nosy

Infertility Busy Bodies - You Know, Family, Friends

So last week was sort of an introduction to infertility with a few terms and definitions sprinkled in among my usual smart ass remarks. http://laughingisconceivable.com/infertility-virgins/ This week, let's discuss "Infertility Busy Bodies, You know, Family & Friends etc" in other words-- those who deserve smart ass remarks.

Besides dealing with the medical side of infertility- the drugs, the tests, the doctors- and the emotional side of infertility- the stress, the sadness, the fear- there's also the social side of infertility: What to tell. How much to tell. Whom to tell. When to tell.  First there's the sense of obligation. "I have to tell him. He's my husband."  "I have to tell her. She's my sister." "I have to tell her. She's my mother." "I have to tell her. She's my best friend." Some of us even extend our sense of obligation from the reasonable to the ludicrous: "I have to tell her. She's my coworker. I work with her every day." "I have to tell her. She's my neighbor. I see her at the mailbox every day." "I have to tell him. I've been going on his line at the supermarket every week for five years."

As far as I'm concerned, there are three categories of people in our lives when it comes to who to tell and how much to tell:

The People Who Have the Right to Know Everything: That would be the direct contributor to the other 50% of your future child's DNA. Whatever you call him: Partner, spouse, husband, lover boy, neighbor with the tight jeans. End of list.

He should know every step of the procedures and be in on the decision making because even if he's not lying on that table getting probed every few days, "oh Honey, I could never have done this without you" is literally true. You should be there as emotional support for each other and so you both need to know what's going on all the time. So, "The People Who Have the Right to Know Everything"? Make that "The Person" Who Has the Right to Know Everything. He's it. 

       

The People Who Have the Right to Know Some Things:

a) Your boss. Your work schedule will be constantly affected by fertility treatments. He or she will know something is up and have to know there's a good reason for you needing time off or coming in late or leaving early frequently. Still, there's no need to get into all of it: "I'm going for a procedure that requires a lot of doctor's appointments and may take a few months or so. But I'm fine. Nothing to worry about." (Meaning: No need to train my replacement.) As opposed to: "You know, I've been married for a while now and we've been trying to have a baby for a while, and you might remember I was in my sister's wedding party last year... Remember I took off that long week end last May because she had a destination wedding to the Bahamas? So anyway, she's already pregnant. And, even though  my periods are regular..."

b) Your Human Resources person- or whoever handles your specific insurance questions. Tell your personal business only to the actual person with the answers. My human resources person was just the nasty, vindictive woman whose sole job was to give me the runaround when I was trying to get reimbursed for mileage for using my car. If you've got one of those, just do what I did: Politely and professionally get the number for the benefits person from her, yell "& send my mileage already you useless...!" and slam down the phone.

The third category is:

People Who Have the Right to Know Nothing.

Everybody else. Your mother, your sister, your BFF since elementary school, your Facebook friends, your LinkedIn connections, your cousin who's more like your sister than your sister, your neighbor who you see at the mailbox every day, your coworkers who you work next to every day, the cashier at the supermarket who you've seen every week for five years. Screw them all. If they're not a direct contributor to this child's DNA or directly involved in your insurance or keeping your job--- they have no rights. There are a lot of people in our lives who you're close to, so close in fact, that you just know you're not going to get the response or reaction you need from them right now. Or it's all so draining and you just don't want to get into all the details with them right now. Or you're afraid if you start telling them something, they're going to keep annoying you for updates, or it's someone who's got a big heart and an even bigger mouth and the whole family/ office/ neighborhood /supermarket / school/ post office / gym / yoga studio will know your business within the hour.

So, if you feel guilty because you're not ready to share with those people closest to you--- get over it. Because you know if your gut (that's the spot right above where the doctor keeps poking) keeps telling you not to talk to this person about it and then you finally give in and talk to this person about it, the next feeling out of your gut will be: "I knew I shouldn't have talked to this person about it!"  

I'm not saying this will be easy-- especially with people you have historically shared everything with or people you see or talk to all the time. Acceptable answers to their proddings should be short: "I'm really not ready to discuss it now." "I'm fine. It's nothing to worry about." "It's kind of personal."

And to this question: "When are you going to have children?" I like this response: "We're working on it." People like things that sound dirty.

Even if you have to tell them more than once, a reasonable person will give you your space. An unreasonable person will ask you every day trying to wear you down. The appropriate response to them is:

"Mind your own fucking business." Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please check out my little eBook of my own personal bout with infertility & treatments: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. It's been downloaded by 1000s of infertility sufferers, their friends, family & medical personal. 66 reviews on Amazon. amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/ Also on Nook & Kobo

Let the Grilling Begin! (Tuesday)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Preparing for the long weekend ahead and the mandatory Memorial Day barbecue: The unofficial start of summer for grill gluttons and beer guzzling alcoholics everywhere.  (Start with Monday's post if you can.) The perfect place to celebrate Memorial Day weekend for me would be at a monastery where the monks take a vow of silence: The ideal barbecue: Plenty of food and no talking.

And even if there was talking, nobody would be talking about their kids, and there'd be none running around (perhaps there'd be some running around at an apartment complex a half-mile down the road with a connecting underground tunnel to the monastery, but nobody would likely bring that up at the cook-out.)  

But since most of us don't have many monks attending our block parties, we have to work with what we got.

Sometimes as infertiles, you hold your breath as a big wingding approaches. "Will people ask us personal questions? Will we have to explain why we have no kids yet?"

No need to worry this time. For this weekend's barbecue, don't be concerned about the baby-making details. And don't bother buying a cattle car full of beef, pork, or chicken either. Look around the neighborhood. Plenty to grill right here. 

"Hey, look, it's Joan from down the block! Hi Joan. Glad you could make it.... So, Joan,  I've been meaning to ask...:

How much are you selling your house for? Is it really $440,000 like it's listed online? I mean, I'm sure all the other neighbors looked it up also.

I mean you can't really expect everyone to drive by that sign every day for six years and not go onto the realtor's website and search your address. I mean, it's not like we don't know the address.

So are you really asking $440,000 or is that some sort of a bargaining sales ploy? I mean you're not really expecting to get that are you? And it's been the same price for six years. I mean I know the housing market's in the toilet...But six years? And $440,000? It's kind of a pipedream...you know...maybe even a hallucination.

I mean, it's not that we're all nosy, Joan, it's just that we're all curious to know what houses in this neighborhood would be going for.

I mean, most of us are comparing your house to our own, and figure if you could get $440,000 for your termite-infested one-floor cramped mess, which by the way did you realize it's listed as three thousand square feet?

I mean, even if you count the garage, the deck , the hammock out back, and the mailbox, it couldn't possibly be three thousand square feet.

So do you really want to sell or are you just listing it to further piss off your ex-husband who built the house with his own two hands and lost it in the settlement when he ran off with that hula instructor?

Like I said, I know it's not really my place, but I just figured while we're standing around in this relaxed friendly atmosphere on this holiday weekend just chatting... and grilling...      

