Rants


I have a young relative who has been trying to get pregnant for a long time.  When we were struggling I was sure that she would announce her pregnancy any minute.  I can’t believe that I had a baby before she did, because she’s at least 10 years younger.  She is now in the very frustrating time that is the beginning of seeking treatment, where you simultaneously find out that there are serious physical obstacles  (cysts, endometriosis, male factor, whatever) but that the process leading to IVF, and hopefully a baby, is agonizingly, month-after-month-slipping-away, slow.

I reached out to this woman via a letter a while back, told her about our situation, offered to commiserate, offered my research on the clinics in the area (she is sort of close to a good one).  I would have loved an offer like that when I was first starting out.  But… nothing.  No reply.  When I saw her she didn’t act weird, so I didn’t feel like it was a big deal for her.  I hear about her through her grandmother, who hears about her through her mother, so this woman doesn’t have a lot of privacy within the family.  I fretted about this woman’s rebuff, until a friend pointed out to me that there might be things going on in her marriage or her private life that make it hard for her to talk to me.  Like, maybe she and her husband aren’t on the same page about seeking treatment.  Maybe she’s in agony because it’s her equipment, or his, that is “the problem.”  Maybe she’s so angry about it that she just can’t talk about it without cracking her pretty, nice, upbeat public persona and I’m not safe enough for her to do that with.

I’m hoping she decides to talk to me, but not holding my breath.  But it’s making me think, today, about what I wish I could say to those who say we infertiles should “just adopt.”  I have pointed out before that suggesting someone “just” do anything is almost always going to offend.  “Just” is such a belittling word, isn’t it?  The difference between “Can’t you just exercise?” and “Can you exercise?” is infinite; one question is gentle and considerate, and the other is loaded with judgment and condescension.

So for anyone who has been confronted with the “just adopt” question, the questioner needs to be reminded that decisions of this nature are personal, and there are many reasons why a couple cannot, or will not.  Many of those reasons are none of the questioner’s business, but let’s point them out anyway.  (Parentheses address the inevitable Christian follow-up comments about how “God can do anything… have you prayed for blah blah blah” which generally add insult to injury.  In my opinion).

1. My spouse doesn’t want to, and I do; it breaks my heart every day.  (Yes, I DID ask God to change his/her heart; while I was doing that, and God did not change his/her heart, we got old enough that most agencies and / countries won’t accept us).

2. One of us has a criminal record.

3. One of us has a BMI over the limit imposed by certain countries.

4. Our combined age exceeds the limits imposed by some countries and agencies.

5. We would love to, but one of our parents would never accept an adopted child, and it breaks my heart every day.

6. We tried, and the agency rejected us.

7. One of us has a chronic health condition that makes us ineligible.

8. One of us is being treated for mental illness.

9. We don’t have the thousands of dollars it would take, and we don’t have much hope of saving it because of XYZ financial issues.  (and we ASKED God to provide, but God just doesn’t provide exactly what you ask for, sometimes).

10. We were well on our way, and one or both of us got laid off; our adoption fee savings have gone towards the  mortgage and the COBRA payments and we don’t know when we’ll ever recover financially.

11. We KNOW that there are drug-exposed babies, Downs babies, older children, children of a different race, and other children out there who need homes.  But we don’t have what it takes to take on those children.  We KNOW that we would love them.  We KNOW that parents who give birth to or end up with these special, wonderful children, say that they are “a blessing.”  But we don’t have the emotional, financial, or other resources these special children would need.  Please respect that we know our limitations, rather than insist we take on a burden that most of you, the “why don’t you just adopt”ers, would / did not.

12.  That young, pregnant girl who lives on your street and wants to give her baby up for adoption will choose adopting parents who are younger, richer, and prettier than we are.  Even if she does choose us, there is a significant risk that, after we have fitted the nursery with matching everything and after our friends have had our longed-for baby shower, and after we’ve finally let ourselves fall in love with a child that is really ours – that high school girl will decide she wants to take her baby back.

It’s ironic that most of the folks who are insisting that you and I should / must / ought to adopt, did not.  While most of the folks I know who DID adopt provide inspiration and joy with their examples – and all I’ve seen are happy ones – they are the ones who say “adoption is NOT for everyone” and I’ve never heard one suggest that someone else should / must / ought to.

The extreme suckiness of these situations is breathtaking, even without annoying questions.  Foremost for me is the long list of conditions that disqualify would-be adopting parents, which don’t apply at all to the fertile.  Also heartbreaking is our current economy, which piles on layers of misfortune (layoffs, on top of criminally high health insurance costs, on top of profiteering adoption agencies and very high fees….) and so many more problems that I’m not even aware of are out there.

