IVF

Episode 107–Life Insurance, Long Term Care, and Retirement Communities, oh my!

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Childless not by Choice, where my mission is to recognize and speak to childless not by choice women and men around the world. Civilla Morgan here. I am spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life, although we did not have the children we so wanted. I would also like to thank everyone who recognizes that we are not all living the same type of life.

Welcome to episode 107!

 

Questions or comments? Contact me at:

Email: Info@civillamorgan.com

                                              Or

 

Visit the website at https://www.childlessnotbychoice.net, look to the left on the home screen and click on the link below the telephone to leave me an up to 90-second voicemail.

Well, this episode is chock full of great content, so let’s get started!

What’s new:

Podfest 2019–Talk about my interview, making new friends, one of whom I may interview soon:

Blocked from FB for most of a day!

Well, what do you think about this email? It came up in my work email and hit me like a ton of bricks:

‘A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn.’–Helen Keller.

In the next few minutes, I am going to tell you about some things that will help you make the turn, instead of failing to make the turn.

You see, we did not get to have the children we so wanted. That is the bend in the road. But we can take that misfortune and turn the corner into the best most joyful and relevant life that we can.

 When you drive a vehicle and you begin to skid, the professionals advise that you turn into, not away from the skid. It seems quite the opposite of what our brains might tell us to do right? We want to get out of the situation as quickly as possible, and it seems like we should try to get out of the skid.  

Well, I would venture to say it is the same thought process with trauma, loss, etc. we just want to get out of the pain as quickly as possible, and that means going in the opposite direction, not towards the pain!

But the way I’m interpreting this quote, I need to turn into the curve, into the skid, until suddenly, one day, I find that I’ve turned the corner! What do you think?

Patreon Contributors: Well! I would like to thank my Patreon contributors for their monthly financial contribution to the platform. And becoming a Patron just got easier. The link https://www.patreon.com/Childlessnotbychoice is now on the https://www.childlessnotbychoice.net website. Just go to the home screen, look to the left below the telephone, and you will see the Patreon link.

Clicking the link takes you to the Patreon site where you can choose whichever level of contribution fits your monthly budget. It’s that easy! Your contributions are appreciated!

And by the way, that telephone on the website, there is a link below it that allows you to leave me a 90-second message. Give me a shout out. I may play your message on a future episode!

Thank you:

  • Jordan Morgan
  • Ivy Calhoun
  • Sandra Carzado
  • Your Name Here

    Also: I will be creating a private VIP list on my Instagram page, @joyandrelevance. If you are a Patreon member and you are also on Instagram, I will add you to the VIP list which will allow you to be the first to know whenever there is big news afoot!

Now, we get into the meat of the episode: life insurance, long term care, retirement communities, oh my! Let’s talk about it!

But first, please note: While I am life and health insurance licensed in the state of Florida, I am not currently with a firm; so I am definitely not attempting to sell you any product. The things I am about to discuss are based on my experiences and on research that I did for this episode. The links to the research are in the show notes.

Links used in my research:

https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/08/30/the-shocking-statistics-behind-the-life-insurance/?slreturn=20190211231437

https://smartasset.com/checking-account/checking-account-average-balance

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/28/how-much-money-americans-have-saved-at-every-age.html

https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/new-study-reveals-more-than-40-percent-of-americans-dont-have-any-form-of-life-insurance-2018-09-04

 

 

Stories you might find interesting:

https://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/one-in-six-czech-30-somethings-likely-to-remain-childless

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6802107/Fertility-issues-raise-risk-cancer-women.html

Thank you Devoted, for the beautiful theme music we use here at Childless not by Choice. Devoted has had the opportunity to sing and play in many countries. To learn more about Devoted, including their concert schedule, visit their website at http://www.devotedministry.org.


My contact information:

Website: https://www.childlessnotbychoice.net and http://www.civillamorgan.com
Facebook: booksbycivillamorgan
Twitter: @civilla1
Instagram: @joyandrelevance
Pinterest: Civilla M. Morgan, MSM
LinkedIn: Civilla Morgan, MSM
https://www.teepublic.com/stores/childless-not-by-choice



If you would like to become a one time or ongoing sponsor, or if you would like to advertise your business or an upcoming event, contact me at info@civillamorgan.com for details.