Listen, I gotta go. The long weekend's only a few days away and I've got to go buy some deck furniture.... and build a deck.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Something To Read If You're Having Issues on Christmas (Saturday)

Hi there! Okay, so what kind of an obsessive nut blogs on Christmas/Christmas Eve? I mentioned on Friday's post that I'm going to be posting a bonus Saturday article for Christmas in case it's turning into a particularly trying day for you. So this article is written by a woman in St.Louis who has suffered through infertility and is a licensed counselor who now helps those also stuck on that same sucky voyage.

I was lucky enough to receive a lot of great articles from experts in the infertility field who wanted to contribute to my month long "Get Through the Holidays...Any Way You Can" theme to help readers do just that. I certainly hope you've enjoyed their articles and found some comfort and valuable information in them.

But this article from Tracy Birkinbine was different. It's informative. But most of all it's a deeply heart-felt account of what she went through one Christmas during her own infertility battle. I think she speaks for many. Hopefully her raw, honest, emotion will bring you feelings of support and of not being alone. If you need a little uplifting after you read it, please come back to the main blog and read over some of my usual shenanigans. Hopefully you can get a smile or two.       

Here's where you can find Tracy's article. I'll talk to ya again on Tuesday.

http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

Meet Tracy: http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=960

When I Have Kids, I Won't Be So Lame (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Better cram all the laughs in now before a schmucky relative arrives and says something you fail to see the humor in... And if you dare, please subscribe to this blog. You'll get weekly blog updates and back story of the posts... and I'll get a positive shot to my otherwise low self-esteem.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Parents who torture us with their holiday photos. Sears portrait studios have been posing kids the same way for fifty years. Sit sideways, right arm over left or the ol' "lean your chin on your hand" number. Nice wintry background. Oh, it's not really Aspen in December? It's just a screen pulled down behind the kid at the photo studio at the mall? I don't believe it!  It's so life-like.

How come you never see my favorite: "Winter in NYC" background? What's wrong with posing cherubic tykes in front of eighty cars parked on a city street, buried under an avalanche of gray snow, courtesy of a snow plow?

I'm always surprised people don't dress their kids in holiday attire for the class photos in September. (Yet another lame thing parents-to-be should make note never to get suckered into.) Parents have to pay up front, usually like forty dollars nowadays for school pictures. You may as well Christmas the kid up and let those thieving bastards do your holiday photos for you while they're at it.

That's another lame rip off that parents seem to fall hook, line, and sinker for: The obligatory annual mall photo shot with Santa. They wait in line for two hours for the privilege of paying seventy dollars for a few snapshots.

Okay, I know I'm from New York and not everybody thinks like us. But if you're waiting in line for hours for your turn, at some point wouldn't it occur to you to just take the kid's hand in one hand and your digital camera in the other and kind of nonchalantly mosey past Santa, lean your kid over the barracade,  and yell : "Everybody smile!', snap the pic and keep on going? Something to keep in mind for your future holidays....

I know, if you're doin' the shots, and hormones, and pregnancy tests and all of the initials: IUI, IVF, ICSI... you wish you had these lame decisions to make. And the odds are good that someday you will get that opportunity. So, what can we do in the meantime to counter the onslaught of  holiday baby photos?

Here's a great fantasy thought: Why can't everyone equip themselves with their own bogus photos? It would not only be the counter attack to having unsolicited photos shoved in your face, but people would be so confused, they wouldn't remember to say thoughtless things like: "So, when are we going to be seeing baby photos from YOU?" Wink, wink. Elbow, elbow.

You can buy just about everything online nowadays. There should be a site where you can buy standard "child-with-santa-hat" photos. Because, let's face it: In those photos, all children look pretty much alike. Wouldn't it be great to have a stack to hand out like bake sale flyers?

I'd personally buy the assorted collection that has every combination available: The Asian toddler. The blond-haired, blue eyed eight year old. Will Smith on a "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" Christmas episode. The more ridiculous the better. Just hand them out and keep walking,  enjoying the tidal wave of BS behind you: 

"I didn't know she adopted." "I didn't know her husband was Korean." "I didn't know she had twins: One white, one Filipino." "I didn't know she was old enough to have a teenager. Isn't she like twenty-two?" "I didn't know she's been to Nepal. Look, that's Mount Everest in the background!", "I didn't know Joe Jonas was her son!...Wait, she only has one son? I thought Joe Jonas..." 

As I often quote the great Bonnie Raitt: "Let's give them something to talk about". And I'm not just saying that because that's the only song I ever got right in two years of watching "Don't Forget the Lyrics".   

This week, I'm lucky to have an array of great Health and Non-Health Experts who have contributed their writing on the "Get Through the Holidays...Any Way You Can" theme.

Take a look at Shari Stewart and Julia Krahm's (from the Stewart Institute) wonderful article at http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

And Eloise Drane from Family Acuity at: http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=1623 

Listen, I gotta go. Christmas is in just two days and I have to book my breakfast reservation at IHOP. I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

"When I Have Kids, I Won't Be So Lame" (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Cram in all the laughs you can before the relatives arrive and tear your house apart. Also, there's a new page here at Laughing IS Conceivable. The "Non-Health Experts". Take a look and see what the hell it is. http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=1623 Aren't you the least bit curious? Oh) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The things friends and loved ones subject us to during the holidays that make us consider wiping them off our "friends and family" phone plans. "Yes ma'am, I'd still like to have the phone plan, I just don't want to be associated with any friends or family at the moment.  But I'm sure I'll replace them eventually."

This week in our: "When I Have Kids, I Won't Be So Lame"..especially around the holidays... theme:

Goal #1: "When I Have Kids, I Won't be Guilted and Suckered into Tipping Everybody During the Holidays"  

You know, I don't think I'm cheap. (Of course, does anybody cheap ever think they're cheap? Unless it's one of those jerks who's actually proud of it.)  And I've seen cheap. I'm not talking poor. I'm talkin' cheap.

Like the kind who goes to dinner with a group of friends. All eat meals of similar value. The check is split down the middle, tax and tip included, and yet somehow when the bill gets to the last person, there's not even enough money to cover the check itself. Hm, how do you suppose that happened? Could there possibly be a bastard among us who just shifted everyone's money from one hand to the other and handed off the check to the next person without actually contributing anything? 

Or do you possibly have a friend whose bowel is tip intolerant? Every time the members of the party are figuring out whose turn it is to leave the gratuity, he or she gets a sudden attack, then runs into the toilet and slams the stall door shut until the whole ugly ordeal has been settled.

No, I'm talking about parents who give cash prizes or gifts to everyone even remotely in their child's life: The teacher, the teacher's assistant, the guy who comes in early to turn the heat on, the elderly lady who volunteers in the children's section of the public library, the ballet teacher, the tap teacher, the piano teacher, the gymnastics teacher, the soccer coach, the baseball coach.

Basically I believe there are two driving forces behind parents giving: 1) Bribery 2) Fear of Retalliation.

Sometimes it's no different without kids being a factor. My husband goes to the same woman to cut what's left of his hair every month. Last week he asked me: "How much am I supposed to tip this person? The whole haircut is six dollars."

But if he doesn't give her a big holiday tip, come January's appointment, she might shave F. U. into his scalp. (I knew someone who worked in a pizza place. When a guy gave him a hard time on the phone, he spelled that out in anchovies,  then delivered it to him.)  

I don't know about you, but I don't think that I'd want to be the type of parent who bribes people.