We didn’t agonize much about adoption; it was out of the question due to more than one of the reasons listed above.  But I watch adoption stories around me with interest, and I know now that the failed or neverstarted adoptions are as sad as any fading beta or canceled cycle.  And a lot of that sadness is hidden behind closed doors and unanswered letters and I guess that’s just the way it is.

I'm trying to book a flight in January, back to Chicago for my baby shower.  As I was shopping for a decent fare, which is hard to find at my small local airport, I realized I had better check on the airlines' policy on pregnant women flying.

I can understand that the airline doesn't want some woman going into labor and the pilots having to divert.  But … how often does that really happen?  A quick Google search yielded breathless news coverage of a premature baby born on a Korean Air flight in June and not much else.

The thing that gets me all amped up is that the act of giving birth seems to be frozen in time.  Obviously there are many innovations in the way that doctors intervene in birth, probably new epidurals and shinier stirrups and God knows what else.  But the conversations I find myself having about birth, most people's attitudes towards it, their understanding of it, make me feel like I've stumbled into Old-Fashioned Land, where doctors know everything, women are helpless, and having a baby is a serious medical emergency that springs up, full-blown, without warning.

This is hard to get used to, partly because it sucks, and partly because the medical world of getting me pregnant was so different, and seemed to be much more up-to-date. 

Anyway.  Should I decide to travel less than a month before my due date, United Airlines requires that I present a letter from an obstetrician saying what my due date is (perhaps this is too hard for me to remember?) and that I am "fit to travel."  At first glance this cracked me up – fit to travel?  Do have to be fit to slump in my seat and say no thanks to the peanuts?  but that's because I'm not familiar with some of the complications many women live with due to diabetes, preeclampsia etc.  I'm ignorant because I don't have any drama and I thank God for that.  So I suppose some women with complicated pregnancies are deciding to fly and the airlines want to prevent that. 

Part of my dangerously cavalier attitude about flying is that it's a 90 minute flight.  Were I going to New Zealand or something, I'd probably be a little more concerned about the blood clots and all that.  But this is one of those where you ascend, they turn off the seat belt sign, they give you a drink, you get 10 pages into Skymall and it's time to descend.  Now, if they make the plane sit on the runway for 4 hours so they can call it an on-time flight, making announcements every half hour that we'll be "wheels up in just a few minutes," not letting me use my DVD player because it's a "prohibited electronic device," why then I will make every effort to have the baby RIGHT THERE because that sitting-on-the-runway thing is just too, too much.

As you can imagine, the thing that has me all riled up is the "obstetrician" part.  What would happen if United Airlines required any passenger over 40 with cholesterol over 220 to present a note from a cardiologist, because those passengers might have a heart attack?  Setting aside the uproar that would result from inconveniencing, uh, MEN in this way – but why couldn't these ticking time bombs bring a note from any old doctor?

I fired off an email to United, asking if I could use a note from a board-certified midwife, and received this response:

I regret to learn your disappointment with our policy to present an obstetrician's certificate while traveling. I understand that you would like to present board-certified midwife's medical letter to travel. But, please understand that as per our United policy we only require the certificate which states that the obstetrician has examined the passenger and found her to be physically fit for travel by air from place/to on date, and state the estimated due date of the baby.

Sigh.  Setting aside the odd wording which makes me wonder if my initial inquiry was even understood, and the usual customer-service technique of reiterating the policy without really answering the question, this just infuriates me.  I don't have an obstetrician, I don't plan to get one, and the idea that a midwife isn't qualified to ascertain my "fitness for flying," let alone catch my baby, is insulting.

Midwives, you have my respect and my sympathy.  To be in such a worthy profession that is so disregarded and disrespected by most of this country is to live your work life in Old Fashioned Land and that must be really hard.

If I can get past the OB requirement, and I can't, I'm also infuriated by the old-fashioned idea that a pregnant women is a ticking time bomb.  I bet countless women have gotten a few hours of early labor out of the way on a plane and didn't think it necessary to "warn the cabin crew" before heading off to their destination.  In Old Fashioned Land, apparently they think babies will just plop themselves out without warning, yet it's still a dangerous medical emergency.  I understand that second and third babies do this, but I think second and third-time mamas have a much better sense of what rumblings to look for.  I certainly hope for a shorter labor but I don't expect one.

