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How I Got People Talking About Infertility

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a blog by kathleen puls andrade, Jan.22, 2010

I just finished a run of my show Journey to the Center of the Uterus at Baylor University and I figure if it can run there, it can run anywhere! For those of you who don’t know, Baylor is a very conservative school in Waco, TX which is one of the bigger notches in the Bible Belt. My friend, the chairman of the theater department, invited me to bring the show there and do some workshops. I performed for the students and community of Waco and,
I have to say, the outpouring of positive feedback was wonderful and humbling.

It was interesting because the show's subject matter -- infertility --is completely foreign to the students I was performing for. At this point, they’re spending every ounce of energy trying not to get pregnant! (In fact, most of the girls haven’t even been to the gynecologist yet.) But, Journey isn’t just about the struggle to get pregnant. It’s about hope, failure, regrouping and moving on in, well, a comedy kind of way.

One woman from the community was particularly touched by the show and was tearful at the end, not necessarily because she was sad, but because she was happy that someone was talking about infertility.

This is particularly gratifying to know: After all, that’s a big part of the reason why I wrote the show . . . to get people talking about infertility!

Here’s an excerpt from her email to me:

    “We met on and married 'late' in life. All of your experiences were very similar to ours.

      [Note from Kathleen: I met my husband on and married later in life.]

    If you want to adapt your nurse who gave no hints in her tone whne delivering results, use the nurse who has the peppiest tone of voice, (valley girl type) even when calling to tell you that you are going to have a miscarriage.

    Another good character would be the over-protective mother who wants to be a grandmother SO bad that she thinks once the IVF transfer takes place you should NOT move for 5 days and you should lie with your feet up in the air the entire time. ;-)

    Or the friends that call you 2-3 times a day to see how you are feeling, if you are feeling any different, during the time frame from transfer to the first blood test!

    How about the obsessive Internet searching for 'what does this symptom' or 'that symptom' mean? The craziness out there is wild. And the end result is you learn absolutely NOTHING. LOL

    The one big way our experience differed from yours is that we had (thankfully) friends and family on both sides of our families who have had experiences with IVF and adoption. While some are clueless (well intentioned)l, it's the friends who have been through infertility who are the best resources. My sister-in-law is the one who tried to shove adoption down my throat and talk me out of using our frozen embryo.

    One dear friend sent me the charms for the patron saint of pregnancy, Gerard, and the patron saint of fertility. I identified with that line of your song.

      [Note from Kathleen: That line from the song being, ‘They say why are you trying so hard? Wear a medal of St. Gerard! Just relax, you’re way too uptight. Are you sure you two are doing it right?’]

    Thank you for the light-hearted evening. It touched us both and we feel you nailed it all. If you ever decide to use your frozen embryos I wish you the very best.”

Well, I do have a couple of frozen embryos waiting for us to figure out what to do with them. Sigh . . .

As I say in the show, maybe I’m happy with the way things are? After all, we adopted a dog. Does that count?

I guess we’ll see…

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