Cash Made Dreams: When Making a Baby is More About Filling Pockets Than Filling Homes

You know how much I believe in the healthy messages in and after the infertility journey; my messages like loss is loss, enoughs and everything, more than our numbers and the complicated gray. My advocacy work continues to struggle to get much footing, it seems the world continues to struggle with the story that didn't end with 2.5 kids.

Yet, I will keep writing, filming and shouting; speaking the unspoken and giving ears to the earless.

While I fight this battle, my friend and fellow warrior who fights like hell, Pamela Tsigdinos of Silent Sorority fights the battle of holding infertility clinics responsible for their level of patient care. Today, I had to share her newest piece, The Cash Cow in 'Fertility' Medicine, as it definitely resonated with me.

"The only paper at the ASRM event to discuss the infertility patient experience in the U.S. reveals only 29.4% of 499 surveyed agreed their nurse mentioned resources for emotional support. That’s truly disturbing given the level of distress raised earlier (Research reveals that distress from a cancer or infertility diagnosis is equivalent, however, cancer survivors have better emotional outcomes)."

~~~

For us, it wasn't until our second round where we only retrieved 1 egg that our doctor finally said the words (without any emotion in his voice or eye contact for that matter), "I am, of course, recommending another round, but I understand that sometimes people don't have the finances for it."

That 1 egg never became the healthy child in our arms. We also never had any follow up from our clinic besides a letter almost two months after we ended our journey without a baby saying they would always be there if we wanted to try again (read: $$$).

~~~

It is okay to stop. It is okay to stop putting cash in their pockets but most importantly it is okay to stop before it destroys everything good about you, your relationship and your finances.

It is also okay to keep going, only you know what your enoughs and everything is. However, you must also get counseling. This journey is simply too hard to survive, let alone thrive, without help and staying silent.

I also think and see, if you get help and you speak your truth, it could actually work more.

By God, I will get these messages to mainstream media, and especially, to the infertility clinics. Mostly because, the work I do in my office with clients going through the infertility journey and after is both the best and toughest work of my entire career.

Weirdly enough, it is also some of the easiest. Easy only in when we give ourselves permission to speak our truth and to walk into the muck of the complicated gray, life does truly awaken in color. The color and power to create our rainbow life, with or without the baby.

It is in this work, that I know without a shadow of a doubt that I was made the mother I was to help, to love, to speak and to help you do the same.

A Tale of Surviving and Thriving - What's Yours?

Silent Sorority

was the first book I ordered when searching for infertility books on Amazon five years ago. It was one of the only books I could find with a healthier message. It also inspired me to write

Ever Upward 

to join Pamela in shouting our missions of difficult conversations and healthier messages into this world. Little did I know the fellow warrior I would come to find and know in Pamela. I am excited and honored Pamela agreed to share her

#MoreThan1in8

submission with you all. We have a little less than two weeks before National Infertility Awareness week and I need more courage, more voices and more support. You can read more about the project

here

, I hope I squash any qualms you may have about going public there.

If we want more understanding and compassion from our world, we must tell our stories and ask for what we want and need. Help me to end the silence that surrounds infertility and loss by participating in this project.

Because together, we are #MoreThan1in8.

~~~

A Tale of Surviving and Thriving - What's Yours?

We live in an era where scientific and medical breakthroughs in the fertility world are a double edge sword. While we instinctively cheer for fertility successes, society -- and the medical community in particular -- lack a framework to help process the losses when success is elusive.

Nothing in our otherwise modern life fully prepares us for an infertility diagnosis. For those in the confounding 'unexplained infertility' category it can be particularly difficult to pick up the pieces and imagine surviving, let alone thriving. Those of us who have lived it know all too well there are no clear instructions on what it takes to embark on a life path that doesn’t involve parenting following fertility treatment losses. As I look back on that difficult period of life, there were many emotional and practical considerations that led us to acknowledge that it was time for us to find a way to move on.

In 2007, I began the long, slow process of healing and surviving by creating a safe place for me and other women embarking on a new life after confronting infertility. My first blog was appropriately titled Coming2Terms. An added benefit to opening up about the personal challenges that infertility inflicted has been exploring a universe of ideas and connecting with a remarkable set of women and men who are also busy healing, surviving and reinventing themselves.

My blog -- and later books and advocacy work -- have brought forth new understanding about the complex effects of infertility and catalyzed an important cultural discussion. Together with women like Justine and others around the globe, we continue to foster support and further education about the infertility experience. The stigmatization and pain is further complicated, we've learned, by an avoidable trauma:  abandonment by fertility clinics more interested in securing a new customer than in providing compassionate care to those grieving when science and Mother Nature don't result in a pregnancy or live birth. The lack of palliative care is particularly harsh for those reeling with complex emotions.  Sadly patient abandonment is prevalent in the fertility industry. In the past decade a chorus of voices has emerged calling for change.

In sharing what we’ve learned we not only offer camaraderie and celebrate new beginnings we ensure the next generation will be well informed and benefit from lessons learned.

To those just embarking on the path, I can assure you that after my grieving ended a lightness, an effervescence returned not only to my marriage, but to my friendships and relationships. I’ve tapped into a well of strength and resilience I didn’t know existed.  The love, acceptance and compassion have nurtured hope and happiness in a different form.

Pamela
Pamela

In thriving we have helped to showcase families after infertility in a new light.

We continue today, my husband and me, to push forward, to shape and define a life outside the more conventional path of parenting. We challenge each other to uncover new possibilities, to seek new adventures and discoveries that will enrich our understanding of the world and our place in it. That’s exactly what we would have encouraged our children to do.

