In the DFZ – The De-Fertilized Zone


Since I posted this Tuesday night, some great comments have come in, please check them out below…

The DMZ — or Demilitarized Zone — for those not conversant in military acronyms describes a no-man’s land. It’s a good metaphor for women like me except I’ll modify it some to be the DFZ.  I’ll explain further but let me be clear my intent is not to complain.  In fact, I’ve been quite touched by the early and regular comments and encouragement from women who are expecting, women who are hoping very soon to be expecting and women who are adopting.

It’s just that outside of the comments I receive from women in my shoes, it’s a little lonely in the category where I reside. My blogroll has only one other women currently like me: childfree (but not by choice) and no longer actively pursuing treatment. We are letting nature take its course. In my case a pregnancy would be nothing short of a full-blown miracle. Until menopause takes place in the next 10 years, however, I’m not entirely willing to discount the impossible.

Back to you. Humans associate with those who share common experiences and outlooks. It’s only natural. The communities of interest on the web run the gambit. I readily admit that I’m more likely to linger on blogs written by women who are in between treatments, women who have recently stumbled in their treatments or women who are considering putting an end to their treatments. Why? It’s not that misery loves company it’s just that I can relate.

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Never, not once, not even by accident have I ever in my entire life gotten more than one pink line on a home pregnancy test.  Mommy blogs? They’re as foreign to me as visiting Mars. I don’t have any idea what their life is like.  Much as I want to relate to once infertile women who are now pregant,  I don’t have the foggiest notion what their bodies are experiencing.  Women facing secondary infertility. Ditto. The idea of having one child is heaven on earth to me. In their case, I can relate to the shock and despair of realizing that the body isn’t performing like it should, but beyond that, the only thing I have to offer to the secondary infertility discussion is sympathy. Women who are pursuing adoption? I admire them greatly, truly.  My husband and I are not through grieving and are still coming to terms with our circumstances. The last thing we’d want to do is rush into a significant, serious decision to raise someone else’s child right now. That’s a decision not to be taken lightly. For years it would have been too painful to venture out and read anyone’s blogs. I lacked the emotional strength. But I do visit your blogs now, comment and look for what we have in common, instead of what separates us.

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What’s going on in the DFZ?  Well, the few notes I’ve received from women in my shoes explain that they abandoned their blogs when they stopped treatment. They didn’t feel they had anything left to contribute. And, more often, others have said that their pain is simply too hard to communicate on a regular basis so they have completely withdrawn from the topic — and not just in blogs.  They are the ones I worry about.

So, to those of you who are now mommies, infertile once but now pregnant, facing secondary infertility or adopting, please remember (and visit) those of us who are in the DFZ. We still need your support, even if it’s only to say our voice still matters.


11 Responses

  1. DD

    March 14, 2007 1:33 pm

    There is only one other blog that I know of that started off as IF and then stopped treatment. She still writes, but definitely not as often as she use to and I will always continue with my support for as long as she keeps her blog (I see she’s on your blogroll). It really is hard to stay blogging when you feel others are passing you by, especially the ones who started at the same time.

    Yes, I am very lucky to have my son, and like everyone else my circumstances are completely unique. And depending on where you are in the “pymamid scheme” of IF, there always will be someone who seems to be luckier, but doesn’t realize it. That’s the hardest for me to watch.

    Here’s a great post from someone who went through SIF that is no longer writing. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach when I read the last paragraph. I have saved and gone back to this post dozens of times in the past few months. I don’t want to believe it’s true, but I know in my gut, it is.

    • Pamela Jeanne

      March 14, 2007 2:48 pm

      DD: Thanks for sharing the last post from the woman who decided not to blog any longer. I experienced many of her emotions when I put an end to my treatments (though my husband and I were in agreement every step of the way). It took me years to talk about this subject without dissolving into tears and it’s only been in the last several months that I can write without tears splashing my keyboard. It still hurts deeply but I’m managing little by little to move ahead — usually two steps forward and one step back…

  2. Ellen K

    March 14, 2007 1:42 pm

    DFZ — I like that. : )

    Ah, so that’s why there aren’t more bloggers on this subject… I do think it is a tricky thing to blog about. Cycling, adoption, parenting, pregnancy — these are all topics that allow updates, more obvious steps of progress and fallback, etc. I firmly believe that we have something to contribute to the discussion, but it’s somewhat more difficult to do so. Deciding to be childfree after infertility is a very difficult and private choice.

