We’re starting a new semi-regular (read: whenever I get around to it or get inspired) feature over here at Creating a Family. I’m calling it EGAD “about” Infertility Day, which stand for Educate Great Aunt Debbie (as well as the rest of the world) about Infertility Day. It’s pronounced Eee Gad, as in the expression of horror or consternation that might be used when your expressions of horror or consternation must be G rated. Somehow, an expletive seemed appropriate for discussing infertility, and the G rating seemed appropriate for Great Aunt Debbie (as well as the rest of the world). If we can have National Quilting Day and Clean Off Your Desk Day, then surely there’s room on the calendar for EGAD Infertility Day.
EGAD Infertility Day was inspired by the comments I’ve read recently that were posted in online papers and magazines in response to articles about infertility. Many of these comment reflected such an unimaginable depth of misunderstanding about this disease–stop whining, get over it, just relax, just adopt, worse things could happen, ad nauseam –that something had to be done, and that something is EGAD Infertility Day.
EGAD Infertility Day offers such potential for greeting card companies that it’s bound to become a big hit. I can just see the cards now featuring a woman with her feet in the stirrups spouting off some witty comment about infertility, or perhaps it should be the doctor that is doing the spouting and the comments should be educational rather than witty. Well, I’ll leave the details to Hallmark, but when you’re ready to finally drop the “I” Bomb in answering the question from Great Aunt Debbie about when you are ever going to have kids, these cards will be just the thing.
For our inaugural EGAD Infertility Day, I’m sharing a short poem I wrote title Infertility Is…. Feel free to print and give freely to the Great Aunt Debbie’s of the world when trying to explain what you are going through. Also, please please please leave your comments about what Infertility Is to you. As Mel over at Stirrup Queen says, it’s time to de-lurk.
Infertility is a disease affecting the present and the future. Unless you’ve experienced it, it’s hard to understand:
The pain – a deep, scarring, searing pain –
at seeing the pink smear on the toilet paper each month;
at sharing your intimacy with doctors and nurses;
at receiving another pastel envelope inviting you to yet another baby shower that isn’t yours.
The anger – an enveloping, controlling, frightening anger –
at people who say “just relax” or “just not meant to be” when they don’t have a f___ing clue;
at God or karma or the universe or whatever the hell you call the force that is to blame;
at your partner.
The shame – a hidden, gnawing, ego-destroying shame –
at your jealousy of other’s easy conceptions;
at cutting people with children out of your life;
at your body’s failure.
The fear that this pain, anger, and shame will never end.
Image credit: Ed End
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Good luck with it. Hope it becomes popular 🙂
Wow. Incredible poem. It took my breath away. Especially the line about cutting friends out of your life who have children – UGH. That one killed me. So true. So very, very true.
Thank you for sharing this. HUGS
I thought I would share this poem, for those of us suffering from Infertility and for those of you Suffering from the inability to understand or empathize with those of us struggling with this disease.
Thoughts on Becoming a Mother
There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better.
I will be better not because of genetics, or money or that I have read more books but because I have struggled and toiled for this child.
I have longed and waited. I have cried and prayed.
I have endured and planned over and over again.
Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.
I will notice everything about my child.
I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover. I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life.
I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream. My dream will be crying for me.
I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see.
Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love.
I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain.
I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body. I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.
I have prevailed.
I have succeeded.
I have won.
So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.
And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.
I have learned to appreciate life.
Yes I will be a wonderful mother.
There is a definite need and space for EGAD! Good Luck!
I also loved the poem-IF persons who eventually go on to become parents in some way probably do have a special understanding of what it means to be a parent-we may not be so quick to take it for granted as those who become parents (too) easily. I cannot imagine from where I stand right now being as easily put out by losing a night’s sleep due to “my baby” crying as some of my friends are-the ones who got pregnant and who had healthy pregnancies as soon as they “decided” to make them happen. I am a bit disturbed when I hear such folks complain so much about the “trials” of being a parent. And when these parents “jokingly” offer me their child-it breaks my heart-why don’t they realize how LUCKY they are. I’m sure they do, but they still feel free to joke about it and to take it for granted. The poem addresses the deep gratitude that IF people feel when such a dream-“a dream that cries for you” is realized. I thank the writer for this…..:)
To Lost and Infertile….adoption is not a “cure” for infertility, nor is it a CAUSE of infertility, secondary or otherwise, in young mothers who relinquish their children for adoption. I’m sorry that you have suffered from such a double edged sword in your life, but please do not blame adoption for your medical condition. The two are not related. The “EGAD” day that is mentioned in this article is intended to bust the myriad of infertility “myths” that too often go unchallenged in our world, and it is not right for you or anyone else to be allowed to perpetuate a myth like that in the name of trying to educate others in the realities of IF. Your IF is no one’s fault-it is not your fault, and it is NOT the fault of the people who adopted your child. It is unfair of you to blame them for “trading their IF for your baby”-if it were that easy, IF would have been cured a long time ago, but in a very unjust way. IF is something that should not be wished on one’s worst enemy. IF is….something that should be taken more seriously in the lives of those who do not suffer from it for the sake of those who do, so that we might find life giving ways to resolve it in our own corners of the world. Please do not add to the confusion and stigma of IF by continuing to spread unproven and prejudicial myths about the causes of this disease. They might make you feel better about what happened in your own story, but that doesn’t make it true in all situations. Thank you
This was simply beautiful. This was a poem that sums up my existence. Please publish it where the whole world can see it.
This is the most beautifully painfully accurate portrait of infertility that I’ve ever read. Thank you.
…an inconvenience that led me to my kids.
