you’ve captured so elegantly the feeling of isolation when every minute of life revolved around what point of my cycle I was in.

    I know your words are destined to encourage many. Excel, indeed.

  • Renee

    Just wanted to share that my paternal grandmother was 1 of 15 children. I’ve often thought about how kooky it is that such fertility exists in my family. And then there’s me.

    Thanks for raising the awareness on how the social side of IF is really neglected.

  • Yeah… I’m one of 9 children, go figure. I am haunted by not knowing if I really am infertile, or if I just missed my window. I will never know, and that hurts more on some days than others. Like today, when my well-meaning but clueless MIL asked me yet again when we were going to have children. I asked for it; I threw caution to the wind and asked her about her soon to be grandson (coming soon to a birthing room somewhere in Chicago)… I simply changed the subject when she asked me. Hello? Have you noticed that’s something I don’t want to talk about. You’d think she’d be thrilled she’s even getting a grandchild, but it seems it only makes her look at me for some reason.

    Remedial Infertility… you make me laugh. And who knew there was a whole week dedicated to ‘our cause’… I’ve got one to add to your list: Infertility Limbo… for those of use who will never know whether they were ever fertile or not.

    Maybe I’m better off not knowing…

    I am sad to see you struggling, but this is a process (as you know so well), and it will ebb and flow. You will have better days, my friend.

    Good luck with the house. Just make it beautiful and f*ck the rest… : P