Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Infertility = Shame

Resolve Blog Challenge

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines shame as: "1: a painful sense of having done something wrong, improper, or immodest  2: DISGRACE, DISHONOR   3: A cause of feeling shame  4: something to be regretted"

Merriam-Webster Thesaurus:
           Synonym(s): "DISGRACE"
           Related Words: "chagrin, embarrassment; guilt, mortification, self-reproach, self-reproof"

How does it make you feel to read those definitions, synonyms, and related words? Who are you? How does this relate to you?

You may be someone who is not affected by infertility. You may be someone who is not affected, but knows someone that is living with infertility. You may be someone like me; someone that is both directly and indirectly affected by infertility.

No matter who you are, we all need to be aware of each other and the effects that myths can have. I know that people tend to have good intentions when giving their "advice" when it comes to my... shhh don't say it too loud or you may shock others... INFERTILITY PROBLEMS. Myth: It is shameful to talk about infertility. It is not shameful. Infertility is just misunderstood, misconstrued, and under-talked-about. We should not, and cannot keep the secret taboos of past generations bottled up. Infertility affects millions, we are not alone, and we should not stand alone. It does not need to be everybody's business - that's up to you who you tell what - but we should also find support; it's hard. I am glad that I have a close friend, a cousin, and blogs by people that I can turn to for support - as they too have suffered some form of infertility.

Myth: Infertility = Not being able to get Pregnant; Miscarriage does not count. This is so classic; especially for me. I think this myth comes from how we both define and perceive infertility.

Dictionary defines infertile as: "not fertile or productive : BARREN...."
Thesaurus: Synonyms: "STERILE, BARREN"; Related Words: "depleted, drained, exhausted, impoverished"; and of course it also gives the opposite, the Contrasted Words: "breeding, generating, propagating, reproducing";  Antonym: "fertile".

In the King James Bible, we see the word Barren used whenever referring to mainly a woman that has not been able to have a child(ren); with a few references toward unproductive land. You can find this term in these chapters:
                       Genesis: 11, 25, 29, 30 ; Exodus: 23 ;
                       Deuteronomy: 7 ; Judges: 13 ; 1 Samual: 1, 2 ;
                       2 Kings: 2 ; Pslams: 11 ; Isaiah: 54 ; Luke: 1, 23 ;
                       Galatians: 4 ; 2 Peter: 1
Miscarriage is only mentioned as caused by another injuring the pregnant woman to the point of loss (Exodus 21:22). The list that has to do with the opposite is very lengthy.

I always have people "advising" me what to do, what to take, who to go to so I can get pregnant.... I don't have a problem of getting pregnant, I have a problem of staying pregnant. I suffer from multiple recurrent miscarriage.

Myth: We shouldn't talk about miscarriage, because it is shameful. Miscarriage = Abortion. There still exists societal taboos about infertility and miscarriage... which are wanting to be broken! We need to talk about infertility & miscarriage. Yes, it can be very painful and uncomfortable to talk about; but that is because we tend to perceive it as shameful. Miscarriage tends to be related to Abortion. Miscarriage is what medical professionals label as "natural abortion" - it is a natural phenomenon where the body for whatever reason ends, breaks down, and does away with the pregnancy. Miscarriage is NOT the same as forced clinical abortion.

Myth: It’s the woman’s fault. It takes Male and Female combined to make a baby. The woman is only half the equation. I have tended to blame myself for my multiple recurrent miscarriages. Nothing can be done; when you don't know what the cause is. The majority of miscarriage is unknown, a small percent has to do with multiple factors stemming from genetics.

Myth:  My husband does not need to get checked - his boys are just fine. I have not had any problems with getting pregnant, I have problems with staying pregnant... and no one knows why except God and He sure isn't telling. So in my mind, there's nothing wrong with my husband - it's all me.... he has yet to be tested for anything, but is open to him being tested.

Myth:  As soon as you adopt, you’ll get pregnant. This is another classic heard by many. Sure, so-and-so that you know actually had this happen.... but guess what? I'm not that person! I also have not had the chance to adopt... have you ever looked into adoption? The process is quite daunting... and on our recent foster care placement it was up in the air so many times, and so many times we were told it was going to adoption, then it was in the air, then the baby was going back to bio-parent, then in  the air.... urrrg!

Myth: If you see a certain doctor or take a certain herbal remedy you'll get pregnant, because so-&-so did. So what! That's not going to change the fact that every-time I get pregnant - I don't have a problem with getting pregnant, I have a problem with staying pregnant - I miscarry. Every. Time! In fact, I have been pregnant so many times, I wonder sometimes if I should bother.... but then I would be looked down upon as "giving up."

