Monthly Archives: April 2011

Let’s Bust Some Myths, and A Piñata!

When Resolve put out a call for bloggers to “Bust a Myth” about infertility, the immediate image that came to my mind was: what if I literally busted apart a piñata shaped as a uterus while busting some knowledge?

I think the idea came from the very satisfying scene in “Valentine’s Day” where Jennifer Garner cracks open that piñata of a heart after getting her own heart broken. My own heart has been broken by my reproductive organs. Repeatedly.

I’m an infertility survivor. And in my opinion, there are many myths that need to be busted around the subject. I am going to target ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE, which is the cause of much personal misery to those going through infertility. Since the public doesn’t know the facts about infertility, or the STATISTICAL EVIDENCE, they trot out stories: about distant friends, relatives, frankly, mythical people, who “overcame” infertility through Tahitian vacations.

One of the things big corporations used to pay me for was to write FAQs, to answer “Frequently Answered Questions.” I think it’s time I wrote one to scatter some infertility anecdotes into the wind. Feel free to share my video and this post with your relatives and friends when they start with the stories. Let’s fight myths with facts.

MY TOP THREE MYTHS ABOUT INFERTILITY

1. Isn’t it true that if you relax, you’re more likely to get pregnant?

The latest evidence suggests otherwise. A large-scale review of fourteen studies, which followed 3,583 women who were diagnosed as infertile and were going through a cycle of fertility treatment, concluded that emotional distress (defined as stress and tension) did NOT affect whether the woman became pregnant or not. (footnote 1). Many infertility problems are caused by physical, anatomical and immunological issues (like low ovarian reserve, blocked fallopian tubes, lack of ovulation, low sperm count, birth defects related to both male and female anatomy), which could not be aided by a lack of stress anyway. (footnote 2).

2. Why don’t you just adopt?

Adopting is wonderful way to add to your family. It is also much more expensive, difficult and time consuming than most people know. Domestic and international adoption can cost in excess of $30,000 and take many years. The outcome is also uncertain: birthmothers may change their minds, foreign countries could change their policies. The truth is many families don’t have the financial resources to fund an adoption (footnote 3)

3. IVF works every time!

Nope. Not even close. Depending on varying factors, the statistical chance of success in a single cycle of IVF is between 30-45%. That means the chance of FAILURE is 55-70%! (footnote 4)

For more information, please go here. For more information on “myth-busting”, go here.

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Filed under Infertility, NIAW

The Royals And Bullying: Two Subjects Not Related?

Stupid WordPress/Blogger issues!! I asked some of my favorite bloggers to add the Name/URL function because for some reason, my WordPress identity is not accepted on Open ID even after weeks of troubleshooting with WordPress. (Blogger won’t give me the time of day.)

Unfortunately, this fix enables the anonymous function, which, as we all know, can attract unwelcome elements. I feel awful, because apparently that’s exactly what has happened to one of my favorite bloggers. And then, Mel wrote a particularly timely post today about the Internet’s nasty underbelly.

All I really have to add is: WHAT’S WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!?!?!

Now I’d like to talk about the Royal Wedding. When I lived in London, I once worked with the staff of a Brit royal (can’t say who) very, very briefly during a conference I helped publicize. I like this royal a lot.

I’m also pretty sure my former boss will be at the wedding. I feel somewhat connected to this wedding, I’m saying. Invested. I also really, really wish right now I still lived in London. I’m sure my friends who still live there are complaining about the tax dollars and acting totally blasé (which is the cool thing to do) but if I was still there, I’d probably be camping out for the best spot on the parade route. UPDATED *I actually Facebooked some of them and they are all using the national holiday to get out of town. “No one cares about the wedding,” I was told. Not too surprising. Most of the Londoners we knew thought the Royals “were for tourists.”*

This wasn’t always the case. I just watched “The King’s Speech” and it painted quite an admirable picture of King George. It was a strange thing to discover that one of the richest and most privileged men ever alive was a victim of systemic (and horrific) bullying: at one point, he admitted his nanny didn’t feed him enough for years, because she favored his older brother. I love stories about people of ordinary or sub-ordinary talents rising above them when they need to for the good of others. King George was a Neville Longbottom, a shy man with a speech impediment who had been tormented his whole life, but he was able to rouse his country when they needed it most, with his greatest weakness, his speaking ability.

