Showing posts with label Media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Media. Show all posts

July 25, 2011

Take a Few Minutes to "Exhale"

"Just relax."

Quite possibly my least favorite sentence in the English language. That said, there is something to be said for the power of controlling our breathing, of quieting our mind, of letting all the mental clutter and constant running inner monologue flow out of our minds through our breath.

Photo by Shelby H. via Flickr.
Inhale - 

We set the stage for inner peace.

Exhale -

We invite that peace and stillness into our heart and mind.

I recently discovered Exhale Magazine, an entirely volunteer-run online literary magazine for the ALI community. From their About Page:

Exhale is a unique quarterly literary magazine written for and by ordinary people who have faced extraordinary obstacles to getting (or staying)  knocked up, or who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death.Founded in 2008 by Monica LeMoine, Exhale has become a space for creative expression. We seek out the gritty humor and complexities of discovering that producing a child isn’t as easy as our society would have us believe. Without succumbing to the belief that a person’s self-worth and happiness are defined by reproductive achievement, we recognize and validate the vast array of perspectives and emotions associated with pregnancy/infant loss and infertility issues.

I had the unique privilege of being interviewed by their editors for their Summer 2011 issue whose theme focuses on time: Time as the Enemy. Time as the Friend. The essays and prose are just stunning. As they speak to this theme of time, especially with my thoughts lingering on my post from Saturday about fate and chance - I find the poems particularly haunting.

Especially this one, Veil: what it lacks in length it makes up for in an emotional sucker punch.

And then there's the essay, When Time Stands Still, whose narrative reads like a heartbeat, a steady breathing. It is a moving essay, one that gets caught up in your thoughts but is strangely calming.

You should also most definitely read Kathy's review of Inconceivable. While I've reviewed it before, she provides a unique glimpse into the Savages' story as she actually knows Carolyn Savage; it's fascinating to read about their story from someone who actually knows them.

Here's an excerpt from my interview, on my dawning realization that I was meant for infertility advocacy:

I’ve struggled with the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my entire life. Part of it stems from a short attention span and an ability to not only quickly master a given subject but become just as easily bored by it. I don’t say that to be haughty, it’s just fact: I go through hobbies and interests like most people go through shoes.

In the year plus since my video, I finally know (now that I’m approaching 30) what I need to do with my life. Dreams of parenting aside: I need – no I have to do everything I can for this community.

You can read the rest of the interview and Exhale Magazine's Summer 2011 issue here.

July 15, 2011

Harry Potter, September 11th and My Millennial Generation

Briefly: I was selected as one of BlogHer’s Voices of the Year honorees! While I’m not attending BlogHer ’11, I’m deeply humbled and honored to have been selected as on of 100 honorees from a field of nearly 1,000 submissions. My Infertility is NOT a Social Condition post was selected as one of 20 honorees in the Perspectives category.

Check out the rest of the Voices of the Year over at BlogHer! I know I’ll be making my way through them over the next few weeks and hope to highlight some of them here as well.

And with that, it’s time to talk about Harry Potter.


Severus Snape turns to Dumbledore and says, his voice laced with such profound love: “Always.”

That was the moment that just set me over the edge and there was no coming back. The tears flowed freely pretty much from that moment on during the film.

If you’re waiting to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, I would stop reading now. Spoilers abound. Although, to be fair, the whole Harry Potter shebang has been out for 14 years now folks - I feel like spoilers should be moot at this point.

I had been like a kid on Christmas Eve all day yesterday, despite how tired I already was, counting down the minutes until the midnight screening of Harry Potter. I was really and truly genuinely excited. It was that same excitement I felt as I sat in the darkness of the theatre for the first film, waiting for the opening sequence to begin. I had been at that midnight screening, too, and for all the films since.

Even though Harry Potter has been around since I was in high school, I didn’t start reading the books until my freshmen year of college as buzz around the first movie came out. And then, like millions of others around the world – I was hooked. I was invested in these intricately creative stories and characters. I grew into adulthood reading and watching Harry Potter, and that for all the mightiness of its themes, I still found them inspiring and relevant as a young adult in my early 20s.

Harry Potter shares a unique set of bookends with my particular generation. The first film was released the holiday season of the September 11th attacks, of which we are now approaching the tenth anniversary.

When life felt so dark and chaotic in those months after September 11th, Harry Potter was this whimsical, hopeful, escapist world. In those early films, Voldemort was this amorphous evil that was “out there somewhere” – much like America’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden. The parallels are chilling.

Cut to 10 years later. The generation who had just entered college is now approaching their 30s. The looming evil figure of our generation is suddenly found and killed in Pakistan and for just a few brief moments, there’s this strange sense of relief, of vindication: “We got’im.”

And here now arrives the final Harry Potter movie, where our Hero defeats the Most Evil Wizard of All Time. Osama bin Laden is killed. Voldemort is destroyed, once and for all. J.K. Rowling paints us a neat happy ending and we still live in a world forever transformed into a “post-9/11” landscape.

How can you not cheer as you watch the film? When Mrs. Weasley roars at Bellatrix LeStrange: “Not my daughter, you BITCH!” and ends her in a series of aggressive spell attacks.

How can you not feel that same strange sense of relief as Voldemort’s ashes float into the sky, the Hogwarts courtyard fallen silent: that hushed moment of “it’s over.”

How can you not nearly collapse into a heap of sobs as we learn Snape has only ever lived for Harry’s mother, the woman whose love he could never have? As Snape reveals his Patronus form, the silvery doe seen to Dumbledore once before, as the dying wizard remarks in genuine astonishment: “Lily?”

And Snape, with such conviction, pain, and longing says only:

“Always.”

Harry Potter is a defining set of films for my generation, whose themes echo and resonate so strongly within us when the world has become a very different place than from where we stood 10 years ago:

Life. 

Death. 

Loyalty. 

Honesty. 

Bravery. 

Friendship. 

Hope.

These are values that my generation has clung to as we watched the world rip apart on September 11th. We were the Class of 2000, the generation of the new millennium - and what a frightening, terrifying millennium dawn we had awoken to.

And despite all these things, woven throughout, within, and above all else in the Harry Potter stories, we are inspired by and reminded of, taught the most important value:

Love.

Always.

July 7, 2011

Unnatural Act, Unspeakable Crime

To kill your own child: it's literally a crime against nature. Granted, some biologists might argue that it's perfectly in line with nature, as there are several species that kill and even eat their own offspring. But this is one of those times that for all of our animal instincts, I'd like to think that humans have risen above this in our evolutionary progress.




