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SuperBetter: Losing and Infertility

So I’ve really gotten into SuperBetter and have expanded to reading the book while I fiddle around with the app.  I’ve put a link to both the book and app at the bottom of the post in case anything I write resonates with you and you want to join along.

Anyway, I’ve been sailing through the information, nodding nodding nodding until I hit a thought that triggered an internal question that will probably be familiar for many of you.  I should preface this with a fact: Jane McGonigal talks about her own infertility in the book, so it’s a familiar topic for the author.

Somewhere near the beginning of the book, she writes about how games get us comfortable with the concept of losing.  Think about the games you play: The vast majority of the time, you don’t win, right?  I mean, yes, you ultimately clear the board in Candy Crush or get all the cards to line up in Solitaire, but there’s a reason most games come with multiple lives or chances.  She even states later in the book: “Gamers, after all, spend on average 80% of the time failing when they play their favourite games” (p. 86).

I am completely fine with losing games.  I am about as competitive as a slug.  In fact, the slug may care more about the outcome of games that I do.  I’m not competitive in the real world, either.  I don’t run races or care what the neighbours are doing… I just don’t feel particularly moved over whether I “win” or “lose,” even in everyday life.

Except in one place.

Losing during a cycle triggered the deepest grief, and I still can’t explain the reaction to this day.  Was it because I saw the stakes higher?  That doesn’t sound quite right, since the stakes are pretty damn high when it comes to other facets of life such as career, marriage, or health.  Was it the time factor — both the idea that time mattered when it came to fertility AND the length of time between tries?  It’s very different when you have to wait a month or two for another chance to play vs. being able to drop in a quarter and hit start to play again.  The effort expended with no “win”?  But it didn’t matter if it was a medicated or unmedicated cycle: I reacted the same way every single time.

I ultimately never found a way to be comfortable with losing when it came to trying to conceive.  I cried and raged and internally begged my way through every cycle.  Would it have been different if I had used the concrete exercises in this book back then?  Or do we all have places in life that are untouchable; that are therapy-proof?

I don’t have an answer: It’s just an observation about myself.  That while I can be okay losing at lots of things, the baby making game isn’t one of them.

I’m writing about SuperBetter the app as well as SuperBetter the book because… well… I learned about them via a podcast and now I want to talk about everything I’m learning on them.  If you want to talk about them, too, join along.  If not, skip the posts marked SuperBetter.

October 26, 2016   10 Comments

Diving Into My Email Archives

Eighteen years ago, I set up a cloud-based email account.  My boyfriend at the time talked me into it, saying we could use these cloud-based accounts to keep in touch while I was on a research trip.  Up until that point, all of my email was downloaded to an email client on my computer.

I kept using the account after I got back; in fact, I used it until the day the kids started school.

I recently had to go back into that old account to search for an old email, and while I was there, I decided to download all of the emails and save them to my computer.  I spent an hour clicking around, re-reading old notes that I had either sent or received.  There were emails back and forth with friends overseas after the Bush-Gore election as we were all trying to figure out who was president.  There were all of the emails I sent on September 11th when we were trying to account for everyone who worked in the Pentagon.  And then there were the personal moments; birth announcements for kids who are now in high school, telling people about our engagement, my own failed cycles, and finally the birth of the twins.

But my favourite emails to revisit were the first few emails I sent back and forth with Josh.  Yes, I have the first emails that we sent each other as well as the ones I sent my friends dissecting every early date, phone call, and interaction with Mr. Ford.  I was so nervous!  Rightfully so since I only know that everything worked out in retrospect, but still, so nervous and excited.  I loved getting to revisit those moments.

I downloaded over 12,000 emails, so I’ve only scratched the surface, returning to dates that bubbled up to the top of my mind.  I set the emails aside as a good snow day activity, delving into the past and seeing who I was back then.  Ready for the next blizzard.

Do you still have access to your old emails?  How far back can you go accessing messages?

October 25, 2016   8 Comments

#Microblog Mondays 113: Reading Aloud

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.


The twins and I still read aloud every night.  Once upon a time, I worried that they would outgrow it, but we still like to sit down together at 8:30 pm.  I read aloud a chapter and we discuss it in real time, even though they read books on their own the rest of the day.

We’re currently reading Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One.  I didn’t know if they would get into it, so I was holding another book in reserve, but they have been rabid about this story.