 

Remember, subscription to the podcast is free. Simply go to Apple Podcast, Stitcher Radio, Spotify, Overcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Search for Childless not by Choice, and hit the subscribe button. It’s that easy!


Well, thank you for listening to this episode of Childless not by Choice! Until next time! Bye!

 

‘To recognize and speak to the broken hearts of childless not by choice women, and men, around the world.’

 

‘Spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life’.

Episode 106–The Rest of the story

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Childless not by Choice, where my mission is to recognize and speak to childless not by choice women and men around the world. Civilla Morgan here. I am spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life, although we did not have the children we so wanted. I would also like to thank everyone who recognizes that we are not all living the same type of life.

Welcome to episode 106!

 

  • Patreon Contributors: I would also like to thank my Patreon contributor Ivy Calhoun for her monthly financial contribution to the platform. Whether you contribute via patreon.com/childlessnotbychoice, or you go to the website and contribute via PayPal, your contributions are appreciated and used to help the platform get the word out. Thank you!

https://www.patreon.com/Childlessnotbychoice

  • Ivy Calhoun
  • Your Name Here


    Questions or comments? Contact me at:

Email: Info@civillamorgan.com

                                              Or

Visit the website at https://www.childlessnotbychoice.net, look to the left on the home screen and click on the link below the telephone to leave me an up to 90-second voicemail.

  • We are going to one episode per month starting in March.
  • I am working a day job now.
  • Honoring my parents.
  • The Podcast will continue on!
  • If this podcast, this platform, has helped or encouraged you; make a contribution toward helping create awareness and conversation.   
  • Your patronage, Paypal contributions, and product purchases help the podcast.
  • Thank you for tuning and staying plugged in with us!

My contact information:

Website: https://www.childlessnotbychoice.net and http://www.civillamorgan.com
Facebook: booksbycivillamorgan
Twitter: @civilla1
Instagram: @joyandrelevance
Pinterest: Civilla M. Morgan, MSM
LinkedIn: Civilla Morgan, MSM
https://www.teepublic.com/stores/childless-not-by-choice



If you would like to become a one time or ongoing sponsor, or if you would like to advertise your business or an upcoming event, contact me at info@civillamorgan.com for details.

Remember, subscription to the podcast is free. Simply go to Apple Podcast, Stitcher Radio, Spotify, Overcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Search for Childless not by Choice, and hit the subscribe button. It’s that easy!


Well, thank you for listening to this episode of Childless not by Choice! Until next time! Bye!

‘To recognize and speak to the broken hearts of childless not by choice women, and men, around the world.’

 ‘Spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life’.

Episode 105–My interview with Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Childless not by Choice, where my mission is to recognize and speak to the broken hearts of childless not by choice women, and men, around the world.  Civilla Morgan here. I am spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life, although we could not, did not, have the children we so wanted.

Welcome to episode 105!

•Patreon Contributors: (Patreon contributors are those who have taken an interest in my platform whether they fit the childless not by choice demographic or not. They have decided to contribute a certain dollar amount on a regular basis to help fund my dream of creating awareness and conversation for the childless not by choice community globally. Click the Patreon link for details and to become a Patron!)

https://www.patreon.com/Childlessnotbychoice


Jordan Morgan

Ivy Calhoun

Questions or comments? Contact me at:

Email: Info@civillamorgan.com

                                              Or

Visit the website at https://www.childlessnotbychoice.net, look to the left on the home screen and click on the link below the telephone to leave me an up to 90-second voicemail.

Bio/Intro:

Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos (Sig- DIN – us) is an author, blogger and women’s health advocate. She emerged as a reluctant spokeswoman in 2008 after a health reporter from The New York Times asked if she’d be willing to openly discuss her infertility experience. Pamela discussed the stubborn persistence of the infertility condition and the lack of a cultural framework to process the losses associated with being childless not by choice. The New York Times feature story that resulted produced astonishment and relief that someone candidly addressed the trauma of failed IVF and legacy of infertility.