I had not planned on writing about Casey Anthony, I really hadn't. I remember the hearing about this horrific crime and horrible tragedy of Caylee's death a few years ago; back then, I still had network and cable TV. A pretty young (and white) mom and her adorable toddler, their faces splashed all over the news. It was a disturbing story.

I hadn't really given it any thought since then until I started noticing it trending in on my Twitter home feed, among many of you, in the last few weeks. Since we only have internet TV at home, I didn't have a steady stream of news coverage waiting for me. Since I get most of my news on my commute to and from work, I didn't really get much more as NPR didn't have much to say about the trial. So I gleaned little bits and pieces from Twitter. I didn't even bother to read about it further online.

After the verdict was read on Tuesday, Twitter basically exploded. And even with my very limited knowledge of the case and trial proceedings, I was saddened and disturbed.

And that's where my commentary on the whole mess ends. It's a sad and disturbing story - that's it. I don't fault the jurors - they were fulfilling their civic duty. If anything, the fault lies with the prosecution; they failed to meet the burden of proof. It mirrors in many ways the very disturbing "Rape Cops" court case that wrapped up last month in New York.

Was justice served in either case? Perhaps not. But the judicial process was honored. (Danielle at Kitten a Go-Go has some rather excellent commentary on this thought, in her post The Casey Anthony Verdict: One Lawyer's Perspective.)

And... that's it. End of story.

Or is it?

Jjiraffe at Too Many Fish to Fry has an excellent post on her thoughts about the Casey Anthony trial. I particularly appreciated her viewpoint as she, like me, hadn't really followed the trial at all. On the other hand, Katie of from IF to when was my complete opposite. She was obsessed with the Casey Anthony trial, she admits. When the verdict was read, she was stunned.

Both are ALI community bloggers and we all shared the same thought, no matter how much or how little we were invested in this case:

It's not fair. It's just not fucking fair. She (said with judgment, disdain, and disgust) got to have a child but we don't??

For me, as I noted in my comment on Jjiraffe's post, it's not so much the unfairness as it is trying to process a very disturbing truth: how can a mother kill her own child?

This is not an isolated narrative, either. In fact, it just played out here in the New England region just two months ago. A mother from Texas drove to Maine and killed her 6-year-old son. Six. Years. Old. I just can't wrap my brain around it. But there have been many Casey Anthonys. We just used to call them Susan Smiths before this latest trial.

Or La Llorona.

Or Medea.

It's unnatural - a literal crime against nature. It's sick. It's an archetypal narrative that rocks us to the core that makes for salacious storytelling when it's in fictional form and horrifies us when we see it actually play out in real life.

That's why the Casey Anthony trial has sparked the outrage that it has: because this unnatural crime deserves justice - this forsaken mother must pay for her crimes.

Except this time, the American judicial system got in the way.


. . .


I thought my commentary was over, but it's not. I have one more thing to add. As Twitter blew up, so did my Facebook feed. I need to give my friend Jessa some recognition too, because her Facebook status was one of the most well-said:

While I'm thankful the onus of official judgment didn't rest on my shoulders, I have to say I'm disappointed by the verdict. Any mother who doesn't report her child missing for 31 days and the child is subsequently found dead should at the very least be found guilty of manslaughter.

No matter how the evidence was shown at this trial, this is the one fact about the whole Casey Anthony case that disturbs me as equally as the idea of a mother killing her own child. It's the one fact that's been nagging at me.

Verdict aside, not reporting your two year-old child missing for a month is tantamount to child abuse.

I think what many of us have forgotten in our outrage over Casey Anthony's trial is the fact that a child is dead.

Nearly five children die every day in America from abuse and neglect. In 2009, an estimated 1,770 children died from abuse in the United States (source). We can let Caylee become another statistic or we can educate ourselves and channel our outrage into advocacy.  

Take a minute to check out Childhelp, a national non-profit focused on providing support and resources for victims of child abuse and neglect. Find out what you can do to help.

How are you processing all of this after the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial?

June 29, 2011

Proof I Haven't Been Ovulating for Years

Have you seen this article in Time Magazine online?

Click the screen cap for the full article.

As Gawker so eloquently put it, "Ovulating Women Have Better Gaydar."

Basically, 40 straight female undergrads where shown pictures of 80 males, half of whom were gay men. There was direct correlation to the participant's accuracy in determining whether or not they were gay based on where they were in their cycle. The closer the women were to ovulation, the more accurate their guesses became:
"The closer you get to peak ovulation, accuracy goes up, up, up, peaks at ovulation, then starts to go back down again," says Rule. "There is a linear effect."
I'm glad that I now have scientific proof I was not ovulating in my teens.

Because seriously? More than half of the boys I had crushes on in middle school and freshmen year of high school later turned out to be gay. So either I was completely oblivious and/or totally boy-crazy or my ovaries were busted WAY before I ever realized.

In all seriousness though, this study is kind of fascinating. Apparently there is a whole body of behavioral research about ovulating women, like this winning gem:

Did you know that ovulation makes you dress like a tramp a little sexier? Think lower necklines and higher skirt hems and that sexy pair of stilettos. Our bodies are apparently putting out subtle cues to our male counterparts to say, "Mrow, come get me boys - my ovaries want you!"

Or how about this fascinating piece of "I can't believe they got funding to study this" research: strippers get better tips when they're ovulating. True story

It makes me wonder about all of my readers who have used trigger shots and stims... I wonder if those meds would trigger the same behavioral effects for you. Sexy clothes and gaydar, I mean. Not necessarily earning more cash on the stripper pole (but yanno, you do what you gotta do. It's a tough economy and I'm not one to judge).

Oh science. You're so wacky.

And apparently so are ovulating women.

Oh - and researchers who totally manage to snag research dollars to head to the strip club.

June 22, 2011

Feminism is Not a Four-Letter Word

Whether I call myself a women's health advocate or Vagina Warrior, it boils down to this:

I'm a feminist.

(Shocker.)

What a loaded word, right? Images of unshaven armpits, gross looking white-girl dreads, floppy bra-less boobs, a man-hating smirk on my face, my fist raised in the air. Now, granted, if this describes you... um, cool! More power to you. But it's not me. And honestly, that's not what feminism looks like.

Feminism looks like women and men who want to take the world by storm to make the world a safer, better, more empowered place for women and girls. If you want men to stand by your side and advocate with you, feminists can't be man-haters. Are there some feminist man-haters? Sure. But if feminism is going to make any kind of global impact, it's got to be a collaborative effort between both sides.