    • Pamela Jeanne

      March 15, 2007 2:26 am

      Miss E: You are so very right. Progress for us is measured in the emotional realm and that’s nowhere near as easily quantified as cycle day reports. Glad you’re in my category! Makes the DFZ much more bearable!

  3. Louise

    March 14, 2007 9:38 pm

    We definitely value your voice….so please don’t go anywhere!

    My husband and I thought about living childfree. I know we could do it and be OK….We ARE a family already, although a very small, two person family. We would be OK, but both of us have always dreamed of being parents, and want to achieve that in any way possible.

    I don’t know if I have read all of your older entries…How did you and your husband decide that “enough is enough?” Are people still asking why you don’t just adopt? And what do you think about some of the newer options out there, like Embryo Donation? (I am researching this right now too)

    Take care,

  4. Deathstar

    March 15, 2007 6:55 am

    My husband and I had always liked the idea of adoption, if we had enough money of course after having our own kids. We always joked about having a “Neon Rider” farm for wayward kids. Of course, we never thought we’d never have our own. So we are looking into adoption now. I know I’m still pretty bitter and depressed about being infertile so that’s why I decided to go into therapy. I tried to gut it out on my own, but that’s not working. I’m sure I’ve got other issues lurking beneath the surface, but I am so tired of feeling empty and angry at the same time. I chant (I’m a Buddhist) as well, but part of chanting is also taking action, so perhaps the combination will help me.

    I read that post that was mentioned. Wow, powerful, it was incredibly moving. As I get older, the more I realize too that connections with our loved ones is what really matters. I have suffered so much loss and turmoil over the past few years; it still doesn’t make any sense to me that despite my best efforts, the universe seems to have forgotten to throw me a frickin’ bone or something. Or maybe I was looking the other way and missed it.

    Hey, do we get a medal for hanging in the DFZ?

  5. SaraS-P

    March 15, 2007 2:32 pm

    As much as I don’t like to acknowledge the possibility that I may end up with a very expensive pile of nothing in the end from treatment, I am glad that there are women brave enough to keep blogging even after treatment ends.

  6. sharah

    March 15, 2007 4:12 pm

    Even though we still in the early stages of treatment, I already wonder how much I’m willing to go through to have children — I just posted an entry on this today. For me, living childfree is an option if we cannot concieve, but for my husband, not so much.

    The blogs of women who have decided to live childfree after IF are very, very important for me. I feel like they give me an insight into what my life might be like in the future, and I wish there were more of them out there.

  7. deanna

    March 15, 2007 5:07 pm

    Just found your blog, and so happy to have found it. My husband and I are in limbo with IF right now, unable to move forward, wondering if we should just call it quits voluntarily…It’s comforting to find someone blogging who has made the voluntary choice and can help me sort out my own feelings about it, so thank you for writing.

    I keep my blog, even though we don’t have a lot of exciting news to report anymore, because it has become a physical manifestation of my thoughts, and a way for me to remember where I’ve been. Though, honestly, I do wonder if it holds much value anymore for any of its visitors.

  8. Rachel

    March 19, 2007 6:45 pm

    Finally had a spare moment to add my comment. I think it’s so good that you’ve started this blog, but even more importantly, that you are channeling your feelings into the novel. That’s a lot of feelings to be carrying around in your head, and much better to get them out on paper, where they can be appreciated, as I’m sure they will be… looking forward to seeing more of your story.

    The topic of this post is very interesting. I’ve seen women who cross from infertile to babydom completely leave behind their ‘old life.’ I think some want to pretend it never happened. Or are too scared to look back.

    For ourselves, we are entering into a new phase in our ‘IF journey.’ In many ways, it feels like ‘the final battle’, actually, and I think I’m going to blog about it. I’ll send you the link when it’s up.

  9. Bonnie

    July 15, 2009 6:59 pm

    I am just like you, except I spent 10 years of my life with this. At the 8 year mark I had to have a hysterectomy, so I really had no choice. This is the first website that I have been able to relate to and I Thank You! I did purchase the book an can’t wait to get it so that I can read everything you have to say.
    Thanks again,

    Not alone anymore.

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