Saturday, October 25, 2008

From the Funky Monkey

I have been so blessed by the people I have met through our journey to add children to our lives. I have also been blessed by the people I have never met.

Starting this blog was the best thing I ever did in this infertility journey. If no one else ever reads it, I will still never regret that I started writing during our final rounds of IUI and the beginning of IVF. It has been such a source of healing to me -- a journal I am encouraged to write in everyday -- not only for people who expect to see a post but for myself and for JB.

Obviously, not every feeling I have makes its way onto the pages of this blog. Believe it or not, despite how transparent I am, there are some emotions that we keep to ourselves. There are some memories that we keep to ourselves. JB often jokes that if "it doesn't end up on the blog, we believe it didn't happen." That isn't true of course, but I've learned that there are many details of life that don't need to be recalled verbatim. However, enough of my recollections spill off the keyboard and onto the screen to allow me to look back myself and remember the pain and realize that it doesn't hurt that bad anymore -- at least not all the time.

But some weeks are easier than others. This has not been one of the "easier" weeks. Some weeks I don't feel infertile. Some weeks, like this one, I do.

Funky is actually "Andi." She and I have never met. Our stories are very different, and yet in our hearts, we are kindred souls. Andi is now a mom to a beautiful Jonathan Kai after two miscarriages and a paused Chinese adoption. Andi understands what it is like to have a quiet home and to dream of the laughter of children.

Andi has often told me that I have helped her with my words. But Andi has often helped me as well -- through a gift she sends by snail mail, an email, or the words she puts on her own blog.

This past week, Andi's post: "Land of Fine" really ministered to me.

She wrote:

When you grieve the death of a loved one, you intellectually know in time, the pain will lessen. You know that you won't cry forever. You know that someday you'll be able to just remember the good memories of that person's life. But if someone were to come up to you today and say, "Don't worry...things will be fine" or "You'll be fine", what true comfort do those words bring in the midst of grief? They don't. Truth is, sometimes they compound the grief because the person saying it is ignoring the fact that right now, things are NOT fine. As if you should immediately be over the loss. What those people may not understand is that you have to wade through the grief of the moment before you can get to Fine. It's there, but you aren't there yet. Grief is here now, today, right in front you. But Fine is a foreign land waaaay over there and to make things harder, there is a huge chasm between the two. How do you get from the Land of Grief to the Land of Fine? Only wading through the grief. Which, of course, differs from person to person on how that happens and how quickly that happens.Losing the dream of having a family is very similar. Few couples ever think that loss will happen to them. Unless a couple decides they do not want kids, nobody WANTS to lose that dream. It is something you can't really prepare for, even if you think it's a possibility.

So for those of you that know someone struggling with infertility, let them be where they are. Let them grieve. They cannot move beyond this until they've gone through it. Yes, there is always hope when we have a Heavenly Father that can work miracles. IF He chooses to work a miracle. But before the idea of a miracle can even be hoped for, one must deal with the death of a dream. One must come to the acceptance that the Lord's plan for their life may very well be childless. So let your brother or sister be not-fine. Wanting them to speed along to the Land of Fine only hinders the trip that much more.

Can you imagine having lost your spouse and at the funeral someone saying, "Oh, you can get married again!" Or, "Have you tried this dating site? I've heard it's really successful." Or, "My friend in Ohio lost her husband, went on a vacation and found another one because she just wasn't thinking about him anymore."

That's about how insensitive it is to bring up IVF or adoption or "trying again" when someone is grieving over their infertility or pregnancy loss. Please just don't say things like that. I promise it makes things worse.

You may not have ever struggled with infertility, but you CAN be a huge help in the healing process if you are thoughtful and prayerful about your words and actions. In fact, your help is not only needed, but required for the healing process.

Andi's encouragement didn't stop there. As I have shared on the blog, going into baby sections of stores is incredibly difficult for me -- in fact, it has been nearly impossible. I struggled with this. I thought it was stupid. I tried to talk myself out of this. I was embarrassed by this and felt people would think I was being dramatic. But then Andi wrote to me this week:

I understand that emotion very well. I had a hard time "letting go" to the joy of my pregnancy. It was my third one and I just knew I would lose it like the others. Why get excited about something that had always failed me in the past? But month by month went by and I kept getting bigger and bigger. It seemed that things were different this time around. Or was it? I asked myself that all the time. I was afraid that getting registered would jinx it. Silly, I know, but I also know you understand. I tried getting registered three times before I could finally do it. I'd walk into Babies R Us and look around at bedding and high chairs and clothes and would just lose it. I left three times in tears and terribly depressed. It would take several days for me to just recover from the experience. It was all so overwhelming! I didn't have a clue what I needed or what choices to make, what products were best, etc. But my biggest fear was getting registered and then losing the pregnancy. Even at 6 and 7 months, when the pregnancy was just fine and I knew Jon's chances were creeping up everyday if I were to go into early labor. This entire journey is in our Father's hands and He's about to bless you beyond comprehension. Thank you for being so open with your journey...the fun stuff and the fears. You minister to me with your honesty.

