Coping with Infertility and Pregnancy Loss: Blogs, Books, Movies, Music and other Resources


In the past couple years, I've benefited so tremendously from other women sharing their stories online. Now after I've had time to deal with things privately, I feel a responsibility to 'out' myself as infertile and as someone who has experienced pregnancy loss. Plus, keeping quiet it is tiring and I'm tired enough. Our prognosis is good but we've had really painful setbacks in the last few months. We will just keep trying. I know that someday, some way we will be parents.

I might share my story a bit more later, but in the meantime here is a list of resources that have helped me cope.

Some of these might be helpful to anyone who is working through some hard stuff in life. If you are reading this and have other resources that have been helpful to you, I'd love it if you would share them in the comments.

Blog Posts on Infertility
  • The Journey: Part Two at Super Hero Life - Andrea captures it. The coffee guilt. The stress guilt. The Western medicine/alternative medicine guilt. The things people say without (usually) meaning to be insensitive. It's all here. This post is how I learned about IUI and that there were options before IVF that might work for us.
  • I am Infertile and The End of Infertility? at Yeah, Write - Angie does a wonderful job of sharing what it's like to be infertile in her first post, and then in the second post about how adoption cured her childlessness but not her infertility. She includes a couple beautiful poems on grief. "Grief remains one of the few things that has the power to silence us. It is a whisper in the world and a clamor within." - Anne Quindlen
  • On Being In Your Thirties at Elements of Style - A friend posted this on Facebook. Erin wrestles with how much emphasis to put on trying to get pregnant in light of other goals, and the hard parts about not having children in your thirties. "The inevitable follow up question came…'Do you have kids?'"

Blog Posts on Miscarriage or Pregnancy Loss

Resources
  • Resolve, The National Association of Infertility - A friend's mom recommended Resolve to me, so I joined the online support community. It has made a HUGE difference in my mental health. Every day, someone else is going through what I'm going through and this is the place to connect, to vent and to get some encouragement and information. They also have in-person support groups across the country and provide information and advocacy for better health insurance laws regarding infertility. We've been lucky that so far our treatments have been covered, but living in Michigan we will not be so lucky if we need IVF.
  • The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust in the United Kingdom has a very comprehensive website. The FAQs page is particularly helpful.

Videos and Podcasts

Books
  • One Good Egg: An Illustrated Memoir by Suzy Becker - I love everything about this book. It's really funny and so right on. And I love that she's a lesbian and she went through so much of what I am going through as a straight person. We're all human. The book is illustrated too - amazing. She covers the very scary ectopic pregnancy experience which I read and then re-read recently.
  • A Field Guide for Now: Notes on Mindfulness and Life in the Present Tense by Christine Rosalie - She writes short, thick descriptions of her everyday life and her attempts to live in the moment, even when life is scary or messy. And she's a talented multimedia artist, which I love. This one is actually a lot about motherhood, so it may not be the right book for someone who is infertile but I read it with the mindset that someday this will be me while centering myself on my here and now.

Movies
  • Away We Go - The first time we watched this a few years ago we related to it because they were trying to find their home, a place to start their family. We watched it a few weeks ago, and halfway through I said, "The couple in Montreal with the adopted kids. I forgot that she had miscarriages." The scenes captured it, both the woman's and the man's perspectives. It's really brilliant.
  • The Other Woman - Natalie Portman takes her pain out on everyone around her and it's delicious to watch. Warning though, this one is about infant loss. It's raw. There's an interesting scene between her and a friend who experienced infertility and miscarriage.

Music
  • So Hard by the Dixie Chicks. And who doesn't have a guilty pleasure for celebrity mag articles, especially when they are truthful.
  • I Was Made for Sunny Days by The Weepies - For when you need a pick me up and a good cry all in one. "I may deal with gray, but I didn't stay." (She does mention a baby, but again I listen to it with the someday-this-will-be-me attitude.)
  • Bad Day by REM - For when you need to rock out a little on a bad day. And watch Michael Stipe play the harmonica and dance a silly dance with blue paint on his face.
Hang in there. Luckily I've had a ton of support from family and friends and hope you do too.

If you have a friend or family member who is struggling with infertility and miscarriage, all they need from you is a message every once in awhile to let them know you're thinking about them. She (or he) might not want to talk about it. Or they might want to talk about it, and just might not know how to bring it up to you. Mainly, they need you to listen and not give too much advice, unless they ask for it. In general, an email or text or card to let them know you are thinking about them is all you need to do to be supportive. This post on Rage Against the Minivan about talking with an infertile friend has some good tips.

7 comments:

katielicht said...

Thanks for being so brave to share this. I hope it's been good for you to open up and be honest about your struggles... I think taking things out of the darkness into the light is always a good idea. I'll be thinking of you and wishing you and your family all the best.

Stephanie said...

Love you like crazy. You amaze and inspire me every day and I know your story will be a comfort and inspiration to so many.

Elizabeth Downie said...

Thanks for writing about this. I'm sure things will work out for you guys, but I can only imagine how stressful this must be.

The other day I was looking at cookie cutters at a store, and the sales clerk came up to help me (why, I have no idea - i didn't need help). And after a bit, she said, "You have kids, right?" I was so annoyed. I wanted to say, "NO, OK!?!" and run out of the store really dramatically. But instead I just said no and silently seethed. People can be very insensitive. And I haven't even gone through the trials you're going through! I can only imagine how tough it must be.

Luckily, you're a tough cookie. :) I'm here for you if you ever need to talk or vent or just eat ice cream!

Sara said...

I totally agree with you Elizabeth. The "Do you have kids?" question is only a little harder to the swallow than the "Why don't you have kids?" question. Or the even more insensitive "You should have a baby."

Rachel said...

Sending some love your way, Sara. With the way you handle life in general, I have no doubt you will face what lies ahead with strength and grace. And you are so right. Sometimes you just want someone to listen. That in itself is such a comfort. Big ol' virtual hug to you.

Wood said...

Thank you so much for sharing. You and Matt are in our thoughts all the time. We feel lucky to have you as neighbors, and know that the two of you are going to make the most amazing parents.

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