Why the heck am I talking about feminism? A few reasons, actually. First, to be an advocate for women's health is a pretty fundamental aspect of feminism. It's about leveraging equal access to healthcare. Second. Esperanza at Stumbling Gracefully has a post that asks the question "Do we want too much?" and third, Schmoopy in our Prompt-ly Writing Group posted a link to a Guardian article that asks Why is feminism still so afraid to focus on its flaws?

The two are truly interrelated and it got me thinking about stereotypes that even I've held about what it means to be feminist, who is and is not considered feminist, and what it means to want more than we have.

Me at a campus protest, circle 2003. Photo by Julie K.
I took a few women's and gender studies courses in college. I was both vice-president and then president our of GLBT student alliance. I performed in the Vagina Monologues. As a young empowered woman in my early 20s, I was rockin' the feminist label and damn proud of it.

Like so many things in my early 20s, I wouldn't really appreciate all of it until now, as I approach my (gulp) early 30s. Feminism has become less about the rallies and the petitions and the student activism for me. Feminism for me has now become an active effort to make good in the world for women and girls where I can with the strengths and talents I have to offer. I blog about infertility and women's health. I blog about why we need to care about the cultural norming of misogyny in America. I support and promote the work of the Red Tent Temple Movement. I think very intentionally about the kind of world I want to shape for my niece and hopefully, my own daughter should I be so blessed.

I've been doing the SITS Girls 31 Days to Build a Better Blog (SITS31DBBB). Much like their Bloggy Boot Camp blogging conference I went to in May, I am out of my league here. I'm one of a very small group (as in, you could probably count us all on one hand) of infertility bloggers participating. SITS is a very Mom Blogger focused forum of support. I've stuck with it because I've got a lot still yet to learn about blogging and as I've come to realize from reading both Esperanza's post and the article Schmoopy shared - I've got a lot to learn about feminism too.

Did I turn my nose up at Mom Bloggers? A little, yeah - I'll be honest. Part of it was jealousy - I want what they have. Part of it was being judgemental - how can nothing but reviews and giveaways be good for the blogpsphere? But as I've spent the last 3 weeks interacting and networking with these fabulous ladies, I've realized my stereotypical judgments were wrong. The Mom Blogger niche is just as varied and valuable and has as much to offer as the ALI blogosphere. I'm realizing it's time to stop passing judgment and start taking a closer look at blogs outside of my niche to see what I can learn.

Oh Diane is one of those Mom Bloggers I've met through SITS31DBBB and she posted a fantastic post on why the Mommy Blogger market is so hot right now. What followed in her post comments was a fiery discussion about why Mom Bloggers get all the attention from advertisers while may of us childless folks sit here twiddling our thumbs.

My point is this: Mom Bloggers - and Mom Blogging in general - can be feminist too.

The Guardian article elaborates:
"Women bear the children and, far more often than not, they wish to be the primary carer for those children. At its most strident, feminism can be mistaken for an ideology designed to make women feel they are wrong to want that."

Mom Blogging is not counter-productive or counter-intuitive to feminist ideals. Even when I was in college, I got horrified looks from other college feminists who were shocked - shocked I tell you - that I didn't really care what my degree was in because I eventually just wanted to be a SAHM and pump out babies.

This is the point: it's not about creating an army of empowered career-women. Feminism is about having  equal access to and support for making empowered choices, be it career, motherhood, health or otherwise. Wanting to be a SAHM mom - like my own mom was when me and my sister were kids, a fact that I am so grateful for to this day - doesn't make me any less feminist. The fact that the Mom Blogger market is growing says to me that women's voices in social media and technology are rising, and people (especially advertisers) want to hear what they have to say.

Which brings me to my last point: does feminism want too much? Again, from the Guardian:
Worse, feminism has accidentally promoted the idea that it's pretty easy to work and have children, with the right support in place. On even an average income, it's never easy, even once children are at secondary school (though it's certainly easier then). Your priorities change. Work is no longer the most important thing, for a while anyway. Ambition can dissipate.  
Let me rephrase that: do we want too much? In fact, let's drill that down again:

Do I want too much?

Take a look at what I grew up with: a mom who stayed at home for the most part, picking up seasonal part-time work to pad out Christmas and birthdays. My father still works almost 60 hours a week. He traveled extensively when I was much younger, leaving the brunt of the child-rearing to my mom. I'm stating this as fact, not to pass judgment. This was what worked for my parents and they were in agreement about their roles as caregiver and provider, respectively.

I grew up with a big, two-story house with two cars. My sister and I went to public schools and college. We pretty much got to do just about any lesson or extra-curricular we wanted. We lived in comfortable New Jersey suburbia. For the 18 years I grew up and lived in that house, this is what The American Dream looked like to me.

Is it too much to want the big, single family house? Is it too much to want a husband that brings home the bacon while I stay at home and serve as primary caregiver to our gorgeous genetic children? Is it fair to place that kind of burden on my husband?

Folks, I struggle with this. These are things I want really bad, I can't necessarily have and boy howdy, I don't like taking No for an answer.

But let's step back for a second: in an time of record foreclosures, a flailing economy, and my seriously busted reproductive system, The American Dream I grew up with isn't realistically even possible anymore. 

Esperanza challenges us:
"The reality is, we might not get to be what we want to be, or we might have to sacrifice greatly to get there, and the same can befall our children. If certain lessons are learned; that frequently life brings disappointment, that sometimes their is no just reward for our efforts, that we must be grateful for what we have and stop continuously looking for more, that sometimes we won’t be happy, maybe, just maybe, we will wake up one day knowing how to be satisfied with our life.And maybe some day, if we’re very lucky, we can learn to be truly happy with what we have."
I counter with this:

If the status quo was okay though, we wouldn't need a feminist movement in the first place. And you know what? After all this, after this huge and rambling post, it's not about feminism anymore.

It's about being active participants in shaping a just world.

Feminist labels aside: where do we fit in to shape that world?

Where do you fit in? How are you helping to shape a just world?

June 14, 2011

A Fathers' Day Twitterview with RESOLVE & "I Want to Be a Daddy"

As I mentioned yesterday, even though it's Men's Health Week, we don't often hear the male side of the infertility journey. With Fathers' Day just around the corner, this is especially timely. There are a few elusive male voices out there (emphasis on the few). But the guys who are out there really help to shed some light on what is so often a woman-centric subject.

Take for example, Brittanie's husband Ben, over at Fertilize This! He busted a myth for NIAW about his experience as a man with male-factor infertility. Or Rain's husband at Weathering the Storm - she interviewed him about his experience with male-factor infertility and how it affects their marriage.And then there are awesome guys like my husband, Larry, who wrote a guest post of his perspective of being married to someone with female-factor infertility.

