weekly summary, vol. 26

PAIL Posts This Week:

  • Traathy‘s Monday Snapshot this week featured Kristen of Buck Up, Buttercup and her sweet little toddler twins! Pop over to the Monday Snapshot to catch a glimpse of the cuties, get to know Kristen, and check out the other PAIL Bloggers who chimed in with their own Snapshot post links.
  • Josey found an article for us about embryo donation and some of the ethical issues it presents. This is something I knew very little about when I read the article, and I find the myriad legal complexities of this issue alone to be fascinating. Go check out “Embryos for Donation: Where are the Ethical Boundaries?

Featured Posts:

  • SRB drew our attention to a recent post by Chon of Life Begins about guilt in new motherhood and the struggle to find our voices (out loud and as bloggers) to process and talk about it. Read more in her post “hello– updated.”

Special Project:

New to the Blogroll This Week:

  • Maggie of iMags (Intended Mother After Gestational Surrogacy): I am a full-time working mom of 6 year old twins, made from me and my husband, conceived through science, grown in a “borrowed oven;” born December 2006.
  • Life in the Fruit Basket: I’m a 29 year old unemployed art therapist, living with my husband, our new baby twins (Apple and Banana), and two cats in a small apartment in a big city; born September 2012.
  • CrysHouse of A Life in Ordinary: The exploits of one woman who fails to change the world in any significant way but still manages an interesting existence–if every day life could ever be called such; due March 2013.
  • Amanda of Reading Each Page: Pregnancy After Infertility (PCOS), due May 2013.
  • Do you know someone who could benefit from the PAIL community? Send them our way!

Stay Connected:

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featured post: “hello – updated” by chon

I haven’t been the best blogger lately, or the best commenter either. I have a lot of things that I would *like* to write about, and many blocks that are “preventing” me from doing so. And as for commenting? Lately, posts have been nailing me and I need to return a few times before I can think of what to say. Sometimes, I end up saying nothing at all. No good.

So, I read this post, “hello – updated”  by Chon at Life Begins the other day, and I had to put the phone down and have a really good cry. Not because it’s sad! Because it is so brutally honest about the guilt we carry around as mothers (not to mention how that can affect us as bloggers). Instead of commenting, I sat down and emailed Chon to ask if I could feature it here instead. This is important.

Chon begins her post:

I haven’t lost my mojo as such but when you’re infertile there is always something to be pissed off about which makes for a great blog post. Then you always feel bad when you want to write a post about your baby and what happens after. Infertility gives you baby rose coloured classes and it isn’t always like that.

This. This is hard, for many of us now pregnant or parenting I would imagine. Do I sound ungrateful? Am I complaining? Am I rubbing it in? But here’s the real rub – this part is difficult too, and the guilt that comes along with admitting that it is HARD and not all sunshine and roses can be paralyzing. Can be devastating.

It’s been tough.

I have been so ashamed of introducing a bottle of formula I haven’t been able to write.

I feel guilty a lot. Even though I have this amazing daughter and even though I know I am really good at this parenting stuff these other things bring up intense feelings of guilt and regret and wishing I knew better.

When I wrote to Chon to ask her if I could feature this post, I mentioned that I appreciate her bravery in posting this because the guilt I felt over many things when HGB was about Molly’s age really messed me up. How can I feel so guilty, so incompetent, so… not into this when this is all I ever wanted?

HGB and Molly had different issues, but the weight thing… OH LORD HAVE MERCY! This I can relate to. My son is a Skinny Mini. I felt SO MUCH GUILT about this for so long, even though I *know* I cannot force him to eat. I felt it from myself, for my spouse, from reading what other kids of a similar age weighed. And you know what helped? The one thing that was the hardest for me to do: Talk with other mothers. Mothers who reminded me, over and over, that all babies are different, with different genes. That I am doing the absolute best that I know how to, and if I need to add something in, that’s okay too. He’ll be fine, and I’ll be fine.

