What Is It About the “I” Word?


New York Times Feature PamelaFirst, let me express my sincere gratitude to all of you who have stopped by to visit.

I’d be lying like a rug if I didn’t say I was a tad worried when I learned this story featuring yours truly was due to run in today’s New York Times. As in, I haven’t slept all that well in the past few days. Nervous? Hell, YES!  How often do you discuss your private parts (and life) with, well, the whole world? Acknowledge what has quietly tormented you …

That noise you just heard. That was me breathing a huge sigh of relief.

I’m overwhelmed by the kindness and friendship you’ve shared here. I’m equally touched by the genuine interest and willingness to learn more about infertility and its long reach. There are so many comments coming in — not to mention emails that aren’t visible here — that I hardly know where to begin. It’s going to take me some time to catch up and respond. While I absorb and think, I encourage you to take a look at the reporting work of Karen Barrow …

Facing Life With Children When It Isn’t By Choice.

Just as infertility has many faces, my story is not the only one shared.  You can hear a variety of viewpoints and outcomes here. Even more eye-opening are the comments that are going up Warning: the gloves are off and there is some serious bashing taking place.

See also  Yes, Virginia, There Are Lovely 'Fertiles' Out There

While I’m not surprised at some of the fiery responses on the NYT site (as Tara Parker-Pope points out we infertiles are accustomed to it — my skin has toughened up considerably in recent years and its not just due to age or sun exposure) I still but marvel at how and why the “I” word can be capable of generating such free-wheeling vitriol.

What is so offensive about being infertile and wanting to conceive a child? Is it because it’s easier to attack than to try to understand? Is it more satisfying to condemn than to think about how it might feel to experience firsthand? I’m not sure.

What I do know is that our decision to go public was driven by a desire to elevate the dialogue.


92 Responses

  1. Ariel

    June 11, 2008 4:35 am

    It is brave of you to put yourself out there like that. I have family that doesn’t understand what IF really means let alone what going childless would take but I know you will get mostly positive responses from this article.

  2. Larry

    June 11, 2008 4:49 am

    You deserve a lot of credit to sharing your story with the NY Times, and through your website, with others. You’re helping lots of people by your candor.

  3. Adrienne

    June 11, 2008 5:13 am

    You are one of the bravest women I know and are such an inspiration to me. Because of you, I tell my friends/ family about our struggle to have another baby. Of the people I have told, no one, except for my sister, has expressed regret regarding our situation. Not even my in-laws. I think it’s going in the Christmas letter this year . . . What is there to be ashamed, and it will stop the “When are you going to have another?” question. Thanks for giving infertiles a voice.

  4. Shawna

    June 11, 2008 5:21 am

    You are absolutely right about the gloves being off.

    It was so brave to do this interview. i hope people respond with sensitivity.

  5. Rachel

    June 11, 2008 5:33 am

    Oh my god. Is the horror show of backlash on they’re the reason why we have to go through what we go through? I think it is, I really do… the ignorance… the insensitivity… I had to stop reading. It’s the blog thing, it’s people thinking they have the right to post whatever they want because they’ll get away with it… you still did the right thing, as did the other women in the story.

    I hope you can breathe easy in the knowledge of what good you have done.

    I’m raising a glass to ya’ tonight!

  6. Geohde

    June 11, 2008 6:34 am

    PJ, it was a really brave thing to do to put things out so publicly. I’m glad you did,


  7. Geohde

    June 11, 2008 6:38 am

    Oh, and I’m kind of horrified about all the variations on the ‘just adopt’ theme in the comments.


    Apart from anything else, it isn’t as easy as simply placing an order for a kid and waiting a few weeks for one to turn up.


    • Karen Paul

      June 12, 2008 9:22 pm

      I totally agree – you put into words EXACTLY what i was thinking when I read those comments! I can’t tell you the number of people who said, well you can always adopt – like that would solve everything – and like you said -they seem to think it is like ordering a pizza! lol – they have NO idea!

      hugs, Karen

  8. Rachel Inbar

    June 11, 2008 7:37 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and I enjoy reading your thoughts – I often think what would have been if my ending had been different. I told my husband about you last night and I said that I don’t have anything to say except that it breaks my heart… I wonder whether society’s emphasis on children as part of a family has a huge impact on the way we feel; if things were different and not having children was just as popular a choice as having them, if living with infertility would be less difficult.

    Maybe the best thing I can say is that I understand and that I truly admire you for getting the word out.