Soon thereafter she wrote what became an award-winning book called Silent Sorority. It became the first memoir on infertility not authored by a mother, Pamela’s writing explores the complicated, disenfranchised grief and identity issues that accompany involuntary childlessness. Now more than a decade outside of the grief she once felt so viscerally, she educates and writes about the false promises and limitations of reproductive medicine and the personal and social impacts that accompany failed IVF.

She is the co-founder of the grassroots initiative ReproTechTruths.org.  When she’s not researching and writing she enjoys discussing history, Indie films, documentaries, politics, current events and literature with extended family and friends.

Questions:

  1. In one of your articles, I read that childless not by choice women quote ‘have more time to confront our feelings than the mother who is busy raising or trying to have kids.’ That statement made me a little nervous as I’ve always believed that when we have too much time to think we can go to some dark or negative places, and sometimes that is good, as going to those places can help a healthier mind process and bring thoughts back to a good place resulting hopefully in a positive outcome of our processing. But what do you say to the woman who is still grieving and maybe not quite dealing with negative thoughts properly?      

2)  ‘It is quite striking to see that women who do have children but still wish for more children report poorer mental health than those who have no children but have come to accept it.’  This is a quote from your blog ‘Fess Up. What Are Your Blind Spots?’

In that article you made two great points: 1) if you or probably most childless not by choice women had had the child, they, we, wouldn’t grumble about the fact that these women should be happy they got the one. And 2) human nature tends to maintain a level of loss if we don’t get everything we wanted, i.e. the number of children we really wanted. I will be honest, one of my biggest pet peeves is to hear a woman murmur about not being able to have more children. I always want to say ‘are you kidding me right now?’   


3) The rest of us — we didn’t even make the cut as outliers — no graphics on the number of women who came away empty-handed after extensive (and expensive) fertility treatments and no graphics on the number of failed adoptions. That would be a great project for those of us running childless not by choice platforms, groups, etc, to gather that information from our readers, listeners, and followers?  

4) There is no ‘welcome to the club kit’ for childless not by choice women. We see the rites of passage, but we don’t get to partake.  What should we do instead? What is our rite of passage, and passage to where?

5) As I read the article your blog ‘Prince Harry and I Agree: Bury Grief at Your Peril’, your new neighbor upon hearing that you and your husband were never able to have children and she says ‘you can have one of mine’, I found myself thinking how far we have come as a society to be able to talk about childlessness, but how far we still have to go when people are still using that old, tired line. How far along are we, do you think? Do you think we’ve only just scratched the surface in 2019?  

6) In regards to Erik Erickson’s ‘Generativity versus stagnation’ stage–stage seven of his eight stages of the theory of psychosocial development’, (This stage takes place during middle adulthood (ages 40 to 65 yrs).  What can we do as we become older, to help alleviate that helpless feeling that we will leave the planet leaving nothing of consequence behind? Asking for a friend.

 

 Books, Articles, Blogs, by Pamela Tsigdinos:

https://blog.silentsorority.com/pope-prejudice-reinforce-negative-views/

https://blog.silentsorority.com/placing-motherhood-on-pedastel/

https://blog.silentsorority.com/grief/

 

https://blog.silentsorority.com/how-about-a-time-cover-story-on-women-who-arent-moms-or-childfree/

 

https://blog.silentsorority.com/blindspots/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003PJ7D3U/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Silent Sorority is an award-winning book. It reveals with candor, humor, and poignancy the intense and at times absurd experience of adjusting to a life as a “non-mom” when nature and science don’t cooperate in the family building department. Outside of the physical reckoning there lies the challenge of moving forward in a society that doesn’t know how to handle the awkwardness of infertility. With no Emily Post-like guidelines for supporting couples who can’t conceive, most well-intentioned “fertile” people miss the mark.

https://www.seleni.org/advice-support/2018/3/6/accepting-childlessness-after-infertility

https://www.coming2terms.com/2007/02/03/just-the-beginning/

https://www.coming2terms.com/2009/11/01/the-ultimate-test/

https://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html

Generativity versus stagnation is the seventh of eight stages of Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. This stage takes place during middle adulthood (ages 40 to 65 yrs).
Generativity refers to “making your mark” on the world through creating or nurturing things that will outlast an individual.