There was an essay in the New York Times a few weeks ago. A man wrote about how his wife's baby came so fast that he was still on the phone with 911 when she caught her own baby and called out to him from the bathroom: "it's a girl."  Instead of celebrating his daughter's birth and his wife's incredibly short and easy labor, the father was traumatized, and haunted by what he calls his own "irrelevance." 

Is this why we as a culture cling to the idea that childbirth should be harrowing, and traumatic, and dangerous?  So that our men can feel important, and have something to do?  I think that's sad.

It would be oh so much more sensible if United, and Northwest which has the same policy, would only apply it to flights over a certain number of hours, and obviously they should accept a midwife's note.

I'm actually just one day clear of their stupid requirement.  I will be traveling on January 12th, and my guess date is February 13th, so I'm not quite traveling a month before. 

By the way, did you know that less than 5% of babies are born on their due dates?  I hate due dates and I'm trying to forget mine so that my baby isn't labeled as "late" or "early."

It seems like it would be so easy to just lie about my due date – what are they going to do, check my cervix?  But luckily I don't have to. 

Vomitting-pumpkin I don't have a pumpkin yet actually.  But I need to get and carve one asap.  Due to living in the city, continuing infertility grief and my own other problems, I fell out of many holiday rituals.  In our old home I never welcomed trick-or-treaters because I didn't want to keep Halloween candy in the house, and sometimes I couldn't bear to look at their little faces.  It was a hassle anyway.  We lived in a townhouse behind a locked wall with a locked gate behind another gate and only the most determined trick-or-treaters found us.  Often the determined ones were from the "affordable housing" units on the next street over, they were easy to pick out on our street which was posh, and I was happy to load kids like that up with candy.  But I skipped Halloween altogether.

Now I live in a house on a suburban street and counting my car key, I carry four keys total.  Anybody can walk up to my front door.  Also, I have a bag full of candy in my cupboard.  This is a freaky thing due to my pregnancy nausea and sugar indifference.  Once in a while, maybe once every ten days, I feel like having a little chocolate bar or a Hershey kiss and one or two is all I want and that's it.  Before pregnancy I would have hoovered the bag in a day but it's been hanging around for weeks.  So I'm ready for trick-or-treaters but I don't think any are coming.

This is partly due to the "trunk-or-treating" trend which I am not happy about.  If you have talked to me in the past two weeks you have heard my trunk-or-treating rant and here it comes again.  If you aren't aware, trunk-or-treating is an event, often organized by churches, where adults station themselves next to their cars in a big parking lot, and the kids walk up to your open trunk to say "trick or treat" for their candy.  The kids love it because, as one said in a recent newspaper article, "you can go around a gazillion times and get lots more candy!"  The churches organized it to make Halloween more of a "family event" – it wasn't, before? – and in some cases, to discourage costumes that were too devil-ish or reflective of other bad influences.  In some cases I have heard of Biblical character costumes being enforced or encouraged.

Sigh.  I'm as saved as any other Christian but come on.  Running around a parking lot in broad daylight, yelling "trick or treat" which doesn't even make sense anymore, dressed like the Apostle Paul?  What could be more lame? 

Aside from suppressing the important creativity and make-believe aspect of Halloween, the saddest thing about this, to me, is the other reasons adults cite for the trunk-or-treat trend.  The little dears don't have to 1) walk as far as they would, going house-to-house; and 2) they don't have to "go to a stranger's home." 

Maybe I'll feel differently when my own perfect, adorable, exquisitely vulnerable child is in this position.  But right now I'm really sad about it because I'm the stranger!  I'm the new lady in the neighborhood and I would love to meet my neighbors.  I've got candy!  I'm not grieving!  I am close to being the silly grownup who has on a costume and has that scary Halloween recording playing when she opens the door.  And I'm a year away (God willing) from forcing my infant into a Halloween costume he doesn't like, can't possibly understand, but looks really cute in, and strollering him around every chance I get, this last week of October.  (Pumpkins and bees seem to be good for the 8-month old, yes?  Something round, something organic, from an Ann Geddes photograph, though I think those are kind of creepy, by the way.)

After sitting out Halloween for so long, I can now embrace it and I want to ride all the rides. 

When I was a kid, our Halloween was an all-day event, loosely organized by our neighborhood grownups, that included a costume parade and prizes in categories like "prettiest" (I never won this one) or "most original" costume (much more my style).  The creativity part was important, long before the candy part kicked in.  But it wasn't so much about candy, it was about adventure, and it was all about the neighborhood.

