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IComLeavWe: April 2015

Welcome back to IComLeavWe. It stands for International Comment Leaving Week, but if you say it aloud, doesn’t it sounds like “I come; [but] leave [as a] we”? And that’s sort of the point. Blogging is a conversation and comments should be honoured and encouraged. I like to say that comments are the new hug–a way of saying hello, giving comfort, leaving congratulations. Here is the vital information, pure and simple (a more detailed set of rules follows below the list):

  • The list opens the 1st of every month. It remains open until the 21st. You can add yourself at any point. The list is open to everyone in the blogosphere–blog writers and/or blog readers.
  • Add yourself to the list by filling out this form after adding the icon belowApril 2015. I will move the information from the form into the post (usually within 24 hours).
  • Click here to cut-and-paste this bit of code to add to your sidebar (if you have the old code from another month, remove it and replace it with this one). You need to add the icon or a link to the current list on your blog (see below) and will not be added until it’s up.
  • Commenting kicks off every month on the 21st. Please mark it somewhere (calendar, post-it note taped to your computer…), though I will be sending out an email reminder on the 20th. Commenting week runs from the 21st to the 28th. Every day, leave 5 comments and return 1 comment for a total of 6 comments. You are highly encouraged to choose the blogs you comment on from the participants list below, but this is not required.
  • I will send a second email on the 28th to remind you to remove the icon from your blog.
  • Read below if you want to find out about Iron Commenters.
  • The commenting ends on the 28th. We catch our breath and the whole thing starts again the next month on the 1st. Drop in and out according to what is happening in your life between the 21st and the 28th.

The April 2015 List

  1. Stirrup Queens (twins, books, writing)
  2. Breathe Gently (IVF, recurrent miscarriage, toddler-mum)
  3. The Barreness (art, infertility, rediscovery)
  4. When Agony Met Hope… (infertility, donor embryo)
  5. A Plus Effort (adoption, parenting, loss)
  6. Add yourself by filling out the form after adding the icon…
You have questions…I have answers:

Q: What if I miss a day?

A: Catch up the next day by doubling your comments–12 comments instead of 6.

Q: What if I have two blogs? Can I sign up twice, listing both blogs?

A: Yes, but you also need to double your comments. If you have two blogs listed, you should be leaving 12 comments per day.

Q: What is an Iron Commenter?

A: Not for the faint-of-heart. People who wish to be an Iron Commenter and be entered on the Iron Commenter honour roll need to leave a comment on every blog on the participants list (exceptions are blogs that require you to have a special log-in, such as some LiveJournal accounts or other similar situations). You can spread out this commenting any way you wish over the whole week, but the final comment needs to be left by midnight on the 28th (EST). Reaching Iron Commenter status is done on an honour system. Please email me if you earn Iron Commenter status so I can add you to the wall of honour.

Q: Why do I have to add that bit of code to my sidebar?

A: The code is the latest icon (the icon changes colour every month so you know that you’re on the right list). This month, the icon is blue, the next month it will be yellow, etc. The reason is two-fold: (1) it enables more people to find out about IComLeavWe and (2) it gives you easy access to the current list once the commenting week actually begins and better ensures that you’ll use it. Too many times, people sign up and forget to actually do IComLeavWe and this icon gives you a daily reminder (with the dates on it) every time you open your own blog. The icon is linked back to the current list. On the 28th, remove the icon from your blog. A new one will be created for the next month.

Q: It’s the 23rd and I just saw this for the first time on my friend’s blog! I want to join the list–why can’t I?

A: Because IComLeavWe happens every month, once the list is closed, it’s closed. If you’re finding out about this on the 23rd, you can’t join the current month. But leave yourself a note to check back in a week on the 1st and you can sign up for the next month.

Q: You said the list closes on the 21st. Well, it’s still the 21st where I am. Why aren’t you moving my information onto the list?

A: All dates and times are U.S. Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT -5 hours). The list closes around 11 p.m. EST on the 21st.

Q: What if no one comments on my blog and I have no comments to return?

A: Well, that really doesn’t happen for the most part, but in that case, simply choose another blog and add an additional comment. The goal is to hit 6 comments daily as a minimum. Going over that is fantastic and encouraged.

Q: Mel, my question wasn’t covered at all. What do I do?

A: Email me; I’m quite friendly. It helps to place “IComLeavWe” in the subject line. You could also check this post which contains the history of IComLeavWe and see if you can glean anything there.

Looking for the comment section? It has been closed on this post. Use the form in the directions to add yourself to the list.

March 27, 2015   Comments Off

The Pressure of Egg Freezing

A recent article on the New York Times blog finally released me to put into words something that has always gotten under my skin about egg freezing, and it’s this: if this option had been around when I was younger, and if I had been nearing the end of my twenties unmarried, I would have gone into debt for this because I would have known that if I hadn’t gone into debt for this and there had been a fertility problem down the road, I would have hated myself.  I would have paid for egg freezing rather than fall down the rabbit hole of “what if” regardless of the fact that egg freezing is an invasive, painful, not-always-successful procedure.

