Saturday, April 29, 2017

Seven Books About Living with Infertility and Beyond

As a bibliophile, book reviewer, and now a self-outed MRKH Warrior, I am compelled to share with you a few books about infertility. I have not read all of these books, only started the first two about MRKH, both of which I have read multiple reviews and synopses. Those I have not read are about infertility in general and are accompanied by other reviewers accounts and/or descriptions.

Look for these today at your local bookstore because April 29 is Independent Bookstore Day. What if they don't have it, you ask. Answer: ask the owner to order you a copy and carry the book to help spread awareness about infertility. But what if they refuse, you say. Answer: Ask again. No? Not comfortable asking? Okay fine, these are also available on Amazon unless otherwise noted.

Friday, April 28, 2017

I or My Partner Just Received An Infertility Diagnosis. Now What?

Take a deep breath. Repeat after me: I Am Not Alone.

Say it again. I Am Not Alone.

But I feel so alone. So ashamed, so isolated, and so heartbroken. My/my partner's identity as a man or a woman is in crisis. I feel like nobody understands. Nobody is listening.

I know. We've all been there and still feel this way sometimes. Did you say we? Yes.

We're all over the place. Some of us are no longer in hiding, and we want to support those who still are, while still protecting your privacy.

Some of these resources are MRKH and women specific because that what I know. If you don't find what you're looking for here, you can use these ideas to seek them out.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

How Infertility Has Taught Me to Listen

Infertility is a blessing in disguise because it has taught me to listen. I know, it sounds crazy that infertility can be a blessing in disguise when it's an emotional struggle. It sounds even more crazy since the emotional affects are not visible to others, even to those in our inner circle, making it that much more of a struggle. Because it's not visible, it doesn't look like we have anything to be upset about and we occasionally get told that to our faces. This attitude towards our "invisible" struggle has taught me that it's not a good idea to judge a book by its cover so to speak, even though that is human nature. It's taught me that not everything is as it appears, and so I do my best to listen.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Celebrating National Poetry Month with Mud Season Review

Writing poetry has been my private outlet of mine for many years. It's been overshadowed on this blog by my book reviews and infertility posts, and that is something that will change eventually. Even though poetry has been so important to me over the years in coping with my infertility diagnosis, and really life in general, I have failed to bring attention to the fact that April is National Poetry Month. It is also known as NaPoWriMo online, and is sponsored by Poets.org.

Perhaps I have forgotten to share my love of poetry with you because my lust for this written form has been satisfied through being a Poetry Reader for the last eight months for the Mud Season Review. It is a literary journal that grew out of the Burlington Writers Workshop in Burlington, Vermont. Just last week we celebrated the publication of our 28th monthly online issue, and Volume 3 print issue. The Mud Season Review publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and artwork, and accepts submissions through Submittable.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Things Your Infertile Friend Wishes You Knew

So your friend just told you she has some form of infertility. This is a moment in your friendship where it's time to listen to her and support her. She may or may not have told you specifics of her situation. It doesn't matter. What matters is that she told you because she trusts you. She may have also been so overwhelmed about telling you, for fear of your reaction, that she didn't think to tell you some of the things she wishes you knew all along, and hopes you will remember. Perhaps you were overwhelmed by the news to ask what you could do to be there for her as a friend.

This is where the list below may come in handy. While it's not comprehensive, it's a list of some things I wish my friends and family knew, and what my MRKH Sisters wish their networks knew. MRKH is a form of primary infertility I talked about in an earlier post that affects only women and mainly affects the reproductive system. In sum, according to Genetics Home Reference, "this condition causes the vagina and uterus to be underdeveloped or absent. Affected women usually do not have menstrual periods due to the absent uterus," though I'd like to point out that many still ovulate due to the presence of ovaries (we get the PMS without the period, yay! *sarcasm*)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Listen to Understand (Infertility), Not to Reply

For several months I've been planning this idea in my head that I would write this well researched blog post about infertility to kick off my participation in RESOLVE's National Infertility Awareness Week. Infertility is an emotionally raw diagnosis. I realized that the research wasn't getting done because I just wasn't ready to dive deep into a topic that is so sensitive already without the added stress of research. I subconsciously realized that dealing with infertility and combing through tons of information and writing a well-researched blog post was too much for me to handle.