So anonymous bullies and cowards, shut up. In the name of Neville Longbottom and King George, I command you.

Now let’s all enjoy the Royal Wedding. I can’t wait to see Princess Kate’s gown!

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Filed under Discovering joy

Reflections on Being Surrounded By Barbra Streisands

Barbra Streisand is a go-to joke in my immediate family.  My father was flown down to interview her in L.A., during her publicity rounds for “The Mirror Has Two Faces.”   My father had interviewed many famous people at that point in his career, including a President of the United States.  He loves to tell us that no one kept him waiting longer than BARBRA.

Here’s his first-hand account:

“I flew down to Beverly Hills Sunday to catch an evening screening of Streisand’s new movie, `The Mirror Has Two Faces.’ The following day I waited around until after 11 p.m., even though the interview was scheduled for 6 p.m.

There was an eight-minute video about the filming of the movie that played continually in the room where journalists slumped, awaiting the golden summons to a one-on-one with Barbra. I watched it dozens of times, committing many lines to memory, before thinking to disable the machine when no one looked.

Great consternation when the sabotage was discovered. But then we got to watch ‘Monday Night Football,’ ‘Murphy Brown,’ ‘Melrose Place’ and other diversions.”

My family is extremely WASP-y.  I can say that without being disrespectful, I hope.  I grew up believing: You never keep anyone waiting, you need to be polite, you couch your opinions carefully, you don’t hurt people’s feelings.

I’ve been watching the first season of “Glee,” and honestly, I’ve been on the fence about it.  Until the episode entitled “Sectionals.”  Rachel Berry, the Barbra Streisand-ish character on the show, described as “wanting everything too much”, sings a Barbra Streisand song.  The song is “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” Lea Michele rocks the hell out of that song.  I thought about the song, a lot, over the last couple of days.

The lyrics might as well state the opinions of most of those who surround me now: they have an incredibly different philosophy than the ethos I grew up with.  I think their philosophy might well be summed up by this song.  It’s a scrappy, life-consuming song.  Here are the lyrics:

Don’t tell me not to live,
Just sit and putter,
Life’s candy and the sun’s
A ball of butter.
Don’t bring around a cloud
To rain on my parade!
Don’t tell me not to fly–
I’ve simply got to.
If someone takes a spill,
It’s me and not you.
Who told you you’re allowed
To rain on my parade!
I’ll march my band out,
I’ll beat my drum,
And if I’m fanned out,
Your turn at bat, sir.
At least I didn’t fake it.
Hat, sir, I guess I didn’t make it!
But whether I’m the rose
Of sheer perfection,
Or freckle on the nose
Of life’s complexion,
The cinder or the shiny apple of its eye,
I gotta fly once,
I gotta try once,
Only can die once, right, sir?
Ooh, life is juicy,
Juicy, and you see
I gotta have my bite, sir!
Get ready for me, love,
cause I’m a commer,
I simply gotta march,
My heart’s a drummer.
Don’t bring around a cloud
To rain on my parade!

I’m gonna live and live now,
Get what I want–I know how,
One roll for the whole show bang,
One throw, that bell will go clang,
Eye on the target and wham
One shot, one gun shot, and BAM
Hey, Mister Armstein,
Here I am!
I’ll march my band out,
I will beat my drum,
And if I’m fanned out,
Your turn at bat, sir,
At least I didn’t fake it.
Hat, sir, I guess I didn’t make it.
Get ready for me, love,
’cause I’m a commer,
I simply gotta march,
My heart’s a drummer.
Nobody, no, nobody
Is gonna rain on my parade!

My greatest fault (I have many) is that I am a perfectionist. I don’t want to say anything unless I amaze the room.  And I never do.  I can’t imagine believing that I had the right to fly – and that I simply have to.  In order to fly, much preparation would need to take place, and many people would need to approve. But this is B.S.

This is all an excuse as to my I haven’t posted my NIAW post yet.  I want to amaze the room with my words, but the truth is: I probably won’t.  I don’t have the golden voice of Lea Michele.  I don’t have the warrior spirit of Keiko.  I have not the eloquence of Stirrup Queens.  Or Stumbling Grace.

But, I’ve realized, that’s OK.  I don’t have to be perfect in order to take my turn at the bat. And yes, that’s a clue as to what my NIAW post will be about.

