Your Sanity Matters Much More Than You Think

msinfertility

This post is dedicated to new readers — those who found their way here from the Bitter Infertiles (podcast Episode 20).

If you’re new to this blog, I hope you’ll see it’s quite pleasant here. Contrary to conventional wisdom, flowers grow. Laughter is encouraged. All in all, we strive to make this blog a place where women, mostly those who are not mothers through chance or circumstance, gather. We kibitz about the world as we as see it and how we can make it better. Sometimes we discuss movies, books, and simply dish.

For regular readers who haven’t yet tuned in to the podcast, let me set the scene. While millions prepared lasepisode20t weekend for the Super Bowl, four women fired up Skype. We engaged in a conversation normally reserved for the closest of friends. Episode 20 started at midnight in Israel (Mo), 5:00 pm outside of Toronto, Canada (Loribeth), 2:00 pm somewhere in view of Mt. Ranier in Washington (Cristy), and at 2:00 pm for me, an hour south of San Francisco.

Far from shy, we near strangers plunged deep. We started with talk of ‘lady parts.’ Our discussion broadened from there to the bio the psycho and the social.

Spontaneous interplay

Listeners will be startled by the willingness of the hosts (women in their early 30s), keenly familiar with infertility losses, to venture into territory many fear to tread. Warm, intelligent and inquisitive, Mo and Cristy wanted to hear it straight. They broke new ground.

I don’t ever recall this level of honest, taboo-busting public discourse among women coming from such different places in the infertility world. Initiated for women pursuing motherhood, they were unafraid of infertility’s stigma. They proved eager to uncover the truth. They questioned the wisdom of their peers — those who, in pursuit of children — abuse their bodies and their sanity, who throw away what they do have for something they might never have.

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Healthy Discourse

Mo and Cristy raised concerns about the ‘healthiness’ of those parenting in today’s society. They questioned those who glorify pregnancy but overlook the responsibilities of parenting. They condemned those who view children as accessories. They acknowledged that women like me and Loribeth — those who who never achieved motherhood despite our best efforts — actually got it right.

Our repeated attempts to conceive over an extended period failed, but we came away winners, nonetheless, with our sanity, our self-respect and a willingness to embrace life.

New Validation

I went into the Skype call nervous. I felt, as described in another blog post, like “the proverbial skunk invited to the garden party, or the divorce attorney invited to the wedding expo.”

I came away blushing. I felt like an adored big sister.

Courageous? Selfless? Founts of sanity?

Come again? These are not descriptions women like me are accustomed to hearing.

Cristy shared more of her thoughts in her blog, and offered thanks to those in our little corner of the blogosphere.

Stand tall, my friends, as our stories have:

taught me so much about life and helped me see that though I can’t control what happens to me, I can control how I chose to confront each disappointment and moment of pain. You’ve taught me that from the ashes we can rise like Phoenixes and pursue a life that is full, filled with purpose, happiness and joy. Saying ‘thank you’ is not enough

That leaves me with another lesson in my blogiversary week:

Lesson #3: Blogging makes the world a smaller place; offering us platforms to reach out and touch others in ways we never imagined.

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Cheers to those who embrace defeat and see course corrections in life as an opportunity for growth.

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17 thoughts on “Your Sanity Matters Much More Than You Think

  1. Dear Pamela & Loribeth & Cristy & Mo,
    thank you all for wonderful discussion. I spent a wonderfull afternoon two days ago, listening to you.

    I loved Cristy’s quote:
    “…we can rise like Phoenixes and pursue a life that is full, filled with purpose, happiness and joy.”
    I really feel like that!

    Yes, blogging really makes the world a smaller place! Cosy, friendly place, where I do not feel alone any more.

    lots of love from Europe, to all of you!

  2. THANK YOU for Mo, Cristy, Pamela, and Loribeth…I REALLY loved the podcast. At one point I had wet eyes (I wasn’t prepared for it and it took me by surprise, but it made me realize something that I didn’t know existed in myself, so THANK YOU for that!!): :-D Feeling validated (and heard) is one of the greatest things on earth. :-D

  3. I listened yesterday morning, it was very insightful and inspiring. I fall into that early 30s category and even though I have rough days here and there, 4 years of TTC craziness was enough. Mo was spot on yesterday… we all reach the point where we are “done”! It is so darn scary but at the same time you start to feel a weight lifted, you grieve, and slowly your sanity does come back. My favorite part of the whole podcast was when Pamela was asked how she defined herself, and she said “as Pamela”…

    I personally cannot control the hand I was dealt but I can control how it is played and “as Megan” is a fun & adventurous way to go! Thanks to all the for your voices. You help more than you know!