  9. VA Blondie

    June 11, 2008 9:34 am

    I think you are very brave to put yourself out there like that. I hope it educates people both inside and outside the IF/pg loss realm.

    I think many people find it easier to attack what they do not know rather than try to understand it. I hope most of your responses are good, and that you can easily forget the bad comments.

    Thank you for the article!

  10. lee

    June 11, 2008 11:50 am

    After 4 years of infertility treatment, at age 45, we made the decision to adopt locally. We went through a private agency for “identified adoption” and through my state’s child welfare department. Perhaps because I work from home, and people saw me as a stay-at-home Mom, we had three opportunities to adopt in nine months (after the home study was complete). The first two fell through because the father, at the last minute, decided to oppose the open adoption. Then the public agency, after sending me ten, too sad cases of neglect, gave us the call for a healthy two-week old baby girl.
    Getting to this stage of being wheeled out of the hospital with a baby on my lap, only came after much heartache and disappointment. The instant you hold the child, now your child, you forget all that you went through.

    If you still can’t look at babies without feeling tears well up, then seriously consider adoption. It will change your life.

  11. brandygirl

    June 11, 2008 12:01 pm

    You are one amazing woman! Showed my DH about this and I did a squeal! 🙂

    BTW, I sent you an email.

    Love the article!

  12. loribeth

    June 11, 2008 12:30 pm

    Bravo once again, PJ. We all appreciate your courage on speaking out so eloquently on our behalf. (Also bravo to Tara Parker-Pope for her kind interventions in the comments section of her blog!)

  13. Gill

    June 11, 2008 12:56 pm

    IF can be devastating to women, some moreso than others. As a guy, I can’t begin to understand that need for children that women have, and yes, it’s a need. It’s like losing a family member that never was, and can even rob the most successful women of meaning in their lives.

    I’m glad there’s at least a discussion forum for support for these people, considering IF is likely to always be swept under the rug by a society which doesn’t even like to acknowledge it.

    As a student in medical school, I’ll continue to pay more attention to this issue and the sensitivity it requires from doctors at least.

    Thank you.

    • Handjive76

      July 2, 2008 3:08 am

      Dear Gill —

      Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      I wish ALL doctors had more sensitivity with this issue. I had more than one GP and several OBs give me various brushoffs, instead of listening to my concerns about how my body was functioning. It took two years to get my diagnosis (PCOS) and some realistic treatment options.

      IF is devastating for women, couples, and families, and can be made even more so by the comments of an insensitive practitioner. We patients look to you for help and support.

      Please tell your fellow doctors: your patients don’t expect you to know it all or be able to fix everything… but we *do* expect you to tell us when you have hit the end of your expertise, and refer us to the appropriate next step.

      I cringe at the time I lost going in circles with doctors over my reproductive health.

    • nishkanu

      July 7, 2008 5:55 pm

      It is great to see that you are following this issue without being personally touched by it. At the same time, though, in my relationship at least it is as much if not more so the man who is devastated by this loss. I would wish for a wider understanding that it isn’t just women who want children.

  14. ann

    June 11, 2008 1:42 pm

    I commented over at the NYT site (#95). Just wanted to say thank you here. We found out very early in our IF journey that there weren’t very many options open to us (a mix of the biology and my religious beliefs). Seeing other people work towards acceptance is helping me face the choices I have more honestly.
    thank you!

  15. Robyn

    June 11, 2008 1:58 pm

    You have my undying admiration – for your strength and grace in trying to educate others on infertility and for your bravery in taking it to such a public forum.

    I was shocked by (a) the ugliness of some of the commenters and their judgmental attitudes towards an issue that they are clearly ignorant about and (b) the realization that most infertiles are completely experienced in encountering (a).

    I am so sorry that this is added to the pain you already bear. Keep fighting the good fight. I’ll wave a flag right along with you.

  16. Dianne

    June 11, 2008 2:20 pm

    So very proud of you – inspiring and courageous.

    Thank you for giving her my name by the way – I just wasn’t ready to relay our story. For some reason it was beyond my comfort level.

  17. Janet Jaffe PhD

    June 11, 2008 2:20 pm

    Dear Pamela,

    First let me say how much I appreciate you using the “I” word. As a psychologist who is never supposed to talk about herself, and as co-author of “Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping with Infertility”, I too had to reveal my own struggles with having infertility “to the world”. And though it is not easy, I applaud you on doing so. The more we can reach people, both fertile and not, the easier this struggle will be.