I want to mention something else Chon said to me too, and something I think we could ALL be reminded of – “I think I do a good – no a great job with molly but it doesn’t erase my guilt”. Girl, AMEN. We ALL do a  good, no a great job, but that doesn’t erase our guilt. Is guilt just a part of motherhood? Probably. We all want the best for our children, but the best is impossible. Cognitively we know that, but “good enough” can often feel “less than” when it comes to your precious child. It’s not letting it eat you that is key. But how do we do that? Well, it’s something I am doing right now, on twitter, as I finish writing this post:

One thing I feel I have learned from this is that we say it takes a village to raise a child and then these days it is only us as parents that raise the child but when our village tries to intervene and give advice we get so defensive and pissed off and all this is my child I know what I am doing. But sometimes. Listen to that advice. Maybe they do know something. It wont hurt.

Sing it! When you are feeling low, guilty, overwhelmed, ashamed, or disheartened, honour that. Talk about it. Write about it. Write an email, or better yet a blog post to see if other women feel this too. Let people hold your hand for a minute the way you have no doubt held theirs at some other moment. It’s worth it. You are worth it.

You are a good, no, a great mother.

Please head over to Life Begins and read more about the brilliant Molly, her rad mum Chon, their challenges and successes. And give Chon a hug, because she’s awesome.

*****

Chon in her own words: Infertile. Now mummy to a beautiful little girl. Starting over. Looking at life. Remembering what it is like to be happy. I used to write over at My P.ath to Ins.anity & Beyond. No longer constantly insane. Actually smile a lot these days. Nicer person to be around. Happy to talk about my vagina and infertility to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

*****

Have you read something great around the ALI blogosphere this week? We’d love to be able to feature more of your posts! Please let us know by submitting the info here, email us, or shoot us a tweet.

Share. Visit. Read. Comment. Support.

news item: “Embryos for Donation: Where are the Ethical Boundaries?” by Carole of Fertility Lab Insider

Years ago, when I first started researching and googling because we were having troubles conceiving, Carole’s blog is one of the very first ones I came across. She has directed several fertility labs since 1995, and her blog is a wealth of information on all things fertility related, and I have always found her posts on everything from ART to the ramifications to the ALI world of pending political bills to be incredibly informative and insightful.

This week the post that grabbed my attention was one that she wrote about a lab that is now offering embryos via an egg donor/sperm donor cycle. She described it as follows:

Couples pay a set price –roughly equivalent to the cost of a fresh IVF cycle– to participate in the program and each couple gets two embryos from the pool of fresh embryos created using donated eggs and donated sperm in their shared cycle. None of the recipient couples have a genetic link to the created embryos. Any remaining embryos are frozen pending assignment to other couples outside the original shared cycle, defaulting to a type of custody or perhaps ownership (?) on the part of the embryo donation clinic until they are matched with a recipient couple. If a couple fails to become pregnant from the pre-paid cycle, they get another embryo creation cycle at no charge with a new egg and sperm donor. A brief description of the embryo donation program can be found on the California Conceptions website, but it is a little short on details.

Now I never did IVF, but from talking with many of you, I know that the question of what to do with the remaining embryos after family building is complete is a tough one. This takes it to a whole new level wherein the clinic would have effective “ownership” over these embryos before excess embryos are assigned to a new couple…and by extension, that clinic would have ownership over life.

Carole goes on to say:

Apparently, the means by which embryo donation is carried out is evolving beyond the simple traditional model which requires that we give some thought to what limits, if any, we want to put on the process of embryo donation. Should embryo donation be limited to donations from patient gamete-created embryos only? Is it ethically okay to design an (arguably) more cost-effective system to produce more “donor embryos” to meet the demand? I don’t have the answers. For me, the ethical way to handle embryo issues is  always to be fully transparent with all individuals involved and- as much as is possible–to look out for the best interests of the embryo’s future as a donor-conceived child.

Before commenting on this post, I highly recommend reading the entirety of Carole’s post because she raises a lot of really valid points and questions. Then come back here and let us know…

*****

What do you think about a business owning embryos?

What did you do / will you do with your leftover embryos? Was this a consideration for you when deciding whether or not to pursue IVF?

