Finding Strength In Infertility (This Cynical NYer is NEARLY a Believer)

So, I hope everyone's enjoying the excerpts that Therapist Helen Adrienne has generously shared with us from her book: On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility. In the chapter provided, we've seen how Helen's patients have learned to use the hell of that which is infertility to find inner strengths which they might never have known about had they not gone through the hell of that which is infertility. This has been a great change of pace here at Laughing IS Conceivable...Finally! Some helpful, tangible advice for those going through infertility. The only advice I ever come even close to giving is: "When people ask you annoying or stupid questions about your pregnancy problems or offer dumb, unsolicited opinions, tell them to screw off." As most of you know, most of the time I don't advise, I just mock.

This is the last (boo hoo) installment from Chapter 10 of Helen's book. If you want to catch up please see the previous posts.

(Please note: In the following excerpt a success story is mentioned)

When we left off, Ellen was about to explain how she was able to use what she'd learned from, believe it or not, sucko infertility to find strength in the challenges that she was about to confront--post infertility.

Okay, Ellen. Not yet. Sit back down. I know you're dying to tell people your story. Just wait a moment. I talk a lot. I can't help it. I'm from New York... and I'm Jewish... and I've got a 12 hormone pile up going on in my brain... Oh nevermind...Take it away Ellen!

In her twenties and again in her thirties, Ellen had participated in Outward Bound. They had been the biggest challenges of her life. Now she understood that infertility "was like Outward Bound in that it strips you to be face to face with yourself and shows you your inner strength. I now know that infertility was the biggest Outward Bound of all." I might add that it can also be the biggest inward bound experience if you let it.

Ellen also wanted you to know that "when you are at the beginning of any challenge, it is never obvious which path you should take." She began her quest to parenthood at 39. Herbs and acupuncture did not bring her FSH down. Clomid and inseminations got her nowhere. Ultimately, the third Reproductive Endocrinologist and the second Ovum Donation cycle was when she hit the jackpot. Her babies were born when she was 41.

Authenticity for Ellen cuts a wide swath. It resides in the awareness of her inner strength, in an unshakeable resolve to do everything possible to get to any goal, and in never letting herself move very far away from experiencing joy. Along with joy has come an intense love. This struggle really opened her heart to the babies and her husband in ways that had been unimaginable.

Ellen also takes great pleasure in the awareness that her level of self-esteem has risen. She has achieved a belief in herself and a faith that if she needs help, she can get help. If she has one regret it was that she did not reach out to me for emotional help sooner, now thinking that the struggle might have been shorter.

An important aspect of living from a place of authenticity for Ellen that she wanted to be sure I shared with you, was the importance of acceptance. "I realized along the way," she told me, "that people who are successful don't keep trying to do something the same way when it doesn't work. I had to step back from myself and look at the bigger picture with flexibility. I accepted ovum donation and I was prepared to accept adoption if need be." . . .

For many more examples of how it is possible to benefit (!) from struggling with infertility, read the rest of chapter 10 in On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility.... and also check out Lori's e-book Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility (click book cover on the right. You don't have to have a Kindle. A phone or Ipad where you can download a free Kindle app will do).. Okay, I guess it's obvious that this is me and not Helen speaking anymore. I thought somehow I could sneak that pitch in and nobody would be the wiser....

I truly hoped you enjoyed this week's presentation. Next week I'll be back to mocking.