If you or someone you know is struggling with infertility, Melissa Ford is your go-to girl. She’s taken her own experiences with infertility and used it for the greater good–authoring the blog Stirrup Queens, and the book Navigating the Land of If, which offer insight and invaluable resources for anyone struggling with the trying task of trying to conceive. We spoke with her about infertility, the balancing act of a working mother, and of course, her twins!
Resources often offer plenty of physical things you can do to deal with the process of infertility, but what are some emotional tips and tricks that can aid in this difficult time?
I think just honoring the fact that there is an emotional component to infertility can go a long way. So many times we feel guilty for mourning, but infertility is about loss. The loss of a pregnancy, the loss of privacy, the loss of time, the loss of dreams. So giving yourself the space to feel whatever you need to feel is a starting point.
The other advice I always give is to do what you need to do to get through a moment (just as long as you don’t create more problems for yourself along the way). Skipping a cousin’s baby shower may create more problems than solutions, but skipping a co-worker’s shower – if you’re not in a good space to go – is probably fine in the context of self-preservation.
I think one misconception is that infertility is a moment in time and the door is closed once the person is holding a child in their arms. Children cure childlessness, but they don’t cure infertility. Infertility still continues in the physical sense once you’re parenting, but it also may be a lens through which the person continues to navigate the world.
Why did you choose to be a kosher vegetarian? Are you raising your kids to be the same?
I’ve always been a vegetarian, and I’ve been kosher for more years than I haven’t been. It has never really felt like a choice but more like a reflexive action. In the same way that it feels right to put on a coat when it’s cold outside, it feels right to be kosher and a vegetarian. But I’m not raising the twins as vegetarians (though they are kosher for the time being since we are). While I can’t imagine consuming meat, I find being a vegetarian – and a picky one at that – limiting. The twins eat meat or chicken every week. It doesn’t bother me to cook it.
You’re a mother, writer, and blogger extraordinaire. How do you manage the balancing act?
A lot of multitasking! I use every second of the day, even those thirty seconds while something is heating in the microwave. I also find I need to compartmentalize. When I’m writing, I’m writing, and I’m not checking email or doing laundry. When I’m playing with the kids, I’m playing with the kids, not writing a blog post or reading Twitter.
Do you think having twins is double the fun, or double the work?
It’s not quite double the work, but it’s definitely more than double the fun. I love watching them interact together.
–Interview by Molly Tolsky
Melissa Ford is the author of the award-winning website, Stirrup Queens, as well as two books; Life from Scratch (BellBridge, 2010), a novel about a blogger finding her voice after a divorce, and Navigating the Land of If (Seal Press, 2009), a guide to infertility and pregnancy loss. Melissa completed her MFA at the University of Massachusetts. Ford lives in Washington, D.C. with her writer husband, Joshua, and their twins.