The Lonely Womb

Living and Learning through Loss

Tag: PCOS

Are you Afraid to #StartAsking

Now, I know I am a really really new member to the infertility blogging community and I am so proud to be here now.  I have been part of the infertile community since late 2007.  When I first had questions about my infertility and nobody to turn to, Resolve was the first organization I found that was helpful.  It was such a great feeling to find something dedicated to infertility and to know that I wasn’t alone.

Hopefully you are aware that this week (April 24-30th) is National Infertility Awareness Week.  #niaw  Each year Resolve has a Bloggers Unite challenge and their theme this year is #StartAsking.  Now, when I first heard about the theme I was a bit stumped and my initial draft of this blog post was about all the things we should #startasking.  I think many people know what they should be asking or doing but are afraid, or they feel shame or they just don’t want to be uncomfortable.

Infertility affects nearly 10% of our population and is a major struggle for 1 in 8 couples of reproductive age.  Let me repeat that, 10% of the population and 1 in 8 couples.  Infertility affects men and women equally.  Even if you are not aware it is likely that you have a friend, relative, neighbor or coworker who are struggling with infertility or you may face infertility yourself.  This is why it is so important that awareness be raised about this topic.  #StartAsking

So, why is raising awareness so difficult if it affects so many of us?  I think it boils down to Fear in many cases.  Now, for myself I feel pretty comfortable talking about my infertility journey (thus blogging about it now).  It has been both a privilege and a shock at how many women haven opened up to me about their own fertility struggles.  Too often though it is a topic only shared after they know I have some personal understanding.  Even then I am often saddened that some feel they have to discuss it only in the shadows.  I mean, I get it, I have had to get used to people who quickly change the subject, make aloof comments, want to “fix it” for you or just brush off the whole thing.  I think like any painful thing we can let our fears get in the way of asking or offering support.  Fear of upsetting someone by “reminding” them of their loss when often they may want someone to talk about it with them.  Fear of saying or doing the “wrong” thing and feeling embarrassed.  Fear of that next fertility treatment and it not working. Et cetera Et cetera Et cetera.

I write rather organically so I’ll try to stick to 4-5 topics as I fear I am about to get long winded.  Run-on sentences look out, here I come.  😉

 

Are you Afraid to #StartAsking for support about your infertility?

It can be so overwhelming to seek help for your infertility.  When it feels like so many people get pregnant just looking at the colors of blue or pink it is hard to admit you might need some help.  You may need help getting a diagnosis, seeking out a therapist or support group.  Perhaps you just want to talk with somebody who has gone through something similar to you.  These can all be things that evoke fear in us.  From the societal pressures as a woman to grow up and become a mom and the pressure on men that somehow they might be less manly if they can’t create an heir.  When we are young the majority of us don’t think of fertility at all let alone that it might be a problem.  I know I didn’t and it wasn’t until our 3rd miscarriage that I thought we needed help.  There are a number of resources out there to help.  From finding an in person support group, online community support groups or maybe you want to talk to someone that can help guide you through and find some resources that will work for you.  Whatever it is don’t be afraid to take the first step in getting some help.  Infertility can be so isolating but you are not alone and you may find someone to connect with and provide support for one another.  If you are afraid to openly discuss your infertility it may help to know we all have fears and things we hide but you don’t have to.  I was just watching this amazing TED talk about having the courage to talk about the hard stuff.  You can watch it here.  Please #StartAsking for help and support.

Are you Afraid to #StartAsking about a friends infertility journey?

It seems simple enough to do but it doesn’t seem to happen all that much.  I think it is usually out of either not knowing how to ask or that fear of upsetting the person.  For me personally, I wish more people asked how I was doing or how they could help.  I’m sure some people may not want to talk about it and it may feel like a hard think to talk about.  For myself I know that sometimes I may not want to talk about it but I am an adult and I will communicate that to you.  I know your inquiry is coming from a place of love and most often it will be refreshing and welcome to know you are thinking of me and want to know how things are going.  I am not referencing some of the meddlers who don’t ask out of caring but from a information standpoint of a vacuum.  I wish we could all learn that while it may make us uncomfortable to ask how someone is doing (grieving, depression, job loss, divorce, etc.)it is also the way we can show someone that we care.  We each have gone through difficult times in life, we all have feelings but you don’t have to have the exact experience of another person to empathize with them and show compassion.  There is a wonderful video about Empathy vs. Sympathy by Brené Brown that I will share here .  Give it a shot, connect with a friend and let them tell you about their journey.  Ask them how you can offer them support.  If you want some help about what to say or do you can start here.  Please #startasking about your friends’ struggles (no matter what they are).