People experience a need to create or nurture things that will outlast them, often having mentees or creating positive changes that will benefit other people.

We give back to society through raising our children, being productive at work, and becoming involved in community activities and organizations. Through generativity, we develop a sense of being a part of the bigger picture.

Success leads to feelings of usefulness and accomplishment, while failure results in shallow involvement in the world.

By failing to find a way to contribute, we become stagnant and feel unproductive. These individuals may feel disconnected or uninvolved with their community and with society as a whole. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of care.

 

Pamela’s Contact information:

Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos
Award-Winning Author & Top Health Blogger
Connect: ptsigdinos@yahoo.com
@PamelaJeanne

Check out ReproTechTruths and the #UnmaskingIVF campaign

My contact information:

Website: https://www.childlessnotbychoice.net and http://www.civillamorgan.com
Facebook: booksbycivillamorgan
Twitter: @civilla1
Instagram: @joyandrelevance
Pinterest: Civilla M. Morgan, MSM
LinkedIn: Civilla Morgan, MSM

Thank you for listening to this episode of Childless not by Choice. I appreciate it!

Until next time! Bye!

‘To recognize and speak to the broken hearts of childless not by choice women, and men, around the world.’

 

‘Spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life’.

Episode 101 IVF versus PTSD

1x
0:00
26:39

Hello everyone! Welcome back to Childless not by Choice, where my mission is to recognize and speak to childless not by choice women and men around the world. Civilla Morgan here. I am spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life, although we did not have the children we so wanted. I am also reaching out to everyone who recognizes that we are not all living the same type of life.

Welcome to episode 101!

 

Well, I have some VIP’s I need to give a shout out to!

Patreon Contributors: (Patreon contributors are those who have taken an interest in my platform whether they fit the childless not by choice demographic or not. They have decided to contribute a certain dollar amount on a monthly basis to help maintain our platform and podcast. Click the Patreon link for details and to become a Patron!)

https://www.patreon.com/Childlessnotbychoice

  • Jordan Morgan
  • Ivy Calhoun
  • Your Name Here

Well, I would like to give a special shout-out to Dr. Cristina Archetti, Oslo, Norway, for suggesting an episode on the connection between IVF and PTSD. I have put a link to her YouTube video in the show notes. We connected after I watched her video on YouTube, entranced that someone created a video all about the childless not by choice experience. Thank you, Dr. Cristina!

 

Content:

For people with PTSD, it is very common for their memories to be triggered by sights, sounds, smells, or even feelings that they experience. These triggers can bring back memories of the trauma and cause intense emotional and physical reactions, such as raised heart rate, sweating and muscle tension.–Google

So, what is PTSD–post-traumatic stress syndrome? I think we generally believe we know what it is, whether we have experienced it ourselves due to direct experience, know someone who has it, or watched a movie where someone exhibited it. As with most issues, diseases, experiences these days; we are familiar with it on some level.

But here is a clinical definition:

‘Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) describes a series of predictable symptoms that take hold once a patient has survived – or in some cases witnessed – a severely traumatic or life-threatening event. Because the brain becomes overwhelmed by the pain and fear of the trauma, memories of the event do not fully process, causing the individual to re-experience the trauma as if it were occurring in the present.’–theoakstreatment.com.

They go on to say that ‘Signs of PTSD can range from flashbacks to nightmares, panic attacks to eating disorders and cognitive delays to lowered verbal memory capacity. Many trauma survivors also encounter substance abuse issues, as they attempt to self-medicate the negative effects of PTSD. Most mental health professionals and diagnostic manuals agree on 17 major signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. Just as not every trauma survivor will develop PTSD, not every individual with PTSD will develop the same signs – and rarely do all 17 exist in one individual.’ Wow, 17 signs of PTSD, I did not know that!   

