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Kittens are What Has Been Missing from Your Infertility Explanation

I know that if you are like me, you encounter people from time to time who don’t really understand infertility.  They’ve gotten their information from the mainstream media, or they only know about it through an unrealistic storyline on their favourite soap opera.  So they make unhelpful suggestions or say hurtful things, and then you are in a position where you need to educate them on the basics of your reproductive situation.  You forward them a link to a helpful website, or you point them towards an article.

What has been missing from your explanation of infertility — up until this point — is kittens.

33 of them.

Mostly — judging by size — a few weeks old.  Baby cats.  To explain why you can’t have a baby.  A compendium of borrowed feline babies to tell the story of your malfunctioning uterus.

I can haz IVF?


Image: Nick Perla via Flickr

Sarcasm aside, I don’t really know how to process Buzzfeed’s “Infertility Explained By 33 Impossibly Adorable Cats.”  Someone just sent it to me, and I started reading it with my head cocked to the side, as if looking at the screen askew would somehow bring the message into focus.  But… and I can’t believe I’m writing this… my breath caught when I got to #17.  And #18.  And there were moments where I stopped thinking about how someone was describing something devastating with cats (what’s next?  Cancer explained with pony pictures?  Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 understood through puppies?) and started reading it as simply an explanation of something devastating.

And then I just felt very quiet.

Your thoughts?



1 A.M.S. { 03.25.14 at 1:52 pm }


Maybe it IS exactly what we need to have in our arsenal to send to all those who suggest “just go on a vacation! It worked for us!” when your second IVF failed, you don’t know if you can afford another (financially or emotionally) and all you really want is someone to put their arm around you and listen to you blubber about how unfair life is.

Or, the clueless will continue to be clueless and say, ” awe, cute kitties. But seriously, have you tried clomid yet?”

2 loribeth { 03.25.14 at 2:09 pm }

I’m not particularly fond of cats — but that was surprisingly effective. It does seem silly — but if pictures of cats help a few more people understand the devastation of infertility, well, why not?

3 nicoleandmaggie { 03.25.14 at 2:29 pm }

Yeah, I agree with the previous two commenters (except I am fond of cats).

4 fifi { 03.25.14 at 3:47 pm }

I was expecting something terrible, but that was surprisingly touching. I know i’ve been #11 and #17 many times.

5 Catwoman73 { 03.25.14 at 3:59 pm }

I was almost afraid to click over, but I’m glad I did. Not only for the cute cat pictures (since I am, obviously, a cat person), but for the simplistic summary of the last seven years of my life. The next time someone says something stupid or insensitive to me, I’ll just send them the link to this, and in most cases, that will be the end of it. I’m tired of educating people. I’m tired of talking about it. Maybe this is just what I’ve been looking for.

6 Shira { 03.25.14 at 4:11 pm }

I’m clearly having a bitter day because all I could think was “ha, oh you people who actually have any use for POAS tests and have monthly hope are so cute”.

7 Lisa {Amateur Nester} { 03.25.14 at 4:31 pm }

Hmm… Yes, it’s simplistic, but for everyone who doesn’t spend hours upon hours researching and experiencing infertility (like we do), perhaps simplistic is what they need. I like it.

8 LauraZ { 03.25.14 at 4:37 pm }

I have mixed feelings. I feel like it’s a bit of a “fluff”piece. (ha!)
I don’t feel it adequately captured the sorrow or pain of infertility. But it obviously wasn’t intended to belittle. And I’m happy to at least see the subject of infertility on such a mainstream site.

I would hsve preferred to see photos of humans instead of kittens but maybe this way more people will click and get educated.

9 Hope { 03.25.14 at 5:21 pm }

^ A “fluff” piece! 🙂 It’s true.

It has lots of gratuitous cats (not a bad thing in my personal, cat-loving opinion). It also has some good advice (#13) and details that make me think the author may have read my mind (#24, wow).

10 chickenpig { 03.25.14 at 6:11 pm }

It was obviously written by someone whose been there. It makes me want to go out and adopt a kitten, though.

I suggest not reading the comments if you’re having one of those days/weeks/months/years.

11 nicoleandmaggie { 03.25.14 at 7:06 pm }

@chickenpig– I have 3 stray kittens who need homes!

12 Buttermilk { 03.25.14 at 9:12 pm }

It’s like Infertility for Dummies. Or Cliff Notes. I mean that in a good way. Plus it’s easy to sympathize with a kitten face, so I think that’s effective.