Myth: If you look into fostering, adoption, or other ways to create your family it means you have "given up" on having your own. Have I really. I spent a great day with a sibling and their spouse recently... and happened to mention fostering and adoption. The response of one of them immediately was something like this: "Well, we haven't given up on having our own." I didn't say I had given up... Just because my husband and I are open to different options of creating our family does not mean we have "given up" on having our own. No one, I think that suffers some form of infertility ever wants to "give up" - you just eventually come to accept who you are and how unique your family situation is. My husband told me some time ago that he has accepted the fact that for whatever reason unknown to mankind, we may not be able to be biological parents, and that is okay. I'm still working through the whole process.

We have a lot of negative language, that can be turned positive.... Post ways on how you and I, we, can do this; I would like to see what people think.

Infertility 101
National Infertility Awareness Week® (NIAW)


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cherry Truth

Whenever we think of things we really wanted when we were kids, we tended to utilize the bits of manners we decided we could utilize to get said want. One definite way was to work hard on being good, go to the authority figure, bat our eyes - to get that so cute innocent look - ask for what we wanted ending with please, with a cherry on top.

What comes to your mind when you hear the old familiar phrase: "Please, with a cherry on top."

Close your eyes and imagine with me this:

You are at an old-time fountain - a kid all over again full of excitement.
Why? Because you were so very good, that you won over the authority with the purse strings to bring you to this magical place.
This place where the stools have that fascinating swirl of the seat, and it's quirky wobble or squeak...
Where you are just big enough to reach the the counter, but not see over it...
To watch as the person on the other end fulfills the long-awaited want of...
The rush of cold melting, the sweet overwhelming taste of all that pile of sugar set before you...
A glorious mountain of Banana Split Sundae... that's right with a cherry on top, too.

I can remember what that tasted like, although I now have multiple food allergies and it has been years since I have had a banana split of any kind. Now, the bare truth is - a regular cow dairy ice cream split would be a death wish.... and way too much sugar.

The other truth is... that darned ol' cherry on top of anything is not overwhelming and disgustingly sweet as people have made them.

Cherries are yummy... but in there virgin natural state they are tart. The well-known Maraschino cherries are loaded with sugar and sweet syrup to make them super sweet and an eatable dye helps to intensify their stunning bright red color. I do not have anything against food coloring as long as it is safe to ingest.  Want to know what the ingredients are for Maraschino cherries? Go here. Want a very short history of maraschino cherries? You can read that here.

We should all know what food coloring is, but if you are curious to read an actual definition you can go here.

Let me clear something up, the dye used in maraschino cherries is Red40, not the red dye made from a red beetle; you can read about it at Snopes.com. Here at ehow.com, you can see a list of different food dyes commonly used. The FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) also has some information about maraschino cherries.  For some out there, they could have intolerance or allergies to food dyes.

Thankfully, as far as I know, I am not allergic to food dyes - can I taste synthetic food dyes? Yes, I can, but not in everything.

Why am I writing about this? What does this have to do with anything whatsoever? Well, it's a couple things, really. One, do we really know what we are eating? Two, it's an analogy of sorts to the next bit of this post. What is that you ask? It is in regards to infertility... whoa, did you just read what I wrote? Yes, you did. I said it is an analogy of sorts to infertility.

How so?

Anyone who has experienced any kind of infertility will be able to see what I am saying; those that have not, remember the picture of the banana split earlier - the emotions, the taste, the sensation, the entire experience. Aside from my obvious food inhibitions, those same emotions, the sensations, the entire experience can be likened to those whom have had the opportunity to experience becoming biological parents.

Those whom have experienced infertility, but by the Grace of God have after trials and tribulations been finally able to become such, know that the banana split of parenthood is much more than the mound of sugar, and it's intrinsic flavors... oh it is so much more - perhaps even indescribable.

Finally, those whom have gone through infertility and were never, for whatever reason, were able to be biological parents know even more the interdependence of the bitter and the sweet of becoming parents by others means such as fostering and/or adoption.

The banana split is glorious to behold in the form of a family, of a baby, a child... but the cruel reality is, that you can't have the treat. Not yet... not in the way you think... not in the way you want - no matter how many cherries you ask for.... Those cherries are in truth, something else. They are super sugar coated. Life is not sugar coated, and after what I have been through in my short life, shouldn't be, at all. There are some things that I cannot share and that is okay.The truth is, cherries are in reality tart, yes there are some that are a little sweeter, but should we make them into something they are not?

Our infertility is not a problem of getting pregnant, it's a problem of staying pregnant. No one has been able to figure it out. Infertility does not make us into something we are not, but other people seem to.

We found this blog. She writes as plainly as day. I can definitely relate to her. She is a Foster Mom who has also experienced infertility; and in so doing as created her blog and is currently holding a contest for this book about infertility. Her and her husband were married only ~3 months before Kabaju and I. It is certainly interesting how the world of blogging in the world wide web/internet has found us fellows within heavily similar struggles as our own. Whether or not I am randomly picked as winner, I will definitely be looking for the book at the library. Anyone that reads this, I encourage you to do the same; and take a look at her journey. No one is alone, we only think we are - and no amount of asking please for sugared up cherries will get us anywhere. Embrace your reality, do not make it into something else. There really is a reason for everything. It is hard, I know.