Are you Afraid to #StartAsking your infertile friends to events?

If you are among those of us who are the infertile then you probably know I am talking about baby showers, school plays, birthday parties for the littles.  Basically, any event that may be thought to be traumatic to any of us who are still trying to conceive, are childless in general, are infertile etc.  I don’t want you to be afraid to invite your infertile friends to these types of events.  Why? Because, while they may not attend some of them depending on where they are on this journey or how they are feeling it can be far more hurtful to leave them out.  Have I decided not to attend a baby shower or a friends bbq that was going to be full of little children?  Hell yeah!  But, I was invited and my friends love me enough to understand that sometimes I am just not in a place where attending those events is healthy for me.  I have also shown up to those very same events and I may have shed a tear or two but was happy I attended.  Trust your infertile friends to know what they can handle but give them the option and understand if they don’t want to attend.  This also goes for pregnancy announcements or sharing information about your child in general.  I have been blessed by some wonderful mommy friends that know all about my journey and have shared pregnancy news with me often in private before it is broadcast over social media or some other mass format.  This has been so helpful as I could process the news and have a bit of warning.  While, I can be so excited for a friends’ pregnancy hearing it with the masses and witnessing the outpouring of congratulations can be really tough.  I also want to hear how little “johnny” is doing in school or what his favorite things are etc. etc.  If I am your friend and love you then you can guarantee I love your children too.  I haven’t struggled a lot with this but I do have to beg certain friends to see pictures of their kids or hear what they are dressing as for Halloween because they feel like sharing that information will harm me.  I enjoy hearing these things and often live vicariously through my friends in this way.  On the reverse I don’t really want to hear only about your kids either but I don’t think you have to be infertile for that to be the case.  😉  There are tons of articles and information on what to say or do (as I shared above) but, mostly I think if you show that you care and want someone to be a part of your life while giving them an out when they need it is all good.  Please #StartAsking your friends to be a part of your life and stop sheltering them from children.

Are you Afraid to #StartAsking for healthcare reform?

Infertility diagnosis and treatment is often limited or not covered by health insurance.  This leaves so many people who have infertility problems left covering the tests, treatment and procedures completely out of pocket.  This isn’t so much a knee knocking type of fear but more of a where do I start or how can I possibly change this concept.  This is where my fear lies and I plan to do more research to see how I can help change this.  I believe many people also worry about what changes to the healthcare industry will cost them or that fertility doesn’t deserve to be covered.  I can say for myself that many things that have an affect on my fertility are also things that affect my health so I have been lucky to find some ways things can be covered.  Where I don’t have options is for testing or any procedures like IUI or IVF to be covered.  Currently, there are only 15 states that require some type of coverage option for infertility treatments and I do not live in one of them.  I am not asking that public healthcare should be required to provide this coverage so you can save your comments.  I do hope however that we can reform healthcare so it becomes an option for all private insurance.  Take the time to learn a bit more about infertility healthcare and ways you can help.  Yes, I will take my own advise and be looking at this information in more detail as well.  In addition to the above information I learned that there are additional resources for military families too.  Please #StartAsking the important questions about heathcare reform and legislation.

So… What are YOU Afraid to #StartAsking?  Whatever it is I hope you find the courage and support to erase the fear, raise awareness and help make an impact.

Blessings, Lara

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Taters

As I was brushing my teeth this morning and trying to decide which topic to write about this week I was thinking about the unique language my husband and I have developed over the past 21+ years together.  Those nicknames we call each other, terms for random objects that nobody else would possibly understand and you should hear us talk to our fur babies.  I will admit, I am most guilty of this and Kevin has had no choice but to find himself speaking oddly at times for the simple fact that he has been with me for so long.  (smile).  I am lucky as well that he can finish my sentences and understand what I am saying when I trail off before finishing or start in the middle of a story that I started in my head.

When we began talking about having a baby we somehow started referencing to babies as “Taters”.  It was all about “let’s make a tater” and “I can’t wait to have a tater”.  We are even that cheesy that I bought a baby potato head toy and glued a pacifier in its mouth to tell Kevin I was pregnant (2nd time around).  I still have it stashed away with various baby paraphernalia.