It’s interesting.  I don’t think it has anything to do with the games or movies listed in the book, though they have  certainly played almost all of the games and like a lot of the movies.  I think it’s more that the Wolvog relates to Wade.  He’ll point out similarities between them.  It’s almost as if, by reading the story, he’s understanding himself.

Have you ever found yourself in a story or related to a character in such a way that you understood yourself better?

Mine?  Arthur Dent.  I often feel like a female Arthur Dent.


Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored post.

October 24, 2016   20 Comments

Radio Radio

I have a deep, abiding love for BBC programming, so when an email arrived from a producer with the subject line “BBC request,” my first thought was, “Oh my G-d, they totally know how I feel about them and it’s muuuuuutuuuuuual.”  Like we were middle schoolers and the BBC had asked me out and I had said yes so now we were going steady.

Except being their one and only was not the request.  The producer just needed me to be on a panel.  Oh.  Yeah.  No, I get it.  This love is one-sided.

Story of my life, BBC, story of my life.

The producer, who had the greatest accent of all time (I know because we ended up jumping on the phone), asked me to be on a panel for The Food Chain, to speak about being a lifelong vegetarian raising meat eaters.  He found me due to an old blog post about explaining my vegetarianism to the kids.

So I went down to a nearby iHeartRadio station and they patched me into London.  It was my first time being in a recording studio, and the kind man at iHeartRadio had a lot of misplaced faith in my ability to choose the correct buttons on the enormous computer board.  But I got through it and hopefully said smart-sounding things.


Afterward, the guy at iHeartRadio gave me a tour of the station, which was a lot of fun because they have a ton of machines with colourful cords and flashing lights.  It was just cool to see the space where shows are being produced and then drive home listening to said shows.

If you would like to listen to the episode, it was released yesterday so you can grab it on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts (the episode is called “Vegan Babies: Should You Restrict Your Child’s Diet?”), or you can listen on the BBC site.  You know, the BBC (my boyfriend).

October 23, 2016   9 Comments

Trump is Like Salmonella Ice Cream

I am pro-third party candidates.  More choices mean more viewpoints, and frankly, there are a lot of ways we could positively run this country.  Democrats and Republicans don’t have a monopoly on good ideas.

But this election is different, and I’m going to ask you not to vote for a third party candidate when it comes to the presidency.  I know there is a feeling of “if not now, when,” but I repeat that it’s this election: It’s different.  Please hear me out.

Imagine your teacher says that your class can have an ice cream party, but you need to vote and decide on a single flavour of ice cream.  The choices are chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

strawberry ice cream

Image: Joy via Flickr via Creative Commons license

4 kids vote for chocolate, 4 kids vote for vanilla, and 1 kid votes for strawberry, which is what you really want.  Maybe you think, “Well, I don’t mind chocolate, though I really want strawberry.  I will vote for strawberry to show them that I really want strawberry and that will affect the next time we get ice cream.”  Or maybe you think, “I don’t like chocolate or vanilla, so I will vote for strawberry because that’s what I like and eat whichever one wins because who really cares if it can’t be strawberry.”

If we were voting between chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, I would not be writing this.  But we’re not talking about three equal but different ice cream flavours.

This is what this election is like: 4 kids vote for chocolate, 4 kids vote for salmonella-poisoned ice cream, and 1 kid votes for strawberry.  You may not like chocolate, but I think we can all agree that voting for salmonella-laced ice cream is not a healthy decision.  It has the potential to make the class very ill, and if nothing else, the class will be filled with dread while they wait to find out if the ice cream they knowingly consumed is going to harm them.

While that strawberry ice cream looks really good, and it’s what you actually want, your vote will not get the class that desired strawberry treat but could get the class the salmonella-laced ice cream.

So I’m going to ask you a favour to keep America healthy, and I ask this knowing full well that there will be a time when you will ask me to help you get strawberry as the flavour winner: Please vote for Hillary Clinton.

There will be future elections where we’re not fighting to keep bacteria out of our ice cream bowls, and there are many other positions of power in which to elect third party candidates this November.

Please make your vote count this election, and stand together with reason and capability.  It’s a huge ask, and I know that it is not easy to cast a vote for a candidate that doesn’t match your ideology.  But the only way to keep bacteria from spreading is to wash our hands of it.

October 21, 2016   16 Comments

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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