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The Analogy Project: Infertility for NIAW

Anyone who has read my blog for an extended period of time knows I am a big fan of the analogyAnalogies are the verbal door through which people can step who want to understand another person’s experience.  They may never belong to that group, but they should walk away from reading the post with an a-ha moment that gives them insight into another person’s world as they connect it to their own life experiences.

In other words, they may not be able to comprehend the exhaustion that comes from infertility, but they can certainly understand the exhaustion that would come from running a marathon, and they can finally bridge the two occurrences, taking what they understand about one and placing it alongside the other.

If one analogy can bring a small amount of insight, imagine what hundreds of analogies could do to give people panoramic insight into an experience.

Every month, I will be introducing a theme that will go up around the 1st with a linked list of participant posts that will close the last day of the month.  The themes will range from groups as broad as women (how best to explain to male lawmakers how it feels to have your feet in the gynecological stirrups) to as specific as mental illness.

In honour of NIAW, National Infertility Awareness Week (April 22 – 28) as well as my roots, I kick off The Analogy Project with April 2012’s theme:

Infertility and Loss

This is an inclusionary project with the only guideline being that the post’s intention is to bring understanding.  Participants may have experienced infertility or pregnancy/infant loss themselves, or they may be a friend or family member who also want to explain how infertility has affected their lives inadvertently.  Infertility spans both cases that are biological (eg. premature ovarian failure) and situational (eg. GLBT) in nature.

If you’ve already written a post on your blog that fits the theme, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.  You can submit your old post via the submission form below.  If you don’t have a post that fits the bill but would like to participate, you have until April 30th to write a post that examines one aspect of infertility or loss (or — if you choose — create an umbrella analogy that explains infertility or loss as a whole) — tell people with an analogy what it is like to be in the two week wait, to conceive with assistance, to fill out adoption paperwork, to lose a baby, to meet your surrogate, to attend a baby shower while living child-free, to parent after infertility, to choose an anonymous donor.  It can help to create a list of the emotions you feel and then work backwards to see if you can describe them to another person with an analogy.

To add yourself to the list, fill out the submission form with your post url and a one-sentence description of your post.  It will be moved into the main body of this post within 24 hours.  A reminder will be posted at the end of the month to read the list in its entirety, but feel free to bookmark this post and return to it to read the posts as they go up.


  1. Stirrup Queens: Infertility is like your brain mentally running a marathon everyday, with all the exhaustion that would come from running 26.2 miles.
  2. Hapa Hopes: A recap of a husband and wife conversation about how sex when you know you have infertility is kind of like fishing… in an empty pond.
  3. Follow Every Rainbow: I thought baby-making was a direct path, step onto it and off you go, instead I found myself deep in this crazy maze of infertility unsure what would be round every new turn.
  4. The Road Less Travelled: Infertility, loss & childlessness is like being left-handed in a world built for right-handed people.
  5. Where Love and Chaos Reign: Continuing to battle while all your infertile friends are in the midst of overcoming is like watching them all leave on a trip you are supposed to be on with them.
  6. Dwelling on Dreams: RPL is like falling off a train into a snow bank (a dirty one, not a nice fluffy one) over and over again while everyone else arrives safely at the station.
  7. Search for Our Silver Lining: Draws the similarities between infertility/loss and destructive storms like tornadoes.
  8. Infertile First Mom: The intense physical and emotional nature of Adoption/Loss/Infertility journeys are compared to that of long distance hikers, including thoughts on navigation, use of resources/blogging, and validation of the journey regardless of the final resting place.
  9. Bébé Suisse: Having a miscarriage is like screaming silently and alone in the bathroom while the party continues without you.
  10. Trying Not to Scream: Driving to the RE one day, my husband started to explain how seeking fertility treatment felt like trying to get your car fixed without knowing what was wrong with it.  I went with it.
  11. Bereaved and Blessed: The similarities between my friend’s experience training to run a marathon in October 2007 and not being able to finish (due to the extreme heat that day) and my struggle with secondary infertility and pregnancy loss.
  12. The Infertility Voice: A letter written to the genetic child she’ll never know that is as much about grief as it is welcoming the unknown.
  13. Ilostaworld: Having your child die is like losing your world – “You could tell me that the dirt I stand on is the same as it was this time last year, and on days like this, I would argue that it isn’t.  It’s treacherous dirt, now.”
  14. Survive and Thrive: Infertility is like driving an old, battered car that doesn’t go.
  15. Waiting for Little Feet: Here, I recall the days of being the slow kid in gym class. Trying to TTC #1 while watching your friends have not only one child, but sometimes two or three children, feels like getting lapped on the track. They just seem to get further and further ahead, while I’m struggling to get past the finish line for the first time.
  16. Finding My New Normal: When your baby dies you gain membership into a very exclusive club, the club that no one wants to join.
  17. Marriage 2.0: The adoption wait is like a carousel ride that feels like it’s never going to end.
  18. Wild Lilies in the Woods: Infertility treatment is like being stuck in traffic.
  19. My Lazy Ovaries: A rambling post describing the peregrinations of our DEIVF versus child free thoughts, culminating with idea that using donor eggs is like baking a cake with one borrowed ingredient.
  20. Notes from the Ninth Circle: Saying, “Oh, you’ve got plenty of time left,” doesn’t help someone stuck in a dead-end job, just like it doesn’t help with infertility.
  21. Journey to the Finish Line: Infertility is a marathon – surviving one mile at a time.
  22. Something Out of Nothing: Navigating infertility is a complex and confusing maze, much like the movie Labyrinth.
  23. Something Out of Nothing: Spending money on fertility treatments that might not even work is no different than what some other parents are willing to spend and sacrifice for the dream they have for their child.
  24. Serenity in Chaos: In comparing infertility grief with grief over my Dad’s death, I found that IF grief caused invisible cracks and holes in my universe and other people’s well-meaning words or questions “poked and scratched” the invisible cracks and holes and inadvertently made them bigger in some parts.
  25. Our Growing Gardunn: Living with RPL is like being on an elevator that screeches to a halt at random stops, forcing you to get out while you desperately want to reach the 40th floor.
  26. Outlandish Notions: Choosing to stop pursuing treatments and live childless-by-circumstance is like jumping off the shore of infertility island and seeing where the current washes you up (Note: I wrote this several years ago, and have since had two children).
  27. Journey to Somewhere: Trying to conceive vs. rowing: infertility is not a race, but rather a long row with no pre-defined finish line.
  28. Smiling Scar: It like coming to a trail head, and being forced to take one trail, always wondering if you can cross over to the other side, but with time the hill between the two trails appears more and more fraught.
  29. No Kidding in NZ: Infertility is taking the road less travelled.
  30. The Maybe Baby(Babies): On gardening and the choices that need to be made, and how infertility adds an extra weight to those seemingly simple decisions. I have yet to grow a radish on my little balcony.
  31. From IF to When: I thought I was done with the dating scene – until I experienced adoption profiling.
  32. Semi-Charmed Life: Does it ever go away? No, I don’t think it does.
  33. A peek into our journey: Life after infertility and a successful pregnancy is one big mud puddle.
  34. Brave IVF Girl: Infertility is like a video game, achievements and all.
  35. Baby Smiling In Back Seat: Pregnancy after infertility is like a baseball game in which the pitcher is in the middle of a no-hitter. Along with lots of discussion of jinxes. (Written a couple of months before the pregnancy that resulted in my twins.)
  36. A Single Journey: Deciding to stop TTC and pursuing adoption is like the perfect storm, caught somewhere between sunny skies and nasty weather.
  37. A Well-Adjusted Pessimist: Just after our diagnosis, I compared infertility to a military deployment. Maybe this post will shed some light on both.
  38. Little Chicken Nugget: Infertility and loss is like trying to heal a severed nerve.
  39. Livin’ the “Young” Life: Comparing the emotions of infertility to that of running a 1/2 marathon.
  40. Maybe Baby and the Adventures of Hub-in-Boots: Compares infertile couples secretly heading for their morning fertility clinic appointments to squirrels hiding nuts, and challenges criticisms of infertility treatment. A later post talks about the holding onto the hope during infertility as a monkey trap.
  41. Add yourself to the list.