So….. It is with humor that I find myself venturing into my first garden (ever) and of course I will be growing a variety of “taters”.  At first I wasn’t going to mention gardening or other “off topic” things on this blog but it dawned on me that just about everything I do I mentally relate to infertility.  It isn’t a choice but just my reality.  I actually have found that this infertile journey has made me much more passionate about things like writing, making things (I sell various handmade items in my own Etsy shop) and now gardening.  12932597_10209449090489907_8528610916427360666_n

This whole gardening concept I have found quite overwhelming.  Recently, as I was overthinking it (my usual) I found myself fearing that this little garden wouldn’t be successful (thus the overthinking).  I think I need to prove to myself that while I haven’t been successful in making a baby (tater) I can grown real taters (and all the other various vegetables I am planning on).  So, I will probably post tidbits hear and there about how this whole garden is going.  It has been rewarding watching some of my seedlings actually grow.

Now you know a little bit more about our quirky little family and stay tuned for how those taters turn out.  Sorry for the shorter post this week but it is a gorgeous day out today so we are going to go play.

Support and Resources

As I mentioned in my last post I feel it is important to share some valuable resources that I have stumbled upon over the years.  This is by no means a comprehensive list but I hope it offers you a place to start.  I welcome you to share additional resources in the comments and I will do my best to amend this list accordingly.  All links will open a new page so you can return here for more resources.  Please feel free to share.

The Internet Health Resources Company:  Exclusive to fertility organizations this is a great starting point to educate yourself about infertility, deciding if and when you need help and where to find it.  Tons of information here.

Books about Infertility:  A large database of books that can help you anywhere along your journey.

The National Infertility Association – RESOLVE:  Their goal is to improve the lives of women and men living with infertility.  A huge amount of information here from educational resources to finding support groups.

Live Strong Foundation Fertility Services:  LIVESTRONG Fertility is dedicated to providing educational information and access to resources that support cancer patients and survivors whose cancer and its treatment present risks to their fertility.

American Pregnancy Association:  Pregnancy calendars, learning about ovulation, tracking tools and many resources on fertility.  They also have a shop with tools and supplements to aid in fertility and a healthy pregnancy.

The Endometriosis Association:  Their website is a bit goofy but has useful information for treatment and dealing with infertility as a cause of endometriosis.

Infertility Network:  An interesting site that provides news coverage from around the world about infertility.  They advocate for reform as well.

PCOS Foundation:  Resources and support for those suffering with PCOS or trying to get diagnosed.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association:  Another site dedicated to those suffering with PCOS.

PCOS Challenge:  The support system to help women beat PCOS.

Path 2 Parenthood:  a site dedicated to reproductive health, infertility prevention and treatment, and family-building options including adoption and third party solutions.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Infertility:  Even the CDC cares about Infertility.

Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology – SART:  This site is dedicated to Assisted Reproductive Technology with emphasis on IVF.

The Fertility Institutes:  A world leading fertility center with resources and information on locating an IVF clinic near you.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine: I have linked to the section of the site for patients.  News, research and educational videos.

Again, this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive but I hope you find the information you are seeking.  Please feel free to share this post with someone you feel may benefit from any of these resources.

Belated Bunny Blues

A bit late on my weekly posting goals but better late than never.  Originally, this post was going to be about Resources for those going through fertility hardships.  That post will come soon but I am trying to write this blog organically as much as possible and not just write a bunch of content that will automatically post.

So…. why what do I mean by Belated Bunny Blues?  Well, in honesty it was supposed to be Bunny Blues and be written prior to Easter but aah well, that didn’t happen.  I found myself feeling rather sad during the last week or so and it took me a minute to figure out why.   I thought due in part to putting this Blog out there (more on this below) but, the sadness was more than that and it dawned on me that it was Easter.  Thus, Bunny Blues and now Belated Bunny Blues.  😉

I am sure that many of us are affected in some way by holidays especially in association with losses.  Holidays come in all shapes and sizes and include various memories.  From a fertility standpoint there are not too many holidays that don’t remind me that I am childless.  While many of them are often painful times for me I have found that the holidays more geared towards children are definitely the toughest.  I am not a religious person So Easter is far more about getting together with family now.  Easter as a child always involved getting together with our large family.  As children we would hunt for the Easter eggs hidden by older cousins, we would play games like tag and yard darts.  It was a light and joyful time.  At home my parents would make the whole Easter basket thing a huge treasure hunt which I loved.  As all of these childhood memories were formed and I would smile back fondly remembering them as an adult I often would dream of doing those same things for my future children.