"Merry Christmas Mrs. Stevens! Just a little something for you for doing such a great job with the chorus. I know Elyse has a tin ear and can't couldn't carry a note if it had handles, but it really would be great if she was the star soloist in the next recital, if you think it's best of course. Well, happy holidays! Enjoy your $600 Saks Fifth Avenue gift card!"

"Happy Holidays Mr. Marcus. Bobby would really like to be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season. I know he hasn't been to a practice all season and the one time he tried to throw a pass he dislocated his shoulder, but he'd really like that. Okay, well you're the coach. It's your decision. Happy Lexus! I mean Christmas!"  

 I might be a parent who gives to avoid retaliation though:

Like maybe I like the teacher and one of the teacher's assistants but I don't care for the other teacher's assistant with the nasty streak. And maybe that nasty streak could have a little vindictive streak to it. And she's the one who distributes the snacks and will continue to do so in the new year. So to avoid my child getting no cookie, the broken cookie that nobody wants or the cookie that fell into the toilet just before snack time, I just as soon spring for an extra Scooby Doo Chia Pet.     

Why don't we make a pact among us: In the spirit of the holidays--miracles, hope, faith--every year we'll tell all of those people who touch our present and future children's lives:  "Happy Holidays. In the spirit of the season I've said a prayer for you." Just let's not be shocked if the response is: "Thank You" to our faces and "What is she kidding? Where the hell's my chocolate?" behind our backs.

Listen, I gotta go. The post office closes at 5 on Friday. I'd better get in line.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow. And please take a look at the new holiday article by Eloise Drane from "Family Acuity." http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=1623

Infertility, Holidays, & Coworkers: 3 Full-time Jobs (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. This week is all about co-workers. You may want to forward some of the posts to them...or maybe not... Well at least look them over before forwarding with the subject line: "Read this and thought of you."  And if you so desire, please subscribe to this blog. You get nifty weekly insider updates and get to hear what I really think of my own posts...not as boring as it sounds..geez I hope not anyway.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How the fertility-challenged among us are reluctant to go to the company holiday party, and, lo and behold...so are most people.

As we've discussed this week, the reason most of us are nervous about going to these parties, according to me anyway, is because at work you're expected to talk about work. The company party is the one time a year when there are (supposedly) no managers, supervisors or employees...No back stabbing,  no letters from the boss saying: "Bonus?! You're lucky you have a job."  No favoritism. No sht list. It's almost like a religious retreat. Just chums, buddies, comrades, and friends.  And friends talk to each other about their families...and introduce you to them.

And let's face it: If your buddy/chum/friend who also happens to be your manager every other day of the year shoves her new baby in your face it's not so easy to say: "I'm sorry, but I'm really not comfortable with this." and just walk away. On the other hand, never underestimate the power of imperfection. What I mean is: She's your boss and she has this new baby, but you have no idea what else may be going on there.

Years ago, my husband and I went to his company party at his boss's house. I'd heard he had not only a beautiful new baby, but a beautiful wife, and a beautiful home (and it was a beautiful home from what I could tell from the roped-off area the employees were restricted to).

My husband pointed out the suspects from across the room: "That's him. That's his baby. That's his wife. And that's his girlfriend. Get it? Did you catch what I just said?"

So there I was all evening, turning from chartreuse to lime to forest green, and I shouldn't have been because true, we didn't live in a mansion on a mountain top and we didn't have a new baby; My husband didn't have his own company or a million dollars-- but he also didn't have a girlfriend. And you know how I know he didn't have a girlfriend? Not only are we still married, but he's still living.

Personally, I think it's okay to just be cordial to the "big" bosses at these functions and keep it moving. Meet their kids, their wives, their husbands, their lover/caterer and move along. Forget how ill-at-ease you are around their kids, who wants to hang out with your boss? The longer you schmooze the greater the chance you're going to talk.

Maybe this is just me and you're more discreet and less paranoid than I, but I always assume that the more I talk, the more words are going to come out of my mouth. And the more words that come out of my mouth, the more words the boss will be able to string together and, in one way or another, use against me for the rest of my employment.     

I don't know. You and your boss may be soul mates.  But most of the "big" bosses I've had in my life come over and shake my hand at the annual party: "Nice to see you" but truth be told, they couldn't pick me out of a three person line-up. One December I swear they're going to come over with their handshake and their "Nice to see you" bit and I'm going to say: "Oh really? What's my name?"  Let's see them break eye contact to discreetly scan my clothing on the outside chance I pinned my ID badge to my little black dress.   

If you have another moment, please look into Psychologist Andrea Braverman's article in Health Experts on the theme of the month: "Get Through the Holidays Anyway You Can". She's an amazing asset to the infertility community. http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

Infertility, Holidays & Coworkers: 3 Full-time Jobs (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. If I do say so myself, yesterday's post wasn't half bad. I can't vouch for the other forty-nine percent though.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The people we work with, some of whom know our reproductive secrets. 

Most of us don't readily spill our guts to just anybody at work. So when we consider who might be a good candidate to confide in we might ask ourselves: "Is this a caring person? Is this a person who will be sympathetic and sensitive to my situation?" Wrong! 

If you want to tell somebody at work your infertility business there's only one soul-searching question you have to ask yourself: "Will this person get plastered at the company holiday party and float my secrets down the River Rum?"   And for that matter: Will my spouse?Seriously, if your husband or wife, partner, (or however you refer to that other person intimately supporting your conception efforts) doesn't handle liquor well... Look out! Nothing's worse than having your husband or wife, partner (do I really have to go through the whole list every time?)..

Nothing's worse than having your, let's say husband, accompany you to YOUR company party, make a fool out of both of you on Friday night in front of all your coworkers, colleagues, supervisors etc., then Monday morning, the only one out of the two hundred in attendance who doesn't remember what he said is him and you're left in charge of clean up in the wake of Hurricane Husband.

If you and your spouse haven't yet shared a romantic evening of public intoxication, you'd better practice before the company party so you know what to expect. Over several days, do a little private research, a taste testing... and keep good documentation:

Okay...

First up: "Mimosas"

Result: Subject refused to drink. Just looked at me and said: "If you want to know if I'm gay, why don't you just ask?"

"Beer"

Result: After three, subject propositioned me. End of testing for the evening.

"Mixing shots and Beer"

Result: Subject asked if my ass had always been that big. Most distressing part of result: He had opened the front door and was standing on the porch yelling the question to the neighbors. 

I'm not saying to go unescorted to your company party, just that it's lucky most of you won't be drinking: (Banana Daiquiri with a Clomid chaser is probably a terrible idea)  Because you have to be both the designated driver and the designated observer.

You don't have to stand there and count your husband's drinks. Just keep your ears and eyes open. The second you see him put his arm around your boss and hear him say: "I know I'm fine. My boys are great swimmers. Mostly they like the breast stroke. Oooh do they love the breast stroke..." you'll know how many he's had... A few too many. Time to find your tickets to the coat check.

Don't delay...Don't wait to see what other surprises he may have up his sleeve or you'll find yourself cleaning up that hurricane on Monday morning. Next thing you know, you'll suddenly feel the death of a dear dear relative coming on and decide a leave of absence is in order. All because your husband has mastered the art of chugging Long Island Ice Teas and talking at the same time.

