Helping women with chronic illnesses

Category — Endometriosis

Endometriosis Awareness Month: Reflection Time

As I have written previously, I have not been able to do the sort of endometriosis advocacy work I normally do this time of year – for Endometriosis Awareness Month – due to an offline situation that has been largely keeping me from my normal activities. However, I did want to take a moment, as Endometriosis Awareness Month winds down, to reflect back on things.

On March 17, 1992 I had a laparoscopy and was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. My symptoms began in 1982 when I was 13 years old. It’s hard to believe that I have been living with endometriosis for 30 years now. As you might imagine, I feel especially ancient when I read blogs of endometriosis patients who are under 30. Just kidding! I’m really not one to get hung up on age.

On a more serious note… The first 10 years that I lived with endometriosis were often frustrating, stressful, confusing, and very painful. I knew something was wrong because surely nothing that causes that kind of pain could possibly be normal! However, I was too young to know how to advocate for myself or properly articulate just how much pain I was in. I pushed myself very hard and taught myself various coping mechanisms and ways of dealing with the twists and turns that the as-yet-undiagnosed endometriosis threw my way. Somehow I managed to get straight As in school. I stayed out of trouble. The number of people who had a decent understanding of just how much pain I was living with was fairly limited. Essentially, I muddled through and it was very difficult.

Once I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 1992, I finally had a name for what had been going on for all those years. I had validation that I really did have a real medical condition. Some of the insensitive remarks I’d heard over the years (i.e. “just grin and bear it”) began to roll off my back more easily. I had known all along that I was sick. Now, however, I had a name for it. This empowered me to find other patients like me (via a local endometriosis support group). This was a massive source of support for me. Finally I knew people who understood!

I began to make trips to the university medical library to read articles about endometriosis in medical journals. Go ahead. Call me a dinosaur. You see, I couldn’t just look endometriosis up on the Internet back then. Not an option! (Yes, kiddos… there was life before the Internet. I was there. I remember). My local library had NOTHING about endometriosis. I had asked a librarian to help me find information about endometriosis in 1992. There was literally NOTHING in the entire (public) library. So, I began to spend enormous amounts of time at the medical library devouring anything I could find on endometriosis.

To make a long story short, after the decade I’d spent struggling in pain with no answers as to WHY… I now knew the reason and had options for pursuing appropriate information and support. This was an important milestone for me. The diagnosis certainly didn’t offer me a cure (as there is no cure for endometriosis). However, it was a gateway to information and support beyond my wildest dreams.

When I got married and moved to a different community, I started an endometriosis support group. I had been attending monthly meetings in the two cities I had lived in between 1992 and 2001. From 2001 through 2008, I was a support group leader in my area. Starting a support group from scratch was a lot of work but it was a labor of love and I got to meet many women like me.

In 2008, I began writing a blog. Since then, I have primarily focused my time for endometriosis-related work online. If you’re a regular reader here, you know I write about other topics too… but, in many ways, endometriosis was the topic that really drove me to begin writing a blog in the first place.

As Endometriosis Awareness Month draws to a close, I just wanted to thank each and every one of the wonderful people I have met online for your support, encouragement, and kindness. While I am sad that I didn’t get to do all of the things I wanted to this month, I keep reminding myself that endometriosis awareness is a year-round effort. I may not have accomplished what I had wished within the month of March but there will be time in the future to continue the advocacy work.


Finally, for those of you wondering about the endometriosis awareness petition, I absolutely have not forgotten about it. When the offline crisis I am managing calms down, I am looking forward to using that petition for the cause. If anyone has any examples of media coverage on endometriosis that contains misinformation, myths, or confusing wordings… please let me know. You can post the links in comments to this post. Don’t worry. I won’t publish those comments. (All that will do is give more air time to the misinformation). However, if you post the links in blog comments to this post, I will see it and it will come in handy going forward once I am able to tackle that project. So, please keep signing and sharing that petition link as widely as possible. We’ll be putting it to good use in the future. Thank you!

P.S. If you haven’t already, please browse through my previous posts about endometriosis. If you are new to this blog, I have been writing about endometriosis for 4 years now. So, you might find something elsewhere on this blog that is helpful to you. Please take a moment to look around. You may meet other endometriosis patients by browsing through blog comments as well.