    1. “as Megan”
      Forging new paths takes fortitude. Fortunately, due to all we’ve been through, we’ve accumulated the strength to redefine not only our lives but ourselves.
      cheers,
      “as Pamela”

  4. Having listened to a few of their podcasts & followed their blogs, I knew we’d have a good chat. But I too was surprised & touched by the empathy shown toward us and the validation of our choices. Thanks again, Mo & Cristy!! :)

    We may not have the kids we dreamed about — but there IS something to be said for sanity & stability!!

  5. Will be listening this weekend. And I agree that some of these issues need to be thought about when we have the opportunities to become detached, when the pain and desperation aren’t pushing us into unexamined choices we will regret. And this idea – “throw[ing] away what they do have for something they might never have” – is what finally got me to back away. I had been shying away more and more from the “when” talk so many fellow infertiles want to use. I knew it was “if.” My doctor was pretty clear about it, and those (near-abusively) encouraging me to seek new doctors were really missing the point. I was THROWING AWAY WHAT I HAD. God never put it in writing that I was going to have kids. But He gave me my life; I knew I was responsible for THAT one. Why was I making it into a senseless tragedy? I quit a month after my 30th birthday. For medical reasons (very precocious endometriosis – thank you, thank you), I embarked on a year of depo provera shots (I’m planning to stop after round 4 and see whether the endo pain has subsided or the cysts gone away). No more cycle! I wouldn’t take depo lightly; it has side effects. For me, the effects of NOT taking it were far more serious. But the one little side effect was precious: no more cycle. I have been radically not-TTC for almost a year. I am living MY life again. Praise God.

  6. I loved hearing your voice (again) and Lori’s for the first time. You are right that mo and Cristy were incredibly insightful, curious and compassionate. And they had two well-spoken guests to work with.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the podcast. And your lesson #3 is spot on.

  7. I’m getting old – cos I can’t remember if I’ve already commented! Your blog is certainly Sanity Central, and you are an adored big sister (though I think we’re the same age!) around here. You prompted me to write about thoughts from the podcast too.

    1. Sanity Central – I love that, Mali! In fact that will serve as a good touchstone — a place to return to metaphorically — the next time things feel like they’re getting a bit crazy.

  8. You, dear Pamela, are no skunk!!!You are a VIP at any party I might throw. I so look forward to hearing this discussion. And I hope that the conversation about life after infertility continues to grow. I know, from personal experience, how important it is to hear other people’s stories—it certainly has helped me to feel less alone. Thank you all for your incredible voices!!!

  9. marwil

    I am arriving here after listening to you talk on the podcast. Thank you so much for being open and sharing your journey together with the other ladies. It was very powerful to listen to and I’m sure it will be helpful for many, just as it were to me.

    1. Welcome, Marwil! I appreciate you taking the time to share your podcast response. Wishing you all the best.

  10. I listened to the podcast yesterday and it was so awesome!!! So cool to hear both you and Loribeth talking about this. I have been having some doubts about things like lately and feeling a bit failure-ish, so it was very reaffirming to listen to the 4 of you discuss. Awesome job.

    And it made me come check on your blog because I thought you hadn’t been writing. Turns out something was just screwy w/my RSS reader as it hadn’t shown me a new post since December. So glad that’s not the truth, now I have some reading to catch up on :)

    1. Glad you had a chance to listen and that the podcast helped in your thinking. Good to reconnect, Nicole!

  11. […] damage lies. For example, one year ago this Super Bowl weekend Loribeth and I were guests on the Bitter Infertiles podcast. The candid conversation created waterfall discussions in communities of women 42 and […]

  12. […] transcribed, this is one of a few ‘best of’ discussions and blog posts I’ll revisit in honor of my impending eight year blogaversary. You’ll find the first […]

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