And then there's Alec, over at I Want to Be a Daddy. Are you reading him? You aren't? Well, you should. Alec has become a rising voice in the infertility community from the ever-elusive male perspective. He spells it out exactly right in his blog's description:
My wife JK and I went through a 2 1/2 year odyssey of infertility. It was a painful time. The emotional toll was as real for me as it was for JK. Friends who had survived infertility helped me to cope, and thus I hope that our story will help others.

Now this is the kind of voice we need to hear out there! This Friday, there's a unique opportunity to engage with Alec and RESOLVE, as they host a Twitterview with Alec at 2pm EST. From MyDestinationFamily.org:
On June 17th, leading up to this coming Father’s Day, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and MyDestinationFamily.org will honor this shared struggle through a personal and informative Twitterview with Alec Ross, blogger at I Want to Be a Daddy and regular contributor at FertilityAuthority. Alec will help to shed light on the all too silent male side of infertility in this one-hour Twitter exchange with executive director of RESOLVE, Barb Collura. He will speak to the two-and-a-half year infertility battle he and his wife faced, and the ups and downs that they continue to face today.


Wait, what's a Twitterview?
It's kind of like a public conversation, but since it's Twitter, it's like having that public conversation in a sea of a million voices. The conversation stands out by using a dedicated hashtag to differentiate this conversation's tweets from all the others. In this case, the dedicated hashtag for the Twitterview is #tvFD (for Father’s Day TwitterView).

How do I follow along?


When is this Twitterview again?
This Friday, June 17th, at 2pm EST. Join in or follow along to hear about the impact that infertility plays on Fathers' Day and the male experience with infertility. I know it's going to be an informative, engaging and emotional conversation. I'm really looking forward to it.

Hope to see folks tweeting and retweeting away on Friday!

May 31, 2011

Infertility News Highlights

You may have heard after last night's Khloe and Lamar season finale that Khloe Kardashian is "freaking out" about possible infertility after spending a year of trying to get pregnant with husband Lamar Odom. But did you also hear about Tiffany Alleman, Mrs. Utah 2011, whose platform is about her experience with infertility? I've got infertility news on the brain (probably because of my own little appearance on the news last week) so I thought I'd give a little recap of some of the infertility news items that stood out for me recently.

Khloe Kardashian Faces Infertility Fears

Look, you all know how I feel about Kim Kardashian, but I couldn't not talk about this. (Disclaimer: I don't have cable TV, but I do read the occasional celebrity mag online, so I haven't actually watched this show.) On last night's Khloe and Lamar, she took us right into her RE's office as she seeks help to get pregnant after a year of trying. I'm reminded of Giuliana and Bill in their candid openness about what could be the start of a very long and challenging journey with infertility. Khloe is rightfully scared; we've all been there, waiting for test results and wondering what's going on with our bodies. I can't imagine the kind of pressure she must face as a very public celebrity whose marriage has been under scrutiny since day one. Everyone's been asking: so, when are you going to have kids? It's a special kind of horrible that we as a society think it's okay to ask these questions of anyone in general, but when you live a public life, the pressure must be overwhelming. While her tests have come back fine and she's been told that yes, she can physically have children, I imagine this must have been a small bit of a personal nightmare for Khloe. I can't help but feel for her. She's 26. I was 26 when I was diagnosed too. While I have my own personal gripes about the way infertility is so often portrayed in the media, I do have to say - I'm appreciative that someone like Khloe Kardashian allowed us to see her close brush with infertility and its deeply emotional impact on her and her family.

Mrs. Utah Crowned, Promotes Infertility Awareness as Her Platform

Tiffany Alleman, a 30-year-old mother of two, was just crowned Mrs. Utah on May 14, 2011. Hailing from Sandy, UT, Mrs. Alleman's platform is "Infertility, Pregnancy Loss, and the Gift of Motherhood." As a former regional beauty queen myself (ha! Betcha didn't know that about me!), I can totally respect and appreciate that she's chosen something like the Mrs. United States pageant circuit to be able to raise awareness for infertility. Think about the demographics of the pageant: who's participating, who's watching - Mrs. Alleman has the potential to reach a very prime audience with a very important message. I'm very interested to see how her platform will play out over the next year and in the national competition on July 31st. I found her husband's statement, read during the evening gown competition portion of the evening, also rather inspiring and immensely supportive: "Suffering through miscarriages and infertility was difficult for us.  The emotions and feelings were raw and difficult to deal with.  I’m proud that Tiffany has used our challenges to bless the lives of others." You know what? I'm proud of Tiffany too, for helping to lift the cultural silence around infertility in a forum you wouldn't otherwise expect to hear it. Thanks Tiffany, and good luck at the National Pageant!

Egg Freezing Puts the Biological Clock on Hold

Driving in to work this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a piece on NPR about the intricacies of various aspects of assisted reproductive technology. Apparently NPR has an occasional series called Making Babies: 21st Century Families. Anywho the segment (nearly 7 minutes long) talked about women who freeze their eggs as an insurance measure for conception later in life. I was also surprised to hear that SART (the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology) still considers egg freezing experimental; apparently eggs are far more delicate than embryos and only 1,000-2,000 babies have been born worldwide using frozen eggs. An interesting piece and I'm glad I looked it up on NPR's website; you can listen to it here, along with several other segments in their Making Babies series.

Want more infertility news from around the web?

You can subscribe to Infertility Insights Daily, a Paper.li newspaper I created that culls information and stories from a bunch of folks that I follow on Twitter: infertility professionals, health organizations and websites, and other infertility bloggers. A new edition comes out every morning ~9am. It's kind of like a lazy man's Google Alert, but pulled from sources that I follow on Twitter. I've had it going for almost a week now and the articles range on everything from latest research to informative articles about reproductive rights to even some of your amazing blog posts that you tweet out there. Swing by, check it out, and let me know what you think.

What interesting infertility news have you come across recently? Share your news stories in the comments!

May 26, 2011

WBZTV News: Infertility Doesn't Just Affect Older Women

Check it out! Here's the news piece from WBZ-TV, Boston's CBS news station, on our story of infertility and how my younger age plays a factor. Reporter Christina Hager has put together a really compassionate piece and I'm so honored and grateful that she reached out to me for her story.

You can read the story here online - Infertility doesn't just affect older women; or just hit play below. The video runs just over two and a half minutes long. (If it doesn't load, just click the link to the story above and scroll down for the video on WBZ-TV's website.)