Listen, I gotta go get a mixed drink. Okay, I don't drink at all. Never have. My idea of a mixed drink is Cherry Coke. Could you imagine what I'd be like if I was out of control and just blurted out whatever came into my head? Oh right. No imagining necessary.

The theme for this month has been: "Get Through the Holidays...Any Way You Can". Take a look at a new article up there in the Health Experts. It's by Psychologist Andrea Braverman. http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

"Sharing the Holidays with Close Friends- Who Needs It?" (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. We're in the thick of a huge holiday bash here. We're bashing our relatives. We're bashing our friends...b'dum bum. ) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. When our friends come up with the fab idea of having their big events, like weddings, during the holidays. There's an optimist for you. Obviously they're not taking into account divorce statistics or they wouldn't get married on Christmas and set themselves up for future "I'm so depressed", "How could I have been so wrong?" "I want to shoot myself" Christmases.      

These holiday events, of course, can be a good thing for us, the infertile guest. The traveling nuisance, the financial nuisance, the rearranging your schedule nuisance. You're so wrapped up in the sheer inconvenience of it all, it could be a nice distraction. (And a wonderful excuse to relatives: "I'd love to come to your house for Christmas and watch your eight kids in their matching red sweaters sing along to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD again this year...I just have this wedding...Aw. I wish I could. I really wish I could. But I can't. See ya.")

As for holiday parties in friends' houses- I've never fit into one yet. First I was single. So everyone felt sorry for me because I couldn't snag a loser like they did. So people would ask: "Who'd you come with? ...oh right."

Then I was married and people would huddle together and talk about their kids and some yutz would ask us: "You still don't have kids do you? Why not? What are you guys waiting for?"

Of course I wanted to say: "I'm waiting for you to stop talking. Do you think you can manage that?"    

I think a big contributor to my terrible time at these parties was that I don't drink. I'm sure if I could have stuck my head into the punch bowl and stayed there blowing bubbles all evening, the parties would have really been fun. I could have shown up equipped with little boats and duckies and made a night of it.  

And yet I preferred to be around the people who knew nothing about my infertility and asked impertinent questions because they didn't know any better, than my jerky friends who knew my deal.

My friends tip-toed around all things remotely fertility-related. They were all so self-conscious about saying something dumb in front of me that they couldn't help it. It would always end up turning into the "oh crap" party. 

"Hungry Lori? I made some deviled... oh crap."

"Did you get that toothpaste coupon I emailed you? It's a great deal: For three dollars you get  two giant tu...oh crap." 

"You're not going on vacation with that guy Steve are you? I wouldn't go anywhere with him period!... Oh crap."

"Let me just run up and check on the wash. Last I looked it was in the spin...Oh crap."

"I just read such an interesting article about Darwin's principles of ovulation...Oh crap."

So, for the whole night, for really no good reason, they'd be so nervous they'd all be walking around on... oh crap.

Listen I gotta go. They're lighting the town Christmas tree tonight. It's really a big deal here. Not quite the one in Rockefeller Center though. I tower over it. And I really shouldn't. If you tower over the town Christmas tree and you're 5'2", there's a problem.

I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

"Sharing the Holidays with Close Friends- Who Needs It?" (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. That's when I'm usually full of energy (or full of something). By mid-week I lose my luster. My posts may not be brilliant, but you might find my daily decline entertaining. And consider becoming a subscriber. I send out weekly emails. You can witness what shape I'm in on the weekend.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. How instead of lamenting our infertility situation and being envious of our friends with kids, we should focus on the facts: How incredibly dull our friends become during the holidays.

Never is this more evident than in their greeting cards. Bad enough we have to see the one big happy family all dolled up in their holiday best. Must they also sneak in their annual: "Our Family's Year in Review"?

If you've been fortunate enough never to have received one: It's like the New York Times "Week in Review", except instead of being "All the News That's Fit to Print", it's "All the Boring Sht That's Fit to Flush".

 

And they never sum up their whole year of tedium in one sentence: 

"2010 was a great year for the Gibsons! Hope it was for your family too!"

No, they have to go month by excruciating month. And of course they have to highlight the dullest details they can dig up. 

January:

Leslie started gymnastics! The teacher says she's a natural! Maybe she'll be in the 2015 Olympics!

(Okay, not only am I already bored, I'm already offended. There are no summer Olympics in 2015.  Is it so hard to "Google"? Geez, how can you be boring and inaccurate in the same sentence?)  

February

In addition to gymnastics, Leslie started dance class. She takes tap, jazz, and modern. The teacher says she's a natural! Maybe she'll be on "So You Think You Can Dance 2025!"

(Or maybe she'll be on "Cops" getting cuffed for selling crack: Rebelling for being forced into a life of extra-curricular activities at such a tender age.)

March

Stephen is on the honor roll for the first time!

(I suppose it's easier to just make note of that in March, than mention the dozens of  previous months when he didn't make the honor roll. There also seems to be no mention of him in April, when, sources tell me, he reverted back to being an imbecile.)

If you've got to send us this nonsense (and I don't really see why anyone would), could you at least throw us a bone and include some of the juicy stuff?

January: My husband Frank nearly drove us all into a tree watching a twenty year old in size zero jeans cross the street.

February:  I tried to return an ugly night gown that Frank bought me for Christmas. The manager at JC Penney said I waited too long. I got a little upset and security had to escort me out. It was really no big deal. Made the local papers though. 

March:  Got the phone bill. Our son Stephen apparently racked up $1200 calling 1-900-lick this. 

April: I won the bake-off at the state fair with my chocolate chip cookies! I wonder if I should have mentioned that they were Chips Ahoy. 

May: Frank hired a new guy to cut the grass. A real cutie patootie.  He could mow my lawn anytime. 

But nobody ever gives us anything like that to hold us over until the next year. Every December I walk to the mail box like I'm walking to the electric chair. The driveway is my Green Mile. I open up the mail box and take out the contents, my hands trembling: " A bill, good. Another bill, good. Another bill, good. A greeting card from Lisa.  ( I suck in my breath.)And I see several folded sheets of paper in the envelope. Shoot me."  

Listen I gotta go. I have to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas". My husband taped it for me last night. So if you know how it ends, don't tell me.

Be sure to check out a new article on surviving the holidays by psychologist and social worker

Irene Celcer: http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

I'll talk to you tomorrow.

"Sharing the Holidays with Close Friends-Who Needs It?" (Tuesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. I don't really remember what I wrote. Could you maybe take a look and let me know if it was any good?) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Holidays. The time of year when your friends become your "friends".

When I was going through infertility treatments, I always felt especially low at this time of year: Low in self-esteem, low on holiday cheer and particularly low on my friends' priority lists.And everything high on their priority lists was something I really dreaded discussing:  Buying gifts  for... the kids. Buying holiday outfits  for... The kids.  The holiday TV shows that we grew up with that they watched last night with ... the kids. (Didn't this used to be a humor blog? What the hell happened to me?)

Conversations like: "Mikayla wants this new special edition (Prostitute Barbie, Butch Barbie, whatever it was- who was listening?..Oh good, I'm back)..." 

