infertility

Sharing Our Stories of Infertility

I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the recent posts by Cara Paiuk about her attempts to conceive her second child. Cara has written movingly about her positive pregnancy tests, as well as the miscarriage and the possibility of a chemical pregnancy.

Although I’m sure any parent would be touched by Cara’s story, I was particularly moved as my husband and I struggled with infertility. Both of our daughters were conceived with the help of in-vitro fertilization (IVF), and I am all too familiar with the worry, the waiting, the disappointment month after month, the tears, and the hormonal surges (which my husband particularly enjoyed).  But what most impresses me about Cara’s story is that she told it. While she’s going through it.

My husband and I did talk to family and friends about our situation as it was happening, mostly because I needed the support. I was immensely grateful for my friends who had been through it before me, who shared their experiences with invasive testing, freakishly long needles, painful injection sites, and difficult decisions. It was a stressful and scary time for us, as we felt like our dreams of creating a family were very much in question.  Although I have written about our experiences since then, I was in no position to my thoughts on paper as we were going through it.

We were lucky in many ways. We had supportive friends and family, our health insurance paid for the IVF, and most importantly, we now have two healthy children. However, I often lamented the lack of a Jewish community for discussing our experiences, and a Jewish context for understanding what we were going through. I’m not talking about Jewish law–I knew that we would move ahead with IVF regardless of what it had to say. Although I read books and articles online, but what I really wanted was a place where I could share my story, and hear about the experiences of other Jewish women, and find a way to integrate these two parts of my life.

Almost four years later, I have finally found it. Thank you, Cara, for sharing your story. I wish you all the best. And thank you, Kveller, for creating this space for Jewish mothers, regardless of what phase of motherhood we are in. Finally, if anyone reading this wants to talk more about the experience of IVF, please be in touch. I’d love to connect with you.

Carla NaumburgCarla Naumburg, PhD, is a clinical social worker and writer. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post,The Huffington Post, Parents.com, PsychCentral.com, The Jewish Daily Forward, and Psychology Today. Her first book, Parenting in the Present Moment, was published by Parallax Press in October of 2014. She is currently writing a book on teaching mindfulness to children, which will be published by New Harbinger in late 2015. Carla grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Bay Area of California, and she currently lives outside of Boston with her husband and two young daughters. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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