Looking Out for Our Sisters In a World of False Fertility Claims

Looking Out for Our Sisters In a World of False Fertility Claims

While my gray roots benefited from a rich brunette color drenching in a new hair salon recently a younger stylist handed me a glass of champagne. She was not my usual go-to hair expert so there was the usual get-to-know-you chitchat. (Yes, I decided to splurge a bit this time around since it was the eve of my 14th anniversary to Mr. T.) It wasn’t long before that question turned up. I wasn’t in the frame of mind to go into details, so I responded simply: “unfortunately, my husband and…

The Story Behind The New York Times Op-Ed: Selling the Fantasy of Fertility

The Story Behind The New York Times Op-Ed: Selling the Fantasy of Fertility

If you’ve read one breathless headline in popular media about the latest and greatest breakthroughs in fertility medicine you’ve read them all. Articles written about reproductive medicine routinely characterize assisted reproductive technologies (I.U.I, I.V.F., donor eggs, egg freezing and surrogacy) as a “sure thing” when, it turns out, close to 80 percent of the cycles performed annually around the world fail. It took some digging (since clinics are reluctant if not downright misleading about success rates), but the facts are spelled out on the European Society for Human Reproduction and…

Why Do We Pretend Away Infertility?

Why Do We Pretend Away Infertility?

Humans don’t do well with emotional discomfort of any kind. This has been proven time and time again, but no more so than with infertility. It can be traumatizing on many levels, but I guess I didn’t realize how difficult an infertility diagnosis can be on other people. They just do not want to see it, hear it or talk about it. They prefer to pretend it away. Are you cured? Boy, I sure hope so because that means I can finally relax. This universal sigh of relief was made…

What I Wish I’d Known Then: Virtual Casseroles Feed the Soul

What I Wish I’d Known Then: Virtual Casseroles Feed the Soul

February 3, 2007 marks a turning point. It’s the day I decided to reach outside my head, to wear my heart on my sleeve, and to seek some answers. Minutes after publishing my very first Coming2Terms blog post on that stormy night six years ago my stomach turned queasy. After years of suffering silently in the wake of infertility I decided it was time to venture out, to try to find women I could relate to and who, in turn, could relate to me. In surveying the nascent IF blogosphere…

Narrative Bias and Why Context Matters

Narrative Bias and Why Context Matters

It’s hard not to be caught up in the excitement of the Olympics. Beyond the awe-inspiring athleticism, stories abound. They resonate in large part because we understand the context. The narratives fulfill a hunger of sorts — whether for inspiration, a sense of accomplishment or a common bond that goes beyond country or sport. Not all succeed though. Some narratives simply annoy. Salon‘s Mary Elizabeth Williams piece, “So she’s a mom. So what?,” underscores the weird and prevalent mom worship in today’s society noting: “Moms have been a running theme…

Free To Be You and Me

Free To Be You and Me

I’m not sure what possessed me to write it. Was it my cumulative annoyance at People magazine for devoting so much editorial real estate (for instance every week!) to celebrating all aspects of parenthood (hey – how about some equal time, People editors)? Was it the veiled tone of pity, the whiff of judgment, or the implication that there is only one happy ending to the infertility story? But write I did, and I’m glad for what came next… Dispatch from “hell:” It’s not all bad became an Open Salon Editor’s…

Playing Against Type

Playing Against Type

Have you noticed the way infertile women are routinely portrayed as one-dimensional, downright pitiful creatures in TV and film? It doesn’t matter what era the story takes place in. Swap out the costumes and look beyond the hair and makeup and the character is always the same distraught, hapless woman. Take a recent episode of Boardwalk Empire — a series set in the 1920s. It included a cameo appearance of Agent Nelson’s wife begging for a operation that might help her get pregnant (can you imagine the quality of fertility…

You’re the Star of Your Own Life

You’re the Star of Your Own Life

What do you do with years of expectation about roles and identity? How do you turn off the tape in your head about what was supposed to be the rest of your life? Where do you find a new sense of purpose and meaning? Those are some of the big, huge, enormous questions that have been accumulating in my in-box the past few weeks. Pour a drink. Pass the Magic 8 Ball. In fact, I think a good-old fashioned sleepover might be needed. Join me as I mull over the…

The Globe and Mail Reports on Failed Fertility Treatments, Disenfranchised Grief

The Globe and Mail Reports on Failed Fertility Treatments, Disenfranchised Grief

“Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.” — Aldous Huxley When I started blogging from my kitchen several years ago about coming to terms with infertility, I never fathomed my experience would end up in a major national daily like Canada’s The Globe and Mail: When Couples Come To Terms with Infertility. It was in finding the courage to openly discuss such a private and painful experience that I’ve discovered new connections, and an understanding that was once…

Guest Post: Never Being Called Mommy

Guest Post: Never Being Called Mommy

The latest contributor to A Fresh Start is Stephanie. I first came across her writing on More.com. A few emails later she invited me to join her on a radio segment where we both discussed our respective experiences coming to terms with infertility. In this piece, Stephanie shares her story and sheds some light on “disenfranchised grief” and where she found new strength.  You can read still more stories from strong women in this blog’s Tapestry of Voices category. * * * * “You’re both identical twins?! Wow! How many…