I remember trick or treating as a kid, the accompanying parent retreating ever farther into the yard as we got older. We always went after dark, or what was the point?  The really little kids went in the daylight and we pitied them.  I remember the thrill of fear as we approached the doors of our neighbors who we barely knew.  I remember peeking curiously into their houses, smelling their unfamiliar cooking smells, and how fun it was when these stern grownups actually talked to us about how scary we were! how cute we were! and how they couldn't even tell who we were and maybe we really were two witches and a dog and a robot.

Our parents were on guard.  Someone we knew was given an apple with a razor blade in it, at least that's what we were told, and our parents had to go through all our candy when the night was over.  We knew full well you didn't go into anybody's house, and we had to make sure we could walk in our costumes and see out of our masks.

I know that era is over.  It was half over when I was a kid.  We never "tricked" anybody.  We heard about soaping windows or egging houses but it was always the stuff of legend and we never did it. Ditto bobbing for apples.  I know that we roamed a suburban neighborhood with a freedom that today's kids rarely have, and that even a sealed bag of M&Ms can be tampered with.  But still, I am sad.  As usual, this reworking of Halloween threatens to get rid of the important stuff – the visiting of neighbors, the important fantasy and creativity elements of dress-up, the flirtation with scariness and fear within safe boundaries – and keeps the least important part: candy. 

I'm sure in a few years the practicality of trunk-or-treat will wear down my resistance and I'll be right there with my own munchkin(s), enjoying the convenience, hobnobbing with all the friends I will have made by then.  But I also hope that evil, dangerous, secular trick-or-treating hangs in there as well. 

And this my first year, I really I hope I get a few stragglers on Friday.  I'll have my pumpkin carved, a little more decorously than the one above, and we'll see.

Edited to add: a friend sent a link to her pastor's blog with more eloquent arguments than mine on the whole trunk-or-treating thing.

Pumpkin photo from www.celebrating-halloween.com – yeah, I wish I'd thought of it too.

Today I am 24 weeks and had my follow-up freak-you-out ultrasound.  It went fine and there was no freaking out.  The u/s tech poked around and measured all the chambers of the heart and all the other important stuff and then said everything looked good.  What a relief.  At my birthing center the u/s machine is in one of the birthing rooms, so I was able to show my mom and my husband the tub and we could all envision the big event happening in that very room.

I'm having a few not-very-nauseated days in a row; I just ate vegetables, in fact. 

The incident with the mean lady on Tuesday has energized me.  What is out there for us older moms?  Where's our iVillage?  Some Googling revealed a few resources and an annoying, irritating amount of "articles" and "helpful information" that isn't helpful in the least. 

The articles concern how hard it is to get pregnant at an older age – Really?  I hadn't heard that?  Something about eggs? - and then segue to how hard it would be to stay pregnant with lots of scary miscarriage numbers and stats about "birth defects." 

Here is some wonderful twaddle from an unattributed, uh, article at a website called "Solveyourproblem.com" under the heading "Lower Your Risk:"

See your doctor the minute you decide to try to have a baby. After you conceive, have tests done to check for a healthy uterus and ovaries. Also, have your partner’s sperm checked to make sure the majority of them are normal and not genetically flawed. If you have to undergo IVF, make sure the doctor screens each embryo for genetic defects so that they only place healthy ones in your womb. Once you are pregnant, make sure you see your doctor as scheduled. Early prenatal care and good health habits will result in a healthy baby and a happy mother.

Is this not hilarious?  "After you conceive," have tests done to check for a healthy uterus? Have your partner's sperm checked?  There is no genetic "sperm check" that is supported by good studies.  There is some distant relationship to medical truth in these statements but it's mostly so, so wrong, and then wraps up with the fabulous promise that "early prenatal care and good health habits WILL result in a healthy baby…"

Assuming we haven't been warned off by all that, the articles then concern themselves with how hard it is to go without sleep and muster up the energy to parent babies and toddlers at an advanced age.  I guess I would be more moved by this if all the twenty- and thirty-something parents I know didn't constantly complain about how exhausted they are.  I'd be more worried if they were okay with it, like the kids who went dancing after running the marathon when I had to do the hot bath/ice pack combo before sleeping for 16 hours.  It seems to me that kids use up all that you have, whoever you are, and who knows who has more, or less?  It's all used up!  I personally have had insomnia since I was 35, and I rarely sleep 8 straight without drugs.  I have lost my sense of sleep entitlement, and that has been the key to my coping. 