And the conversation went on and on and on: "I've tried online but nobody has that Barbie. It was $105 at Macy's but I heard it was $95 at Toys-R-US. Anyway, I've got to run home. We're going to see Santa. This will be the first time Sean has seen him. I'm going to dress him up in this adorable onesie I bought that says 'Grandma let me eat Santa's cookies'. Isn't that cute? Do you think I should take the kids to a place to get their pictures done for the holiday cards or should I just use the ones from the mall?"  

With each passing word, I wanted to rip another facial feature off of her face because: 1) She has children to run around and do all this crap for. 2) She'll have adorable photos to keep forever. 3) She's squandering $95 on a  doll for a three year old when she could be supporting the Fertility Clinics of America. Make the check out to me. Trust me, one way or another, they'll get it. 4) She brought back the memory of me ringing her bell early one Saturday morning years ago, and her husband opening the door wearing some Dr. Denton onesie pajamas. I'd hoped I'd repressed that memory forever.     

We spend so much time feeling so excluded during the holidays and so separated from our friends that we forget one very important thing:

Our friends are at their absolute most BORING during the holidays. We want their company but we shouldn't. They're a total drag to be around. Nowhere is this more evident than when they send us holiday greeting cards. No, I don't mean the card itself or what they've written. It's what's so cleverly slipped inside the card. No, not a gift card. That would be nice.

"Hey look, Honey! Mia sent us a $10,000 IVF Center gift card! Look what it says on it: 'This Season, Put Your Money Where Your Uterus is. Happy Holidays: From Our Family to Your Future One!'"   

No, what I'm referring to: Does anyone else ever receive, from their friends, especially those who live far away---the much dreaded annual: "Our Family's Year in Review" insert?

Let's talk more about that tomorrow. I've got a whole chubby stack of 'em from years gone by stuffed into my "W" file. That's "W" for "Who gives a .....?

Listen, I gotta go. There are only two more days of Chanukah left and I'm way behind on my overeating and artery clogging.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow. In the meantime, if you like what you just read, please consider becoming a subscriber to my weekly updates. If you don't like what you read, take a look at "The Health Experts". There's a new article from Iréné Celcer about surviving the holidays. She's a psychologist and social worker and she's definitely not me. Maybe you'll like her better. http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

"Out of the Roaster and into the Frying Pan" (Friday)

I know I know I'm late posting again. I was frying potato pancakes for Chanukah and the hot oil got me in the arm and I had to be rushed to the hospital. There's nothing worse than a third degree latke burn.  (Start with "Monday" if you can. You need a break from your online holiday shopping.  Listen to what I'm saying.  Between Saturday and now, you've managed to memorize all of your credit card numbers. It's a bad sign.)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Spending the holidays with your relatives... and their friends.

So which is worse: Being around relatives who may already know about your infertility or at least suspect...or their friends who are total strangers and know nothing?

Believe it or not, people who know you well are easier to deal with I think. Like I said yesterday: Two-way street. They know you have no kids. Maybe they know there's something up. But you've got dirt on them too. Just keep answering their questions with questions. Keep the chat movin'.

"Weren't you doing those fertility shot treatment things?"

"Weren't you taking 'increase your IQ' classes"?

"Do you feel uncomfortable around pregnant women?"

"Do you feel uncomfortable around smart women?"

"Are you still going to the same doctor?"

"Are you still going to the same high school?"

But friends of your relatives...nothing. You've got nothing on them. No ammo. I mean you can always just take a shot in the dark and hope you stir up some trouble. It would definitely take the focus of the conversation off of your issues.

"Hi I'm Mary. I work with your cousin. These are my kids. Do you have kids?"

"Mary...Mary... Aren't you the one who has a divorced-with-benefits relationship with her ex?"

"Hi I'm Paula. I live next door. I'm a nuclear physicist."

"Oh wow, that's interesting. I've never met a nuclear physicist before."

"Do you have kids?" 

"Wait. My cousin mentioned you. Didn't your name used to be 'Paul'... and you had a wife named Sue?"

"Hi. I'm Jackie. And over there are Jayden, and Jaylen and Jamie and Jason... Do you have any... "

"Oh right. Jackie. The crack whore."

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  

Listen I gotta go.  It's the third night of Chanukah and my husband and I are going to play our own version of "spin the dreidel".

I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

"Out of the Roaster and Into the Frying Pan: Oh the Joyous Holidays" (Wednesday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. You may as well. We're 3 days deep into the cyber-buying season. This is probably the only site that hasn't crashed--Oh great. I had to go and say it.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The Great Wall of dopes who mowed their way into JC Penney and wherever else at 4am last Friday...for no good reason.

My holiday, Chanukah, starts tonight. For the uninitiated, unsure, and uninterested: Chanukah involves some basic  traditions passed down from generation to generation. Not one of which is positive. 

So what do we do if family members ask indiscreet questions about our lack of children? We just throw them on the pile with the other hundred annoyances. (Toss either the relatives or the indiscreet questions. Whichever) More on the conception aspect in a moment. First a little holiday background info.

No good Jewish holiday goes without disputes. You know how the trend is to say: "Let's agree to disagree"? We've never heard of that. We agree to argue.

Jewish holidays always start at sundown. That in itself  causes conflict. If somebody tells you the holiday starts on December 1st, your next question is always: "The night of the 1st? Or the night of the 30th? Is the 1st the first day or the first night? What the hell are you trying to tell me?!"

Then there's the lighting of the candles: The menorah. If, like our ancestors millenia ago, you choose to use an electric menorah, you stick it in your window for your neighbors to either admire or throw rocks at. Argument number two: You turn on (technically screw in) one bulb each day: From right to left. Do you screw them right to left or should it look right to left for the person admiring or rock hunting? 

Then, at some point during the festivities, the touchy "having kids" subject rears its ugly head. 

The beauty of being badgered by a Jewish family especially the older generation is you never have to answer their questions. You couldn't if you wanted to. They talk over you and fight with each other- even when they're on the same side. 

There will be a great debate about your procreation but you won't be invited to participate even though you're standing right there. That's because the conversation is lightly veiled as being about you. But it's really about them. The relatives care about you having children but mostly they care about how you not having children affects them.

"If you want kids, you'd better get moving. I want to see some nieces and nephews before I die." (Nice holiday chatter isn't it? Little piece of trivia: 99% of all Jewish expressions end in death)

Then the great debate about you having babies begins. But not with you. They'll debate amongst themselves. If you want to be a part of it, you may as well get yourself a whistle and some penalty flags.  

"Aren't you going to have kids?"  "Of course she's going to have kids." "What's her rush to have kids?" "Why do you want her to have kids? Your son's such a prize?" "Ugh I could tell you. A real bargain. Nothing but aggravation that one. Did I tell  you he has a girlfriend?" "I don't think he has a girlfriend." "I'm telling you he has a girlfriend." "I'm surprised. I didn't think he liked girls."

The best part of the holiday is when you're all gathered in the kitchen making potato pancakes (latkes). Nothing reflects the spirit of the season more than a group of jews reaching from across the kitchen with spatulas trying to turn the latkes without burning their arms on the hot oil hopping out of the pan and, being unsuccessful, yelling: "Ow! Jesus Christ!"

Listen, I gotta go. It's almost time to light something and burn some skin.. and debate over the correct spelling of Chanukah or is it Hanukkah?