  • If you're visiting my blog from the news piece: welcome! You can get a brief overview of our infertility journey here. I'm happy to talk with folks so don't hesitate to contact me via email (see my Media page above).
  • Correction: Larry and I need to save up $18,000 to begin IVF treatment with donor egg, not $1800, as is mentioned in the piece. Looks like they left off a zero.
  • The piece ended mentioning the Family Act, an infertility tax credit bill. You can find out more about the infertility tax credit here - and how you can help by contacting your Senators to ask for their co-sponsorship of this important legislation.
  • Please feel free to share this news story on your own blogs, FB, and Twitter. Here's a bit.ly link for your convenience: http://cbsloc.al/isZYC3 

Thanks for tuning in and thank you Christina and WBZ-TV for helping to raise awareness for an important public health issue!

May 25, 2011

The Power of 1000 Women

Join the 1000Women movement

I recently discovered EmpowHer, a women's health website. I was intrigued by their 1000 Women campaign, a massive effort to reach 1,000,000 women online to create a huge social media women's health advocacy movement. From their website:
Through our 1000Women campaign, EmpowHER is recruiting 1,000 women who will then each reach out to 1,000 women to create the biggest movement for women’s health and wellness. When we have reached our goal of reaching 1,000,000 women, EmpowHER will donate $50,000 towards women’s health research. In 2001, the Institute of Medicine validated the need for studying the sex differences in all areas of biomedical and health-related research. However, since women were excluded from most major medical research studies before the 1990s, there is still so much to learn about health conditions that are unique to women or affect women differently than men. Your involvement in this campaign can help change this and save lives.
It's a fascinating, inspired idea and speaks to so much of what I write about here on this blog: it's important to get out there and share our stories. By opening up about our infertility to others we help to lift the silence that surrounds our entire infertility community. Our stories make the infertility experience real to others; we give infertility faces and names.

To that end, I've shared my story on 1000Women.com. While every infertility story is unique, we share so many of the same themes in our journeys. 

I'm asking folks to vote for my story of infertility awareness and advocacy. I bet that between here, Facebook, Twitter, and my friends and family I could get 1000 votes!

You can share my story with others by tweeting the following:

@MiriamsHope is a Voice for #Infertility Awareness. Vote for her story at http://bit.ly/jEhTiN @1000womendotcom

What's in it for me? I would be featured on 1000Women.com... and that's pretty much it. What's in it for you? A single click and registering with your email address (you can opt out of emails from EmpowerHer) helps to further advocate for infertility awareness.

I know infertility isn't just a women's issue, but with an audience like that at EmpowHer, I think it's vital to make sure our disease is given the spotlight it deserves. All it takes is a minute to click the link and cast your vote - that's it!

And with that folks, I'm out for the day. Off to celebrate my birthday tonight with loads of oysters and a chilly bottle of champagne.

May 18, 2011

I Beg to Differ, Max: Infertility is NOT a Social Condition

I saw a curious tweet on Thursday last week from @maxpemberton in my infertility feed on Hoot Suite: @randomtwitteruser It's about IVF and infertility funding in the NHS *gulp* So I clicked to see the conversation and this was the tweet that preceded it:
So when I saw his Telegraph column pop up in my infertility news Google Alert, Infertility is distressing, says Max Pemberton, but it’s a condition the NHS can ill-afford to treat, I of course clicked over to take a read. Boy howdy, I was not prepared for what I read. The crux of Mr. Pemberton's article is that the NHS (the UK's National Health Service) should stop funding all IVF procedures. He goes on then to list the justifications for this argument. His column starts out cautiously, almost tip-toeing towards his argument: "...I thought long and hard about the reaction it [this column] would provoke... It is not my intention to add to people’s grief."

It isn't long though before Mr. Pemberton drops all the nicities and goes for the jugular (emphasis mine):
But is this something that is really a medical problem? Some sociologists argue that the inability to have children is actually a social condition that has been recast as a disease. Society places an expectation on individuals to reproduce and become parents and so childlessness is a status that does not readily fit within society’s cultural norms. Pathologising and categorising it as an 'illness’ is a way of managing this difference from the norm.
*record scratch*

I'm sorry, did you just say my disease is a social condition? Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor.

Besides using 20-year old sociology research as the basis of this particular argument, it's just plain wrong. Despite the World Health Organization's classfication of infertility as disease in late 2009, Mr. Pemberton is of the opinion that infertility is merely a social condition and that parenting is a desire, not a right. He goes on (again, emphasis mine):
While childlessness is distressing, it is not associated with long-term disability, morbidity or mortality. It is not a disease. Rather, it is about people unable to have something that they want. This is not what the NHS is there to remedy.
Mr. Pemberton - Max, can I call you Max? Considering I conversed with you for nearly an hour on Twitter Monday? Right, so...

Max - You've missed the mark on so many levels. Let me break it down for you:

Infertility is NOT a social condition. In our little Twitter tete-a-tete, Max shared with me a study from 1992 by Becker & Nachtigall titled, Eager for medicalisation: the social production of infertility as a disease. If you click over for the PDF, it's a doozy of a study. So I took a read and was dismayed to learn that not only was their interview sample size only 43 couples, but the interviews were conducted in 1984. So the data was nearly a decade old by the time this study was released. Not only that, but seeing as how much infertility treatment and ART have advanced even in just the last decade alone, I can't imagine the gap in treatment advancement in practice between 1984 and 1992. And then there's the bigger issue of using a nearly 20-year old study with 30-year old data (and nearly verbatim from the abstract, I might add) to gauge a medical issue that has undergone radical advancement in the last 20 years.

Infertility IS a global public health crisis. In the United States, infertility is estimated to affect 1 in 8 couples. In the UK, that estimate stands at 1 in 7. In Canada? Try 1 in 6. Globally, in developing countries? The World Health Organization estimates that "1 in 4 ever-married women of reproductive age in most developing countries are infertile because of primary or secondary infertility." [Source.] Infertility is highly treatable, with as many as 80% of patients able to be successfully treated. And yet, in the United States, it's a highly treatable disease that is most routinely denied coverage. Why would you advocate for your country to strip away that same coverage? Socialized healthcare or otherwise, at least the NHS recognizes that infertility is a public health need and provides appropriate coverage.

Infertility IS a quality of life issue. While infertility in general may not be life-threatening, it is life-altering. Regardless of whether it's male or female factor, there exists a disfunction of basic human reproductive capacity. Considering that procreation is perhaps one of the strongest driving biological instincts aside from self-preservation, the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term then disrupts a basic life function. A myriad of other medical issues can then result, most notably mental health consequences. To suddenly take away a benefit or to somehow say a disease is not worthy of treatment only further compounds the impact on an infertility patient's quality of life.