    Secondly, I would be delighted to send you a copy of our book if you do not already have it. Also, we produce an “Article of the Month” on our website which you and your readers may find very useful. These articles deal with all sorts of issues that affect women and men in this journey, such as getting and giving shots, how to grieve a reproductive loss, knowing when to stop trying, and coping as a couple. We also produce a quarterly e-newsletter and would be happy to sign you up if you are interested.

    Lastly, I will definitely recommend your blog to my patients. As you know, one of the most disconcerting aspects of infertility is the isolation people feel. And although the Internet is teaming with sites, it is difficult to find good ones. Thanks for all you have done.

    All best,

    Janet Jaffe, Ph.D.
    Center for Reproductive Psychology
    San Diego, CA
    our website: http://www.ReproductivePsych.org
    our book: http://www.UnsungLullabies.com

  18. Io

    June 11, 2008 2:30 pm

    Pamela Jean, you’re famous!
    You are one kick-ass woman to put yourself out there. Ignore the jerks – you’re doing a lot of good by putting a face on this.

  19. Jackie

    June 11, 2008 2:32 pm

    I read the article yesterday and was quite impressed. I avoided the comments because I know from past experience how upsetting it can be to read responses from a wide audience to articles that mention the I word. I want to thank you for your blog, your contributions, and all that you do to elevate this conversation. It is sometimes so hard to get others to understand the heartache of empty arms. I am simplifying the matter but those empty arms signify so much and I only wish that those who complain about the children they have and those who are childfree by choice could have a little empathy for those struggling to fill those arms. All the best to you and your husband.

  20. Beth

    June 11, 2008 2:32 pm

    Oh PJ, I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of your bravery, and your honesty. You really “put it out there for the world”, and based on the comments you’re getting here, and those on NYTimes, you really do seem to have struck a chord.

    And, as a completely dorky aside, I feel a little star-struck. After all, I am among the lucky ones that can say “I ‘knew’ her when….”

    Many blessing to you for having the courage to do this, for yourself, and for our community.

  21. zhl

    June 11, 2008 2:53 pm

    I read through the NYT comments, and some were just as I expected–selfish, just adopt, blah, blah, blah. I’m not saying I didn’t still find them offensive; I just have heard it all before. The ones that surprised me were the ones from parents who had adopted that insisted that’s what you should do. It’s a little like the people who struggle with infertility, get pregnant, and then completely forget what it was like. I am glad these parents are happy, but it still doesn’t mean that adoption is right for all. I wish all people–not just infertiles–would put as much thought into how they want to build a family, and then refrain from judging others’ choices. And the folks suggesting that infertiles should focus on other people’s children, it’s not the same. I am incredibly attached to my nieces and nephews, but when they leave, I am still devastated that they aren’t mine. I also volunteer A LOT, but it’s not the same!

    Okay, I guess maybe those comments did get to me more than I thought.-)

  22. Cindy Nguyen

    June 11, 2008 2:57 pm


    I’m new to your blog after seeing your article on the NY Times Website. I am so inspired by your courage. I hate the social stigma attached to talking openly about infertility. You are very brave and as someone who is struggling with infertility, thank you so much for sharing your story. Applause!! Applause!!!!

  23. DD

    June 11, 2008 3:18 pm

    I can’t tell you how proud I am of you and your husband for being a part of that article!

    I have to also admit that the follow-up comments, especially those that imply that IF is a way of perpetuating the survival of the fittest. If that was so, Mr. and Mrs. Duggar should be the smartest and most beautiful people on this earth, and the homeless junkie who can’t afford birth control, much less food, should be idolized for having a half dozen children. Puh-leeze. That “logic” is just as flawed.

  24. peesticksandstones

    June 11, 2008 3:20 pm

    In total agreement with star-struck Beth about being proud to have “known you back when” 🙂

    Many of the comments on Tara Parker-Pope’s blog definitely made my tummy twirl, but I was really happy to see another adoptee (like me) make the point that “just adopting” should not be hailed as this magical panacea for infertiles.

    Years ago, I think in large part because infertility was so taboo, my parents were rushed into adoption to “cure” their infertility. Way before they were ready — and without ever healing from the loss of infertility.

    Here’s hoping that getting these issues out in the open, putting a human face to all of this, people can make the decisions that are right for them, for all the right reasons. Not out of fear or out of pressure to get society’s approval.

  25. chicklet

    June 11, 2008 3:32 pm

    Ya had to know the gloves would come off sooner rather than later, still disappointing though that they can be so ignorant.

  26. TahoeGirl

    June 11, 2008 3:39 pm

    Thank you so much for being open about your struggles with infertility.

