Thursday, April 29, 2010


This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.

I’m posting this a little late in the week because I’ve been struggling to figure out how to approach this on the heels of my recent pregnancy announcement and musings on what this development might mean for my blog.

If you’ve read our story as outlined in the announcement post, then you know that infertility is still very much a part of our experience and our pregnancy.

I’ve written about the complexities of chronic illness and infertility several times over the past several months/years, but still many of the specific details of our journey remain offline. That’s just what works for us. But over the last few years, I’ve found myself reading infertility blogs more regularly than I’ve read chronic illness blogs. The humor, grit, empathy, and authenticity I’ve discovered in so many women’s stories have been both informative and inspiring.

I never wanted to turn my blog into an infertility blog. Rather, I wanted to discuss infertility within the context of chronic illness and explore the overall challenges of building a family despite illness, whichever path that entailed. I’ve always been a strong champion of the idea that specific symptoms and disease labels are less important than the universal issues we face as patients: acceptance, guilt, or control, etc.

I’ve realized the same holds true in the infertility community. We all have different stories and different reasons for our struggles. In my case, it was easy to feel a little isolated: unlike so many women (and men), I don’t have reproductive problems aside from those caused by my lung disease. I mean, how many people are out there writing posts about a genetic lung disease making them infertile? The precipitating issue and the ensuing pregnancy challenges my illnesses pose are indeed rare, but the overall experience is similar: we all have to fight really hard for something that is natural and automatic for other people, and the avenues we ultimately take to build our families often differ from most of the people in our lives.

As I processed all of these thoughts this week, the link between what I wanted to say about the future of this blog and National Infertility Awareness Week suddenly became clear: it’s all about transition.

People who experience infertility transition from thinking pregnancy is a given to realizing it will be a struggle. Often, the question moves from when pregnancy will happen to when parenthood will happen, because so many of us who go through this do not end up with a viable pregnancy. It’s a transition in the expectations we had for our families and for the process we thought would be involved.

A colleague and friend of mine remarked that “the waiting makes it all the more precious” and I could not agree more. If there’s one thing we all share, it’s the waiting, the excruciating, mentally and physically exhausting waiting. For those of us fortunate to have some sort of a happy ending, hopefully the preciousness of it is universal, too.

I hope I never take a second of this for granted, knowing the four years of difficulties that went into it and knowing there are women who are not as fortunate, women who have to transition into totally new realities for their lives, ones that may not include children.

So while we’re discussing transitions, I so appreciate all the warm wishes and support as we transition from infertility to high-risk pregnancy and impending parenthood.

I do plan to discuss our pregnancy, but within the context of chronic illness and, again, the more universal issues of parenting with chronic illness. This won’t become a pregnancy or motherhood blog, and for many reasons: the privacy of our expanding family; my readers still living through infertility; adhering to the main purpose of this blog, which is to discuss chronic illness in young adults. I’m not a belly-shot person, and if I write letters to our child, they, like a lot of this personal journey, will remain offline. When I do have pregnancy stories and moments I think will resonate with the community of young adults living with chronic illness, I will definitely share them.

In fact, I’ve got a bunch of posts in mind already, tidbits I’ve been storing up for a few months now.

But this week? This week is about transition, so I will hold off. I’m getting there, and I’m so grateful to have you along for the ride, and so grateful to have learned so much from so many of you as we’ve progressed.

1 comment:

Shauna said...

Dear Laurie,

Your topic touched my heart... Chronic Illness and 'the family', is such a multi-faceted subject, for we must visit the person with the CI, the children, if any, and the main caretakers of those of us in the throes of non-health. There are so many involved in OUR illnesses.

I have a son who is 24...I can't believe the time gone by...and how I still harbor a bit of guilt that I could not be more of a physically involved mom, sorry that I needed him to stay in for the first 2 weeks of summer at a very teenage-age, to be my main caretaker after the 2nd back surgery...he never complained...yet his strong hug now, and his, "Awww mom, don't do that to yourself; you were always there for me," answer, is just ONE of so many possible scenarios of the way our different lives function within the family. No matter what stage we may all be at in our lives.

Baby-Boomers,(me), are facing aging parents, and all the questions that come with such a heartfelt issue; or, we have lost them already. (me). I am disabled now, it is my only son that is to take care of me. It has turned on me twice, this life; once in watching my mother go into a coma and leave us; the other my dad, suddenly out of nowhere was to also leave, also on Hospice, and I just happened to be a nurse and that was my specialty--Palliative Care/Hospice Nurse. I had the absolute honor of helping my own dad ease out of this world, as he helped me ease in; apparently not very easily, I spent my first month or so under an oxegen tent with frequent treatments....I heard there were quite a few touch and go moments....

I apologize for what feels like rambling...I wanted to express how I have been moved by your writing and it also sparks discussion. "The best type of writing!!" would shout my kind, honest, beloved by many, and very short English Professor in school. ;-)

I can not say how I smiled to read of your pregnancy news. I think your decision as far as focusing on transitions is great. So true of life, eh?

'The Only Constant in Life is Change' (Unknown)

Will stop by again 8^) and I am updating my blog lists, I would like to add your blog under Blogs about Chronic Illness/Pain. Peace!

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