Comprenez-Vous? Oui. We Understand Each Other

Comprenez-Vous? Oui. We Understand Each Other

On so many levels society today seems remarkably chaotic. Misunderstandings, loaded labels and dark suspicions are rampant. It seems we can all benefit from taking a step back and recalling some of what we share in common. Let’s look at the universality of confronting fertility challenges — both the personal as well as societal response. Some experiences transcend language and culture. This blog alone has had 54,604 unique visitors from 167 countries in the course of five years.  During that time one thing has remained clear: there is no easy…

Here’s Why You Don’t Have To Be A Mother To Be A Loving Woman

Here’s Why You Don’t Have To Be A Mother To Be A Loving Woman

Five years ago we made history. On September 28, 2010 Silent Sorority earned an award in the media capital of North America — New York City. There I was amid an unusual mix of a few celebrities, fertility industry sales people, clinicians, health advocates and RESOLVE representatives. In my acceptance speech I managed to hush a room of 300+ people by declaring that there is more than one ending to the infertility story. I recall my words took people by surprise. The audience — and most of society — were…

Dear Abby Strikes Out On Infertility, Childless Not By Choice Question

Dear Abby Strikes Out On Infertility, Childless Not By Choice Question

Dear Abby (aka Jeanne Phillips), Pamela Jeanne here.  Nice to meet you. So let me get right to the point. That 2nd letter you posted today, the one about the woman feeling a void in her life following an infertility diagnosis? Yeah, I’m afraid you struck out. You see the question posed by BROKEN RECORD is a highly nuanced once. Allow me and my crack team of experts to help you with this one.  We in this feisty corner of the blogosphere have had a lot of experience with all…

IVF Rollercoaster: BBC Radio Show Callers Describe ‘Grueling, Painful, Isolating, Roll of Dice’

IVF Rollercoaster: BBC Radio Show Callers Describe ‘Grueling, Painful, Isolating, Roll of Dice’

Warning to those in a raw or vulnerable state: take caution listening to the interviews and discussions linked below.   As I come up on my seven-year anniversary of The New York Times piece, Facing Life Without Children When it Isn’t by Choice (June 10, 2008), I can’t help but be reflective. If you went back and asked 2008 Pamela what she hoped the New York Times health feature story would have led to seven years on, I have a hunch she’d be a bit disappointed with where society is…

Oh, Betty! I So Get You

Oh, Betty! I So Get You

“I don’t want you to think I’m a quitter. I’ve fought for plenty in my life. That’s how I know when it’s over. To know when to move on…” The dialogue from Mad Men this week struck like a thunder clap. I nodded instinctively. While cancer is the elephant in the room for Betty, I couldn’t help but see parallels for infertility. Her rationale is what I came to understand a decade ago: harsh reality is better than false hope. Betty’s cool Zen-like acceptance felt familiar. It is clearly not…

M.O.M. — From Today Forward It Means ‘Mentor of Many’

M.O.M. — From Today Forward It Means ‘Mentor of Many’

Long-time readers will recall that one particular three-letter word once had the power to torment me. It prompted off-the-chart levels of irritation approaching the second Sunday in May. For instance, you may remember the time in 2009 I asked for reader input on greeting card ideas that we’d never find as a way to let off some steam. (I recognize we’re late here in North America. This particular marketing mayhem arrives in March for the British, some current and many former colonies and some European countries.) Happily, with the latest…

Hello Strangers: I’m an Infertility Survivor and I’m Not Ashamed to Say It

Hello Strangers: I’m an Infertility Survivor and I’m Not Ashamed to Say It

Here is Part III of the ‘Bitter Infertiles’ conversation — on the anniversary of the day the podcast took place. This where we own up to our experiences as ‘Infertility Survivors.’  Mo:   One of the things I want to ask you ladies … people always focus on the negative of, as Pamela said, it’s not really ‘child-free living’ it’s more choosing not to parent so … Pamela: Let me clarify, I didn’t choose not to parent, I had to come to terms with the fact that parenting wasn’t part of…

Keeping it 100: Identity Crisis and Emotional Cratering in a Mommy Mad World

Keeping it 100: Identity Crisis and Emotional Cratering in a Mommy Mad World

In Part II of the ‘Bitter Infertiles’ podcast transcript (Part I here or listen to the podcast here), we talk infertility trauma, the assault to identity and misplaced mommy glorification… Mo: One of the big issues we discussed last month with a therapist was the devastating effect that infertility can have on the emotional well-being. There’s a point where you … you can be so far gone that you don’t know how to pick up the pieces. Pamela: Even though our paths are not in any way the same, there…

When Does the Pursuit of Pregnancy Go Too Far?

When Does the Pursuit of Pregnancy Go Too Far?

  Now 10 years outside of my pursuit of pregnancy and all the related dreams I once held dear, I find myself preoccupied by the complex questions and issues that continue to swirl around the ‘fertility’ industry and those swept up in it. I sat down last month to research and write a longer piece excerpted here: Once a young bride-to-be swept up in the gauzy haze of romance, I remember someone once asking me about my priorities. Was I focused on the wedding or the marriage? I began to…

Infertility Community: A Microcosm of Society Misunderstandings and All

Infertility Community: A Microcosm of Society Misunderstandings and All

It has happened again. ‘It’ being a misunderstanding of perspective and tribal affiliation that flares up periodically within the infertility blogosphere. While all who take part in this blogging community identify at some level as ‘infertile’ there are many shades of grey here. I first experienced this awkwardness nearly eight years ago when I started blogging. A spin through the community blogroll reveals various permutations, categories and identifiers. (I, for one, have long chafed at the labels ‘childfree’ or ‘childless.’ It seems absurd to define who I am using ‘child’…