    It was very brave and inspiring, and helps all of us who have to deal with IF and have had to make very difficult and private decisions.

  27. Kim

    June 11, 2008 4:51 pm

    You are wonderful! I, too, admire your willingness to put yourself out there like that. Very brave!

    (And Happy Birthday!)

  28. Deathstar

    June 11, 2008 4:52 pm

    Hold your head high – when the critics come out you know you did the right thing. I had to stop reading after about 10 comments, cause it just doesn’t matter. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, the word is out to the people who need to hear it. Not everyone is going to understand or even care. If everyone, childless or not, adopted some child (including the twins that a particular woman doesn’t want, but has, oh, the irony of it all) then we could all walk around feeling saintly, but until that happens, maybe people should just shut it. After all, it’s so easy to do and so carefree! Sorry about the rant. Don’t take any of it personally, PJ, you were brave, you stepped forward, you told your story. You did good.

  29. Kelly D

    June 11, 2008 5:38 pm

    I thought the article was friendly toward IF, as not all articles are. The comments were interesting on both sides – a few made me mad and a few made me laugh. However, what is really important is that a discussion has been started and that people are learning more about the “I” word. Keep up the good work.

  30. Kami

    June 11, 2008 5:52 pm

    Great job PJ! It was a great article and the 123 comments (so far) on the blog were interesting too.

    It was especially interesting how the IF community can be divided. Those pursuing treatment were sure adoption was horrible. Those pursuing or successful with adoption couldn’t understand pursuing fertility treatment – or giving up without trying adoption.

    We could all be more empathic and understanding of each other’s choices.

  31. Joan

    June 11, 2008 6:09 pm

    I just read your article and I wanted to say that as a woman who has gone through many difficult and traumatic IVF cycles, I applaud your courage to speak openly about your struggles with infertility. Unless you have gone through it, it is extremely difficult to understand the pain of infertility. Adoption is also not a magical cure which is hard for most people to understand.

  32. Hollie

    June 11, 2008 6:10 pm

    Girl, you are so very brave. I applaud you and your efforts. Thank you for putting a face and a story with this issue. Thank you for helping to bring it to the front lines of society. You might not ever know how much it inspires me.

  33. sherylhs

    June 11, 2008 6:26 pm

    I wish that I hadn’t read the comments. I feel beaten up – it’s bad enough to hear thoughtless comments from the people who are supposed to love you (family, etc.) and to endure constant reminders, but it’s quite another thing to be called selfish, useless and even not fit enough to procreate (survival of the fittest?) by strangers. One thing that I’ve definitely learned is to always approach everyone, no matter what their cross to bear is, with kindness and compassion. Karma is as karma does, right? (Karma is as karma does — I wonder what this means for some of the nastier commenters?)

  34. Tracy

    June 11, 2008 7:54 pm

    Thank you for your article. No one around me can understand why at 38, after 6 miscarriages and multiple infertility treatments that my husband and I have decided to focus on adjusting to life as a childless couple. It is not a popular decision but it is ours. It is so refreshing to hear that I am not alone.

  35. BSB in Brooklyn

    June 11, 2008 7:54 pm

    Thank you for your courage and honesty. Knowing that others understand makes the childless journey a less lonely one. You articulated the situation so clearly; it is a chronic pain. Certain situations, comments etc. amplify the hurt. I’ve learned to measure my words because I know how people, albeit inadvertently, throw salt in the wound. I now consciously ask myself: who could be within earshot who could possibly be hurt from what I’m about to say. I’m not always successful, but I keep on trying. If we work it right in this life, difficulties help us grow into the people we are meant to become. Thank you for making it okay to admit that the feelings of loss due to childlessness are part of the process. Know that your putting yourself out there has helped others “hang in there” better than before.

  36. Austin

    June 11, 2008 8:07 pm

    Thank you for speaking out publicly. This can indeed be a tough issue for couples to talk about with each other, let alone others. It just about wrecked our marriage, and even though we’ve put things back together, somethings are still difficult to talk about.

  37. Summer

    June 11, 2008 8:18 pm

    PJ, your willingness and courage to put yourself out there in order to foster more understanding about infertility is amazing!

    The unsympathetic comments and criticisms were not unexpected, unfortunately, but I found the number of supportive ones encouraging. Although it seems, there is still a long ways to go.