I'll talk to ya again tomorrow.

The Great Thanksgiving Roast (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. Read a day at a time. It's a good way to get a break from the relatives. Every half hour or so,  tell them you have a stomach cramp and slip out of the living room and into their computer chair. You'll send a wave of panic through your family as they realize the implications of someone hogging the toilet on this day of all days.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. Keeping your spouse close by for the entire Thanksgiving hellfest. There is strength in numbers. And if someone asks you an embarrassing question, you can just shove him in front of you to deflect it.

"Helen, you're not doing any of those fertility treatment thingys are you?..."Dave? Where did Helen just go? I could swear she was just standing right there, where you are now."

I also think, there are still in 2010 some things people won't say in mixed company. This can definitely work in your favor. Women probably won't mention your menstrual while your husband's around.

Just like, when you're in the vicinity, men probably won't bring up their highly scientific theory on the culprit behind your husband's fatherhood issues: That time in 1989 when they all went to the beach during spring break and your husband sat on the scorching hot sand with a way too short speedo.

So, if you're a man and a woman together at this function, you've got it covered as long as you hang together. If you're a same sex couple... hopefully just showing up together still freaks out the most annoying of your relatives enough that they'll never even get around to bothering you about the trying to conceive part. Hold hands a lot and gaze into each other's eyes lovingly if you have to.     

For everybody: When you sit down to dinner, choose your seat wisely. Don't be the first to sit down at the table. You'll be stuck with whomever sits down next to you.

What happens if it's your aunt who whips out a newspaper clipping on endometriosis she's been carrying around in her purse since July 4th when you dodged her at the family barbecue? 

If somehow this does happen, however, don't despair. Simply get up, go do something (get a spoon, read more of my blog...whichever), then return to the table and "absent-mindedly" sit in the wrong seat.

You don't have to sit next to your spouse, but you should definitely be within deflection distance of each other. And both of you need to keep your ears perked up for key danger words. For example:

Aunt with the article in the purse sits next to you, and in between stuffing stuffing into her teeth and unwedging it with the back of a matchbook, she tilts in your direction. You're not sure what she's about to do. She could either be internally rearranging the four glasses of club soda she chugged, or worse: She's about to talk to you. You hold your breath waiting to see out of which end the noise will emerge.

Your husband appears to be immersed in his slab of cranberry sauce, trying to decide what is proper Thanksgiving dinner etiquette: To turn it can imprint side down before tackling it or leave it as served. But his ears are wide open and zoning in on your aunt like he's the Bionic Woman.

And she speaks to you:

"Oh (okay, the word "oh" seems fine.)

"did I mention" (no objection so far)

"that my neighbor's daughter" (Warning: Lights begin to flash. I know my aunt. She wouldn't be telling me about this girl I never met unless she's  either having a baby or is a prostitute.)

"is" (Husband reaches for nearest bowl.)

"pregnant?"

"Peas?! Aunt Yenta, do you want peas? Does anyone at this table want peas? How about down there? How about you? How about you? How about you?"

Deflection. That's the name of the game. It's not really a family dinner. It's fricken air hockey.    

Listen, I gotta go before the  tryptophan kicks in and I fall asleep on my keyboard. 

I'll talk with ya again tomorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

The Great Thanksgiving Roast (Monday)

Sorry for the late post today. I'm doing a couple of practice turkeys. The first one fell on the floor. The second tumbled into the sink. Now, I assure you, you have my undivided attention, before I go rinse them both off and pass them off as clean.....At first it seemed disgusting to do that, but then I decided to take the one falling into the sink as an omen. So this week, at your Thanksgiving brouhaha, the turkey may be roasted but you won't be. I simply refuse to let it happen.

You won't be roasted (or grilled) by the relatives on whether or not you're finally pregnant, if you're really trying to get pregnant, if you've taken a vacation recently to unwind, or been to a doctor...

Or spoken to cousin Kathy who has six kids because she must be doing something right...

Or if maybe you're husband isn't doing "it" right...

Or do you want me to move over so you can sit next to pregnant cousin Marianna because maybe you'll catch it "stupidity, stupidity, don't know what else to say to you so I'll say some more unimaginative, stupidity, stupidity, and... more stupidity" 

No, you will not be grilled, roasted, or fried by the end of this holiday. I will not permit it.

So this week, in the frantic rush of getting ready for Thanksgiving we're going to take it very slowly- one step at a time.

Each day of this week, yes, including Thanksgiving Day we, who have been down this black hole before, as a group will tackle the holiday and your relatives right here at Laughing IS Conceivable.

(Yes, I feel during Thanksgiving week it is especially appropriate to use "tackle", a football reference... and truthfully, aren't there at least one or two of your relatives whom you'd love to see a group of angry infertile women throw to the ground and hold down on the front lawn until someone blows a whistle?)

From dealing with whether or not we should even attend these heinous holiday shindigs to--if we go:  who to hang out with, which rooms to avoid, who not to sit next to, and how to divert the conversation without blatantly cursing people out (though that would probably do the trick. Let's try it out:)

"Do you guys still want children?" 

"Screw off".

Yeah, that could work.

Listen, I gotta go. I've got to go downstairs and rinse off my birds... and pull down the shades so there will be no witnesses.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Infertility News. Story at 11 (Monday)

"IVF Kids Score Higher on Tests Than Non-IVF Kids"; "Two Men in UK charged with Providing Donated Sperm Without A License"

 "Why Older Women Have A Harder Time Having Healthy Babies".

There's so much going on in the Infertility News that occasionally I like to take a week to discuss it all and mock the majority of it.   

And to be honest (not that if you've read my blogs before you'd ever take me for a "Sugar-Coater" or "Beater Around the Proverbial Bush"), sometimes I need the headlines for inspiration because I'm totally at a loss for words.

I mean, having absolutely nothing to say has never stopped me from talking, or writing, or giving my opinion, or taking a stand, or bawling someone out, or objecting at a wedding, or butting into someone else's discussion, or mumbling at a poetry reading, or commenting on a stranger's phone conversation, or interrupting a eulogy or anything...

If anyone ever tossed one of those profound old sayings my way: "The fool speaks; the wise man listens." I'd probably respond with: "Okay, so anyway... what was I saying?..Now you made me lose my train of thought."

So, yeah, sometimes writing a blog 5 times a week can be hard...never tedious mind you... I love every second of it to death...but hard...

One may inquire: "Who told you to do it that often you moron?"

And then, if that 5 days a week business wasn't enough, you people expect me to be funny...

One may inquire: "Well what jerk sets themselves up for that expectation by putting the word 'laughing' in the title of their blog?"

Those headlines at the very top of this post are true current headlines. So, yeah maybe my creative juices need a little juicing up once in a while...Or maybe this is the week that the headlines were too good to pass up.

Sometimes you write humor. Sometimes a brilliant scientist, an unwitting public, or a talented journalist does it for you.

Listen I gotta go. I taped the Sunday afternoon football games. If I don't watch them all now, the Sunday night game will be upon me, then Monday Night Football will be here. Then I think there's a Thursday night game. Then if I might decide to watch the college games on Saturday. Then it will be Sunday again. I'll be backed up until Halloween. 