Sadly, many of the Letters in today's Telegraph agreed with Mr. Pemberton's opinion. The fact of the matter is, it's easy to throw the infertility patients under the bus. We're an easy target because so many people see parenting as a lifestyle choice.

But you know what Max?

I didn't choose this. I didn't choose to be unable to have my own children. I didn't choose this disease.

And neither did the 3.5 million people infertility affects in the UK.



UPDATE: This post was selected as a 2011 BlogHer Voice of the Year in the Perspectives category. I am deeply honored and humbled to have been recognized in a field of truly outstanding submissions and bloggers. Please take a moment to click the link and read the posts from the other honorees.

May 2, 2011

Nat'l Infertility Awareness Week 2011 Highlight Reel

It's hard to believe that National Infertility Awareness Week is already over. What an incredible week it was! I got to meet so many new people and be exposed to so many more blogs and resources out there... it was really just a phenomenal experience. I can't believe how much more involved I was this year and I have to say, it felt great to make those connections to and to offer that kind of support to others.

After such a whirlwind week, I wanted to share some of those moments, blog posts, and other goodies around the web that stood out for me this week. I present to you my personal Highlight Reel for NIAW 2011:

The Blogosphere
Twitter
Other Media

...Now what?
Just because National Infertility Awareness Week is over, it doesn't mean the work is done. The next big thing is Advocacy Day this Thursday. Believe it or not, there is still time to sign up. There are over 100 participants and at least 18 states represented... and there's room for more! Find out how you can participate in Advocacy Day either in DC or in your home state. I'll be going to DC for my very first Advocacy Day; I'm so excited! If you're going, leave me a comment or shoot me an email.

What other awesome things did you come across on the web this week? Share your resources and great NIAW finds in the comments!

April 19, 2011

Surrogacy Lawyer Radio Show Update: MP3 Available Online

If you missed me on last week's The Surrogacy Laywer Radio Program with Evelina Sterling, you can download the show as an mp3 to listen to at your leisure!

Click here to download Premature Ovarian Failure and the NIAW/PETA Debate with Evelina Weidman Sterling and Keiko Zoll.

As the title mentions, Evelina and I talked about all things POF; Evelina spoke to the more clinical aspects of the disease and I shared my personal experiences as a patient. Evelina also shared how it's now referred to as Primary Ovarian Insuffiency. And of course, we saved a few minutes at the end to chat with Theresa about the whole PETA ordeal.

If you have 54 minutes right now, you can listen below:

April 14, 2011

Talking About POF Today on The Surrogacy Lawyer Radio Show

Do you have one free hour at 11am PST/2pm EST today? Want to know more about premature ovarian failure? Tune in to Theresa Erickson's The Surrogacy Lawyer Radio Program today to hear me and Evelina Sterling from Rachel's Well talk about POF, menstrual health, and share a few insights on this PETA thing.


More info about today's show:

Misconceptions abound about the range and limits of female fertility. Despite concerted infertility education efforts, both the public and young women almost always are shocked to learn that female fertility starts to decline at age 27. But one to four percent of women under 40 will be faced with the even more shocking diagnosis of premature ovarian failure (POF). POF is a loss of ovarian function occurring at too young an age to be considered natural, although premature, menopause. Not only will these young women potentially lose their reproductive capabilities, but they also are at greater risk for heart disease and osteoporosis. A variety of medical conditions can cause POF, but doctors can not always identify one.

On the April 14 episode of The Surrogacy Lawyer: Your Guide to IVF and Third Party Family Building, Theresa Erickson, Esq., will be discussing this rare, but devastating condition with Evelina Weidman Sterling, a highly respected health educator and author, and Keiko Zoll, an infertility blogger who was motivated to become an infertility advocate after her own diagnosis of POF several years ago. The show will air on Thursday, April 14 at 11AM PST/2PM EST on Voice America.

April 11, 2011

Reflective thoughts on PETA forthcoming - promise!

Hey folks - I've been meaning to post a nice reflective piece on this whole experience. It has been a whirlwind of a week and weekend, but I'm literally running on empty right now between work and some after work commitments (in addition to getting my house cleaned/organized for visitors in a couple of weeks). My schedule, as it always does in April, has blown up.

I'm hoping to have something up by tomorrow night at the latest, but wanted to share a couple of quick, cool things:

1. The NIAW language that still remained on PETA's directing Features page has been removed as of 12pm EST today. Victory complete!

2. We got media coverage in Canada... under "Weird News." Lol, I'll take it.

3. We got an amazing and inspiring summary of events from Rachel Gurevich from infertility.about.com: How Blogging, Online Petitions, Phone Calls, and Email Writing Really Can Make a Difference

4. I'll be appearing as a guest with Evelina W. Sterling from Rachel's Well on Theresa Erickson's The Surrogacy Lawyer Radio Program THIS THURSDAY at 11AM PST/2PM EST. Tune in online here!

So stay tuned for (what will hopefully be my last) blog post about PETA and this whole experience tonight or tomorrow.

And now, I'll leave you with another picture of my cats, because they are quite frankly - adorbs.

That's right, our cats hold paws. Behold the cute.

April 7, 2011

PETA Update #3: Close, But No Cigar

It's been a crazy 48 hours. Let's recap:

First I sent PETA my open letter in response to their "Win a Vasectomy" campaign. Then PETA wrote back... and told me to "just adopt." So I wrote them back again (does this officially make us pen pals?) and they wrote me back again with a non-apology apology.

Then PETA issues a broader non-apology apology on their Facebook page that said, in a nutshell: "We're sorry you got so upset."

So then I posted a petition online at Change.org, urging signers to Tell PETA: Infertility Is Not a Joke. And as of 9PM EST today, 1700+ people think that PETA should formally apologize and immediately remove any link between their campaign and National Infertility Awareness Week.

I think this makes me and PETA BFFs now.

Other important things that have happened in the last 48 hours:

If this wasn't already obvious, the momentum on this campaign has picked up like wildfire. So after all this, how does PETA respond?

By changing "in honor of" NIAW to "during" NIAW.

Click to embiggen.

*golf clap*

Don't be fooled, readers. This isn't the victory we've been after just quite.

What would appear to be a real response is actually just a trollish attempt to appease the masses and probably keep their phones from ringing off the hook.

I've got to hand it to PETA: they rank among the likes of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church when it comes to walking the line between literal and libel. In sum, I'm honestly impressed at not only how smug PETA is when it comes to engaging with their opposition, but at just how suave their trolling really is. In the battle of David vs. the Goliath, this little blogger is head to head with the pros.