  38. SAHW

    June 11, 2008 8:19 pm

    Hmmm…maybe I’m too naive? Because I was shocked by the rude and offensive comments. I don’t understand what could be more natural than wanting to have your own child, and grieving the loss of that dream…but clearly some people don’t see it that way. I think for many who are fertile and have children easily, they just can’t see the other side. Thanks for helping to raise awareness for us…I really hope this will make a difference in people’s understanding.

  39. Tara

    June 11, 2008 8:31 pm

    As someone who suffers from infertility it is always nice to see it spoken about in such a “real” way, by those of us who are going through it. Thank you so much for being our voice!

  40. Barb

    June 11, 2008 8:49 pm

    Congrats on a job well done! I saw this in the Lost and Found and had to come over. Thank you for being such a wonderful educator.

  41. Duck

    June 11, 2008 9:03 pm

    I saw the New York Times article on Pee sticks and stones blog, she lives in new york, and said the article made her day. When I read it, it made mine too, thanks for speaking out.

  42. Rogue

    June 11, 2008 9:08 pm

    As a Childfree by Choice woman (aged 37) I was very intrigued by your story on NYT’s site. I have never felt even the slightest urge to have a baby. I even had a tubal ligation so there would be no accidental pregnancies from birth control failure. We humans are truly unique. We all have our own needs and desires. I feel for anyone who cannot achieve their dreams. I would have had a terrible time dealing with a baby/children and was able to guide my life towards the path I needed and wanted. To have that taken away from me would be cruel. And it seems cruel to have it taken away from you also. Best wishes to you. May you find a fulfilling path, though it will be different from the one you would have chosen.

  43. Mimi

    June 11, 2008 9:20 pm

    Thank you for your willingness to share publicly your story of infertility. I admire your courage very much, and appreciate what you have to say.

  44. Courtney

    June 11, 2008 10:48 pm

    Well, I know you warned us, but I’m just a stupid infertile, so I read the comments and made my reply (#120). I’m so proud of you, PJ, and the other women who put themselves out there. I have so many thoughts and feelings about it, but I’ll get over it, just like I always have.

    Thank you for doing this.

  45. Sarah

    June 11, 2008 11:01 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story in such a public forum.
    I wish you and your husband all the best. Thank you.

  46. Lisa

    June 11, 2008 11:33 pm

    First time reader here — there is absolutely nothing offensive about your story or you wanting to share your story. It will help so many people who will read and think “Wow, that’s exactly what I’m going through.” Anyone who criticizes your choices or thinks it was wrong of you to share your story isn’t spiritually evolved enough to comprehend the complex feelings and issues you are dealing with. Thanks for sharing and *hugs*.

  47. Barbara

    June 11, 2008 11:34 pm

    Pamela Jeanne
    You are indeed one brave lady to share your trials and tribulations! As a Labor and Delivery nurse obviously I meet those who have succeeded in the quest for a baby. Oddly enough, though, several of the nurses and a couple of the doctors with whom I work have traveled your path of infertility. Obstetrics can be a tragic field for those who are wishing so strongly to experience what we see on a daily basis and it isn’t easy to change an area of expertise to spare yourself the sorrow. Raspberries to those who criticize you for sharing your struggles, pink roses to all who support you!

  48. Karen M

    June 11, 2008 11:52 pm

    I came by via the BlogHer news of you being featured in the NYT. Very timely reading for me… I have just spent the last few weeks of my own blog going through my own years of infertility. We were among the VERY LUCKY ones… we were blessed with two beautiful children that we likely would not have without modern medicine. It took us over 4 years to have our first; and then another 2 of more aggressive treatment for our second. We still don’t know exactly why it never worked for us naturally.

    But even after having the children, at least for me, that feeling of being an infertile, it’s still deep within me. I didn’t realize until I started down this journey on my blog…the details, everything, every feeling, every memory, I can’t believe, it’s still here. I can still feel it, that sadness, that frustration. Incredible, still after all these years. It’s true, you cannot understand until you’ve been there. I just hope that you don’t hold it against me that it actually worked for us not once but twice –but I have a feeling you won’t ;).

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story, your very personal story of your very personal anguish. I’ve been there and I applaud how brave you are for this. The hateful comments that have surfaced, are really indicative of how courageous you really are.

    Keep up with your blog, it’s a wonderful thing.

  49. Wendy

    June 12, 2008 12:01 am

    Thank you for sharing what you have been through. I am also dealing with infertility. My husband and I have tried for 2 years, and we are going through IVF #2 right now. It’s so hard for me to understand how people cannot find compassion for people dealing with this. IF has had such a huge impact on our life, and I’m not sure how I would have gotten through all of this without our family’s support. Thank you again.

