Its My Blogaversary!

 

Maybe Mama Blogaversary v2

 

 

Today, Maybe Mama is one!

A year ago, I decided to not just let this blog be an idea, but to actually do it! I didn’t know exactly what to do, or what to say (I still don’t a lot of the time), but I knew that I wanted to share my story and my experiences. I wanted to change the conversation. Hell, I just wanted to have the conversion about women suffering with uterine fibroids and infertility, especially within the Black community.

I wanted to create a space where women can talk about their struggle to conceive and not feel ashamed or misunderstood or be pitied. To talk about battling fibroids and not be dismissed because it’s not that serious”.  A space to talk about all the crazy things that life throws at us and not feel alone. I wanted a space to call out Black women in particular: you don’t have to suffer in silence, my sister. Too often we suffer or carry burdens in silence and alone, not thinking there is someone else out there who is right where you are.

If we, as women, don’t speak up, how can we advocate for funding for research, insurance mandates,or educate others on these and other conditions? How can we support each other if no one will step up to say “I’m going through this now too” or “I went through this, you can talk to me.”?

But more than anything, I wanted a space that was fun. Dealing with infertility and other medical conditions can be a lot. Sometimes, you just want to laugh even in the middle of struggle.

My goal is and will be to educate, support, and uplift women.

Admittedly, I have fallen short. Balancing a full-time job and other commitments (throw in wedding planning now!) with regular blogging can be a challenge, but it is a challenge I am more than ready for!

I hope to go into year two learning more about women’s health, and the art of blogging. I want to reach out to others, bring awareness, grow this blog.

 

Thank You to anyone and everyone who has followed, commented, re blogged, or just stopped by.

Special thanks to Word Press for the Blogging 101 class, and all of the resources WP provides new and established bloggers.

Asking the Serious Questions

I been thinkin, I been thinkin...
I been thinkin, I been thinkin…

 

From the “Let’s be honest with ourselves” files, I want to talk a little bit about questioning the process. Sometimes, I think about all that is in front of me to get pregnant and become a mother, and I ask myself:

Do I really want to do this?

The sacrifice of time, sleep, body, money, and sometimes, relationships, for at least the next 18 years?

Do I want to to torture my body with numerous injections and pills? Do I want to be poked, prodded, and explored on a regular basis more than I already have?

Do I want to watch my bank account slowly drain as I pay for meds, doctor visits, scans, and tests? Adding extra stress of incurring (more) debt, working extra jobs or extra hours. I jokingly say by the time we get pregnant, we won’t have any money to actually raise the child.

What about the emotional stress? There is no guarantee that a cycle of IVF or IUI will work. How many times will I be able to take a “No”. How many times could I take that heart break?

The actual pregnancy and labor? (Or c-section)

Maybe some of these questions come from fear. Maybe I’m trying to talk myself out of wanting something to avoid disappointment if it doesn’t happen. Who knows.

I do feel guilty for asking these questions, like women aren’t supposed to question motherhood. You’re a woman, you’re supposed to be a mother. Period. No questions asked. Society puts a little guilt trip on you when you don’t have children (which is why it can be so hard for people to constantly ask why you don’t have children, when its not really your choice), and even more so if you actively choose not to have children. You’re branded as selfish. Is it really selfish though? Will you be bound to be seen as an outsider of womanhood by not giving birth?

What are the answers? I don’t know. I don’t have a definitive answer for any of these questions. My thoughts and feelings today may be different next week. Next month. Next year. Hell, in the next 20 minutes.

I think its important to ask yourself (an your partner) these questions, especially with all of the extra effort and financial investment us Maybe Mamas face. I think those of us in the fertility struggle have the advantage of really having the time to ask these questions before pregnancy happens.

The only things I know for sure are: What will happen will happen, and its OK to ask questions. About everything.

 

No that I’ve ruined your Saturday with deep thinking, I’m off to enjoy a Cinnabon.

Some Days are just Bad Days

I try to keep everything pretty positive around here. I generally have a positive but realistic attitude about life in general.

I haven’t yet began to dive I to my fertility issues here, but today, I’m going to jump ahead a little.

Two weeks ago, I went in to speak with my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist, a doctor who specialize in fertility) about her analysis of my current situation after some tests and information form my surgeon. She gave her thoughts, but the basics were that we should start the process sooner rather than later, and IVF would be the best bet. She ordered a blood test (AMH test) to check my ovarian reserves, (eggs I have left).

 

It took this chick 3 sticks to actually draw blood...
It took this chick 3 sticks to actually draw blood…

Well, today I got my results, and they weren’t that great. My level is at a .6, which is below average for my age.

 

I am extremely disappointed and sad. I allowed myself to cry for the first time in a long time about my infertility, because it all got a little more real today.

The journey is not over, and I know I will bounce back and keep pushing, but today is just a bad day. It was not the result I was hoping top hear.  However, I wouldn’t be true to the purpose of this blog if I didn’t share this experience.

