Thursday, December 18, 2014

The 2015 Infertility Celebrity Representative IS...

Well the votes are in! You have spoken as to which celebrity from 2014 that you would like to represent our cause of infertility in 2015. It was a close race with every celebrity getting at least one vote. But the winner is ...


So expect many surprise visits from them in 2015 speaking about our cause to raise awareness EXCLUSIVELY on this BLOG! Yes, that's right they have agreed to do several interviews with us throughout the year. They are also very intent on working hard for us. They have already started brainstorming about our plot to start shrinking those Christmas trees in order to raise awareness about the suffering of infertility for next year's Christmas because we can't have the minions as our celebrity advocate without a diabolical plot! (click here and scroll to their nomination entry to see what I'm talking about). . .

Mwahahaha. The Minions are now on our side. NO MORE INVISIBILITY! Stay tuned. Stay joyful.
Stay Merry like a Minion this Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2014

on feeling invisible

It's 4:30 a.m., and I can't sleep. I'm not surprised. Tonight (yesterday?) we had our monthly married couples' group, and per usual I was the only non-mother. Three babies plus one pregnant woman = emotional challenges. Strong emotions = physiological reaction (heart racing, sweating, shortness of breath, etc.) Physiological reaction = not good news for sleeping through the night. Sigh.

One thing that I've struggled with a lot while experiencing infertility is feeling invisible. Here are some examples of what I mean:

1. The assumption that all married people are also mothers and fathers. I come across this a LOT, in day to day conversation, in homilies, in online stuff. It's the idea that having children is a "when" not an "if." Yes, that's true for most people (eventually) - but not all! Where does that leave us, who are married but not parents? In some sort of formless limbo.

2. The lack of sustained treatment of infertility in Church documents and discourse. I'm very familiar with Church documents on marriage. I did my master's in marriage and family studies, and I work for the Church in the field of marriage and family. And lately I've been feeling a good amount of anger of how infrequently infertility is mentioned, and even when it is, how it's treated bizarrely. For example, in the preparatory catechesis for the World Meeting of Families 2015, the only mention of infertile couples is in a chapter called "All Love Bears Fruit." Sounds promising, right? Except not once is it stated that children aren't the only fruit of marriage, or that infertile couples are still fruitful - the focus instead is on celibates (single and consecrated, although the distinction is not clearly made - but that's another story), and the only direct mention of infertility is how childless couples are analogous to celibates because both have extra time and resources to give to others. Okay....not an awful point, but seriously? That's the only thing you could think of? You couldn't give one measly sentence to acknowledge the pain of infertility and childlessness? (Not to mention miscarriage...!) It's really hurtful to me to read documents like this that are supposed to be for all married couples, and not to see myself there.

And that's not an isolated incident.

3. Literally being overlooked. This has happened more than once: after mass, I'm either standing with friends who have kids, or holding one of their kids, and our priest (or someone else) makes eye contact with me for less than a second before giving the kids a big smile and talking with them. Or another couple with kids will give me a cursory "hi" before talking to the real people they want to see, the other parents.

I even had one time where I was holding a friend's daughter (Black) and someone I don't know remarked how cute she was (true) before saying, "She's not yours, right?" in a tone that said obviously not, and while yes, it was true, couldn't she have been adopted? Then she moved on to talk to the girl's mom ("How are you?" etc.) without giving me the time of day.

Garrrrr. Even writing this, I sound like bitter old barren woman!! And it's true - I do feel bitter! I feel a sour sensation in my very bones thinking of times I've been overlooked, ignored, looked through, not mentioned, and so on.

It's extra, extra hard when I feel like the Church my Mother doesn't see me. I know - or at least I want to believe - deep down that that's not true. But wow, it's hard to do with so much evidence to the contrary! Only rarely hearing prayers for infertile couples. Homilies directed at parents. Church documents that don't even think to list infertility as a challenge that married couples face.

In my more charitable moments, I realize that infertility is present to me every single waking moment in a way that it is not to others, not at all. I get that. But it still hurts! Where do I fit in? What is my value, not being a mother? How do I not let the bitterness I feel poison my heart? I don't want to shrivel up into a narrow-eyed judgmental person, always looking for people's missteps. Don't curse the darkness; light a candle, as the saying goes. And I do try to do that in hopefully appropriate ways, "raise awareness" etc.

But wow, so many days I just want to be - and feel - SEEN.

+Ecce Fiat+

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Which Celebrity Would You Choose to Represent the Cause of Infertility?

As the holiday season rolls on in preparation for Christmas, we hear more often about different celebrities advocating for different charitable causes because it is the giving season. Seeing how medicine that seeks to treat the underlying causes of infertility, unlike in-vitro fertilization, is badly underfunded and we are one of the cases of unexplained infertility, which could very much benefit from increased money toward research, we would very much like to see this badly needed cause get a donation boost. This made us think that what we need on our side, other than Jesus, is . . . a celebrity! Nothing brings in donations like a celebrity using all of their media savvy and attention to draw awareness to a cause and to bring in money for research. So this got us thinking - which celebrity would you choose to represent our cause of infertility medical research?

This will be our first ever "Infertility Bloggers and Friends Poll." ***After voting here, feel free to link up to this poll on your own blog so we can get as many votes as possible.*** That way, many people can have a little fun here!

Here are the 2014 nominees. Please vote in the comments, but feel free to write your own nominee in the comments section below too. The voting ends next Wednesday the 10th and the winner will be announced next Thursday.

A.) Martin Freeman. As Bilbo Baggins, he never experienced the joy of Samwise Gamgee's blessing to have a family so he must know something about infertility. He is also pals with Gandalf, which couldn't hurt our cause.

B.) Stephen Colbert. He is a man that is willing to take on causes that are not that popular, like advertising for pistachios during the superbowl.

C.) Jennifer Lawrence. As Katniss in the Hunger Games, she knows adversity and suffering. Given that we face a lot of suffering, it makes her a natural choice. She also has mad bow skills, which I am sure is relevant to our cause somehow.

D.) Amy Adams. Not just a great actress, but she can also sing. It is always nice to have a singer and actress on your side. To date there are no songs about infertility that I know of so it may be nice to have her do one for us. Perhaps, she could get her friends the Muppets to help out too?

E.) The Minions from Despicable Me. Having a thousand minions is always helpful to any project. Plus they are just so cute and adorable. Who wouldn't give to a minion asking for money? Plus, if people didn't give money, then the minions could get Dr. Gru to form some diabolical plot to find money, like threatening to shrink all of America's Christmas trees to the size of peas until the tree of life is given a chance in couples with infertility!

So readers who would you choose from this worthy bunch of celebrities to represent our cause?