  50. Phoebe

    June 12, 2008 12:44 am

    Thank you for being brave and putting your story out there. I wish I were as brave as you, but as the comments on the NYT article shows, there are a lot of narrow-minded people out there who have little capacity for understanding, let alone empathy. I have to say, I loved the commentor who gave the analogy of what it would be like if someone who lost a limb was not given sympathy: “Just be glad you don’t have to deal with the aches and pains of knees!” It was priceless! Until you walk down this path yourself, it can be difficult to have that compassion. Thanks again for your courage. These things need to be talked about in a public forum.

  51. Phoebe

    June 12, 2008 12:45 am

    P.S. I love the change to your header subtitle! You go girl! Have you had the chance to check out mine by Calliope?

  52. roberta lerner

    June 12, 2008 1:36 am

    The article in the NYTimes about infertility is long overdue. I am also a woman who is infertile and did not have children. When I was trying to get pregnant 30 years ago there wasn’t many alternatives. My husband and I tried for 10 years and finally made peace with our lifestyle. We made the decision not to adopt and at this point in life, I am not sorry. I am a teacher in elementary school so I do get to “live with children daily.” I never talk about my story and reading the times brought me back many years ago. I can only say that it does get easier as the years pass. Your life takes on a different focus. Friends, nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers all become very important. Life is wonderful, enjoy today.

  53. Jessica

    June 12, 2008 2:29 am

    Thank you for stepping out. There are so many of us who are dealing with infertility. More often than not we are deemed crazy and desperate…there needs to be more awareness about IF in the world, more sympathy, more understand and sharing of information.

    congratulations to you for taking the risk of coming out.

  54. Queenie

    June 12, 2008 2:52 am

    You totally rock. Good for you for putting it out there. I wish lots of amazing things for you, because you totally deserve them.

  55. Polly

    June 12, 2008 3:12 am

    Thank you so much for being apart of that story and sharing your life. I too joined the ranks of the infertile and am open about my infertility and definitely appreciate discussions about it!

    I was in shock to read some of the comments! Especially the woman who didn’t want her twin girls – can I have her kids?

    I am so glad I learned of your blog and am interested in catching up on it – to see how you’re adjusting to being childfree. As a woman who is 31 and approaching menopause, I have been doing some serious thinking about donor options, adoption, and/or childfree living – and I’d love to see how others got to childfree.

    Good luck to you,

  56. Nancy

    June 12, 2008 3:28 am

    PJ – I think what you said was beautiful and from the heart.

    I read through the comments and I’m just dumbfounded by the ignorance of people. But that is exactly what it is – ignorance. To educate people, you have to go through this sort of backlash. Look at any big thing the world went through. Look at HIV. It took a long time, a lot of exasperated people and a lot of education before most people understood what it was all about.

    It makes me sad to see the ignorance all around, but unfortunately, it doesn’t surprise me.

  57. Bea

    June 12, 2008 7:17 am

    “Is it because it’s easier to attack than to try to understand? Is it more satisfying to condemn than to think about how it might feel to experience firsthand?”

    Yeah. People don’t like to think that bad things could happen to them. So they try to make out the people experiencing the bad things deserve it somehow.


  58. Alicia

    June 12, 2008 10:23 am

    Many of my friends are falling pregnant and making their homes child safe. After a few years of trying, I want to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Been married for 4 years, and reminded often that babies only take 9 months.

    I believe that the social pressure and family pressure are the greatest. As a woman I am often asked if I have kids even before I am asked how I am. My husband is never asked. I am often also reminded by how tough it is to have kids, friends complaining that they can’t go out when they want, can’t do this, can’t do that, don’t get enough sleep.

    I am 27 and don’t want to resign myself to childless for life, but it is nice to know that there are people out there that are who are happy, confident, healthy and intelligent. There is life out there for the infertile.

  59. Donna

    June 12, 2008 12:15 pm

    I do feel bad about your plight. My situation is different. I didn’t have a choice to be childless, that decision was made for me. I had to have a hysterectomy at the age of 26 due to ovarian cancer. People don’t realize how traumatic that is. People would be very insensitive and say well you can always adopt. Not only did I go thru the emotional trauma of not being able to have a baby but also had to go thru my change of life as well at such a young age. Eventually we did adopt, the process was trying. We adopted a beautiful baby boy. He was 5 days old when we were able to get him. Sadly when our son was ten and a half years old my husband died of cancer. I am now a single mother to him. How ironic. My son is now 16 years old I love him to pieces. This July we are flying out to Arizona to meet his birth mother. I am so thrilled for them both.