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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March 30, 2012   4 Comments

Endometriosis And Sunscreen

Spring is in the air! It’s that time of year (in my part of the world, anyway) where people tend to spend more time outdoors.

Since it’s Endometriosis Awareness Month, I wanted to highlight some new research that I think is worth noting. Today I received an email that referred to a study about sunscreen and endometriosis:

Chemical & Engineering News: Sunscreen Compound Linked To Endometriosis

Here is a link with more information:

Urinary Concentrations of Benzophenone-type UV Filters in US Women and Their Association with Endometriosis

The link above is for the abstract only. I don’t have the ability to access the full article. However, the abstract says:

“exposure to elevated 2,4OH-BP levels may be associated with endometriosis”

Given that this chemical affects estrogenic activity, it’s helpful to know about this new research (and the fact that the researchers speculate that 2,4OH-BP may be associated with endometriosis).

For those who are not aware, endometriosis has been associated with an increased risk for developing melanoma:

Personal history of endometriosis and risk of cutaneous melanoma in a large prospective cohort of French women

If you’re looking for a place to learn about sunscreens, you may want to try this site:

Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

To be clear, I’m not here to provide anyone with sunscreen advice. I myself have very fair skin that burns very easily (no matter how carefully I dress or try to avoid mid-day sun) and I’m not really thrilled with the limited options available. (See “Sunscreens Exposed: 9 surprising truths”). It’s interesting to me that Europe apparently has superior options available for sunscreen due to FDA delays in approving ingredients already used there.

Since I have multiple chemical sensitivity, I sometimes have reactions to other people’s sunscreen – especially since the spray sunscreens came onto the market. Some of those sprays make me so sick! Last summer, we were at the beach and someone about 40 feet away from me sprayed it. The wind carried it right over to me and I didn’t need the sunscreen database to tell me that there were some nasty chemicals in it!

Hopefully, this sunscreen guide will help people make informed decisions.

It’s always helpful to be able to make informed purchasing decisions… especially with regard to products that can impact one’s health.

When I’m going to be outside for any length of time in the sun, I try to wear long sleeves if possible. (I’m famous for stealing my husband’s old dress shirts for this purpose). I make sure to wear a hat and sunglasses too. There are definitely times I feel the need to wear sunscreen. For those times, I use the sunscreen database to find a mineral-type product and I avoid sunscreens that have endocrine-disrupting chemicals in them. I seek out shade when at all possible. (This is helpful for dealing with the heat intolerance and syncope issues I struggle with in warmer weather as well).

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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March 22, 2012   2 Comments

MUC Gene Research: Endometriosis And Infertility

If you’re looking for some light reading, the research listed below is not it. If you’re interested in reading thought-provoking, detailed information regarding research on endometriosis and endometriosis-related infertility, this is an interesting read. For those of you who are not signed up for Google alerts on the topic of endometriosis, you may wish to consider signing up for them.

Today, I received an email alerting me to the newer study below. The notification led me to a site with which I wasn’t particularly impressed. As is so often the case, though, with such alerts that notify me of a site talking about a research study, I found the notification helpful in the aspect that it told me of the study so that I could then go look for the actual research itself (rather than someone’s interpretation of it). I won’t give my own interpretation of this research. Instead, I’ll include the links here for those who wish to read it themselves:

(After clicking the above link, just click “provisional PDF” – at the bottom of the abstract – to see the complete article).

It’s always refreshing to me to see meaningful endometriosis research. With so many endometriosis patients impacted by infertility, I found this research to be a breath of fresh air.

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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March 15, 2012   2 Comments

“Life Is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans”

