It’s Working! Opinions Changing, Minds Opening…

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And we have a winner! Matthew Miller from Maybe Baby dropped by this morning and logged comment number 3,500 on Coming2Terms. A round of applause for all who have taken the time to share thoughts and questions during the past 20 months that C2T has been on the scene.

What an amazing series of conversations we’ve had. The depth and richness of the content contained on this site is due in no small part to reader insights. Your heartfelt and compassionate contributions speak volumes.  While we have been socialized to speak in hushed tones (rather than roar) where the “I” word is concerned, we sure  have quite a bit to say on the topic.
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In light of that I’d like highlight a few comments. They come from readers representing a diverse set of opinions across the fertility and infertility continuum — some aren’t even sure where they may fit just yet. For instance, when I started C2T I worried that no one would be interested in reading a blog about a woman who flunked infertility treatments but this comment was one of many that kept me writing:

Your experience is just as important to the IF community as someone who
ended up pg after treatment. I’m thankful that you’ve decided to
put this out there. If all we ever see are happily-ever-after type
pregnancies after IF, then it creates a false hope for a lot of women.
I’m here because I know that this might or might not work for me, and
I’m glad that you’re here to provide a voice of reason from another
type of ending.

Then there are those navigating between two worlds …

I just found out I am pregnant after IVF, which I am obviously very
happy about. I still do not feel like there is enough education and
information out there for the public regarding infertility. I wish that
it was a little more out in the open so that we women didn’t have to
feel ashamed or feel like we are “less” of a woman. The more that
people write/speak about it, the more the public will recognize it and
understand the process. I work with physicians and they didn’t even
realize how much of a grueling process it really is!


There are also thoughts from women who didn’t face infertility firsthand but worry for friends and family who are:

I’ve been reading your blog for a long while now. I am 30 with a new baby and my sister is 41 and has been ttc for a few
years now. I wanted to understand more about what she has been going
through, without pushing her into a discussion that could be too
painful for her. I’m not sure I’ve been the perfect sister, but I’m trying really hard.

And, we’ve moved the needle in the health care system, too. There’s this from a male med school student:

IF can be devastating to women, some more so 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.

Perhaps the most rewarding comments come from those willing to learn and open their
mind about how to view people fighting infertility. Check out this comment from a few days ago:

I wanted you to know that you have totally changed my understanding of
infertility. I don’t have children but hope to some day. I have no idea
if I am able to have them or not. When I read the NYT piece I was with
the commentators who said ‘just adopt’, especially since my husband and
sister are adopted. What changed my mind? Reading your writings and the
questions they made me ask myself such as: ‘So why aren’t I adopting?
Why do you want your own birth children but don’t want these people to
hope for the same thing?’. I would like to adopt but also hope for
birth children. Thank you again for opening my mind and, hopefully, making me a slightly more thoughtful person.

She’s not alone. I’ve certainly learned a thing or two as I’ve navigated my way around infertility. Hard to believe but there was a day once when I didn’t have a clue. With a great grandmother who delivered 14 children, I was convinced fertile myrtles ran in the family. Go figure!

What are some of the ordinary or not so ordinary things you’ve figured out as you’ve either witnessed, experienced or just started trying to make sense of this subject? This is an equal opportunity blog — all comments welcome! Let’s keep the conversation going …

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16 Responses

  1. Samantha

    October 3, 2008 12:01 am

    I think it’s wonderful to have all of the different backgrounds out there. I think you’ve been very brave putting yourself into a public position, trying to tame your own internal demons even while exposing yourself to watching a new round of women getting pregnant. It’s got to still sting, even with the infertile crowd.

    Sometimes I don’t really know what to do with myself as a pregnant after treatment person. I worry my comments might offend or just hurt people, because I’ve got something they haven’t, even while I know it’s not a competition. I feel false considering baby items, guilty when others lavish attention on my pregnancy, when I was so reluctant to acknowledge others before, and most of all, I still feel a lot of grief thinking about all of the failed cycles and lost embryos. Then I feel guilty for not being happy about my pregnancy again! It’s good to be in a community where others understand.