Here's the thing about trolls. They love the attention and the vitriol spewed in the wake of their trolling. They feed on making you angry. That's why apart from this post, I've engaged in nothing but eloquent, well-researched, well-composed dialogue on my end. PETA, for the most part, has done the same, with the exception of telling me that "infertility is justified because the world is overpopulated" and that "as an infertile woman, I should just adopt." In all of my exchanges, I haven't resorted to profanity or name-calling. Believe me: I've been tempted.

But with this little tweak to PETA's campaign website, I'm calling out PETA for what they are: trolls. 

Trolling: an artist's rendition.
I'm not stupid and I know this one campaign has not happened in a vacuum. "Win a Vasectomy" in honor of/during NIAW is not a new tactic; this is merely standard M.O. for these folks. I'm well aware of some of their other controversial campaigns, such as comparing the consumption of meat to the Holocaust. And there's other less overt ways PETA exploits people at the expense of animals: PETA has no problem objectifying women in their ad campaigns.

What's the first rule of the internet? Don't feed the trolls. Here's the thing - I'm confident that PETA went after the infertility community because we're largely silenced; I honestly don't think PETA was expecting a response this vocal. Sometimes you have to feed the trolls - but give them food they don't like, such as solid research and stats, a commitment to no longer contribute to them financially, and mature, well-spoken arguments. If you resort to swearing and name-calling, they've won. You basically have to treat PETA like a small child: speak slowly, clearly, and repeat yourself ad nauseum until they understand. 

By changing "in honor of" to "during" and by issuing apologies that apologize for our reactions and not their actions, PETA is essentially patting us on our heads and hoping we'll go on our merry ways. We can't give in; we have to be relentless. Keep calling and leaving messages. Keep emailing them. Keep sharing the petition with others. Keep tweeting and posting on Facebook. Keep contacting the media (so far only Canada, Ireland and New Zealand have picked up PETA's stunt, but not our response).

If you chip away at a tree long enough, it will eventually fall over. The ball is still in PETA's court to do the right thing, and until then, we need to remind them of that... every day, every hour, every minute.

EDIT: On the flipside, I'd like to recommend Mel's very thoughtful post about this whole fiasco over at Stirrup Queens. It's easy to get caught up in the anger and emotion, but she makes some fantastic points about why this whole thing still matters. It's a nice counterpoint that promotes and encourages thoughtful dialogue about all of this. Check out Why I'm Not Talking about PETA.

April 5, 2011

An Open Letter to PETA

Ingrid E. Newkirk, President
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
501 Front St.
Norfolk, VA 23510

Dear Ms. Newkirk,

I grew up listening to Bob Barker reminding me to "always spay or neuter your pets" at the end of each episode of The Price is Right. It's a responsible action to take as a pet-owner, something I've done for each of the four cats my husband and I have rescued from shelters over the years. I can support campaigns to promote spay/neuter programs, as it's something all pet-owners really should be doing anyway. Organizations like the ASPCA have even established mobile and transport spay/neuter programs to reach pet-owners in urban communities, an example of a great community-based program to give pet-owners the access they need to spay/neuter care for their animals.

What I can't support, however, is your latest media-sensationalizing-ready "Win a Vasectomy" campaign offering a free vasectomy to a man who has his pet spayed or neutered during the month of April:



It's not that I take issue with offering a vasectomy as a contest prize, rather, that this entire publicity stunt is in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week.

As you so tactfully state:
Human overpopulation is crowding out animal life on the planet, and dog and cat overpopulation is creating a euthanasia crisis that is a crying shame. Disappearing wilderness, vanishing water resources, and pollution is the price that future generations will pay for more human births...
I recognize that PETA has never been a bastion for balanced, non-violent promotion for the ethical treatment of animals. Your "Win a Vasectomy" campaign in honor of a federally recognized health observance, however, takes your subtle PR approaches to an astoundingly new low.

Why has PETA chosen to exclusively recognize National Infertility Awareness Week? By your logic, if we're to curb human overpopulation, we should be more aware of high mortality rates and causes. Why not American Heart Month in February? Why not Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October? After all, heart disease and cancer are the two leading causes of death in the United States. Why not honor those Awareness Months (and thus those leading causes of mortality) by offering assisted suicides for patients who spay and neuter their pets?

Perhaps I've spoken too plainly. Perhaps poking fun at cancer and heart disease patients to promote your cause isn't the best PR strategy. In fact, it would appear that PETA even supports and awards the work of those in the breast cancer research community. You even said so yourself: "Anyone who wants to see a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime should support this forward-thinking program." So I guess finding cures for cancer is something PETA supports, even though you've said publicly: "We are named People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. There are plenty of other groups that worry about the humans.''

Now that I've had a chance to really process this, I think I've figured it out now: it's not that PETA wants people to die; rather, they shouldn't be born in the first place. And what better way to do this than to celebrate and honor National Infertility Awareness Week by enabling "one lucky man" to be "reproduction-free, free of charge, just like his pooch or feline friend."

I think your meaning is finally crystal-clear to me. PETA has decided that it's acceptable to ridicule, devalue, and trivialize the infertility patient community experience in the name of promoting responsible pet-ownership. By your logic, infertility patients deserve the diagnoses handed to them because we simply shouldn't be having children in the first place. The planet is crowded enough. Our infertility is justified.

It's okay to have a laugh at the expense of the infertility community because they shouldn't be having babies anyway: what a fantastic PETA promotional message. Your "Win a Vasectomy" campaign is tactless, arrogant, hurtful, damaging, insensitive and disgusting.

I guess I'm just a little confused since your organization is focused on the ethical treatment of animals, yet you seem to have a pretty strong opinion worrying about human concerns like overpopulation, or even taking the time to award progressive breast cancer research groups. I mean, you said so yourself- there are plenty of other groups to worry about the humans.

Ms. Newkirk, as someone living "reproduction-free" for the last two years, I can tell you that our patient community experience is not justified nor deserved. While you're offering "one lucky man" the choice to live "reproduction-free," I didn't have that choice. My one remaining ovary stopped functioning and my hopes to ever have my own genetic children were taken away from me without my consent. Overpopulation or not, I still have the right to parent and to seek medical treatment for my infertility. To say that my diagnosis is somehow deserved or justified in the name of population reduction is not only an affront to me personally, but to the 7.3 million other men and women who live with this disease daily in the United States.

RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association and the responsible organization for National Infertility Awareness Week, has dedicated this year's focus to busting infertility myths. Ironically enough, by choosing to honor NIAW with your "Win a Vasectomy" campaign, you've helped to perpetuate many infertility myths in the process. It would behoove you and the members of your organization to perhaps do your homework before initiating such media-ready PR campaigns, but then again, I suppose that was the point.