    All in all the truth is that I still have that unexplained feeling about never being able to conceive my own child. I am now 52 years old. The feelings get hidden but they don’t go away.

    • rebecca

      June 13, 2008 5:44 pm

      I am so sorry that, that happen to you at that age. It happen to me at 35 but I was fighting endometriosis for many years; since I was 23. I did have a TAH at 35 but only because the endometriosis was so bad it was cancerous and they found out that I had cervical and ovarian cancer as well..

      I hope that the reunion goes well for all and you are in my thoughts & prayers.

      Rebecca in TN

  60. La Belette Rouge

    June 12, 2008 12:24 pm

    5 separate people sent me the article in the NY times featuring your story. It is wonderful to find another blog that is championing the cause of CNBC. The first time I searched for anything on the topic I found nothing. I do write on my blog regularly about the topic and how I am trying to deal with my grief and loss by creating a life that is filled with meaning and purpose. My post today is called “The Amazing Green Hulk of Residual Estrogen and Envy.”

    Pamela, I really admire your courage and am touched by the response to your article. Some of the comments on the NY time were disturbing—but those who have not known the grief we have may never fully understand.

  61. Co

    June 12, 2008 2:32 pm

    Thank you for putting yourself out there. I know it’s a risk but I am glad that you have tough skin and the courage to tell your story.

  62. Annie Gauger

    June 12, 2008 3:07 pm

    Dear Pamela,
    Amazing and well put. I enjoy your blog. I am attaching the address of my fiction blog
    http://courseinpigtailmastery.blogspot.com/ that includes a story called the Infertile Maternity Leave Temp. I was wondering if you had any ideas of other cites I might link it to. Anyway–kudos. I wish I had your blog in 2002 when I was going through IF hell.

  63. WaterBishop

    June 12, 2008 3:38 pm

    PJ, as usual, you are amazing! Thank you so much and good for you for having the courage to put yourself out there.

  64. ggop

    June 12, 2008 3:51 pm

    Came over from Matt Miller’s blog. I’m so glad you were gutsy enough to do the interview, write so frankly on this blog. I was specially happy to see Tara Parker Pope reply to the more clueless commenters.

  65. Deanna

    June 12, 2008 4:21 pm

    Awesome, awesome article and exposure! Kudos and hugs to you for your bravery and candor.

    I’m still plowing through all the comments and I keep ranging through various levels of shock induced by people’s cruelty, but also their compassion.

  66. Samantha

    June 12, 2008 5:42 pm

    You are so brave to go out there! And the article was did a wonderful job with balanced reporting. It is great to see a piece like this being published.

  67. Lindsay LJ

    June 12, 2008 6:41 pm


    I also saw the article so amazing to see someone you “know” in print!

  68. Kristen

    June 12, 2008 6:49 pm

    I give you great kudos for spreading awareness about IF and for putting yourself out there the way you have. I admire your strength and I am sorry that you have to come under scrutiny from people who just have no idea about what some of us have gone through (and apparently do not care). Thank you for all you do for the community.

    And happy birthday! XOXO

  69. Portia P

    June 12, 2008 10:53 pm

    Much to say:

    Firstly – belated happy birthday to you my dear.
    Secondly – love the Calliope header. We’re working on one for me at the moment
    Thirdly – and most importantly, well done you on the article. It was well written and interesting and extremely brave.

    I wonder if you feel brave? Mr G and I wrote a newspaper column here (in our own names and with our photos) in the UK for several months about our IVF and found it cathartic although much harder as time went on. We were amazed how many people read it.

    What was great was how many people we helped with it. You’ve done that but on a HUGE scale. You are a fantastic person who’s done a massive service to the IF community.


  70. luna

    June 12, 2008 11:12 pm

    kudos pamela jeanne for courage and articulate contribution to this important piece. and just look at all these comments! you are very inspiring.

  71. Brandygirl

    June 13, 2008 11:39 am

    Happy Birthday, Pam! Sending you a virtual cake!

    BTW, i posted your blog and linked it to your article on my blog. And we’re all behind you, for your courage and your contribution to telling the story as is!

  72. Trish

    June 13, 2008 12:49 pm

    I’m here from NaComLeavCom
    Well done Pamela Jeanne I am in awe of you for your raw honesty and bringing infertility into the open.

