Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A book I'm taking seriously

Thanks for your comments on my last post, women. I know blogger has been a jackass recently for all commenters, and has pushed some women over the edge completely. Some of them have even resorted to switching to wordpress and/or using headphones in an attempt to regain sanity. I can't blame you, Bunny. I'm going to stick it out with blogger for a little while longer, but I may have to join you on the more user-friendly side. I've at least disabled the captcha requirement on the comments.

I haven't heard back from the radio station about my letter, except a short email to say that they've received it. I listened in last Sunday, but didn't hear the subject of donor eggs revisited. Sometimes they skip a week before they decide to read listener comments, so maybe they'll talk about it this Sunday. Or maybe they are avoiding the whole thing because they are so ashamed about putting crap* on the air. I can sympathize. I would be embarassed too.

I mentioned in a recent post that I have been reading Alice Domar's book called Conquering Infertility. (Now, I realize that many of my readers have conquered infertility. I am amazed and very thankful that you still read my blog and offer me so much support). I know that some of you have read this book and I think it is from reading some of your recommendations that I finally got it.

Frankly, I wish I had read this book 3 years ago.
It's not that there is any rocket science in it. I think that for most seaoned IFers, there would not be unexpected information found in the book, although I did learn new things reading it. I think one of the facts shared in the book that's given me pause for consideration is the fact that from her reading of the literature and her clinical experience, she identifies depression as most deleterious to the process of conception. She sees it as more harmful than stress or anxiety. She doesn't say: if you're depressed, forget about getting pregnant. It's more that she sees that resolving an epsiode of depression or reducing depressive symptoms as a primary target of intervention. (oy vey, that's clinical speak). That certainly got my attention.

The content of the book is presented in such a way to normalize the experience of women struggling with infertility, which is darn useful. I had already made this rule for myself a long time ago, but it was still validating to read that selective avoidance is a perfectly healthy strategy to utilize when going through the crisis of infertility. My "no baby shower" rule has served me well, indeed. It was nice to read about other small but significant ways she suggests to cope with IF. For example, it made me think about asking my close friends to let me know about upcoming pregnancies in a specific way that may help me cope better with this difficult situation (and let me be clear here, the difficult situation isn't that my beloved friends get pregnant and have babies, but that pregnancy announcements feel devastating and that when they happen, I feel the desire to share in the joy of the news and at the same time honour my grief. And then just feeling my grief makes me feel guilty because I can't be 100% joyful for my friends.)

What I'm appreciating most about the book is the very structured plan she suggests we take to reclaim power over our lives. IF has certainly felt like a thief and a dictator to me, and honestly, I feel ready for a coup d'etat (which is French for coup d'etat). So, without too much pomp and circumstances, I have taken heed of her suggestions. One important change I've initiated comes from her assertion that it is important to find ways to achieve the relaxation response each day. Starting from her list of suggestion, I've made my own list of things I can do to reduce my feelings of tension and shift from being driven hard by my sympathetic nervous system to letting my parasympathetic nervous system take over for a few minutes. I've learned so many ways to feel calmer and more connected with myself and in the present moment. Why was I not using them?

Photo by Sarah Bettencourt
see her shop on Etsy

I'm in my second week of taking time each day for mind/body activities. My go-to is yoga. I've been practicing it for almost 10 years and it feels like my central pillar in terms of ways to reach a state of relaxation. I've also been journalling more frequently, doing breathing exercises, meditation, etc. I am far, far from feeling like a million bucks. In fact this week, I feel terrible emotionally. But I have decided to stick with it. Give it a full month before I pass any global judgement. And so far, I know that when I come home and go straight up to my room for my yoga practice, I feel calmer.

So, just to come clean, I work for Domar's publisher and I had been infiltrating myself into this community for the past 3 years just so I could sell you a book. So please go buy it or I'll get fired**

*And by crap, I mean third-rate, under-researched, over-sensationalized journalistic bullshit.

**The book publishing industry is how I moonlight, since you know, my work is really not challenging me quite enough.


  1. I've never read it, but just reading your post made me feel very validated!

  2. It sounds like a great book, and what you say also resonates with my own experience--there wasn't much my therapist could do to help me, but the things that did help tended to be the things you describe. (I practiced some selective avoidance when it came to the literature on how one's psychological/emotional state affected conception--I would research just about anything else, but there's something too cruel about the notion that feelings you can't help but feel might have an actual impact. However, facing it and doing what you can makes a lot more sense.)

    I'm so sorry this has been a wretched emotional week. But I so admire you for your yoga practice. I know that takes tremendous discipline and commitment, and I find it impressive. And you EXERCISE, too! Heavens! I am glad you're working to take care of yourself, because you deserve it!

  3. I read the book many years ago when I was a "novice" but felt so very overwhelmed. It might just be time to pick it up again. Your post is at the right time... since I am at a crossroads so to speak and trying to decide if I need to admit the big D word. I'm resisting medical intervention for now and your post was a reminder that I do have control over some things. Thank you. You are always in my thoughts my dear friend...

  4. Hey Augusta,

    I've read this book too. See the link below for my post about it.

    I felt the same as you, it was comforting to read it and even though it was stuff I technically already knew, it was nice to read it. I actually flicked through the book again 2 days ago and thought I should really read it again soon so it's really funny that your current post came up when it did. Talk about tuning into my radar girlfriend.


  5. This sounds like a great book, and I think I will read it! I'm like bunny in that my selective avoidance has involved avoiding anything about how my emotional state might be affecting my fertility -- because I have enough common sense left to know that feeling even worse about myself isn't going to make things better. But this book sounds ... healthy. Thank you for the recommendation.

    And good on you for keeping up your yoga practice!

  6. Is it bad that I read your post and my first thought was how funny you are? The idea of your wiggling your way into the IF community over the course of three years in order to sell a book just made me laugh. And your translation of coup d'état was most helpful.

    Finding reliable ways to relax is so important, and something I haven't often done for myself; I'm really glad you're taking that on, even when it's hard. Slogging through this swamp definitely requires some wisdom from those who have been there; that this book has entered your life sounds like a very good thing. Love and more love.