The collecting of the list each month is just the beginning.  The next step is getting it out there so the posts are read and utilized as a valuable resource for those who wish to understand.

Photo Image: Florida Center for Instructional Technology.


1 Katie { 03.29.12 at 10:19 am }

I love this idea, Mel! 🙂 I already have an idea for a post…

2 EmHart { 03.29.12 at 12:00 pm }

I am a sucker for an analogy too. An analogous post of mine from a few weeks back is duly submitted.

3 Tiara { 03.29.12 at 12:02 pm }

Love it! My brain is spinning with ideas…

4 loribeth { 03.29.12 at 12:35 pm }

I was going through some old posts this morning (procrastinating…!) & stumbled onto one that I think will work brilliantly here. Great idea!

5 Her Royal Fabulousness { 03.29.12 at 6:11 pm }

I’m so tired I can’t remember if I have used analogies in my past posts! 🙂

I think I have an idea for a post like this though…

What a good idea!

6 Jo { 03.29.12 at 8:34 pm }

I’m not so good with explaining what it’s like…but I have several ideas about what it’s not like. Going to have to marinate on this one….but I can’t wait to read the other posts! Great idea, Mel!

7 Kathy { 03.30.12 at 9:41 am }

This is a wonderful idea Mel! The post that immediately came to mind for me was one that I wrote in October 2007. A family member/close friend had trained very hard that year to run in her first marathon. Unfortunately due to the extreme heat in Chicago that day, the race director/staff ended the race early and many runners, including my friend were not allowed to finish. In the post I submitted I made an analogy between her experience feeling such disappoint and lack of control related to something she worked for and wanted so much to my own (and others’) experiences with infertility and loss.

Looking forward to checking out the other’s posts and seeing how this project is able to help those who want to try to understand/ get more insights into other people’s worlds and life experiences.

8 Mina { 03.30.12 at 12:41 pm }

Fantastic idea!
And God, do I have loads of catching up to do… It seems like I was offline a month, not a mere week.

9 Erica { 03.31.12 at 3:02 pm }

I love this idea, though it again brings me face to face with the fact that my blog name is a rather melodramatic metaphor. – some days I’m better at owning that than others. Looking forward to lots of analogies!

10 Daryl { 04.02.12 at 11:00 pm }

What if I have more than one analogy that I love? Can I submit both or do I have to choose?? (It’s so hard to choose!)

11 Katie { 04.05.12 at 8:28 pm }

I love this project! I enjoyed writing my post! Great idea…Thanks!

12 Tracy { 04.06.12 at 2:50 pm }

I wrote just such a post this morning, without even knowing of the Analogy Project. Excellent timing.

13 EmHart { 07.30.12 at 7:48 am }

I was wondering if there was a plan to do anything with some of these amazing and moving posts?

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