As Easter was fast approaching television and social media became flooded with the newest trends in Easter Bunny festivities.  Cute ideas for Easter baskets, fun and creative ways to dye eggs, colorful little dresses.  In addition it was paired with all of the fun spring break activities many friends were doing with their little families.  As each day would draw closer to Easter I found myself more and more weighed down by sadness.

While Kevin and I haven’t totally given up on having a family we aren’t getting any younger and after 9 years I really don’t know that we will get the chance to create these memories and traditions with children of our own.  We aren’t blessed with nieces or nephews to dote on and many of our close friends don’t live nearby.  Those who are close have their own family traditions to carry on and it makes it difficult to join them without feeling we are pushing ourselves on them.

My overall sadness I found later had been intensified by my cycle that was beginning and resulted in me spending some quality time with the heating pad.  What is it about times that are already difficult in the fertility land that we must be reminded physically that we aren’t pregnant.  I know I am not the only one who experiences this.  Such a strange thing.  Side note, that was my main cause for the delay of this post.

I can say however that I did do well on Easter.  Despite my cramps I made a conscious effort to stay off of social media and kept busy binge-watching various programs on Hulu.  We had spent time with family earlier in the weekend so it was just a low key day and honestly mentally preparing this blog entry in my head helped as well.  So, it is being therapeutic I guess; It is sort of Funny too I guess as bunnies and eggs are so representative of fertility and procreation.

I wanted to finish this by acknowledging how terrified I was feeling after publishing my first post.  The moment after hitting publish my stomach was in knots.  I am a fairly open book and I know sharing my story may help someone out there and is definitely helping me so why the fear?  My biggest fear when thinking about starting a blog was all about my writing abilities.  I don’t find myself particularly witty or cerebral in my writing.  Now that I am writing and putting it out there the next fear is all about being and feeling judged.  Ironically, I am more fearful of this by those I know than someone I have never met.  Luckily for each friend who wasn’t supportive of this idea and often made me feel like they are tired of hearing about my losses I have a friend (often more) who is there to say “you can do it” and that my story is worth sharing and will help someone.  Those friends who cry not only with you but for you when you no longer have tears.  Friends who remember to ask how things are going.  Friends who are like family.  There are also some amazing bloggers out there who have done this for so long and yet recently one of my favorite bloggers Hannah Marcotti shared about her own fears of being judged by what she is putting out there.  It was after reading her blog post “Please, stop reading my words” that I knew I had to get this post under my belt and move on to the future.

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Funnily enough this little guy was just hopping past my office window.  Couldn’t help but wonder if his ears were burning.  Pardon the picture quality as they are fast little buggers.

Well, I’ll take that as a sign that I needed to put this out there.  Maybe the rabbit left me some eggs too.

I hope if you have found my little blog that in some way you are reminded that you are not alone.  Whether you are trying to get pregnant for the first time, recovering from a still birth or miscarriage or suffering through secondary fertility your journey means something.

Baby dust and blessings to you, Love Lara

 

 

The Lonely Womb is Born

Hey there, Welcome to my little ol’ Blog.  I assume if you have found me that you are here as a supportive friend or family member (thank you tribe) or you have found yourself affected by the TTC (Trying to Conceive) journey somehow.  Perhaps you are still trying to conceive, have suffered through pregnancy or infant loss or you love someone who has or is on this journey and you want to help by understanding.  Either way, Welcome to you!

After a lot of pondering and plenty of nudging from family and friends I am finally writing about my infertility journey.  This process I hope will be a help to someone out there as much as it will be a therapeutic thing for myself.  I find myself both excited and terrified to be writing a Blog but here I am.

I hope you find what you are looking for here or learn something new.  My hope is that sharing my story and journey of infertility, multiple miscarriage and being a childless woman will help someone or perhaps several someones.

I am no wordsmith and if it weren’t for editing software I assure you this Blog would be one run on sentence.  So, please know that my intention is to be real, to be honest, to be vulnerable and to be supportive.

I want this Blog to become a place where we can come together and share our insights, hope and those bitter moments too.  This isn’t going to be a sugar coated.  Fertility struggles are hard, emotional, isolating and painful.  Will I have posts that are positive?  Sure!  But, there will be posts that may be dark, sarcastic, bitter and some may bring you to tears.  Hopefully, some may make you laugh as well.

My goal for now is to post something at least once a week.  This little post will be my start.  I also need to learn how to build this website too so that gives me a little time but forces me to put this out there.

So, here we go!

 

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