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”
~~~ John Lennon


As I anticipated at the beginning of the month, I have not been able to engage in the Endometriosis Awareness Month activities I normally do in March. The offline situation I have mentioned previously is continuing to make it difficult to focus on much of anything else. On a brighter note, I see that the blog traffic here has been quite heavy! I am happy to see that the Endometriosis Awareness Month posts I’ve written in past years are getting plenty of visitors. This makes me feel slightly better about the fact that I am not doing what I had planned this March. “Life is happening” offline that has foiled my plans for March. If you haven’t done so already, please sign the above petition and share the link on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you!

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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March 10, 2012   No Comments

Facing Endometriosis Awareness Month With Uncertainty…

In many ways, my life – as I knew it – got shattered, for lack of a better term, this past January. My days and nights are now filled with managing a very complex crisis that: sucks my energy, causes immense stress, threatens to take me off track with managing my illnesses, results in emotional upset, has all but isolated me from my many wonderful online friends, and far more.

I have had to carefully walk a very fine line (to avoid burnout and significant exacerbation of symptoms). Making time for basics like sleeping and eating has become challenging at times. It’s exhausting and I look forward to a time when things will return to a sense of normalcy… even if it’s the sort of “new normal” that we in chronic illness circles often talk about. (In other words, I don’t think I’ll ever be the same after the events of recent weeks). I do want some peace and real rest. The reality is that I can’t see this on the horizon anytime in the near future. So I have to pace myself accordingly.

Some of the circumstances I’ve learned of and/or been directly working on have been truly heartbreaking. I have really had to draw on everything I have learned over a period of decades. All of the energy I normally channel into this blog (and time normally spent networking with my fellow patients online) has been funneled into working on this offline crisis.

Today begins Endometriosis Awareness Month. If you have been a regular reader of my blog for awhile, you know that March is normally a very busy time for me because of it. I honestly don’t know whether I will be able to blog for Endometriosis Awareness Month this year. That remains to be seen. To be honest, it’s not looking very promising. Time will tell. In the meantime, I just wanted to take a moment to check in here. I miss talking with you all! I wish I knew when I will get back to a more regular schedule for updating this blog. The reality is that I simply don’t know.


Thirty years ago, my endometriosis symptoms began. Twenty years ago this month, I finally got diagnosed with endometriosis via an outpatient surgery called laparoscopy. After living with endometriosis symptoms (undiagnosed) for 10 years, I was finally diagnosed on March 17, 1992. It may sound strange but I was actually relieved when I finally got the diagnosis in 1992… because I finally had a name for what was happening to my body, I had validation that it was a real medical condition (i.e. I wasn’t exaggerating, “being dramatic”, or “being a wimp” as various people had implied or came out and said to me over the years). My illness was real (as I had known all along). The symptoms that had so often made my life a living hell in the preceding 10 years were attributable to a real medical condition. A condition that has treatment options (however inadequate they may be). A condition I now know I share with millions of women and girls the world over. Obviously, I would prefer that endometriosis be banished from the planet and I wish that no one ever again would have to suffer its effects. It was comforting, though, to meet other women (via in-person support groups first and then online) who “get it”.

While I will do everything I possibly can to participate in Endometriosis Awareness Month, I know I won’t have the stamina for it this year that I have in previous years. So, I would like to encourage anyone who is reading this to please check out the many posts I’ve written previously on endometriosis. If you haven’t already signed the above petition, please consider doing so. If you have signed it, please share it… especially on Facebook and Twitter. Anyone who wishes to sign it can do so. We recently topped 1,000 signatures. Let’s keep that momentum going. Let’s get the word about about endometriosis!

It is a serious illness that is often marginalized. Patients deserve to be taken seriously. They deserve to be given factual information rather than misinformation. Doctors who dole out misinformation need to be called out on it. Patients dissatisfied with their treating physicians need to seek second (or 3rd or 4th…) opinions. Not happy with your doctor’s handling of your symptoms? Why not do the research to find the best doctor in your area and switch over? Patients deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Patients deserve doctors who are honest and ethical.

So, if you aren’t happy with the treatment you’re getting… ask around. Network with other women. Determine who might better suit your needs. Rather than reward unethical or uninformed physicians with your health care dollars (and that includes payments made to doctors by insurance companies… not just your out of pocket costs!), take your business elsewhere if you are not satisfied. We each only get one body in this life. It took me some time in my own case to figure out how to best advocate for myself. In time, however, I learned not to waste my time, energy and well-being being treated by doctors who are not a good match for my needs. Doing your “homework” and advocating for yourself are so important!

