July 22, 2010

I was reading someone else’s blog and came across her reasons for starting her blog anonymously. She has since ‘come out of the closet’ and the blog is no longer anonymous. She stated that one of the reasons she started her blog and shared it with real life friends and family so that they would know what she she was going though. That makes sense. But she was protecting her identity and not revealing any identifying info so others – presumably strangers – couldn’t figure out who she is. That struck me as a bit odd. Mostly because that’s not my reason for maintaining my anonymity.

I remain anonymous for different reasons. I don’t share this blog with friends and family. If I did I wouldn’t be able to use it the way I do – as an emotional outlet and a place to vent about people I know IRL. It’s really more of a journal. Which likely means it will never become popular or make it on anyone’s list of Must Read Infertility Blogs. And I’m OK with that. It serves my purposes. It acts as a journal for me and it’s also a way to share my experience with others who may be having similar experiences. Through blogging, and twitter, I’ve discovered other women who are going through the same things. It makes me feel less alone. So maybe this blog can do that for someone else.

As for identifying information… there are about a zillion clues to my real identity contained in this blog (although I suppose you wouldn’t pick up on some of them if you don’t already know me). I don’t work that hard at remaining anonymous. I don’t use real names so that all our identities are somewhat protected (I really don’t want to out Right Guy – that’s not my place and he’s a private person). But if someone were to try and figure out my real name, I don’t think it would be that difficult and I don’t think I’d care that much. I think I’d have more trouble with friends and family reading this blog than ‘strangers’ finding out my real name.

I wrote those paragraphs a few months ago and have had this post saved as a draft ever since. At the time, I had an original feeling of needing to explain my choice in remaining anonymous. But after some reflection, that feeling passed and just didn’t quite resonate with me. So the post has been sitting in the ether, waiting to be either deleted or expanded. Well, today, after reading Keiko Zoll’s first installment of A Belly Full Of Fire I decided I needed to finally revisit this topic. Because I’m torn.

I would really like to Take The Pledge issued by Resolve. I am open to my friends and family about my infertility (although I can’t say I’ve shouted it from the rooftops). And I have no problem using my real name to advocate for infertility issues. But I DO have a problem with using my real name on this blog. And I feel that if I’m going to do it, I should do it ALL THE WAY. Dilemma.

What to do?

  • I could start another blog/twitter account under my real name and use it for advocacy and this one for venting. But that seems silly. And if I’m going to be a health advocate I would have to do it for not just infertility but also lung cancer and other senior/caregiving issues. And who has the time?
  • I could remain silent but that seems irresponsible. Although, there is also a part of me that feels like I’m too old. I feel like the ladies with POF in their 20s have a much better and bigger soapbox to stand on. I suppose I’m still dealing with feelings of guilt that I simply waited too long. Which is really not rational given that my symptoms, masked for who knows how long by birth control, started at age 34. It is also not rational given that I did TTC with my ex-husband when I was 28. Back then I had endometriosis and it turned out he had an abysmal sperm count. But somehow I still feel ‘judged.’ I still feel like everyone thinks I just put off having kids to further my career or something. And that wasn’t it AT ALL.
  • I could start using my real name on this blog/twitter. SCARY.

I guess I need to deal with all the aforementioned guilt first. Ooh, what fun. ::sigh::
I suspect this guilt runs much deeper than I’m even aware of. Even the name of this blog, Fox In The Henhouse, is a (not so) subtle nod to the guilt I feel that I somehow caused this. Because I am the Fox. So I’m essentially accusing myself of stealing my eggs. Boy, am I a piece of work. 😉 Again, good thing I have a therapy appt in a few hours.

Anyone got any advice on overcoming all this crap and just going public?


Infertility Poseur?

May 15, 2010

Sometimes I feel like an infertility poseur. Despite the fact that I have Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI). There are a couple of reasons I feel this way. Firstly, I don’t (yet) meet the medical definition.

Infertility is the failure of a couple to conceive a pregnancy after trying to do so for at least one full year.

I haven’t been trying to conceive for a year. Many of the women I’ve ‘met’ in this infertile corner of the web have been battling infertility for many YEARS. I’ve only just started. I started because of the diagnosis. I didn’t get the diagnosis because I started trying. Sometimes it just all seems backwards.
Despite the fact that I haven’t been trying to get pregnant for a full year I claim the title ‘infertile.’ Considering I don’t ovulate regularly and often not at all I am essentially infertile. And headed towards barren on a fast train. Considering that people with my condition have a 5-10% of conceiving I’m not likely to get pregnant within a year – or at all. So I AM infertile. Except sometimes I feel like a poseur. Sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve the title – which is just silly because no one really deserves it. No one wants to be infertile. But have I earned it yet?
The other reason is my age. I’m now 36. I was diagnosed at 35. Since I was on birth control there’s no telling how long the symptoms were masked but they definitely started by age 34 if not before. 34 is definitely too young to essentially be starting the process of menopause (even though it’s not technically menopause that’s the easiest way to describe it). But, now, at age 36 I should expect my fertility to be diminished. Not in the toilet, but diminished. And I’ve ‘met’ several women, some, like me, also suffering from POI, who are much younger. They somehow seem more ‘worthy’ of the infertility badge than I do. They’ve earned it. Have I? It must be much more devastating to receive this diagnosis at 25 than 35. I can only imagine. And for that reason alone they’ve earned the title.

POI is not as rare as you might think. It’s not common, but 1% of women in their 30s have it. That’s not rare. But no one knows about it. Even my GYN didn’t think I had it – but she did the tests. Some GYNs wouldn’t have. Some women don’t get diagnosed so quickly. I often feel myself wanting to become a vocal advocate for awareness. Awareness of POI as well as infertility in general. But feeling like a poseur prevents me from doing it. I feel like I’m simultaneously too old and too new to fight the fight. I wouldn’t make a good posterchild for this campaign – I’m too old. And I don’t have the experience – I haven’t been through all the treatments.

But even if I can’t get past feeling like a poseur to become an advocate I was ecstatic to see that Keiko Zoll has done it. I just read her first post on Your Great Life where she is featured as a ‘Person With Passion.’ Her blog, Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed (also amongst the links on the right) is well written and thought provoking. If I can’t feel comfortable being an advocate for infertility awareness then the least I can do is help her do it. Go Keiko!

One last thought: As I’ve been writing this I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel like such a poseur due to my age. I’m too young to have run out of eggs. My age shouldn’t make me feel like a poseur. But somehow I feel like I should expect to be infertile because I’m 36. Is that rational? Probably not. I’m a pretty rational person. So what’s going on? I think, on some level, I haven’t moved past the stage of blaming myself. I must still be blaming myself for this diagnosis. I haven’t moved past the What Ifs of the past. I’m still wondering What If things in the past had been different, if I had done things differently, I might not be facing this now. Did I do something to cause my egg supply to plummet? What if I had managed to have kids before? Then it wouldn’t matter so much now. I need to find a way to move forward and put the past behind me. Any suggestions? Anyone else out there feel like a poseur? Or is it just me?