Thursday, April 21, 2011

Get To Know- Guest Author

My name is Kim and I have been a member of the infertility community for nearly nine years. My husband and I threw out the birth control pills a month after our wedding and will soon be celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary, just the two of us. My emotions surrounding infertility have evolved as I’ve grown older.

At the start I was in a lonely, quiet panic - one that must be kept a secret, for admitting one's infertility is like admitting you’re a sexual failure or something equal to it. I felt guilty and somehow thought it was my fault - perhaps I didn’t pray hard enough to be heard, didn’t eat well enough to be healthy, wasn’t relaxed enough to get pregnant.

In my mid-twenties infertility became an issue to overcome in alternative ways. Increasing restlessness and the pursuit of major achievements became my way of coping. Maybe a doctorate degree, joining the Peace Corps, teaching overseas will give me my purpose? Perhaps an all raw food diet, eliminating dairy and meat, drinking herbal concoctions might be the solution? Alas, none of those things or the mere pursuit of them has helped, resulting in unfinished projects and a continued sense of failure.

Then I turned 29 years old, a year before 30, and I was no longer able to ignore the fruitless attempts to quiet the desperate desires of my heart. Off to the world of reproductive endocrinologists I went with a smile of satisfaction on my face that this would be the answer to my problem. The doctor said to me upon my first visit that he would see me pregnant “within six months”. Yeah... right.

For the past eight of those infertility years I have felt utterly and entirely alone and isolated - left to deal with my anger, worry, anxiety, and frustration on my own. And then I went online.

I have noticed that this epiphany is one that many in the infertility community experience. We feel isolation, the loss of former friendships, social anxiety, frustration, ignored (and its ugly stepsister, ignorance), and then for the lucky ones, we find a community of individuals who understand and support us. For me, the community I found was Resolve’s online forum, “Inspire”. Through this site, I have built friendships, celebrated successes, mourned losses, received advice and offered some to those who needed it. For the first time, I felt fully supported and realized that I was not the only one; my experiences were shared by many.

While being an active part in this community, I began to notice themes. I’ll bet if you visit Inspire, you will see some of these themes on the homepage news feed on any given day - loss of important friendships, best friends behaving like Momzillas, family members being insensitive, and along with those things, further isolation and loneliness.

It was because of these continuing themes that I decided, with the strong encouragement of other infertile online friends, that our community needed a way to socialize that could be safe (from ignorance), fun (opposite of infertility), and promoted new friendships. This is how The Ladies in Waiting Book Club came to be.

The Ladies in Waiting Book Club is a book club for (mostly) women who are experiencing the many losses those with infertility face. We are a diverse group of individuals experiencing: primary infertility, secondary infertility, pregnancy loss, pregnancy after ART, donor reproduction, childlessness, and adoption. We gather online together daily to discuss books we have chosen (both infertility related and not), share related ideas (recipes, music, art, crafts, humor, to name a few), and make new friends.

The Ladies in Waiting Book Club is strong in its support and advocacy. We support each other through contests and giveaways, participating as a united front during National Infertility Awareness Week, (April 24-30) and giving voice to new authors in the infertility community.

The Ladies in Waiting Book Club has been my way of giving back to my infertility community which, for the first time, gave me the kind of hope, friendship, and unwavering support I had so desperately needed.

Visit Kim's blog to learn more. The Ladies in Waiting Bookclub.

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