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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March 1, 2012   3 Comments

Taking A Break From Taking A “Break”

It’s a word that can have many different connotations:


A break can be a pleasant, restful time. It can be a time to re-connect with friends and loved ones, to re-energize, and to heal.

On the other hand, the word “break” can have far lest restful meanings. Confronting a significant challenge can make you feel as if you might “break”. Something upsetting or troubling can “break” your heart. Someone can “break” a promise or fail to meet an obligation or responsibility. Someone can “break” your trust. Bad news can “break”. Someone can do something that possibly even “breaks” the law which puts people in danger.

From the time that I started writing a blog in June 2008, I have never taken an entire month’s “break”… until now. It wasn’t a planned “break”. I don’t know when I will be able to get “back to normal”. I haven’t even felt I had the luxury of writing a quick update before now because I have been focusing my energy on a complex, maddening problem that has made it difficult for me to remember all that I know about the importance of self-care. Finding the time to eat and sleep properly has been difficult. I have had to force myself to do so. Sometimes in life, things crop up that we didn’t count on, want, or predict.

So, I wanted to take just a moment today to say that I haven’t forgotten about this blog. I haven’t abandoned it. Recently, I have just been focusing my energy on other things. How long I will continue to feel the need to do that remains to be seen. I will try to post some sort of brief updates like this when I am able. I’m not sure how often that will be or when things will calm down. I’m not sure when I will truly get to take a break from my “break”. It doesn’t look like I will be able to elaborate much further about what has taken my attention offline. This is for a multitude of reasons. All I can really say is that it may keep taking my attention for some time to come. I wish I could better explain things but I don’t really see how I can.

For those whose blog comments have gotten held up in moderation or to whom I didn’t reply promptly (especially those who are new to this blog and unaware that this is not how I usually do things), I’m sorry for the delay. Please do keep your blog comments coming and I will post them as I am able. I may have to skip individualized replies to them (at least in some cases), depending on the content of them and how I’m doing on time. I apologize for this disruption in how things are normally done but I am all-too-aware that I only have so much energy to spend and just about all of it is going offline at this time.

Last but not least, I wanted to mention that the endometriosis awareness petition is just two signatures shy of 1,000 now! For those of you who are not aware, anyone can sign this petition in support of the millions of women and girls (like me) who have endometriosis. One does not need to be an endometriosis patient to sign it. So, please share the link to it (above) on Facebook and Twitter and let’s see how quickly we can surpass 1,000 signatures in support of endometriosis awareness! Thank you!


This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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February 9, 2012   3 Comments

Could Endometriosis Diagnosed In 18 Month Old Be Related to Toxins?

This week, I came across an abstract that riveted my attention:

Endometriosis-associated Serous Borderline Tumor and Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma of the Ovary: A Report of a Rare Lesion in an Infant

[Trigger alert: Before I proceed, there are some photos of young children in a video clip at the end of the post. I just wanted to let those who are struggling with infertility know that before you scroll down any further].

Personally, I think that this child’s case could provide endometriosis researchers important clues. My hope is that the researchers will continue to follow this child with long-term studies. I believe doing so may benefit not just the child mentioned in the article but the endometriosis community as a whole.

Having never heard of an 18 month old child diagnosed with endometriosis, my curiosity was immediately piqued. As it turns out, this is the first such case ever reported. Prior to reading the actual article, the first thought that popped into my head having seen the abstract was, “I wonder if the fact that this child is in Hong Kong has anything to do with it since that area is known to be very high in dioxin”.

The article did not mention dioxin. The thought that popped into my head was simple wondering on my part that was rooted in the fact that I have read about and seen videos clips over the years regarding waste management practices in China (and the sad fact that many countries ship their toxic garbage there illegally).

Since the medical community has not agreed upon “the cause” of endometriosis (and since I personally suspect there are many causes), I don’t think anyone can say why this 18 month old girl has endometriosis.

The case report titled, “Endometriosis-associated Serous Borderline Tumor and Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma of the Ovary: A Report of a Rare Lesion in an Infant” was published in the International Journal of Gynecological Pathology (January 2012 – Volume 31 – Issue 1 – p 98–102).

The full article can be accessed here and the authors are: Ronnie S.L. Ho, M.B.B.S., Godfrey C.F. Chan, M.D., F.R.C.P., Shau Yin Ha, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.P., and Philip P.C. Ip, M.B., Ch.B., F.R.C.Path.

From that article:

“There was no maternal history of endometriosis and the mother herself did not take any hormonal medication either prenatally, or during the 1 week of breast feeding after the child was born. On physical examination, the child showed no evidence of precocious puberty or thelarche.”