Unfortunately, even bad press is still press, so I'm hoping my readers will post about their outrage on Facebook linking instead to this post, posts of their own, or the screenshot of the page rather than linking directly to the "Win a Vasectomy" page at PETA. When the success of a publicity campaign is measured in pageviews, it's important that the infertility community keeps your organization from receiving those pageviews in the first place.

It's unfortunate that you launched this campaign at the expense of any kind of financial support from our 7.3 million-strong patient community. I will encourage all of my friends, family, readers, and followers who have previously supported PETA in the past to instead make a donation to RESOLVE in support of National Infertility Awareness Week and ask them to do the same to their family, friends, and readers. I will also encourage them to email you directly at ingridn@peta.org with their outrage over your latest campaign and to share your email address with those who share their concerns.

Perhaps if your organization bothered to treat their fellow humans with respect, dignity, and ethics, more people would do the same for animals.

Signed,
Keiko Zoll
Emailed on April 5, 2011


Are you as pissed off as I am? Here's what you can do:
  1. Email Ingrid Newkirk, PETA President, directly at ingridn@peta.org to express your outrage.
  2. Make a donation to RESOLVE in Ingrid Newkirk's name.
  3. Bust a myth for National Infertility Awareness Week.
  4. Write your own blog post expressing your outrage, tweet about it or Facebook it. Just don't link directly to the page to rob PETA of pageviews. Here's a handy screenshot instead.

April 1, 2011

Infertility Ain't No Joke

It may be April Fool's Day, but infertility ain't no joke.

My favorite meme on the intarwebs right now.

Let's tell it like it is, shall we?

  • Infertility affects 1 out of every 8 couples in the US. Worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates that as of data through 2002, infertility affects as many as 1 in 4 ever-married women of reproductive age in most developing countries (source).
  • Infertility can cause as much stress, anxiety and grief as having been diagnosed with cancer or the loss of a loved one. It's not just a disease; it's a major life crisis (source). 
  • Only 15 states in the US currently mandate insurance coverage for infertility treatments. 
  • Infertility is culturally misunderstood largely due to media bashing, sensationalization, and minsinformation. (Click each link to read more about specific examples.)

As a result, there are a myriad of myths out there surrounding infertility and ultimately, we run into these myths throughout our journeys. Sometimes we can just roll our eyes when we hear them: "Just relax!" Other myths can deeply hurt us: "Infertile people should get the hint and stop being so selfish."

Anyone else feel like they need to clear the air in the room and set some things straight?
. . . 

As I mentioned last week, RESOLVE's National Infertility Awareness Week, starting just 23 days from now. They have an excellent Bloggers Unite project this year: Bust a Myth!

It's kind of like Bust a Move, but with less Young MC.
We know the myths. We hear them all the time. So this year, RESOLVE is asking bloggers to pick a myth from their list or write about their own. Reflect on the myth and then BUST IT in your blog post. Publish your busted myth post between April 24th and 30th, and your blog will be eligible for the Hope Award for Best Blog at RESOLVE's Night of Hope Awards!

To find out more information on how you can participate, check out the Bust a Myth Bloggers Unite project page here.
. . .

I can't be all doom and gloom for April Fool's Day. If you're looking for a laugh about infertility, head on over to Infertile Naomi's 999 Reasons to Laugh at Infertility. Naomi reminds us of something rather important, no matter where we are in our journeys: "Infertility itself is not very funny but when life hands you lemons, make some fertile lemonade!"

March 29, 2011

Out Like a Lamb

Hey, so... did anyone see what happened to March?

. . .

Life has been busy. Work calmed down for a bit while students were on spring break (and while sadly, I was still at work). Now it's picking up again as we head into the home stretch toward the end of the semester. We bought a new car somewhere in there. We repainted and redecorated our bathroom. Our cats have been systematically destroying any Apple product with a cord. (They've eaten over $200 worth of Apple products. It's a little ridiculous.) Oh, and our house is legitimately haunted (a post for another day).

And in the blink of an eye, another month disappears from the calendar.

Photo via Flickr by Tambako The Jaguar.  

Baaah, I say.

. . .

I've begun nesting. I'm sure it's largely due to the fact that I just finished 5 weeks of birth control pills and dear old Auntie Flo is bound to make an appearance sometime this week.

I have a bit of an obsessive personality. When we got engaged, I basically lived and breathed wedding planning for 22 months. You might think that's an exaggeration, but it's basically a statement of fact in retrospect. When we found out I was infertile, I read everything I could in print and online. Babies were everywhere. They're all I could think about. Thankfully, I've channeled the baby crazies into infertility advocacy and more positive outlets, but I do get overcome by it once in a while (like baby names - seriously, I can go for days obsessing over names for children I don't even know if I'll have!).

All of a sudden, I've been bitten by the spring cleaning/house decorating bug, and I've got it bad.

. . .

Larry motivated me to reclaim the Room of Doom (my latest name for it). Instead of perpetually thinking of it as the Someday Baby's Room, it's going to become my office for now. Paint it the color I want, put a futon in there, a little desk and some storage and have it be my space. It's also in a quiet part of the house, so it's a perfect migraine relief room.

I have a much longer post sitting in my Drafts folder about my conflicted emotions about this room, but I think I'm at a place to start rethinking about it. Instead of filling it with all this worry and indecision, it's time to take the bull by the horns and make the room mine. Should we be blessed with children, we'll repaint and redecorate as necessary. It's not worth just leaving the room all crapped up because I've got some serious emotional baggage about the space.

. . .

I bought an issue of This Old House magazine (I didn't even know they had a magazine until I saw it at the drugstore). I've been scouring Craigslist and Home Goods and Target and BB&B and Anthropologie and lusting after pretty much everything at Restoration Hardware trying to figure out where I can buy the poor man's version of 99% of what's on their site.

I can't stop thinking about decorating the house. I spontaneously painted an entire bedroom wall last night because we had been putting it off for months.

I've got it bad.

. . .

And so March marches off, out like a lamb.

April brings media: an article in my college alumni magazine, infertility.about.com's Infertility Blog Carnival, and a guest appearance on Theresa Erickson's Surrogacy Lawyer Radio Show with Evelina Weidman Sterling from Rachel's Well. Throw in my sister and her family coming to visit, Passover, and Open Houses here at work... I should savor these last few days of peaceful lamb-like March.

What's new in your worlds? How are you spring-cleaning your life right now?