People who haven’t experienced infertility do not get it–to them, it’s a simple problem/solution situation. But there is no “just” anything about it. I remember my mother’s infertility and her frustration at insensitive people’s comments about whether/when she would have more kids. After a diagnosis of endometriosis and 9 months of treatment, she was able to get pregnant, and my sisters are 10 and 12 years younger than I am. I cannot imagine our lives without them. My own infertility is a mystery. I do not have endometriosis; pregnancy just never happened for us. So before it got to be too late to chase kids around, we did go the foster/adoption route and now have three beautiful girls, all of whom we got as infants. (And it didn’t cost us a dime–our price was the emotional one of not knowing whether/when they would legally and forever be ours.)
I am still infertile, but I honestly don’t care. I never mourned it because it wasn’t a sad thing for me–just an inconvenience. For me, the important thing was the end result of being a parent, not now I got there. We never investigated why we didn’t get pregnant, so for all I know, it might still happen at some point (though I do feel that the response I get from people who hear I’ve adopted–“OH, watch! Now you’ll get pregnant!” is pretty ignorant and insensitive.)
I do understand the pull that many people feel to have a baby biologically, though, and I do hope to live vicariously through my sisters when/if they have biological children.
What infertility is to me – a curse and a blessing.
A curse when your marriage starts to disintergrate because you both grieve in different ways; A Blessing when your spouse gives you the much wanted puppy to help with your grief. A curse when you believe you are a defect because you cannot give your husband a child by birth; A Blessing when you ask your husband if he regrets marrying you and he answers “in the end it doesn’t matter whether our children are ours by birth or adoption, in heaven we will all be one big happy family”. A curse when you believe God must be angry with you and you pour over your sins to figure out which sin caused your womb to be closed; A Blessing when God uses infertility to bring you closer to Him. A curse when you can’t have a child by birth; A Blessing when you have a child by adoption. My husband and I recently celebrated our 11th Anniversary. We remarked how thankful we were that our Pastor had warned us during his sermon that the rain will come and there will be problems, but as long as you keep Christ the center of your marriage, you can and will survive the storm. Our storm was infertility. We would have likely divorced had it not been for our faith. For me, the only healing I have received for this lasting scar of infertility is the gift of children through adoption. Adoption was God’s first choice for me, not 2nd choice, not 2nd best. I just wish I could have skipped over the emotional pain and straight to adoption. But that wasn’t God’s plan. He tells us in Jeremiah 29 vs. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, planst to give you hope and a future.”
I love the name “EGADS”, it’s perfect! If only Hallmark would get on board, we’d have A LOT more understanding people in this world!
Nice poem. I just found your site and wanted to say
that I’ve really liked browsing your blog posts. Anyway
I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!
Your poem made me cry. I wish everyone out there would read your poem and then maybe they would understand.I’m a DES daughter with a non fully devloped uterus and it really angers me when people always say you never know you might get pregenet, when you least expect it. I want to scream, I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO!!
I’m not bitter or mad at God because I know he was a plan for my husband and I. I just get upset with stupid people.
Here from ICLW…
Good luck with EGAD day! Aunt Debbie needs all the education she can get.
Hallmark has cards for the stupidest things, they should have cards for EGAD as well.
I’m all for EGAD infertility day. I think it would look great on a tshirt.
Loved this post. Loved this poem. Loved the idea of education my great aunt, my aunt, my mom, my sister, my brother, my BFF, hell, you name it and I’d like to educate them.
E-Gad! What a terrific idea! Best of luck to you. 🙂
I lost the only child I would ever conceive to adoption because I was 17 years old. Infertility is to me … the aftermath of a child lost to adoption because I was just that little bit too young to parent in my mother’s eyes. Infertility is to me … never conceiving another child after the perfect child that was given to me by God and taken from me by man so that some infertile couple could be parents. We traded … they got my child, and I received their infertility.
No one tells young mothers that their chances for secondary infertility are much greater if they relinquish a child for adoption. Who knows how the never ending grief and stress experienced at the loss of your precious child ravages the body and soul and prevents the conception of another child? Adoption is looked at as a cure for the grief of infertility. What about those mothers who lose their child to adoption because of the temporary circumstances they are in and then have to live with the never ending grief of that loss forevermore? I hope that when you are teaching about infertility, you do not forget to look with compassion at those mothers whose devastating loss serves as the cure for other women’s empty arms.
Wow… that poem is incredible! And there really is a need for the EGAD Infertility Day. Hell, even my mother gave me the ‘have you tried standing on your head after sex’ line yesterday! Gah!
This was simply beautiful. Thank you. I’ve printed it and my wife is mailing it to our family. We’re even using old fashioned mail to draw attention to the importance to us. Please keep on writing.
OMG…I am in tears after reading this poem. This just explains what I feel almost every day. Thanks for sharing it. Its so true.
Thanks again ad Hugs…
Well said. I wish it wasn’t true, but everything you wrote is so true and real… Thanks for sharing that with us!!
Infertility is…a life altering, money sucking pile of pain with no end in sight.
Wow what a fabulous poem, brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for writing….
Your poem made me cry–literally. Thank you for trying to cross the divide of the fertile and infertile. I’ve heard you say on your show that we have so much more in common than we realize. I want to thank you for what you do to help the world understand this disease.
I forgot to say that infertility to me is ________ (longing, crying, wishing, and pissed).
EGAD day would be great. I don’t think most people really understand what happens to you when you are dealing with infertility. It changes your life in so many ways.
Thank you for this post. It is so painfully true and I so see myself in the essay. I’m all in favor of EGAD day. I’ve got more than a few Aunt Debby’s in my life. To me infertility is a huge hole and darkness in my life.