What I can handle is telling you my own infertility story and reasons behind participating in this year's National Infertility Awareness Week. And writing from the heart is less likely to make me cry. I hope. So grab your favorite beverage, maybe some tissues, snuggle up on the couch, and listen up because what I've written here to share with you is emotionally raw and important.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

At just under 20 hours, I think Gone Girl is the longest audio-book I've listened to, and the actors did an excellent job. One of the reasons I was drawn to reading (or listening to) Gone Girl is because I've always enjoyed when an author writes a story with each character's perspective. It gives readers insight into what each of them might be feeling and thinking. I also heard The Girl on the Train, which I read last year, dubbed as the "next Gone Girl" and since I thoroughly enjoyed listening to that book, I figured why not give Gone Girl a try?

Monday, April 17, 2017

April is National Poetry Month

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? It was started in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, and according to poets.org, "Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s
vital place in our culture."

Although we are halfway through the month, there are still some things you can do to celebrate poetry!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Review: The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand
Published by Blackstone Audio Inc.
OverDrive Listen audiobook narrated by Kathleen McInerney, Erin Bennett, and Rick Zieff
Duration: 10 hour 48 minutes
Released: June 16, 2015
Dates listened: Oct. 4-16, 2016

As the weather is starting to turn warmer, I am starting to think about my summer reading list and my thoughts turned to this one I listened to last fall when I was in denial that the weather was getting colder. This being my first novel by Elin Hilderbrand I got the sense that this is a cookie cutter plot line and an easy quick beach read. There wasn't much character development and the plot was a bit too predictable. That said, I could tell she has some kind of writing talent and I hope that her other novels are better.

Set in present day Nantucket, The Rumor follows scandalous news between best friends Madeline King and Grace Pancik whom seem to have picture perfect marriages with standing double dates on Sunday evenings. Their children and homes appear to be picturesque Nantucket beach town, described in such a way that made me want to jet down to the beach as soon as possible.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
2nd installment of the All Souls Trilogy
Paperback, 583 pages
Published May 28th 2013 by Penguin Books (first published July 10th 2012)
Dates read: January 10, 2015 - April 6, 2017

Shadow of Night took me over 2 years to read because I felt it was very slow moving to start despite picking up immediately after the cliffhanger ending of the first book, Discovery of Witches. Part of Libri Persona: The People of the Book, which names the characters in each part and who they are.
me wishes I stuck with it so I could remember more details, but part of me is okay with that because most of those details aren't necessary to still enjoy the book. I didn't find it as difficult to keep up with the details as I did in Discovery of Witches, perhaps due to the structure of the book being broken up into 6 parts, and also providing a section in the back called

Luckily, I took copious notes at the beginning so I could remember it enough to write a review eventually, and did read the majority recently enough to remember it well enough.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Results: Take Control TBR Challenge 2017

Well, the challenge didn't go nearly as well as I'd hoped. I only managed to finish 2 books in March, when my goal was to finish my currently reading pile of 7 books at the beginning of the month. My original post of the challenge was published on March 1st.

The books I planned to read or finish reading were:
  1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (completed March 4)
  2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (completed March 4)
  3. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (since completed, but too late for the challenge)
  4. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien (book club book that of course I didn't finish in time for the discussion)
  5. Rokitansky by Alice Darwin
  6. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
  7. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Published April 2, 2013 by Audible Audio
Narrated by Jessica Almasy and Suzanne Toren
Dates listened: March 26 - April 5, 2017

Kline’s Orphan Train is a “captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to
ask,” as Goodreads describes.

Molly Ayer, a Penobscot Indian, feels like an outsider being raised by complete strangers as she has been in and out of foster care homes – her father died in a car crash and her mother is a drug addict in jail. She is just a few months of aging out of the foster care system and quite close to being kicked out of her current foster home. Just when she’s about to go to juvie for a seemingly minor offense, she opts to do a community service position helping an elderly woman - her only alternative to avoiding jail. Like any 17 year old, she thinks she couldn’t possibly have anything in common with a 91-year old. Little does she know that the service hours are only the beginning of the stories and lessons she’ll learn from Vivian and the keepsakes hidden away in trunks in the attic.