  2. Michelle Carter

    October 3, 2008 5:04 am

    I have learned a lot from infertility. Probably the most recent lesson learned is, when you feel you just can’t handle it anymore, the scariest part about getting help is asking for it.

    It took me a long time to reach out for professional help (mentally) but when I finally did, it was such a relief to have somewhere to turn.

    That is just the most recent of five years of lessons I have learned and am learning.

    Thanks for the blog!

  3. Ellen K

    October 3, 2008 1:33 pm

    I think yours is one of the best IF blogs out there — certainly you have been instrumental in helping me along the way. Congrats on hitting comment 3500!

  4. loribeth

    October 3, 2008 2:01 pm

    You’ve played a big role in drawing attention to these subjects in the blogosphere & helping people to see things from our point of view. Thank you for that!!

  5. Iota

    October 3, 2008 2:53 pm

    I think your blog has been (and is) fantastic at airing the issue from a big range of different angles. There is something here for everyone – as the comments you quote in this post show. You are thoughtful and intellectual in analysing the media and the medical world, but you are open enough to share deep feelings. Head and heart.

    I think your blog is a powerful force for change in awareness and understanding.

  6. WaterBishop

    October 3, 2008 3:17 pm

    You are certainly a force in the IF world. Your blog has meant more to me than you could ever know. Thank you!
    One thing that struck a cord in me through all this is how nothing with IF(or anything for that matter)is absolute or constant. And that includes my thoughts, feelings, and decisions.

  7. Michell

    October 4, 2008 8:30 am

    I love your blog although I haven’t been reading it long. Every little bit of the blogosphere that reaches out to those who need or want direction is great and yours is one of the really great ones. Thanks.

  8. Wishing4One

    October 5, 2008 12:01 am

    Hey Pamela, what a wonderful bunch of readers you have. I agree with everyone, about what a force your blog has been to those of us dealing with IF and thankfully those who are not either.

    I think what I have learned in my 10+ years of TTC, is that no matter what procedure, teas, exercises, chants, and the rest of the things so many of us have been through, I truly believe that it is either meant or not for us to be mothers. Whatever ones religion, or not, it is a thought that gives me peace. Knowing that as long as I do my part, if it is meant for me to conceive, I will. Sounds good I know and believe me I don’t feel this way everyday, but with IVF#6 around the corner, I am trying to accept this thought of mine more and more.

    Anyway thanks beyond thanks for doing what you do!

  9. JuliaKB

    October 6, 2008 2:45 am

    I think the biggest thing I learned is that it’s a fool’s errand to rank grief. Each of us can say what has been more or less painful, but only for ourselves. Assuming that someone else doesn’t have it as bad because they didn’t experience what you would consider the worst is just an invitation to not understanding each other. Learning to meet others where they are has been one of the more eye-opening experiences of my life, online and off.

  10. Sarah

    October 6, 2008 2:46 pm

    PJ, I’m so glad you’ve come back to the blog. I find your perspective so important. I am still trying to have the courage to say “no more” and NOT do that DE cycle that people seem to expect. I am definitely still learning from you and others, and am so glad your blog is a place for sensible and sensitive conversation on this issue.

  11. Kymberli

    October 6, 2008 10:38 pm

    Having come through to the other side, I’ve learned that having children doesn’t erase the infertile mind. I’ve learned the power of community, and how helpful blogging and having my voice heard and having people say, “Yes, me, too” is. Though I don’t think I’ll ever drop all the baggage, I do find the load a little lighter.

    I’ve learned more about the intricacies of emotions experienced by subsets of the ALI community. It’s a shared experience, yet so different just the same.

    Mostly, I’ve learned to say “This still hurts” and know that that’s not something I should feel bad about.

  12. luna

    October 7, 2008 2:40 pm

    wow, that is quite a lot of comments! I love that you get readers from across the spectrum. it says a lot that you have opened your story to the world to bring others along on our journey, not just as spectators but to engage in the tough dialogue.

  13. Bea

    October 9, 2008 2:41 am

    I can’t think of a really thoughtful contribution, just wanted to say keep up the good work! If it makes just one person see things from the other side, you can sleep happy at night!

    Bea

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