Also discussed on the website are:

Signs of Re-experiencing Trauma in PTSD
Trauma Avoidance Signs of PTSD
Hyperarousal Signs of PTSD–i.e. One PTSD symptom associated with hyperarousal is insomnia.
The Importance of PTSD Treatment
PTSD Medication–as I read up on the PTSD Medications, I recognized one. Most people would probably recognize it if I mentioned it. It never occurred to me that anyone experiencing childlessness not by choice could possibly be experiencing or have experienced PTSD.
Well, my OB/GYN had wanted to prescribe this medication to me for the longest time, but I always said no because of the negative perception attached to that medication. However one day I went for a follow-up visit and out of the clear blue started crying.
He seemed surprised and said that he knew I had turned down the prescription before but that he had never seen me cry throughout my entire ordeal. He wrote the prescription, I held onto it for a week or so, trying to figure out what to do. And then I filled it. There. I think you may be the first person I had ever told.
But what does PTSD have to do with IVF? Well, first let’s make sure we are all on the same page with what IVF is, exactly, and for the purposes of this episode, I will not go into causes of childlessness not by choice except to say in a nutshell, it is when a couple just cannot conceive naturally for any number of reasons.
I want to talk more along the lines of what goes into the action of IVF, and how it relates to PTSD. So here, In a nutshell, according to a Google search is the definition of IVF: a medical procedure whereby an egg is fertilized by sperm in a test tube or elsewhere outside the body.’

But back to PTSD for a moment:

As I did my research, I had a burning question: Can PTSD be cured? We all want a cure, right? We don’t necessarily want to live with negativity or the results of a negative experience for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, there are some instances where we will have to live with the effects or after-effects of a life event. In the case of PTSD,  research says ‘As with most mental illnesses, no cure exists for PTSD, but the symptoms can be effectively managed to restore the affected individual to normal functioning. The best hope for treating PTSD is a combination of medication and therapy.’

Two similar therapies I found to help people with PTSD are CBT–cognitive behavioral therapy, ‘a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are challenged in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns or treat mood disorders such as depression.’ And CPT–’Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is a manualized therapy used by clinicians to help people recover from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related conditions. It includes elements of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) treatments.’

Slight differences in the two. Clinicians may find the differences a little more than slight, but they seem very similar to me.  

So, IVF, how can it cause PTSD?

General knowledge is that only 25% of attempts at IVF is successful. 25%! According to a 2017 article in theconversation.com, that success rate is actually 33%. That’s still a relatively low number. In this same article, they say that there is now a way for women using IVF to get pregnant to know the likelihood of success. Quote: ‘Overall, for women starting IVF, 33% have a baby as a result of their first cycle, increasing to 54-77% by the eighth cycle.’  The eighth cycle?! Many insurance plans do not cover IVF on the first cycle nevermind the eight. Eight. I have a question for you: Is there a point where it becomes too many tries, whether you have the money or not?

OK, IVF:

‘In Vitro Fertilization is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) commonly referred to as IVF. IVF is the process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus. Other forms of ART include gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT)and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT).’–Americanpregnancy.org

 

 Some side effects after IVF may include:

  • Passing a small amount of fluid (may be clear or blood-tinged) after the procedure
  • Mild cramping
  • Mild bloating
  • Constipation
  • Breast tenderness

‘Women who undergo fertility treatments may find the situation so distressing that they develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a new study says.

In the study, close to 50 percent of participants met the official criteria for PTSD, meaning they could be diagnosed with the condition.