Do you think this is a realistic, ethical way to help with the possible shortage of donor embryos?

Is the cost benefit of this idea to IF patients a major or minor factor in your feelings about the issue?

*****

Share. Visit. Read. Comment. Support.

the monday snapshot – kristen

This week, Kristen of Buck up, Buttercup is going to open up the week for us with her contribution to the 12th edition of The Monday Snapshot – an evolution of the MMM feature, meant to bring the PAIL blogroll to life by giving its members a chance to feature themselves and make new connections. If you would like to be featured on The Monday Snapshot, please sign-up here!

*****

Hi Everyone! Happy Monday!  Hope all the Americans had a nice Thanksgiving!

SO excited to be part of PAIL’s Monday Snapshot. We spent the whole week last week at my brother’s house in the Colorado mountains (also the house where I grew up). Luke and Zoey, my twins, are eight months old right now and photos of them both facing forward smiling for the camera are few and far between (they are ON THE MOVE, every second it seems like). But love capturing how they interact with each other…one of the best parts about having twins. 🙂

XOXO

*****

Now, get to know a little more about Kristen with her answers to the Monday Snapshot “5 Questions”:

1) How long have you been blogging and how did you get started?

I’ve been blogging 2 years as of October 2012. In the months before I started, I’d been traveling for work a great deal/working insane hours to pay for fertility treatments, and I needed a creative project that was just for me and just for fun.

2) Tell us a little about your ALI journey and your family (3-4 sentences):

I tried to get pregnant back in the 1990s with no success (and no trips to the doctor to figure out what was wrong). Started trying again in 2007 and endured 2 surgeries, 5 IVF cycles (4 fresh, 1 FET), 2 chemical pregnancies, 1 late miscarriage, and finally, finally had twins in March of 2012.

3) What makes you unique in the blogging world? (e.g. special talent, rare diagnosis, life experience)?

I am super outdoorsy (or was before my kids were born, and will be again). I have a successful work-at-home business…trying to combine the best of the working mom and stay-at-home-mom worlds. I’ve also dealt with the devastating loss of my brother and best friend being killed at age 27 (and when we were living together), so I have a lot of experience with grief in addition to what I went through with infertility.

4) One word to describe yourself: 

Happy

5) What blog or website (IF or not) would you recommend to others? Why?

I love the blog Dear Baby such a sweet portrait of motherhood.

*****

As always, we want to see your Monday Snapshot as well, so please comment below with a link to your post– and of course, go visit Kristen at Buck up, Buttercup !

If you would like to be featured on The Monday Snapshot, please sign-up here!

Share. Visit. Read. Comment. Support.

weekly summary, vol 25.

PAIL Posts This Week:

  • We featured Ashley of Traditionally Nontraditional with a photo of her “nurses” while she recovers from surgery on The Monday Snapshot.
  • Jules shared a news item about looking back on our “infertility years” before becoming parents, and the toll it takes on us. One point that  especially spoke to me, the “life on hold”, putting off trips, no unnecessary expenditures, putting your entire life on hold, so you can do another treatment, or save for a treatment, etc.  Yeah, wow, that was me. Jules’ review and the article itself are a wealth of thoughtful reflection so if you missed it be sure read and comment on “our infertility years.”
  • Josey shared all the wonderful submissions for our November monthly theme on “Traditions.” We had a great response and you all shared such wonderful ideas and thoughts on how you view traditions.

Featured Posts:

  • There was no Feature post this week. Instead Jules gave us a hint that the PAIL ladies are up to something special for our 6 month ‘Blogiversary.’  What craziness are the PAIL ladies up to? Maybe a PAIL flashmob?  Maybe a meet-up?  Who knows, but be sure and check us out on PAIL December 1st for a very special announcement that you get to be a part of!
  • Be sure and submit your Feature Post ideas to us!  Have you written something you’re especially proud of?  Let us know!  Read something that really spoke to you?  Let us know! Simply contact us to submit any ideas!

Special Project:

New to the Blogroll This Week:

  • Do you know someone who could benefit from the PAIL community? Send them our way!

Stay Connected:

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