13 bleu { 03.25.14 at 10:06 pm }

I love cats but I didn’t like it……..what I ALMOST typed just now was that perhaps I am too cynical and I should be past it because I am so lucky and have 2 amazing children, but I am calling bullshit on myself, there is no time frame or “how I am supposed to be”. It makes light of it in a way that to me demeans it all. that is how I feel, and that is ok. <3

14 Persnickety { 03.26.14 at 6:40 am }

Ahhh kittens. It is a useful shortcut in talking to people who insist that relaxing is the solution.
And kittens. I miss having a cat, so kitten anything is appealing

15 Nicole { 03.26.14 at 8:00 am }

Sigh. I am not sure how to feel about it but maybe someone might learn something. Probably not.

I am much more irritated by the cnn.com article that states in the title “Stress linked to reduced fertility” It doesn’t even account for the fact that infertility is stressful in and of itself and that the infertility may exist independently and is not causing the stress but rather the other way around! While spending your life savings you get to someone up to their elbow in your hooha is such a hoot huh not stressful at all.

16 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 03.26.14 at 8:01 am }

A fluff piece 🙂 . But I feel it wasn’t really – it was dead serious, but at the same time it was like, ok folks, we’ve said this like a million times now and all you want to do is look at lolcats so here: is this on your frequency? Great!

Of course it’s just an info, but it will help people to open the door and get the personal story from their friend/family member. It was obviously designed with compassion.

17 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 03.26.14 at 8:01 am }

Just an *intro*.

18 Pepper { 03.26.14 at 8:03 am }

Well I shouldn’t have clicked.

19 Katherine A { 03.26.14 at 9:08 am }

Mixed feelings. On one hand, it does feel somehow like it’s making light of what is a very painful situation.

On the other hand, I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that I started laughing at the cat picture for #8. That wide-eyed, hair all foofed out expression – and the caption on the photo? Yep, that pretty much sums up how I feel about all the exams, ultrasound and tests.

20 JB { 03.26.14 at 9:13 am }

This made me sad. I don’t know exactly why. But I am sad because there’s a lot of truth in all of those statements. And I also think it’s sad that people need cats to make them realize that women go through infertility.

21 Jamie { 03.26.14 at 10:57 am }

As I kept reading, it seemed more likely the person has been through IF. There were even a few added bits of commentary in the slides to clue people in on some of the lingo. The process of making it could have been cathartic or maybe is it the originator’s way to sneak in educating others. However, I may have added a 34th kitten with an expression of sad disappointment. The caption could have been something like, “Really? Really? It took pictures of kittens for some of you to consider the pain of IF as real or that IF is a real medical diagnosis? And if you read this and get it, I’m sorry you have been touched by IF.” But, maybe that would turn away someone who could have been changed by the piece? It does seem to make fun of people going through IF, but it seems like it could be confused with making light of IF.

Maybe it would be good to leave a comment on buzzfeed? Add to the voices who know IF? But, I haven’t put myself out there before to know if it is worth it.

22 Jamie { 03.26.14 at 10:59 am }

*does NOT seem to make fun of people going through IF*

23 Amethyst { 03.26.14 at 12:00 pm }

At first I thought it was gonna be all, “You’re gonna turn into the cat lady one day,” but I’m glad I clicked on it. Some were very amusing, some hit the nail on the head. Cute kitties 🙂

24 KeAnne { 03.26.14 at 12:26 pm }

I liked it and I’m a cat person. I think it has the potential to help. Maybe. It does no harm anyway.

25 Rebecca { 03.26.14 at 2:29 pm }

I can’t believe how accurate that is. Every one of those things is my life right now. I personally love the seriousness of it coupled with the silliness. This is painful stuff, and you have to have some fun with it.

26 tigger62077 { 03.26.14 at 2:32 pm }

I liked it. I remembered those days and these kitties are particularly apt. I shared it on my FB. And the timing on this? Really apt, considering I’ve been involved in several discussions about birth control pills and Hobby Lobby this morning. They’ve taken an emotional toll and kitties are what I needed, along with the reminder that sometimes it takes kitties to tell people a story.

27 JustHeather { 03.26.14 at 2:57 pm }

I had the same reaction as most. And I think I might post this on FB too. 🙂

28 magpie { 03.26.14 at 10:02 pm }

i found that oddly moving. really. because, yeah.

29 Heather { 03.27.14 at 8:36 am }

I like it, a lot. Mostly because the person who put those images together? They are going through it, they are in the trenches of infertility. It’s something I could see myself putting together while undergoing treatments.
I don’t think the kittens trivialize infertility or the feelings associated. I just dig it because it’s honest.

30 jjiraffe { 03.27.14 at 12:38 pm }

I think it’s genius – it is an empathetic, appealing, simplistic yet surprisingly accurate depiction of the hell of infertility. I posted it on FB.

31 deathstar { 03.29.14 at 3:19 am }

BABY cats, yes, that was a sweet touch. Ooooh maybe it will be a series and they could use cute kittens for cancer, MS or diabetes. Or maybe other baby animals. I’m being sarcastic of course, but perhaps it just progress in a bizarre kind of way. Or not.

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