That’s about six times higher than the percentage of people in the general population who suffer from PTSD (8 percent.)’https://www.livescience.com/22194-fertility-treatment-ptsd.html

Additional information I found out about the possible dangers of IVF:

  1. Possibly linked to cancer

2) Multiple births. …
3) Premature delivery and low birth weight. …
4) Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome:
Rapid weight gain — such as 33 to 44 pounds (15 to 20 kilograms) in five to 10 days.
5) Severe abdominal pain.
6) Severe, persistent nausea and vomiting.
7) Blood clots in legs.
8) Decreased urination.
9) Shortness of breath.
10) Tight or enlarged abdomen.
11) Miscarriage. …
12) Egg-retrieval procedure complications. …
13) Ectopic pregnancy. …
14) Birth defects. …
15) Ovarian cancer.

Links used for research:

PTSD:

https://theoakstreatment.com/ptsd/signs-and-symptoms/


http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/08/13184349-fertility-treatments-may-put-women-at-risk-for-ptsd-symptoms-study-suggests?lite

https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/641243?journalCode=ssr

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-are-treatments-for-posttraumatic-stress-disorder#1

(https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa040603

IVF:

http://theconversation.com/women-now-have-clearer-statistics-on-whether-ivf-is-likely-to-work-81256

http://americanpregnancy.org/infertility/in-vitro-fertilization/

https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/ivf-treatment-cambridge-nhs-13465755

https://www.livescience.com/22194-fertility-treatment-ptsd.html

https://www.winfertility.com/risks-ivf-six-rare-complications-ivf-treatment/

https://www.infertilitytexas.com/blog/is-there-a-link-between-ivf-and-cancer

 

Articles and podcast episodes mentioned in this episode:

https://childlessnotbychoice.net/triggers-how-to-recognize-them-face-them-and-deal-with-them/

https://childlessnotbychoice.net/episode-68-is-childlessness-a-crisis-caplans-theory-of-crisis/

https://reprotechtruths.org/ivf-trauma/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XcAzx0jlhI&t=9s

Special thank you to:

Morgan Air Conditioning. Morgan Air can be reached by calling

813 500 7765. Their email address is www. Morganair.net.

Along with a stellar business reputation in the Tampa, FL area, Morgan Air is also known and well received for giving back to the Tampa, FL community whether it is back to school drives or donating services to the less fortunate. Thank you Morgan Air for recognizing the vision of Childless not by Choice, and being a part of it!

Devoted, the musical duo who created my theme music. Thank you Devoted, for the beautiful theme music we use here at Childless not by Choice. Devoted has had the opportunity to sing and play in many countries. To learn more about Devoted, visit their website at http://www.devotedministry.org.

My contact information:
info@civillamorgan.com
Websites: https://www.childlessnotbychoice.net and http://www.civillamorgan.com
Facebook: booksbycivillamorgan
Twitter: @civilla1
Instagram: @joyandrelevance
Pinterest: Civilla M. Morgan, MSM
LinkedIn: Civilla Morgan, MSM

Thank you for listening to this episode of Childless not by Choice.


Until next time! Bye!

‘To recognize and speak to the broken hearts of childless not by choice women, and men, around the world.’

 

‘Spreading the great news that we can live a joyful, relevant, and fulfilled life’.

 

image courtesy of Google Images

My Childlessness Is Not My Fault

It may seem that way, as I am using the possessive adjective to describe the fact that I am childless. That my life did not turn out the way I expected it would. But the more important issue is that human beings tend to blame each other for things we cannot control. My childlessness is not my fault.

If you are a Bible reader, you may recall the story of the man with the shriveled or withered hand. The Disciples asked Jesus if it was his parent’s fault or his, why his hand was withered. Jesus’ answer was ‘it’s nobody’s fault.’

Be honest, have you never wondered to yourself ‘what in the world did he/she do to deserve that?’ when you see something bad, horrible, or horrific happen to someone. You may have even heard someone verbalize it as ‘karma’, or ‘what goes around comes around’. As human beings, we figure it’s just payback.