If you get the chance: This week's featured "Health Expert" article is: "Infertility Feelings and Emotions: Differences Between  Men and Women"  by Counselor Tracy Birkinbine http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

Hail to the Clueless! (Friday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. If you're reading this in an air-conditioned room what's the rush? It's the first days of autumn and most of the U.S. is still 92 degrees.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. Infertility-related comments our loved-ones make to us: The insensitive and the insulting. The inane and the insane. I think after mulling over them the past week, I finally realized what all of those remarks and advice have in common. 

Let's review for a moment some of those silly, annoying and sometimes harmful statements that people say to us. See if you see in them what I see in them :

"I don't have a minute to myself. You have no idea how lucky you are you don't have kids!"

"My cousin's a terrible mother. Maybe you could have one of her kids. (ha ha ha)"

"You're so stressed out. You should learn to relax"

"We kind of have opposite sides of the same problem. You can't get pregnant and I can't stop getting pregnant!"   

"You're not doing those infertility shots are you?"

"There are other things in life than being a parent."

and the old stand-bys: "Go on a vacation. People always get pregnant on vacation." "Maybe you could adopt", "What's your rush? You still have plenty of time to have a baby" 

To me, every one of these statements and a million others all mean exactly the same thing. They all translate into: 

"I have no idea what to say. I barely even know what you're talking about. The whole thing kind of freaks me out. I'm feeling extremely uncomfortable right now. I wish one of us could just disappear." 

So instead of vomiting that onto your new sweater, they just pull anything at all out of their... "A" file... Every single one of those statements adds up to nothing more than Rectal Rhetoric.  They're blowing us off.

In order to deal with the comments and the commentors appropriately, I think we have to be clear on which of three categories these Glutteus Philosophers fall into.

1) People we're close to who honestly wish they understood our plight better, but are sad, confused, and frustrated. (Back to them in a sec.)

2) People we're close to who honestly can't handle our plight or for whatever reason don't want to deal with it.

This is a hard pill to swallow: Forget these people-- for now anyway. Sure it's stressful that someone you really care about doesn't seem to empathize or want to get involved in this part of your life.

But it will probably be ten times as stressful if  you spend your time begging them to get involved, expecting them to react a certain way, and telling them over and over how wrong they are.

Maybe one day you'll know their reasons. Maybe they don't even know their reasons.  Doesn't matter. You've got enough pressure on you right now. If you're not getting what you feel you need, there are plenty of fast friendships waiting to be made in support groups.

3) Proximity Partners: People who are neither close friends nor relatives but they know your business because they happen to sit next to you at work and they either heard something through the grapevine or in a weak moment you poured out your heart to them and asked for advice because they happened to be the only one in the room at the time of the outburst. 

Any and all insensitive, insulting, insane and inane remarks from these people can be dismissed with one quick directive:  "Shut up and go back to your cubicle."

Why seek comfort and advice from this person? You've never before cared where she got her lunch, her shoes, or that husband of hers.  Now that you've got something that could potentially be juicy office gossip she's decided you're soulmates? Screw her. Bye neighbor. Go mind your own monitor.

Back to those people who really care about you and your situation but don't know what to do or say.  Tell them what you need even if it's: "I really don't want any advice. I'm really upset and I just need you to hear what's going on with me." 

Besides all of the great information that's out there to hand to them (sites like  http://resolve.org ), I've always found that it helps to compare infertility to something they might already understand better. 

"Infertility isn't about choosing to have a baby instead of going back to school. Infertility is about treating an illness so you can live your life to its fullest. Like diabetes."

I spoke at the beginning of the week about trying to convince my parents for decades that having a career in the Arts was a good idea. I was going nowhere fast with it.

But my parents were pretty open-minded liberal thinkers and I knew that my father believed that homosexuality was already a part of your makeup at birth and not some bandwagon you decided to climb onto in college because it seemed cool, like dying your hair blue.

So one day I said to him: "Dad, being an artist is probably a lot like being gay." And he said: "But Lori, gay people don't choose to be gay. Oh."

I think he finally got it.

Listen I gotta go. I have a date with my husband tonight. I'd better go sit in the car in case he changes his mind and tries to sneak out.

I'll talk with ya again on Monday.

Check out Clinical Social Worker, Ellen Glazer's article "Stress Causes Fertility" this week on The Health Experts page. http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

Hail to the Clueless! (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. I know I will. I'm always curious to see what I wrote.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. My depth of cluelessness on a number of topics and the dopy (yes, clueless) things our relatives and friends say to us on the ultra-sensitive "infertility" topic.

My next contribution to my cluelessness catalogue is my short-term memory issue. I have no short-term memory. This can prove embarrassing. 

In a previous post I mentioned that I work heavily with the public. Somebody could scream, curse, threaten me with my own stapler and storm out of there.

Ten minutes later they're back and they don't even look familiar to me until they pick up the stapler again. The stapler being waved in my face... I feel like I've seen that somewhere before. 

I've read that of all evidence gathered during an investigation, the police try to rely least on eye witness testimony because it tends to be the most unreliable evidence.

I'm living proof of that. I'd be totally useless at a trial. I could watch someone beat down your car with a tire iron for a half hour, make a video of it, and still swear in a court of law I never saw them before in my life.

If I didn't get the hint by which table they were sitting at, I might just as well finger you as being the perpetrator.

So here are more dopy things people say to those who can't conceive and my responses. Feel free to use them. Though you may feel it necessary to be politer than I.

Dumb statement #1:

"Oh, I don't have that problem. My husband just looks at me and I get pregnant."

Possible Response #1)  Prove it.  Telepathic Insemination you say?. Let's see him on "America's Got Talent". If he can impregnate Sharon Osbourne, then I'll believe it.

Possible Response #2) I've heard he's always looking at women online. I wonder how many cyberspace kids he has.

"You're focusing too much on getting pregnant. You have to think about something else."

Okay, now I'm focused on you being an imbecile and the snacking I could be doing instead of wasting my time with this little chat.

"Maybe you just weren't meant to be a parent"

I'm sure I wasn't meant to be doing any job I've ever had, but I did them anyway.

"All you have to do is relax and you'll get pregnant"

I don' t know. I'm pretty relaxed during sex. I've even fallen asleep once or twice. So far, nothin'.

"I wish I had your problem. I get pregnant too easily."

Then my friend, it's time to tie it, burn it, or dip it in cement. 

"You should adopt. My friend's friend's sister-in-law adopted and then she got pregnant."

I've heard that happens a lot. I've always wondered, maybe you'd be the person to ask: They start with no kids and then adopt and then get pregnant, so, not to be crass, but I've always wanted to know: What do they do with the extra kid?

Listen I gotta go. I've been thinking about those snacks I could be eating since I wrote that line a half hour ago.

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.  Be sure to check out clinical social worker Ellen Glazer's article in "Health Experts" this week: "Stress Causes Fertility" http://laughingisconceivable.com/?page_id=642

Holidays: I'm Not Convinced (Wednesday)

So, what were we talking about? Oh right. This week is filled with holidays for me. From Labor day to Rosh Hashanah, (the Jewish New Year). Yesterday we were talking about how the infertile among us dread holidays and despise family functions. And my theory (my Masters thesis) is that most people, those with normally functioning reproductive systems included, also hate going to these wingdings. And this is why:

Approaching holidays fill us with expectations: Expectations to be happy, to celebrate, to be around family, to skip down memory lane, all of us together, hand in hand.

