Desperately Seeking Baby...Babies Found

My thoughts on raising twins and a singleton after infertility.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Book Club Time!

Now it's time for this month's installment of the Barren Bitches Book Tour... This month's book is The Empty Picture Frame by Jenna Nadeau. This book was written wonderfully - it spells out exactly what it is like to go through infertility. Definitely a book I would recommend to those wanting to learn more about the emotional aspects to infertility.

Now onto the questions...

1) Depending on where you are on your IF journey, how did this book affect you? For example, if you have a child/ren after IF was it easier or harder to read? If you are in the middle of your IF struggle did the book help or hinder? Give me your thoughts on how you were affected reading the book no matter where your IF journey has taken you so far.

I think this book was easier to read now that I have my twins. I remembering feeling that I was so glad that I wasn't going through all that anymore. Thanking God that my infertility seemed so small compared to what others have gone through. I think I would have cried more if I didn't have my children. Everything she wrote in this book I could relate to - what people said to what she was feeling after another month went by without a pregnancy.

2) What one line from The Empty Picture Frame did you identify with and why?

It's actually a part of a paragraph - I couldn't just pick one line from's when she talks about being more empathetic to others on pages 147-148.

"It doesn't matter if I agree or diagree with their personal battles, everyone wants to be valued. They want their struggles to be felt by just one other person without judgment or being told how they should be handling it, or what they would do if they were in that position. Empathy is to identify with someone on the most human level and to find relevance in their situation."

I think why I picked this portion is because I'd like to believe I am a more empathetic person. Someone may find another person's struggles trivial, but to them, it matters. This is one thing that I want those who know someone going through infertility understands. It may seems like something they just need to "relax" for or whatever, but to step back and not say things like that and just to listen and empathize is what everyone wants and needs. I know that when some people say "relax" or "just adopt", they are wanting to be helpful and not hurtful but I think if they thought of it in terms of what they would want to hear if they were in a tough situation, it may make them think differently about those comments.

3) On page 145, the author says, "Infertility can definitely be the process of losing oneself, but it can also be the process of finding oneself." In what ways have you lost yourself, and in what ways have you found yourself?

This is a question that I had picked. My support group talked about this a lot. That we lost the person we once were - the happy, go-lucky people - and turned us into a bitter, angry people. I may not have been a happy, go-luck person before, but I certainly wasn't as bitter as I was after infertility took over. I was angry that I had to go through all this and pay all this money to have children when so many get to do this for free and not have medical professionals poking and prodding you either. I became numb to the poking and prodding after a while - that is something that changed for me.

As far as how I found myself, I'd like to think I'm a bit stronger person having gone through this. Not everything is cause for a breakdown. One little comment someone makes about whatever doesn't make me angry or sad or whatever as much as it would have before (though there are exceptions). But, who knows, I may be giving myself more credit than I deserve. Yesterday, I was a bit emotional about my car not working when I needed to go pick up Ben & Ella from daycare. But things are going on right now that could probably explain that.

4) Toward the end of the book, the author talks about things people have said - in what ways have you dealt with the inevitable statements that people make to those trying to conceive?

It truly depended on the person saying the comment. If I felt close to the person or knew them well enough, I would respond directly to them. However, if it is just an acquaintance or a coworker, I felt I couldn't really say anything so I just vented on my blog or to friends. My blog was a wonderful venting tool as was talking to friends, especially the ladies in my support group who knew those comments all too well. I tried to tell people that relaxing wasn't going to make my tubes unbend themselves. Adoption wasn't a cure for infertility, nor should it be. Sometimes I got through to them. Other times, I didn't.

5) Did your clinic have a Baby Day like Jenna described? Even if not, did you ever have a moment like that in the clinic, with newborn babies being brought in, or a woman cycling who brought her child with her? How did you deal with it?

The first RE clinic I went to, it was also an OB clinic and well, I saw a lot of pregnant women there. It absolutely sucked and I wished that they could schedule a person doing an IUI at a different time from someone coming in for the 8 month pregnancy appointment. When we switched to the RE for IVF, thankfully, they didn't have visible pregnant women there at the same time primarily because they were an fertility clinic and that was it. And they weren't in the same building as another fertility clinic as my OB! They were in a building with other types of businesses.

I do remember the day we found out we were having twins and graduating from the clinic. A couple different people there told us congratulations and Twins, how exciting while other couples were there. I felt awkward because if I was one of the couples waiting for a consult or waiting for my transfer or whatever, I just didn't want to hear of someone else's success. I just wanted to hear about my own - which, if I remember correctly, Jenna mentions something along those lines in the book. Other people's success is not my own.

6) Did you struggle with your friendships during your infertility journey? Did you lose friends you thought were good ones, or gain close friends in unexpected places?

I don't think that my friendships struggled during the journey. I know that people didn't know what to say and how much to ask, so having my blog helped them with that. I didn't lose any friendships along the way. I definitely gained friends going through this. There is, of course, my support group, but there are people I met and had got to know better because we were open with our struggles. The person who temped for us a couple summers ago, then took over my position on maternity leave struggled with infertility. They are currently adopting a little boy from Taiwan. We try to keep in touch with each other. Then there are other people along the way who, when I share our struggle, tell me that they also struggled.

I just read on another's blog that Jenna and her husband adopted a child 4 months ago - congratulations to her and her husband!

Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at Stirrup Queens. You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I've read this book and it was a good book. I don't think I'll be joining on next month's book club tour, but to those of you who are, I'll be interested on reading your thoughts on the book!



  • At 5:28 AM , Anonymous Ellen K. said...

    Good comment on empathy.

    Our clinic did not have a baby day, a success board, or any of that crap. When we found out about the twins, the congrats were kept in the back office area, away from other patients (although some may have overheard, if they were in consult rooms). I was thankful for that, but I'm sure our big smiles as we walked out were a dead giveaway to anyone in the waiting area.

    It's weird being at the obgyn office now and seeing the birth announcements board. I still haven't stopped to look at it, but I know D. has.

  • At 9:28 AM , Blogger JuliaS said...

    The quote you picked really resonated with me as well.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  • At 11:57 AM , Blogger loribeth said...

    I like the quote you picked too, it's so true!! also, "Other people's success is not my own." Thanks for taking part!

  • At 6:25 PM , Blogger Samantha said...

    I was impressed with how much empathy Jenna showed she herself had. Even empathy for herself to be understanding when she was in dark place. Sometimes we even judge ourselves too harshly. I think that gave her the opportunity to look at some of the positives (even if just silver linings) of infertility and be able to feel firm in her resolve to become a mother.

    I liked what Mel said on her blog too, about how other people fulfilling their dreams doesn't always bring you hope. It is a fine line to walk. Clinics of course want to demonstrate they are successful, but they are not going to be successful for all patients. How about creating a wall of couples holding their empty hands? You don't see that, do you?

  • At 6:34 PM , Blogger Caba said...

    I remember the same thing at my clinic! There was a like a "checkout" area before you were leaving, right in the main area next to people "checking in". And the nurses were congratulating us, saying "Oh wow, twins!" and telling us to bring them in after they were born... and I felt so terrible. I just wanted to hide my head and run out of there!

    And I liked the quote you picked. Perfect.

  • At 12:11 PM , Anonymous anita said...

    I liked the paragraph you chose in your answer to question 2 as well. I'd like to think that I've become a better person, a more understanding and empathetic person too.

    Great review, I really enjoyed reading your answers.


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