But isn’t it possible that stuff just happens? Don’t we live in a world where stuff really just happens? I believe we do. Yes, I believe to an extent that what goes around comes around. That we should treat people the way we would want to be treated. But we all know that it rains on the just and the unjust. The difference though is how we manage the cards we have been dealt. In fact, having or obtaining the tools for managing the cards we have been dealt.   

three women

I believe one of those tools for any problem or issue you or I have, is community. I strongly believe that when we belong to a community of strong, positive, people who want to get better and not wallow in the self-pity of what happened to us or what did not happen for us.  Community protects us from those who secretly or passive-aggressively nicely tell us that we did not pray hard enough for a child. Some of us are told not to give up even though we no longer have a uterus. Indeed, some are told so even when they were born without one. I especially like the ‘well, it was not meant to be’. It is one of my favorites. Right up there with ‘you should be happy you don’t have kids, they are a lot of work’. These are the same people who tell you that ‘you don’t have kids, so you would not understand.’

And sometimes these remarks come from the lips of the same person. ‘Be glad you don’t have kids, they are a lot of work’, and ‘you wouldn’t understand, you don’t have kids.’  Which one of us seems unhinged? Because unhinged, among other things, is what many childless women are called. And God forbid if we are also single. Then we are weird, overzealous with our nieces and nephews, lonely, clingy, needy, or mean.

Society says that’s why we did not get married or have children: We chose the career over the kid, or as a friend of my mom once told her, I was too picky. Mind you, this woman couldn’t pick me out in a crowd. She knew nothing about me, but she knew I was being too picky and that is why I never married. 

Well, regardless of the cards we have been dealt, I believe we can all be weird, overzealous with the children in our lives, clingy, needy, picky, or mean! After all, we are all human beings first, and none of us are what has happened to us or what did not happen for us, however.  

 

So the next time your initial response is to blame someone for their ‘condition’, do a quick self-check and remind yourself ‘it’s not my fault it’s not your fault. Stuff happens.’  How we deal our cards is what sets us apart.

A Brave New Ending

Our long and bumpy road of infertility began 9 years ago. After numerous tests and failed treatments, IVF was our only hope of conceiving. In 2015, the procedure was successful. Early in the twin pregnancy, one of our embryos stopped developing, however, subsequent ultrasounds revealed a strong heartbeat with the second.  Our prayers had finally been answered and our dream of having a child was becoming a reality. At nearly 10 weeks, the doctor uttered the words no one ever wants to hear, “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat.”

 

Overwhelmed with grief, and so many other unnamed emotions, the months and years that have followed haven’t been easy. No one is ever really prepared for how to cope with loss. It’s not something that is taught in school and in most families, not discussed openly. Men and women grieve differently and we would soon learn, these strong emotions began to manifest in different ways.  

In the months prior to IVF, I made it my mission to prepare my body for pregnancy the best I could. It was almost like training for a marathon. My regimen included an anti-inflammatory diet and numerous vitamins and supplements. I felt strong and hopeful and started a blog to share my journey and encourage others struggling to conceive. 

Soon after the loss, that feeling of hope began to fade. Between the IVF medications and miscarriage, the hormonal roller coaster was unrelenting. I no longer felt I had a reason to focus on my health. There was nothing to look forward to and feelings of apathy set in. Not sure how to help me through this emotional struggle, my husband did the best he could to be supportive and loving, while dealing with his own feelings of grief. He often found solace in lone fishing trips and spending time with nature.

Three years later, drawing strength from our faith in God and each other, the healing process continues to be a work in progress. Anyone who has experienced loss will tell you it changes you. We soon realized this life-changing event was stressful on our marriage. Communication has been key and we are both learning how to lean into the pain and allow ourselves to be vulnerable and honest about our emotions with one another.

By reading and studying emotional resilience, grief, and loss, we have started on a new path of healing by embracing and reckoning with the painful scars that infertility has left behind. Facing a lifetime of childlessness, we are rumbling through the middle of the messy emotions. Grief has no timeline and no one really knows how long the rumble will last.

While life hasn’t turn out the way we had planned, our story isn’t over and we are hopeful for the future. We are learning to flip the script and write a brave new ending. One where it’s okay to be sad and joyful, to grieve a painful loss and embrace the wonders of life with gratitude and most importantly, together.