Which would have led to me entering my thirties heavily in debt on my teacher’s salary.  I wouldn’t have been able to save for a house, but I also wouldn’t have been able to save for fertility treatments if I actually needed to use my frozen eggs.  Because it’s not just freezing your eggs.  It’s using your eggs, and that cost is astronomical if it’s not covered by insurance.  And it rarely is.  But here’s the thing: if I married a man, that man would not have gone into debt to shelter his fertility.  He would be entering our marriage without a $15,000 debt to his reproductive chances.

egg_freezing

Image: Steve Johnson via Flickr

People argue that it’s just a choice: take it or leave it.  And certainly, there are many pressures women face on a daily basis that women shrug off without a second thought.

But that choice — the egg freezing choice — presses buttons.  It gets to our deepest insecurities: will I find someone to love me in time?  Will they want the same things I want?  Will we be able to create the family that exists in my brain?  Egg freezing is about our mortality.  It whispers you’re aging, you’re aging, you’re aging.

You’ll never be this young again.

Choices are wonderful things when making them actually frees or lessens you from problems in the future.  But egg freezing isn’t just a choice; it’s a pressure.  Because now, if you don’t take that option, the message girls are receiving is that they have no one to blame but themselves if they end up infertile in their thirties without any eggs tucked away.  And THAT is a dangerous choice to have because the consequences of that choice are enormous; especially if the choice doesn’t pay off but even if it does.  A $15,000 price tag is a huge weight around the neck of someone trying to start their adult life.

But moreover, what gives me pause with this choice is that idea of egg freezing parties, which sounds like a Tupperware party which always comes with such a huge pressure to buy.  Because what is a Tupperware party except a woman entering someone’s house to remind a bunch of people that they don’t have it together, they don’t have neat kitchens, they don’t have proper storage that will keep the food they feed their family safe, but if they buy buy buy the product, they too can let out a sigh of relief that life is once again orderly?

Replace Tupperware with makeup parties or sex toy parties or jewelry parties.  The point of all of those parties is to sell people a product, and the only way to sell the product is to convince the attendees that they need it.  That they can’t live without it.

I’ve always been someone who could live without Tupperware or makeup or sex toys or jewelry.  But my fertility?  Having the marriage I want, the family I want?  Those wants trace all the way back to when I would rock my dolls and play house.  Those are deep wants that predate knowledge of cooking or beauty tips or accessories.  I wouldn’t have been able to step back and look at the facts realistically.  If someone gave me a convincing pitch, I would have signed on the dotted line.

If egg freezing was a guarantee, it probably wouldn’t give me pause.  But it’s not.  It’s just a chance.  And something that has gone from being a wonderful invention out there for women who need a little hope during a health crisis has become a weight hanging around the necks of women.  Women are asked to go into debt, women are asked to shoulder the cost of protecting the possibility of the next generation, women are asked to do something invasive — all for a gamble since every pregnancy attempt is a gamble, even when you’re young and using fresh eggs.

Sometimes you get lucky.

Sometimes you don’t.

This isn’t to say that women who are drawn to egg freezing shouldn’t freeze their eggs, but more, that women shouldn’t be pressured to make this choice.  That the air of blame that surrounds it needs to dissipate.  That egg freezing needs to go back into the doctor’s offices, offered out as a possibility by a doctor who is invested in a particular woman’s health history rather than a hard-sale performed at parties by strangers.

Reading that piece made me finally able to pull those thoughts out of the back of my brain and put them on the screen.

March 25, 2015   12 Comments

Fast or Pretty?

We’re starting the process of re-doing the kitchen.  We’re going to resurface the cabinets, drop in a new counter and sink, get a new stove and hood, and paint the walls.  We’re keeping it simple; I’m not really a fancy backsplash kind of girl.

Whenever I tell people our plan — to resurface rather than gut the kitchen and get all new cabinets — half the people nod, either saying they would take the same approach or they wish they had taken that approach when they gutted their kitchen and had to cook dinner out of a microwave for weeks.  The other half cannot understand investing money into something that isn’t the kitchen of your dreams with unlimited choices in terms of style and material, and everything brand new.

But here’s the thing: the kitchen of my dreams is a simple, useable kitchen.  Nothing exciting.  We’re not looking for more or better storage because we like our layout and what we have now.  Our cabinets just look worn, and the sink is falling apart.

The only thing on my wishlist is a bookcase to run across one of the walls where I can put copies of well-known books that people could grab and read during a meal.  I love to read while I eat, and I want anyone who comes to our house to have books at their disposal in the kitchen in case they feel like reading, too.

I work from home, and the fact is that I need this done quickly because it is going to interrupt my work space.  I want it done well, but I’m willing to trade unlimited choice and new for fast and neat.  Again, the kitchen of my dreams is a fully functional kitchen with minimal disruption to my life.  Hence why we’re going this route.

Obvious no one longs to be without a kitchen for weeks on end, but do you fall into the quickly-done-with-few-options camp or the long-time-but-ultimately-fills-your-heart’s-desire camp?