Back to the topic of endometriosis in general… There is no established cause of endometriosis. There are numerous theories (and some of them make sense to me). In my opinion, there may never be a sole cause of endometriosis that is agreed-upon by the medical community. I suspect that there are causes (plural) of endometriosis. There is some research that points to things that are linked to endometriosis and they may well be determined at a later date to be within the multiple causes I suspect are behind endometriosis.

One thing that has been linked to endometriosis is dioxin.

For those who are not familiar with the studies done on rhesus monkeys regarding endometriosis and dioxin exposure, click here for more info. That link goes on to say:

“Based on animal studies and observation of wildlife, impaired fertility is a result of exposure to endocrine disruptors. Infertility affects approximately 40% of women with endometriosis”

From Greenpeace:

There has been much attention to the topic of toxin emissions in Hong Kong:

Again, on a hopeful note I really do think that this case of the 18 month old diagnosed with endometriosis could provide endometriosis researchers important clues. Obviously, my heart goes out to the child and her family. I cannot imagine what it would be like to have an 18 month old child be diagnosed with endometriosis. I certainly don’t mean to be insensitive to the child or her family when I suggest her case may provide hope for the endometriosis community and possible clues for researchers. I just think that the mere fact that an 18 month old child has been diagnosed with endometriosis throws a total curve ball at the notion some doctors have had (the theory some doctors speak of as if it’s a/the cause: retrograde menstruation). Obviously, retrograde menstruation was not behind this child’s case of endometriosis!

As I indicated earlier, the question I posed initially wasn’t really a fair one. To my knowledge, no one can definitively answer the question I posed up front…

Could Endometriosis Diagnosed In 18 Month Old Be Related to Toxins?

Closing on a sober note…

In the course of searching online about dioxins in China for this blog post, I came across the following video clip. I’ve seen videos before about waste management practices in China and the high rates of dioxin there. This segment tied that together with discarded goods that are illegally shipped to China. What are your thoughts on it?

(I apologize in advance for any ads that may appear within the following clip. I don’t have any control over the ads CBS includes).

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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December 22, 2011   2 Comments

Infertility Treatment Savings: Action Needed

Thanks to seeing Kelly’s post on Twin Peas Blog and Podcast, it came to my attention that there is infertility-related legislation pending at the federal level that affects people in the United States.

As anyone struggling with infertility can tell you, medical treatment for infertility can be extremely expensive. There are very few states with legislation that financially assists those struggling with infertility. Federal legislation (details below) that will assist those struggling with infertility is certainly a step in the right direction.

The more people who take just a moment to speak up about why this is important, the better the chances that it will become law.

As mentioned in the proposed legislation:

“The World Health Organization formally recognizes infertility as a disease, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that infertility is an emerging public health priority”.

Let me say that again because it bears repeating…

Infertility is recognized as a disease.

People who struggle with infertility are no less entitled to appropriate medical treatment than people with other medical conditions. It is discriminatory to deny medical treatment for infertility. By enacting legislation that will make infertility treatment more affordable, the unfair cost burden that infertile couples face for uncovered or under-covered infertility treatment will not disappear but it will be lessened.

The RESOLVE site has links that will quickly and easily direct you to the information you need to contact your legislators to express your support for Family Act of 2011, S 965.

Visit RESOLVE for information on how you can help.

Not directly affected by infertility? Before you move on, please consider this:

Infertility affects approximately 10% of the population. Since infertility strikes diverse groups-affecting people from all socioeconomic levels and cutting across all racial, ethnic and religious lines… chances are great that a friend, relative, neighbor – or perhaps you – are attempting to cope with the medical and emotional aspects of infertility.

Infertility treatment is expensive and even when there is coverage, the out of pocket expenses can be cost-prohibitive. Why not take a moment, using the RESOLVE link to access the information needed, to support those around you who struggle with infertility (or to speak up for yourself)? It only takes a moment and the more voices the legislators hear from, the better. Please spread the word about this legislation on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter too. Feel free to post this link to help get the word out. If you have a blog, please consider mentioning this legislation there.

Thank you.

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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June 29, 2011   4 Comments

Father’s Day: Is It Easier For Men To Deal With ‘Parenting Holidays’?

Recently, I asked a friend who is struggling with infertility if her husband might be interested in writing a guest post here regarding Father’s Day and infertility. I floated this idea out a few weeks in advance because I knew that it would probably require some thought on his part (as to whether or not to write such a post). After all, it’s an emotional topic.