    My”>http://mylittledrummerboys.blogspot.com/”>My Little Drummer boys
    warm regards

  73. Rochelle

    June 13, 2008 2:57 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am only 21 and have been struggling with infertility for 2 years now. There really is such a lack of understanding and insensitivity if you haven’t been there.

  74. rebecca

    June 13, 2008 5:37 pm

    Thank you for being so brave & letting the readers know about our internal struggle of not being able to have a child of our own. I have struggled with several surgeries [more than 7] to fight endometriosis and lost the battle with it being cancerous. I wound up with a TAH at the age of 35 and parents not knowing that their daughter cannot give then a grandchild. I cry internally daily 7 sometimes outwards. My brother has taken the pressure off of me with a child of his own and another on the way. It is a painful bliss to be around but I find myself crying to sleep after playing with my own nephew. Is it wrong?…. To me it is not because my chance to have my own child was taken way yet I still have that desire & dream of my own child. I have not come to full terms with not bearing a child and I believe it will be a long time, if ever, I will come to terms. Thank you again. Rebecca in TN.

  75. Michele S

    June 13, 2008 11:17 pm

    Happy Birthday, Pamela!

    Congratulations also on having your story told in NYT! I hope that people with IF issues will recieve more compassion as this problem is talked about openly more and more.

    Those who have not experienced your story will only understand as someone with IF helps us see it through their eyes, as you have done.

    God Bless

  76. CJ

    June 14, 2008 12:06 am


    Happy Birthday!!! I know all too well what you’ve been through. In fact, during my 6 years of infertility I would literally want to curl up in a corner when someone would mention “you can adopt”.

    It’s a personal journey for all of us…it’s more difficult for some than others. When I look back over the years – I actually regret that I wasted so much time with IUI’s, surgeries – Laps, Drugs, 2 rounds of IVF… and trust me I wanted to experience carrying a child and the whole 9 month deal.

    After my 2nd failed attempt at IVF at the ripe ole’ age of 42 – I was done!!!! Not only was I dealing with the infertility, but I also had health scares along the way…lump in breast, abnormal paps… all turned out ok..praise god!!!

    We moved forward with International Adoption – previously were interested in Domestic – couldn’t wrap my brain around writing a “birth mom” a letter expressing why I should be the mother of the unborn child within her womb…go figure. Started with Russia -wanted a child to look like us…2 many visits and problems…checked into Guatemala – didn’t fit us… finally decided on China. The adoption process is a huge issue in and of itself and an issue that needs to be addressed big time. Nonetheless, here I was 43 years old, spent the past 6 years dealing with infertility, marriage was on the rocks big time, no support from family or friends – they simply couldn’t or didn’t understand, didn’t have a career to speak of because I had tunnel vision – on and on… I knew that it was going to be 2 years before traveling to China – so much had happened during the interim…paperwork problems – etc… One evening I finally gave up and surrendered to God. I decided to get a grip and reflected back over the years of my infertility and health scares and thanked God that the health issues were not more serious than they could have been – those were miracles. Decided to concentrate on the career that I had started and to work on finishing my Master’s…the very next day we received a phone call from a friend who is a OBGYN in another state who had a patient who was ready to give birth anytime. They were friends with my husband for many years and knew of our struggles – it was truly a miracle. I received the call on a Tuesday and the following Tuesday I was a mom…had to get through the 72 hour period – relinquishment, legal stuff, etc. He’s the most beautiful little boy and is now 15 1/2 months old – we were with him since birth. If he hadn’t come along I would still be childless because China has increased their wait time to 4 years. My marriage is still a struggle – I still grieve not ever having a biological – but would adopt again and again..the greatest gift ever. God has a plan far greater than I could ever comprehend – I believe that if we want to be parents and have children – we will be blessed … the gift may not be packaged the way that we had intended. Peace & Blessings

  77. shinejil

    June 14, 2008 7:21 am

    You are a brave woman and doing a great service to all of us with your candor! Thanks!

    I loved, btw, what you said about your husband at the end of the piece. I feel the same way about my guy, and it’s a source of great happiness…

  78. Alyson

    June 14, 2008 11:06 am

    I want you to know that you are brave, wonderful and very appreciated! It brought tears to my eyes reading your story as we share in the many heart breaks (I have always chosen to forget/push back on my “infertility”, and since joining NCLM, I have relived my past and REALLY want to say thanks to those who write about “I”). It is a long journey to get to the place that is best for you and DH. Enjoy your many blessings, you seem very blessed in your marriage.

    Alyson LID 01/27/06 (IA China)

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