When my husband and I found out that we could not have children, we were…well, devastated. We were surrounded by good people who cared about us and hoped for our family to grow, so when we went public with our news, they wanted to offer us encouragement and support. We received a lot of “advice” or “words of comfort,” and heard a lot of stories that were intended to be helpful, but just made it hurt more.
Then one fine day, a neighbor that had struggled with her own form of infertility reached out to us and said words out loud that echoed the feelings in our hearts. She introduced me to a few other women with similar struggles and we started a mini support group. We meet once a month and we talk about what we’re going through, the crazy things people say to us, and how we’re handling it all. We do a LOT of laughing, especially when it comes to the well-intended comments of people who haven’t given their words a lot of thought. It’s so nice to know that it’s not just us!
I’ve often thought that if our loved ones could be flies on the wall and hear some of these stories, they would better understand our situation and give more thought to their comments. Also, as a group we’ve talked about how vital it has been for us to have each other’s support and we wish that everyone going through this could have what we have.
That’s where this book comes in:
Its purpose is twofold – to give those going through fertility challenges an assurance that there are people out there who get it, and to give friends and relatives of people going through it a gauge on what not to say.
To do this, I will draw on our experiences as well as the experiences of other friends, family, acquaintances, and hopefully even some of you.
Tentatively, I plan to break the book up into sections with interviews, quotes, and stories to illustrate the various stages of the infertility journey. I reserve the right to make changes to the content, sections, or layout of the book at any point, since I hope that I will have many new content contributors soon! :) But, here is what I am thinking right now:
* Introduction * "Trying" * Doctors, Tests, and Waiting Rooms * The News * Mourning and Decisions * Medical Journeys * Adoption Journeys * A Family of Two * Closure? * Lessons Beyond Infertility
As the project moves forward on Kickstarter, I will interview the people in my circle of family and friends, and I hope that circle will expand as you share this project with others. I know there are a lot more people out there who have had some crazy, unbelievable, downright ridiculous experiences and I want to find them! I hope to be contacted by many of you and your family and friends because I want to have a diverse range of stories and experiences to draw on for this book.
I have a secondary goal as well. I often think that it would have been so beneficial to have received a book like this when we first got the news. It would have prepared us for the “helpful” things people would say, would have let us know that we’re not alone, and it could have been a resource for the friends and family around us. I can just imagine giving them the news along with this book so that they had a better idea of what we were feeling and what would truly be comforting or helpful. So part of this project is to donate these books to fertility clinics and doctor’s offices.
We had the classic uncomfortable experience of sitting in a fertility clinic, waiting to have tests performed, waiting for test results, etc. We were surrounded by others who were obviously in similar circumstances, yet we all felt so isolated that there was no reaching out or connecting with people who could understand. I believe that if a book like this had been sitting on the coffee table with a sticker that said “Take Me, I'm a gift if I can help” we wouldn’t have felt so alone.
So that’s what I picture – bringing comfort and understanding to one of life’s very difficult challenges.
Thanks in advance for your support. Words can't describe how excited I am about the potential good this project could do.
Share the project
Thank you for spreading the word! An easy way for you to share this project is to click one of the links under the video. But feel free to email, blog, tweet, pin, or shout it from the rooftops. Just to make it a little easier, I have written a short paragraph you can use when sharing, but of course, please feel free to use your own.
"Did you know that 1 in 8 couples deal with infertility? Wouldn't it be nice if we knew what to say or, more importantly, what NOT to say to them? Check out this project spotlighting some of the more outrageous things that have been said to this large demographic."
Share your stories
Thank you for wanting to share your stories! This project would not be possible without you. The best way for you to get in touch with me is through my email address: WhatToRespect@gmail.com. Shoot me an email and I will send you a short questionnaire to help get your juices flowing. This will also make sure I am consistent with the information I am getting from each of you.
I am mindful that some people may not be comfortable sharing their story publicly, so please know that I will respect your privacy if you choose to contribute anonymously.
This is a personal subject and not everyone that goes through this is comfortable sharing. Some people will be comfortable sharing things that others won’t. If you do reach out to me it will be in complete confidence and I will only use what you give me permission to use. You are welcome to stay anonymous.
When it's all said and done, I hope to have a very comprehensive collection of stories - the most outrageous, the funniest, the most shocking, and the most common. So even if you think your story might not be unique and there is no reason to share it, I want to hear it! Every story is important to me and this project.
Join the official Facebook page
Risks and challenges
I've committed to writing this book, so come heck or high water, it will be written. But it's completely possible that I could hit a few snags along the way.
The most likely snag I foresee is a placement, meaning that I become a mom. What a happy snag!! Our adoption profile information is everywhere and we are currently with two agencies, so a placement should, theoretically, happen any day now. We’ve been waiting for two years, so we’re definitely two years closer than we were when we started. If we were to receive a baby before I am done writing this book, I would be a little interrupted by all the time I would spend jumping around and hollering with joy, if not from the feedings and diaper changes. But I can guarantee that it would only be a small interruption. This book will be written!
As I have learned from the experience of running our manufacturing company, there are countless other challenges that could occur, that for now remain unseen. In my experience, a project is usually better for a few bumps and snags; they’re what smooth away the rough edges and take it from good to great. So with a fantastic and supportive husband, having experience in overcoming crazy obstacles in other projects, and a solid commitment to my backers, I feel no qualms in saying, “No worries – there will be a book.”
For the present time, I am focused on creating a tangible product that can be shared with friends and family, donated to various clinics and offices, passed around from friend to friend. Down the road, once the stories have been gathered, the physical book has been funded and published, and once there are thousands of tangible copies floating around, then yes, I will probably add an e-version to increase it's reach.
This reward level is for ten soft-cover books. Either I will ship all 10 to you and you can distribute them however you see fit or I will ship you 1 book and distribute the other 9 to places they will do some good. In that case, you will receive a note letting you know where they went and thanking you for your generosity.
This level is for you, Clomid! You will become What To Respect's official sponsor and I will have 2,100 books specially printed as "Brought to you by the makers of Clomid" to be distributed to clinics and doctor's offices around the country. Come and get it! :)