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Filed under Barbra Streisand, Infertility, NIAW, Parenting After IF

My Twitter Addiction, er, Problem

I’m having a post-vacation let-down.  Being back home, watching the kids without Darcy and restaurant meals: I ain’t gonna lie. I miss that golden family time already.  I also really enjoyed connecting with silver and golden friends, but now that I’m back, I’m reminded how isolating my day-to-day life is.

And that most of the people I see in person regularly bring me down.

Enter Twitter.

On Twitter, it’s a virtual Round Table at the Algonquin. You can try to trade quips with literary heroes and your favorite bloggers.  Of course, at this table I am the dullest, smallest piece of dust on the oaken plank.  But at least I’m there.

My silly tweet about Peggy Orenstein, whose memoir about infertility, “Waiting for Daisy” was my bible when I was going through IVF. This tweet was about “Cinderella Ate My Daughter”, which I have written about before.

She responds! Squee!

Tweets also act as a way to foster advocacy: many tweets remind others about causes like NIAW.  I think Twitter was probably the main reason PETA backed down.

It’s also a huge time waster.

And procrastination vehicle extraordinaire.

I have a feeling that in a few years time, I may look back on my tweets as woefully as the abysmal, self-important journal I kept during my first trip to Europe. Sample entry: “The Louvre is an essential storage facility for art. But it certainly isn’t convenient as a visitor’s gallery.” *cringe* And yet, I don’t feel that way about my blog posts. I’m pretty pleased with them.

What do you think of Twitter? Friend or foe?

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Filed under Family, Parenting After IF

Blogging Awards! And, NIAW Preview

We returned from our trip to Disneyland mostly intact.  One of my favorite parts was meeting up with CookedHeads. She’s like the wisest, coolest sister I never had.  She had so many helpful pieces of advice, but I think my favorite was (and I’m paraphrasing): Life is Princess Borghese bath salts and the South Coast Plaza, but it’s also cheerios on the ground and dirty houses.  In other words, life is a beautiful mess.  I just love that.  She lives life joyfully every day, and she inspires me to let go of the negative voices that sometimes surround me and live life imperfectly, beautifully.

While I was gone, another one of my blogging heroes, Keiko from Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed awarded me a Stylish Blogger Award!  I think she has a rare gift with words, and she’s also a scrappy fighter for all of us IFers, so I am truly honored.  As part of the the “award ceremony”, I should share seven things about myself and pass on the award to fifteen other bloggers.  So prepare to be dazzled by some crazy Jjiraffe knowledge.

1. My dad was supposed to be with the press junket of reporters and government officials who went to Jonestown to investigate what was going on down there.  It was his tenth wedding anniversary, so he didn’t go.  Bad stuff happened.
2. In college I sold flowers in restaurants for one terrible night.  After going to three consecutive restaurants and being approached by the same creepy guy, I realized he was following me and I quit.  Please be nice to the ladies who approach you at your favorite cafes and ask you if you want to buy a flower. That’s a tough gig.
3. Also in college, I worked at a fancy Mexican restaurant.  They recycled the salsa.  Meaning, when your plate of partially finished salsa was taken away from your table, it was emptied into the big pot of salsa in the kitchen and served again to others.  And yes, I still eat chips and salsa in restaurants.
4. My favorite Winnie the Pooh character is Eeyore.
5. I love eating breakfast for dinner.
6. On my honeymoon, we went to Tanzania for a safari.  A leopard ate a gazelle outside our tent.
7. I once was the designated driver for a movie star’s wild night out, before he was a star.  It involved The Roxbury, the star acted like a total dorkus, and I was very unimpressed.  Now, he’s one of our very best actors.  Go figure.

In no particular order, here’s my Order of the Stylish Bloggers:

Bodega Bliss
Stumbling Gracefully
Second Hand Happiness
CookedHeads
Invisible Mother
As Good As It Gets
Somewhat Lower
Mommy Odyssey
Colours of Cattitz
Adventures of a Dam Engineer
Things Get If’fy
Chasing Rainbows
Write Mind, Open Heart
Fertility Challenged in Florida
Bloodsigns

Finally, I am trying to prepare something special for NIAW, and it’s going to be a big push.  I’ll give you the hint: I will be exercising skills I formerly used in my pre-children career.

8 Comments

Filed under Awards, Discovering joy, Family, Parenting After IF