nicpel: (Default)
For those of us dealing with infertility, this weekend of the year is one of the most difficult to get through. I tend to get angry at the world and find it generally best to just stay away from Facebook (and the internet in general) to escape all of the generic, commercialized, thoughtless Mother's Day posts and greetings.

And it's sad when still the infertility community itself is so fractured and contentious that we can't even come together for each other at this difficult time. I just left an infertility awareness "support" community today for good, because the community organizer took down someone's post because she DARED to talk about finding hope and good things about being infertile/childless. Excuse me? I'm supposed to live my entire life in misery and not appreciate/give thanks for the good things I do have - a beautiful home, a wonderful partner, general good health and great friendships around the world? And then it turned into a round of what I call the Infertility Olympics - who does or doesn't deserve a child because obviously if you haven't gone through 10 IVF cycles, multiple lost babies, and put yourself in bankruptcy taking fertility drugs for year, you don't "deserve" to be part of the community/ever beat IF.

And that's an attitude I just can't abide. Yet sadly it's far too common in the IF "support" world.

Anyway, back to the topic of Mother's Day (ugh). Which I will spend with my own mom, and I hope she just doesn't spend the entire time on my case about my own lack of children. But I think it's important that the ORIGINAL Mother's Day Proclamation by abolitionist Julia Ward Howe was an anti-war statement, after the devastation and losses to all families during the Civil War. As Consortium News observed, "Like most other holidays (including religious ones), Mother’s Day in capitalist America has been transformed into just another expectation of gift-buying and gift-giving.

What was originally a call to mobilize outraged mothers to keep their sons and husbands from going off half-cocked to kill and die for some corporate war profiteer or other, became just another opportunity to market non-essential consumer goods."


Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation of 1870:

"Arise then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

"Say firmly: 'We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies.

Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.'

"From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, 'Disarm, disarm!'

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor does violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar but of God.

"In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace."
nicpel: (infertility)
This post is in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, April 22-28 2012, and the Bloggers Unite challenge.

The Infertility Community on-line can be a wonderfully supportive place. In a world that so often ignores the pain and hardships of discovering you suffer from infertility, it is a huge relief and blessing to be able to find others who have been there, who understand, whom you can rant and rave to when faced with insensitivity and lack of understanding from friends, family members, and even random strangers who don't get why a casual question like "Do you have children?" can hit you like a slap in the face.

Except, sometimes I actually feel like I don't belong in the infertility support community, or am not as welcome in it as others. Because I'm not going through any fertility treatments yet - nor am I sure if I ever will, or pursue alternative family building methods including adoption.

So much of the emphasis on a lot of IF messageboards, blogs and Facebook pages is about fertility treatment discussions, triumphs and tragedies with them, and I totally accept and am fine with that, really. But...what about those of us who are not sure we want to go down that path? Right now it's a simple matter of me not even being able to consider it, because I'm not in a financial position to do so. I went as far as the first $500 bloodwork screening last year, and then was told the next step would be a laparoscopy (my second; the first I needed because of a dermoid ovarian cyst cost me over $5000 several years ago) and that's when I stopped. I'd only just finally bought a house that cost me nearly all of my life savings because, being self-employed, I couldn't get a mortgage or even then a loan against my house. The idea of needing anywhere from $10,000 - 50,000+ more to undergo treatments that may or may not work, it's just not gonna happen for me right now.

Beyond the financial aspects, I'm not sure I want to put myself and my partner through the emotional and physical turmoil of IF treatments. I see how difficult it's been on friends of mine (both "real life" friends and "on-line" ones), many of whom had their relationships nearly fall apart from the stress - some even were driven to such depression that they became nearly suicidal. Adoption is a possibility I have been starting to research, but again, money is a factor, as well as mine and my partners' ages, the fact we aren't married yet, and a lot of other reasons that I know will not make the process particularly easy for us whether we were to try domestic or international adoption.

I do want to have a child, but I also love the life I have right now. I love my partner, I love our relationship, I love saving what spare money we are able to sock aside to enjoy traveling and art and making a wonderful life together. I'm not willing to put that life on hold for something that may be impossible or cost us too much beyond the financial price tag. And sometimes I feel like, within the Infertility Community, that means I don't want a baby "enough". Because I'm not willing to sacrifice everything in pursuit of that dream. And it is still very much a dream that I hold on to, but right now, perhaps, I have to put more of my efforts into coming to terms with a future that may mean my family remains a family of two (plus cats), not three or more. A child-less future - not child-free, because I still consider that a term that implies an active choice of not wanting children. I want children, I just can't seem to make it happen naturally. And so I'm left right now trying to find peace and acceptance, giving it up to God and His Will as to what my future will hold.

So yes, I'd like to see more room in the Infertility Community for those who are trying to accept a childless life. I'd like to see organizations like RESOLVE give us more support too, and not make it seem like this is merely the "last resort option" for those who have tried every method desperately to have a child and failed. I don't consider myself a failure; I just consider myself someone who wants to accept and enjoy the life I have now without sacrificing it to a dream that might never be realized. Don't ignore me because I'm following a different path in my infertility journey. Don't treat me different if my choices are different from your own. Let's all learn to respect and support each other, please, because we face enough challenges and misunderstandings from the fertile world already.

Infertility 101
Learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week
My personal page about NIAW
nicpel: (Default)
So I've already got a jump on a new lens about National Infertility Awareness Week. I've done several on infertility awareness before, but wanted to make one focused specifically on this important annual campaign.