But then, when we turn over the engraved expectation list written in dainty gold calligraphy on perfumed stationery, and on the other side, scribbled in leaky pen with a mayonnaise stain on it, is our dirty little real expectation list.  

We expect that everyone will get to together. We expect that most don't want to be there. Most are there because they don't want to be the person who's talked about behind their back. 

We expect that at least one person will say something to humiliate himself and at least one person will say something to humiliate someone else.

We expect some cousin to tell you how well he's doing in his business even though everyone present, even the kids, know it's B.S.

We expect some aunt to tell you how well her kid is doing and everyone else to be thinking: "Does she really not know he's a loser?" 

We expect some to over-drink and all to over-eat.

We expect all the food will be great while we're  sitting within earshot of the person who brought it and most of the food will stink when we all talk about it on the drive home. 

And we expect at least one person in each vehicle to put in the request:

"Remind me not to do this again next year."

But those with infertility issues also expect scrutiny and being judged and being made to feel uncomfortable:

Personal questions, embarrassing questions, extremely "not-anybody's-business" questions.

And I'm here to remind you that, while all of their baby plumbing may be functioning correctly, your dear relatives have plenty they don't want to talk about either:    

So, remember:

Don't ask  your cousin Brian why he's 40 and still living with his college roommate. 

Don't ask your uncle Steve why he was on the news with his jacket over his face

Don't ask your sister-in-law Brenda why she lives in a mansion and drives a BMW to the food stamp office

Don't ask your brother-in-law Sam how he failed his driving test four times and his GED three times

Don't ask your mother-in-law why every time she makes her "special-family recipe" stuffing, there's always an empty Stovetop box in the garbage

Don't ask your second cousin Bill why he spends his days collecting disability and training for an ironman triathlon

And the ultimate goal for the family festivities: After the whole debacle is over, be that person in the car who says:

"Remind me not to do this again next year".......And then write it on your appointment calendar so you don't forget!

Listen I gotta go. If you don't get to the cake early at a Jewish family function, you could starve to death.

Holidays: I'm Not Convinced (Tuesday)

This will be a short blogging week for me. (If anyone just said "Yeah!", or "Woo-hoo!" or gave a double thumbs-up sign, I swear I'll come out there and slap you.) It's just that I find myself this week sandwiched between holidays. (As Yom Kippur, a day of fasting, approaches, you'll be hearing me use more and more edible vocabulary. I crack under the pressure this time every year.)

I frankly have some problems with holidays in general. If you read my Mother's Day posts in May, you'll know this to be true.  

And for those with fertility issues "going home" for the holidays, whatever holiday it might be... even labor day... (and why do they have to call it "labor" day anyway damn them!)  can really freak us out.

How can you not dread the family firing squad?

1) Are you still trying to have a baby?

2) You're not doing that fertility drug stuff are you?

3) Oh great you're pregnant! Or have you just gained some weight?

And the kids running around making you feel like their parents are flaunting them: Throwing them in your face.

And the whispers right before you walk into the room or just as you're leaving it.

And worse... the ones whom you know are dying to grill you like a cheese sandwich but talk about nonsense to avoid the big white elephant in the room.

They don't talk about your teeny apartment because you might think they mean: "You have no kids. You don't need more room."

They won't ask if you've gone back to school because that might imply: "You have all this free time because you don't have kids."

They don't talk about the war in Iraq because someone might mention all of the sons and daughters that people have lost.

They don't talk about yard sales because everyone associates yard sales with getting rid of baby clothes.

So they look down at their shoes, mumble a half-ass compliment about your nail polish and off they go.

Let me tell you something: Newsflash! I really do think holidays with their big family brouhahas are largely dreaded by MOST people: Infertility and non-infertility sufferers alike-- no matter how much they deny it.

And this is why: A lot of people only get together with their extended families once or twice a year: Labor day barbecue, Easter let's say.

There are a lot of skeletons that can accumulate in a closet between those two annual get-togethers.

So many in fact, some families should consider moving their big Christmas shindig to Halloween.

So what do non-fertility sufferers not want to talk about at family functions?

Tomorrow we'll rattle some of those bones and see what pops out of their closets... Who knows? It could be a cross-dressing uncle. Or perhaps a kleptomaniac cousin.

Listen I gotta go. I have to start fasting now: A week before Yom Kippur's fast...so that I'll fit into the dress I want to wear on Yom Kippur. If I wait until the Yom Kippur fast, it'll be too late. 

I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.

When You Don't Fit Into The "Baby Club", Be Your Own Hero (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can. It'll take you back to a simpler time (three days ago) before news of Bristol Palin's engagement had thrown your life into a tailspin.) So what were we talking about? Oh right. The "Baby Club" or more precisely: How to completely shut out the most important women in our lives for the entire duration of their pregnancies.

Of course, if my ideas yesterday of hiding, ducking, avoiding and running away from your pregnant cousin, next door neighbor, and coworker seemed too extreme for you, you can always go the childish route:

Every time they try to talk to you about anything baby-related, stick your fingers in your ears and hum. "What? MMMM Sorry, I can't hear you. MMMM"

Or play a game of "Hide" with them. It goes like this: They hide.  That's it.

You never "Go Seek" until either your infertility issue clears up or they're child is in high school.

I think the most important thing to learn about this whole "Baby Club" BS is that there are a lot of other clubs to join.

I know you desperately want to be a part of this club. You want to be a cheerleader and I'm telling you to join the stamp collectors.

I'm just suggesting that while we're all so busy running away from our pregnant cousins, next door neighbors and coworkers, shouldn't we be running towards something fun and interesting? 

And I'm not talking about  infertility-related groups.  They definitely have an important place in all of this, but would those clubs remedy this situation? And ask yourself: Are those clubs interesting? They're sure not fun.

"Oh, you didn't make cheerleader either? There are a bunch of us: That girl with the broken leg; the one who can't do a cartwheel to save her life; her sister who's hair isn't long enough to put in a ponytail; the girl with small pom poms. Yeah, we all got rejected too. Ho hum. Wanna join our club? It'll be fun, I suppose."

My husband and I decided to take a break from bemoaning the fact that I wasn't pregnant yet, by grabbing every opportunity to do things we might not be able to if we had a newborn to care for... never knowing if that time could be almost upon us. 

We ran away for cheapy little day trips. We saw lots of movies, read lots of books, (nothing even remotely reproduction-related) and went to every concert in the park no matter the music (okay, we drew the line at the New Kids on the Block cover band. I knew I had two choices here:

1) Not go at all or... 2) Listen to my husband say, thirty or forty times: "You're kidding me right? This is a joke. You're really not going to make me sit through this. Right?)    

It's totally understandable why this pregnancy is ruling the lives of our cousin, next door neighbor, and coworker, but should it be allowed to rule ours too?

Listen I gotta go. I'm riveted to the developing Bristol Palin story. I have to go turn on the TV in case there's a breaking news bulletin. I fear a tweet simply couldn't do it justice.

I'll talk with ya tomorrow.