I was so blessed by this! It felt so wonderful to know that I was not stupid or dumb or unique in these emotions. What a blessing! I thought of Andi when I turned to JB as we stood in the foyer of Target and said, "Let's do this!" I thought of Andi when JB decided to buy us some Starbuck's drinks to celebrate with as we wandered aimlessly through row after row of choices. And I emailed Andi when I got home to tell her I had done it and to share with her the burdens of my heart.

Andi also asked if I was okay with "hand-me-downs?" She had a few of Jon's pieces that she didn't want to part with but wanted to see them go to good use. ARE YOU KIDDING?!? How awesome is that?! How cool for my son to be able to share something with a boy he has never met.

Thanks Andi for your encouragement this week. It's been a tough week emotionally in a lot of ways and your friendship has been such a blessing. Thanks for being a friend -- even though we've never met.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Infertility in the Media

Last night while I was falling asleep, Julie & Julia was playing. I loved this movie because it combined blogging (something I love) with cooking (something my husband loves) while also so perfectly including infertility and living life as a tall woman. Only her being an athlete would have made this movie more fitting for me.

I had written previously about this movie on my blog here. And while I could not find a copy of the exact two infertility clips that really moved me in Julie & Julia, I was able to find a video on youtube that did have the clip, albeit no dialouge can be hard.

On the video below, check out the fourth and sixth scenes that come up in the montage. The fourth scene shows Julia and her husband, married many years, receiving news that Julia's sister, who had just married, was expecting a baby. Julia Childs (played by Meryl Streep) so perfectly demonstartes how it feels to be not have children and watch those around you receive that gift. I don't know who wrote this scene or how Meryl did it, but I felt someone had been spying in my own living room when I received pregnancy news over and over again while our own womb stayed empty. Julia is happy for her sister but finds herself crying out of sadness. An incredible mixture of emotions done unbelievably well.

In the sixth scene, Julia and her husband are walking down the sidewalk. They pass a baby carriage, and she glances back and then tries to compose herself. Her husband pats her hand without a word shared between them. Again, the movie portrayed the feeling of infertility perfectly.

After watching these scenes again last night, I realized how beneficial they were to the cause of childlessness. These scenes educate the public on how infertility feels. I decided that I wanted to try and compile a list of positive media sources for infertility and adoption. This can be "famous" people who struggled with infertility or shared their journey. This can be books or movies that portrayed this part of life positively. I really don't want to put up limits as to what I am hoping to compile. Adoption can be included as well -- although I would really like to focus more on the infertility aspect as it is a lot easier to find positive adoption language and concepts than it is infertility.

Can you help? Please leave a comment, or, if you feel more comfortable, you can email me at Thanks everyone! I look forward to developing this list with help from you and research of my own.



  • UP: Recommended by many readers for the opening montage about life without children.

  • Baby Mama: Has many references to infertility although there is a surprise pregnancy at the end that can be difficult for those in the midst of infertility

  • Meet the Robinsons: Older child adoption

  • Immediate Family: Some harsh language but an infertility movie

  • Maybe Baby:

  • Funny about Love:

  • Serious Moonlight: Dark comedy with frustrating ending but good infertility plotline.

  • Did You Hear About the Morgans:

  • Facing the Giants: Infertility storyline, although ending was a little bothersome.

TV Shows

  • Giuliana and Bill: features E host Guliana and Apprentice winner Bill's journey through IVF including their subsequent miscarriage.

  • The Little Couple: Chronicles fertility journey including IVF and surrogacy. Click here or here or here for video clips of their struggle.

  • Grey's Anatomy: About 4.5 minutes into this scene, you see Meredith have a conversation with her husband in the elevator showing, quite accurately, the feelings of jealousy that often accompany infertility.

  • Friends: Chandler and Monica's infertility and adoption

  • King of Queens: Infertility

  • How I Met Your Mother

  • Brothers and Sisters: Contains an IF storyline

  • Celion Dion

  • Nia Vardalos