And would you want to eat in my kitchen if you knew you could grab down a good book?

March 24, 2015   29 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 30: Schrödinger’s Problem

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

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Going hand-in-hand with avoiding dreaded tasks like getting my hair cut are things that I refer to as Schrödinger’s problems. While I don’t love the dentist or doctor, I’m not scared of the tasks that take place in the office such as a cleaning or Pap smear.

The reason I put off going to the dentist or doctor or any like task is the idea that if I don’t go, I won’t know about a problem. I’m aware that like Schrödinger’s cat being alive or dead whether or not the box is opened, if I don’t go to the doctor, the problem still exists. In fact, it could even be worse because I didn’t address it in time.

But I put-off tasks that could potentially bring me bad news. If I don’t go, I can’t receive the bad news. The same thing holds true for social situations where I suspect the person may tell me something I don’t want to hear.

Do you avoid things to keep yourself from hearing bad news or do you like to know definitively where things stand?

P.S. Before my mother asks: I have dental and doctor’s appointments scheduled.

P.P.S. Before anyone states this, I know this popularization of Schrödinger’s thought experiment is a bastardization of his actual statements on superposition.

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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 posts.

1. Mali (No Kidding in NZ) 19. Savannah (Because I Can’t Have Babies)) 37. Jen (Days of Grace)
2. Mali (A Separate LIfe) 20. Cristy 38. Mary Fancis
3. Lori Lavender Luz 21. Accio Baby! 39. Queenie
4. One and Done? 22. Solo Mama 40. Kasey
5. Gil (The Hardest Quest) 23. Lost Again 41. Laurel Regan @ Alphabet Salad
6. Middle Girl 24. S 42. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled)
7. Daryl 25. torthú il 43. Cynthia Samuels
8. Unpregnant Chicken 26. Junebug 44. Jessica
9. earthandink 27. Infertile Girl 45. My Path To Mommyhood (Jess)
10. No Baby Ruth 28. knottedfingers 46. Shannon
11. Savannah (Countless Tomorrows) 29. Shilpa 47. deathstar
12. Geochick 30. Buttermilk 48. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal)
13. Kim Court 31. Rachel 49. Deboshree
14. Journeywoman 32. Just Heather 50. Conceptionally Challenged
15. Isabelle 33. Baby, Are You Coming? 51. Kimberly
16. Non Sequitur Chica 34. The bespectacled mother 52. Surly Mama
17. Karen (River Run Dry) 35. Created Family
18. Parul Thakur 36. Good Families Do

March 23, 2015   40 Comments

Filed Under “In Case You Didn’t Have Enough to Worry About…”

The link told me that a study found that the number of friends you have affects how long you live.  Should I click over to PsychologyToday and find out how early I was going to die?

I expected to see an advance copy of my eulogy written at the top of the screen, especially with the added caveat that it’s not just quantity, it’s quality.  But instead I found a long discussion that this thing — friendships — that are mostly outside of our control are the key to living to a ripe old age and seeing a world full of Elon Musk’s unmanned cars or keeling over before I’ve come to a decision about whether or not to dye my hair.

The test that PsychologyToday offers as you consider your life:

Outside of your family, how many people would you be willing to call in the middle of the night if you needed help, and how many would be willing to get out of bed and come rescue you? And, what about if you met one of those important life goals? Who would you call? If you don’t have at least two people on both of your lists, perhaps you should take more seriously the role of social relationships in your life.

Four.  It looks like you need at least four people.  At least two of those people need to own beds that they can get out of.

I think I’m safe.  I have a few people that I call with major news (and not so major news).  A few more who live locally who have saved my ass before and would likely save it again.

But here’s the thing.  I don’t mind being given advice about longevity that is within my control to follow.  Drink water instead of soda?  Completely do-able.  The power is in my hands, especially since the generic bottled water at the grocery store costs less than a bottle of Coke.

But things such as marriage or parenthood or friendship… those things aren’t within our control.  Sure, there are things we can do that increase our chances of reaching those goals, such as dating or having sex or getting out of the house.  But I think we all know that some things don’t happen despite our best efforts.

At the end of the day, you can’t control how many friends you have nor the quality of those friendships.  You can’t control the friendship skills of others; whether they’ll come to your rescue or provide a shoulder for you to cry on.  Friendship is dependent upon the actions of another person. Another person needs to choose you back. And that’s just not a given, no matter how much you try to make something work.

So much of friendship is tied to your personality and where you live and the time you have to cultivate friendships.  And how much you get out of your friendships also depends on personality and history and your social needs.  There are people who prefer to be alone, and there are people who feel as if they’re crawling out of their skin when they go too long without seeing friends.

We know that stress can negatively impact our lives, and it’s stressful to be told that the solution to a problem that concerns us (our mortality) is mostly outside our control.

So I guess I’ll just give up and crawl into bed.  I’ll be there just in case someone needs a friend to get out of a bed to save their ass.

P.S. Don’t forget that tomorrow is #MicroblogMonday in case you’re also lounging around in bed and need something to do.

March 22, 2015   21 Comments

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