~~~

Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos is the author of the award-winning memoir Silent Sorority. Her latest ebook is Finally Heard: A Silent Sorority Finds Its Voice.

In July 2015 her blog earned at Top Health Blognod from Time, Inc.'s Health Magazine. For more of her writing visit: Silent Sorority.com

I Want More: Can We Define a New Tribe?

The invisibility of infertility is part of my normal. As I have written, I never expected to feel invisible during my own community’s awareness week though. Couple that with this piece by Lisa over at Life Without Baby and reading Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos's latest e-book Finally Heard (which I HIGHLY recommend) and it all has me thinking  and feeling quite a bit.

Is the infertility community no longer my tribe?

Do I no longer belong there?

When I think about some of the people I am closest too in the community, even they may not fit in our tribe much longer as many of them are pregnant after their infertility struggles (which is technically what we all want as our get out of this tribe ticket). They may actually get shoved out of the tribe which doesn't feel all that different than not be acknowledged.

Am I holding onto something that doesn't even want me any longer?

I get it, some really struggle with my story. My story does not include successful treatments and ends without children. I think it is safe to assume my story makes our community sad and scared.

Why am I holding on?

I'm not ready. Especially as a therapist working with people in the throes of the infertility journey, I am not ready to be left behind yet. Or, is it that I am not ready to move on yet?

But more than that, I'm not done. My advocacy and impact hasn't yet been felt enough for me to walk away without regret.

Do I care too much?

Is change even possible?

I want more. I want more as a survivor of the infertility journey. And, I want more for those still fighting the battle because I see the devastation on a daily basis in my private practice.

I simply want more, and as an advocate I will fight until I get it.

I want us to demand more from our infertility clinics; to be more than just their paychecks, to demand more mental health support and actual resources and to demand acknowledgment that sometimes we must stop treatments to save ourselves.

I want us to demand more from our culture; to help others understand that making a family is not always simple and hardly easy for many of us, to demand more fertility compassion and to practice more empathy than sympathy with one another.

I want us to demand more for and from ourselves; I want more than what we are giving ourselves permission for in the infertility journey. I want us to be more than our quest to become parents. I want us to trust that sometimes never giving up is the actually unhealthiest thing we are doing; we must practice hope balanced with active acceptance. I want us to know that we can write our own happy ending and it doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s.

I want to help instill these messages into my infertility community for many reasons.

  • Because I am a helper. I am most myself when educating, helping and practicing my spiritual gift of mercy.
  • Because I think these permissions could actually help our treatments be more successful and in the least help us not be completely destroyed by the journey.
  • Because I want us all to have the glory of being the happy, healthiest and most engaged versions of ourselves in this life.

And so, I want us to define our new tribe.

One that supports one another through empathy and trusts that there is room for all of us to belong. That if we are actually in this together we can change the unhealthy messages that surround infertility, pregnancy loss and recovery. And even though we may be in completely different places along the journey, we all can identify with what lies underneath this battle; the lifelong losses of what we had dreamed about and hoped for.

I am not ready to walk away from my infertility tribe but I also know and feel that it is not the healthiest place for me any longer. And sure, maybe I am simply in denial of my limbo land but I don't think so. I think we all need this new tribe, we need these messages to change and we need to fight for ourselves; to rise ever upward.

Who's with me?

 
Defining a new tribe; together in the
Defining a new tribe; together in the