RESOLVE recently announced that the theme for this year will be "Don't Ignore Infertility", and I think that should be a very interesting one to see play out. I'm going to try to participate in the Bloggers Unite campaign this time around, so I'm already starting to contemplate drafting out an entry (or two...)
nicpel: (Default)
This morning's lens spruce-up project was my guide to Coping with Infertility during the Holiday Season. None of my infertility lenses are real "blockbusters" (no surprise there, it's one of those topics people generally don't like to think or talk about) but it's important for me to keep working on raising awareness and providing support to others going through this struggle. There's just so many little ways that people in the "fertile world" don't realize they're being insensitive or misinformed about infertility, so whatever I can try to do to open a few eyes is important to me.

Which brings up a sort of related topic, and one of those "little things" that bugs me. Squidoo's RocketMoms Project.

Uh-oh, I hear you saying. But really, I want to get this out and really explain my issues with the whole thing - in my own space, my own blog, so this is not a criticism of anyone involved in the project nor me trying to get in their face about it. I've been accused of "bashing" the program in the SquidU forum, which I absolutely am not interested in doing. I think it's great to recognize that Squidoo is a wonderful opportunity for many stay-at-home moms to earn some extra money, or working moms to find a way to share on topics helpful to other moms. It's great to have a female-centric space for encouraging creativity, great writing, challenging and promoting each other. And hey, if that female-centric space is to be an exclusive club for moms, so be it.

This is what punches me in the gut every time I see a RocketMoms page or lens.

"ROCKETMOMS: The Smartest Women On The Web"

"That's right. We're moms, therefore we're smarter than NON-moms. We're better than you. You can never be as smart as us." At least, that's the message that catchphrase sends off to me. It's an echo of the feeling of inferiority and failure that so many women dealing with infertility struggle with daily, trying to convince ourselves that it's NOT true:

I can't have children, therefore I'm less of a woman.

You know, two little additional words and I'd be so much more comfortable with the RocketMoms thing. Why can't it be "ROCKETMOMS: SOME OF The Smartest Women On The Web"? Why make it sound so clearly like women who aren't moms CAN'T be some of the smartest women on the internet?

I know it's just supposed to be a catchy little tag line. But again, that's my point. The fertile world doesn't see how a "little thing" like two small words can make a difference in showing the infertile world acceptance.

Oh, I've been assured I "could still" join RocketMoms if I wanted, if I considered myself a "mom" because I have pets. Yeah, well, lol, no, I don't. I share my home with my pets and I love them and they are family. But I am not their "mom". I don't feel like a mom at all. I will not feel like a mom until the day I have a child, be it my own by some miracle or through adoption (through an equally unlikely miracle at this point in time.) To join the RocketMoms, being an activist for infertility as I am, would just feel like an utter betrayal of my fellow infertility sufferers. I'd feel like a cheat and a pretender, and the benefits of the extra challenges, promotion and community of the group would just pale so much in comparison.

Again, I'm sure people will say I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, obsessing over things that aren't important, making "the world" all about me, me, me and my problems. But it's NOT just me. When 1 in 8 couples are dealing with infertility, when millions of women are dealing with infertility today, that's a lot of women left hoping not only for a cure, but for the rest of the world that takes their fertility for granted to someday open their eyes to this very real, and very devastating, illness and struggle.

It's why I love Lady Saw's song about infertility so much and included it on the lens. I'm no less a woman because of infertility. I'm as much of a woman as any mother. I just sometimes need to remind myself of that fact when so much of the rest of the world seems to believe otherwise.

nicpel: (Default)
Are infertile people annoying?

In case you're wondering if I'm asking a serious question, I am. Well, you surely know how I stand on the matter but it often feels like society just wants infertile people to shut up and go away about our problems. In fact, I was even called "morally reprehensible" last night for wanting a biological child of my own (of course, I'd made the mistake of looking at the comments on the wonderful Huffington Post blog piece, What Are You, Barren? And then made the additional mistake of engaging in argument with a 19-year-old out to save the world by crushing one infertile's dream at a time, I guess...)

In any event, my latest piece on Squidoo takes the issue to task: Are infertiles annoying? What are the common arguments made as to such (and yes, these are all things I've heard and witnessed personally said.) What are the counter-arguments as to why-not? Where do you stand on the issue? I'd love to get some more people to actually engage in the debate with me.
nicpel: (Default)
In time for National Infertility Awareness Week, which begins this Sunday, I've created a new page on Squidoo: Raising Infertility Awareness and Coping with Fertility Struggles.

I hope you'll give it a look to learn a bit, perhaps, about why infertility awareness is so important and what resources are out there for the infertile community. There are a couple polls and room for feedback if you've got any good links or articles for me to add.

Thanks!
nicpel: (Default)
Get involved and take action to raise public awareness about infertility. National Infertility Awareness Week is an annual event, this year scheduled for April 24-30, 2011.

Read more: "5 Things You Can Do During National Infertility Awareness Week."
nicpel: (Default)
Infertile? So what! Instead of spending all your time angsting about not being able to have a child, take the time to celebrate and remember the good things about being child-free, even if it wasn't your first choice in life.

Read more: "7 Reasons to Celebrate Infertility."
nicpel: (Default)
According to the CDC, nearly 1 in 10 women in the United States struggle with infertility. For them, attending a baby shower can be a painful event.

Read more: "Coping with Baby Showers while Struggling with Infertility."
nicpel: (Default)
Halloween is one of many times of the year it can be difficult to deal with infertility. If the sight of all those cute little kids in their costumes is making you wince, here are some ways to try to deal with the stress of the spooky season.

read more...

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nicpel: (Default)
Nicole ("sockii") Pellegrini

January 2013

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