Who knows how much energy younger people waste, getting used to less sleep and less "me time," fending off pushy parents and in-laws, stressing about finances and careers.  Not to mention trying to parent while still firming up their own identities.  Meanwhile we older parents are more established, we no longer care so much what our mothers will say – we're just glad we still have our moms, those of us who do – and we have more resources to hire help or take off from work.  We're not sitting around thinking about what glorious life adventures we are missing because of having kids – we either had those adventures already or sacrificed them to pay for our IVFs.

Anyway… the articles are not much help.  I mean, really, who is sitting around at age 28 saying "well, I think I'll wait 'til I'm 40 to have a baby… it'll all work out."  Please.  Obviously lots of us "weren't ready" at earlier ages – I had the worst kind of male factor infertility, i.e. no husband – but that's not the same as making a conscious decision to wait that long.  Every single woman past the age of thirty that I know is thinking and worrying about her declining fertility.  If you have ever watched your 35th, 36th, 37th birthdays pass with no decent boyfriends, not a lot of decent dates even, and then gotten the "fertility talk" from your GYN (usually right after he shoves the cold metal speculum in and tells you to "relax"), you know what I'm talking about.  It's not about shrugging and saying "oh, I'll just do IVF, that always works."  It's about rushing out of the doctor's office so you can cry your guts out in the car.  

As a very unsympathetic, fertile female relative once asked me: "Didn't you think about that before you got married?"

Yeah, b****.  Every single day. 

Most of us find we have arrived at the advanced age and THEN we begin either hoping to get pregnant / acquire children, or find ourselves in the process of gestating or acquiring and agonizing about it.

The fear-mongering gets my goat too.  Consider this excerpt from CBS News online, quoting some doctor named Smith:

Overall, Smith says, while it's possible to become pregnant later in life, experts caution that, risk-wise, younger is still better than older, your own eggs are still better than another women's eggs, and it's still too early to really know how kids of much older moms will fare down the line.

"Younger is better than older."  Duh.  "Your own eggs are still better than another women's [sic] eggs"?  Really?  Better how? 

Obviously I want to see articles that say how great older moms are and what great parents we will be and obviously I'm not going to see that everywhere.  But I'm not seeing much to balance the generalizations and fear-mongering and oh please, must I always hear about the celebrities?  Have I not been insulted enough, before I must also be told that I'm having a late-in-life baby because I read that Susan Sarandon or Geena Davis did?  I'm pretty sure that I don't plan large life decisions on what celebrities do. 

I'm just not seeing much of anything that I need online, so I'm now reading books on the older mom subject. I have three, and I will tell you if they're any good.

In the meantime I have read "Sippy Cups are Not For Chardonnay," by Stefani Wilder-Taylor, and that was, while not on the over-40 topic, hilarious and also useful.  This book has surprising depth even though it looks like it'll be all jokes all the time.  I learned some good stuff.

I post about strategies for my upcoming cycle at Trusera.

{edited}

I deleted the rest of this post.  I was repeating some mean things said in an email to me and venting about them.  I guess I don't feel as venty anymore (I might be feeling grande, instead, and must get to the gym hA HAh ha). 

The friend who emailed me the comments is an old friend who I have not seen or spoken to for years.  I know very little about what her life is like any more.  While my friend's comments hurt, she just happened to use infertility as a topic when she could have used any other thing. Since this particular exchange is about the first time we have talked since our bitter breakup many years ago, it seems petty to post something that is actually much more complicated than it looks.  I'm not sure it really does me any good to post in that "oh no she ditn't" and "what I should have said" vein… that's just me… even if this old friend will never read it.  So uh, never mind.

Logo_trusera_beta  Some friends at Trusera were asking me how to support infertile friends, so I posted about that over there today.  Let me know if I left anything out.

Trusera is growing and I recommend it.  It’s a little bit cozier than the wide-open blogworld, and it facilitates conversation back and forth.  It also gives participants a place to write stories in addition to blog posts, which I like.  Stories are a nice way to step outside the narrative, or to not apologize when one has no narrative.   As I often do. 

Not much going on, otherwise.  My transfer will probably be late May, possibly right over the Memorial Day weekend.  I hope to drag one of my doctors into the hospital on every major holiday before I’m done. I did not have the usual Lupron delay before getting to cycle day 1, so that’s just one less thing I get to complain about today.  I’ve experienced a few pregnancy announcements in the last few days, some from deserving infertiles and some from regular folk.  Who of course are no less deserving.  Just… different.  Anyway, I’m shaking ’em off pretty well, at the moment.  So and so is pregnant.  People do that.  Life goes on.