 

Please visit the following links for a full explanation of AMH testing and how it relates to fertility

10 Facts about Anti-Mullerian Hormone Levels (AMH)

Anti-Müllerian Hormone (Including Graph)

 

We’re Starting to Talk About It…

mothers-day-sad

If you follow this blog or have even come by once to check it out, you know that one of my main objectives here is to get the Black community talking about infertility. Too often we as Black people feel the need to suffer (whatever it is)  in silence,  or deny that “we” have a problem, which in some cases is literally killing us. (That is a whole post by its self!)

Blackdoctor.org has a great post about Infertility in the Black community.

Not only do Black women suffer infertility like any other group, according to this piece, our rates of infertility have increased over that last few years. Yet we don’t want to talk about it because we don’t want to be judged? While you’re worried about someone judging you, the woman/ couple next to you is probably going through the same thing. Imagine if you lifted each other up instead of going through it alone?

Its hard to talk about, I know, and not everyone has the right to be up in your business, but don’t suffer in silence. There are women just like you out there. You are not alone.

 

 

Lets Be Real: Baby Envy

Whaaat?! Congrats, girl!!
Whaaat?! Congrats, girl!!

 

Let me take a moment to be real: If you’re facing fertility issues, you have mixed emotions about pregnancy announcements and babies. You just do. Well, I do, and I know I’m not alone. Its a strange roller coaster of emotions that start with excitement and joy, then lead to sadness, anger, resentment, guilt, indifference, acceptance…then back to joy and excitement for your friend/co worker/family member. The really crazy part, it this all happens in the span of 10 seconds, while you have a smile on your face. Its like one of those Martin Scorsese freeze frames.

Excitement
Obviously, you’re excited for this big announcement! After all, no one knows how special pregnancy is more than you. You know that there are really only about 3 days in a month that you can become pregnant, and for this to happen naturally without really trying is truly an amazing miracle! You’re glad the family is growing. The smile on her face is priceless. But then….

Sadness

You can’t help but be a little bit sad, because her happiness reminds you of your struggle. It feels like you will never get to this moment; sharing the news that you are about to give birth to a tiny human. Another one bites the dust in your circle of friends. The number of child free girlfriends has shrunken by one, and you’re increasingly on the outside of your own circle! How did that happen? And if this announcement now makes you the only non-mommy in the group…ugh! Goodbye girls nights, hello kiddie parties, and more comments and questions: “When are you gonna have a baby?! You’re the last one.” The thought of this conversation takes you to the next phase:

Anger

You just get pissed off! Why isn’t this happening for me?! What did I do wrong? She doesn’t even like kids! This isn’t fair! You just get mad at everyone. Mad at her. Mad at you. Mad at your spouse. Mad at the doctor. Mad at God. Mad at your lady parts. Mad at the flowers. Mad at the sun. Mad at your laptop. You’re just mad! And frustrated. And exhausted.

Resentment

Your heart is broken over the fact that your journey to mommyhood has been less than smooth. In fact, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get there at all. The desire is so strong to bring life into this world that this news makes you feel even more anxious and the longing becomes more intense in that moment. So this brings on…..a tinge of jealousy.

Guilt

Now, you just feel bad about feeling bad about good news from someone you care about. You feel like the worst friend in the world.  “I’m a horrible friend!” “How can I be jealous or angry at her for having this wonderful experience?”  “Friends aren’t jealous of friends!” This is the apex of the emotional roller coaster you’re currently on.

Indifference

Now you just try to protect yourself from all of the feelings you have and from outwardly being the crappy friend that you are in your mind right now. You start to remove your emotions. “Good for them.” “Their baby doesn’t really affect my life that much.”  “It is what it is.”

Acceptance

Now you’re at a place of understanding and acceptance. This is happening. To someone you love. You want good things for her and her family. You’re going to be as supportive as you can be.

Excitement

Now you’ve come full circle and are back to being excited. Its still a painful, but you know that she’s been waiting to be a mom too, and now is her time. That smile makes you smile, and when your friends/family are happy, you’re happy. You hug and smile and get all the deets on the new little one on the way.

 

I think the key is to acknowledge that you have these feelings. Its OK to feel this way for a little bit. But not forever. Don’t hold on to the negative feelings. Go home and have that cry because you’re sad. Talk to your partner or someone about how you feel if you don’t think you can talk to the new mom about it. When you’re ready (NOT when she makes her pregnancy announcement), if you think its appropriate, talk to her alone and have a moment of honesty.  If she doesn’t know your struggle, fill her in and let her know that you love her and are happy for her, and you will be there for her, but there are times this may be difficult for you. If you don’t think it’s appropriate to share your situation or discuss how you feel with her, don’t.  Don’t steal her joy. Wait a few days or weeks after her announcement to have this conversation. Let your feelings even out so this can be a productive conversation.

The bottom line is, you will have feelings when those around you get pregnant. Its OK. Give yourself the space and time to have those feelings and then get back to life.