My friend later got back to me and let me know that her husband had given it some thought and had decided not to write such a post at this time. Apparently, though, my having posed the question about the guest blog post triggered some conversation for this couple.

I try not to make generalizations about one gender or another but over the years I have heard many cases of men who talk less about their infertility struggles than women while still being profoundly affected by the struggles. I myself believe that the way our society socializes boys and girls to grow into men and women has a lot to do with how readily men discuss their feelings about the infertility struggle… or not. Many men I know of (who are struggling with infertility) spend less time talking about it than their partners. However, that does not necessarily mean that they spend less time thinking about it or feeling the many emotions associated with infertility struggles.

I was reading the article Father’s Day and the Fertility Challenged. I think there are some men who seem less fazed by the hoopla surrounding Father’s Day than, say, their wives might regarding Mother’s Day. I understand the author’s point that the marketing for Father’s Day is typically more subtle than for Mother’s Day. At the same time, I wonder how many men are out there hurting, grieving, and suffering in silence. I wonder how many men don’t feel comfortable fully sharing their feelings of grief and loss.

Perhaps they have difficulty articulating these feelings? Perhaps they are watching their wives deal with the grief and loss and they wish to spare them additional pain? Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos touched on this topic (how her husband coped) in her award-winning book Silent Sorority.

I think one of the most important things to remember is that men are affected profoundly by infertility struggles. They may or may not have easy access to the resources that can assist them in coping with their situation. Again, I don’t wish to over-generalize but based on my observations it seems that women struggling with infertility tend to have a better support system than men for dealing with it.

In the course of writing this post, I came across numerous articles regarding the topic “Father’s Day can be tough for men with male factor infertility”. While I have no doubt that this is true, I certainly don’t think that the challenges associated with infertility struggles (for men) are limited to those with male factor infertility. Whether infertility is determined to be male factor, female factor, or a combination of both… the challenges of infertility affect people in all of the above groups.

So, going back to the title of the post… Is it easier for men to deal with parenting holidays? I would argue ‘no’. Women struggling with infertility who undergo infertility treatment have to deal with hormones, injections, and various invasive procedures. This certainly adds layers of additional stress. At the same time, the men who love them and are by their sides throughout the treatment process are on the same complicated journey. They are there supporting and worrying about their wives.

It’s important not to overlook the feelings of men who struggle with infertility. If you know someone struggling with infertility and/or pregnancy loss, be aware that holiday weekends like this can be especially painful times. For couples who have struggled with miscarriages, holidays like this can be especially tough. Your support for your friends, co-workers, and loved ones who struggle with infertility may well make a frustrating, challenging, heartbreaking time just a little easier.

Finally, here is a link from RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association that some may find helpful:

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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June 17, 2011   8 Comments

Mourning Mother’s Day

Given that I have not been feeling well enough to write a new blog post and the fact that I always write a post regarding Mother’s Day, I decided to post something short with a link to something I wrote last May. (I have already noticed many visitors to Mother’s Day posts from years past). With 1 in 8 couples affected by infertility, odds are good that you know someone struggling with infertility (whether you know it or not). Insensitive remarks and judgmental comments often drive those struggling with infertility to keep their struggle private.

This Mother’s Day, please show compassion to the women – and men – around you who are childless (whether they are childless by choice or not). We live in a child-centric society and being childless can feel very isolating. There are all sorts of reasons that people are childless. The last thing childless people need is to be judged by others or condescended to. Sadly, the childless people I have interacted with tend to get heaping doses of both judgment and condescension. Some people’s comments aren’t intended to be malicious but they are hurtful nonetheless.

If you have a friend or loved one who is struggling with infertility and you don’t know what to say/do to be supportive, the best thing you can do is take cues from that person/couple. They may wish to talk about it and they may not. They may be happy to tell you what is helpful and what is not. They may wish not to discuss it at all. Everyone is different and one person’s process for dealing with loss may differ quite a bit from another’s. By asking your friend or loved one how you can help, you show them that you care. Bear in mind that they are most likely inundated with unsolicited advice. This is why taking cues from them is really important.

This is a difficult time of year for anyone who has suffered a loss that results in Mother’s Day bringing up painful memories. This is not limited to those experiencing infertility and/or pregnancy loss.

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May 6, 2011   5 Comments