Has anyone recommended the "Fertility Diet" to you yet?

Don’t worry – they will.

The Fertility Diet is a book that just came out around Thanksgiving.  It’s by some Harvard researchers, the lead of whom seems to be Dr. Jorge Cavarro.  They used data from the Nurses’ Health Study, where a large group of female nurses were questioned about many aspects of their health over a period of years. 

Here’s what is so infuriating about books like this:

1) In order to sell books, the authors make their suggestions sound like a cure-all.  This is misleading and frustrating.

2) In order to sell magazines, TV advertising time and God knows what else, articles and news reports about the book will report on the subject with even more inaccuracy, thereby increasing the "cure-all" factor and misleading more people.  The "facts" will seem obvious when they are not really even facts.

3) By the time regular folks hear about this, it sounds like an obvious, easy thing to do that will undoubtedly work, and those regular folk will then come to you, and me, the long-suffering infertiles.  If we are very lucky, those regular folk will only mention the book – the Newsweek cover story – the ridiculously inaccurate TV news blurb – or whatever they saw.  If we’re not lucky, said well-meaning regular folk will suggest it and urge us to try it.

It’s about like suggesting to a cancer patient that they stop smoking.  They’ve probably already considered it. 

Before suggesting a health breakthrough to someone who suffers, we should all subject it to this little test: is it, uh, obvious?  If so… perhaps our suffering friend has already heard of it.

By some wacky coincidence, the fertility-enhancing elements of the so-called "Fertility Diet" are widely known and accepted principles of good nutrition.  So we’ve already heard about them and know, with every forkful of food that reaches our mouths, how we are doing. 

This so called "Fertility Diet" has been inaccurately hyped.  (I know!  That hardly ever happens!)  Turns out it may be helpful but only for women with ovulatory issues – that’s about 25% of all infertiles.  Not "most of" us, as many of the articles will say. 

Most women with ovulatory issues hear about PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), and are urged to fix their diets and "attain a healthy weight" right away.  I don’t know much about PCOS because by some miracle I don’t have it, but it can be correlated with insulin resistance, overweight, and possibly with poor nutrition.  Because it is a known, somewhat / possibly controllable risk factor for some women, some clinics won’t treat women with high BMI, or won’t offer them "shared risk" and other financing packages. 

So Dr. Chavarro’s findings are only news to non-infertiles.  Wonderful!  Just who we need advice from.

No matter what we suffer from, we already blame ourselves.  We already wonder if we should have smoked marijuana in high school, whether we should have consumed a six-pack of Diet Coke a week for most of our twenties, whether we should have had the abortion or the unprotected sex or been on the pill or NOT been on the pill.  We wonder if we should have dry-cleaned our clothes, or used all those cleaning products.  Was it the food poisoning we got in Mexico?  The Accu-tane, the Retin-A?  The Raisinets?  Who the hell knows.

On the one hand, Dr.Chavarro and his co-authors elaborately hype their book and the study’s findings in their Newsweek cover article  (written by the study authors themselves).  He claims the diet is aimed at "preventing and reversing ovulatory infertility" and that it "may help" with other types of infertility.

But in Tara Parker-Pope’s very welcome review of the book in today’s NY Times, Dr. Chavarro says that it "had been a challenge to balance the limitations of scientific research with the commercial demands of book publishing."  Meaning, be more truthful / specific and sell fewer books?  Evidently.  He reframes the book in Ms. Parker-Pope’s article this way:

I would describe it as an apparently fertility-enhancing dietary pattern, but that doesn’t go with the flow of your reading.   

No, it doesn’t, but that’s okay by me. 

I have not received any recommendations for the book, by the way; and I am not trying to slam any of the "regular folk" in my own life.  All are lovely, wonderful, and have put up with my infertility-related rants and complaints with unfailing love.  The regular folk get set up by the media, and the inevitable watering-down of information that happens.  I have made unhelpful suggestions myself, many times.  It’s hard not to.  We all have to either turn off everything and/or work extra hard to keep the world from making us dumb.

Obviously this book may help a few people (aside from enriching the authors) and I should be glad that infertility makes the cover of Newsweek from any angle.  I’m just grumpy that my own stellar nutrition hasn’t done me a bit of good (in conceiving at least), and that free advice still flows, and that I’m bound by taboos and confidentiality when the subject comes up so I can’t set the record straight as I’d like to. 

…and oh by the way the Lupron has me a little bit grumpy too.

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