So Your Friend is Doing IVF…

So, your friend just told you she’s pursuing IVF to try for a baby. You’ve probably got loads of helpful suggestions, anecdotes, and ideas to share. You just want to be supportive, right?

Wrong-o.

Most likely, your friend is going through a lot with this process. IVF is tremendously draining emotionally, physically, and financially. Though you may have assumed that your friendship was sturdy enough that you would know how to act or what to say, there’s a good chance you have no idea and that you’re actually being the worst. (Said with love, of course).

May this list help guide you on your way, while avoiding inadvertently insulting, annoying, or deeply hurting her feelings.

What Not to Say:

“Have you tried:  massage / acupuncture / eating more meat / eating less gluten / losing weight / exercising / taking supplements / rhythm method / ovulation testing / period tracking / apps on your phone / B12 shots / multi vitamins / [insert random suggestion here]?”

Yes. I can promise you that she has.

IVF and fertility treatments are the last stops on the train to conception. No one enters into fertility consultations lightly. If there was an easier, cheaper way to get knocked up, she definitely, 100% has tried it. It’s a guarantee.

What Not to Say:

“It will happen when you least expect it.”

Ummm at this point, it probably won’t. It’s an empty and unimaginative statement. You can do better.

What Not to Say:

“I’m pregnant!”

Now, this one is tricky because your friend probably loves you dearly and genuinely wants to be happy for you…But there’s also a really good chance that she wants to punch your dumb pregnant face (with love, of course).

If she is currently hopped up on hormone injections or fresh off an embryo transfer, give her a minute before you show her that new ultrasound picture. It’ll be easier for her to celebrate your victory if it’s not immediately trampling her defeat.

What Not to Say:

“It’s because of all the stress you’re under. Stop being stressed.”

Don’t think of an elephant. What are you thinking of? Is it an elephant? It’s the same when you tell people to stop being stressed. Trying to not be stressed about the thing that’s stressing you is just more stressful. Then you’re stressed about being stressed. It’s a cycle and being told to just “stop” is frustrating and unsupportive.

What Not to Say:

“So you want a test tube baby?”

Literally only old people say this and not only is it insensitive but it’s hella annoying. Go take a nap on the chesterfield, you old bag.

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What Not to Say:

“Why not just adopt?”

While a wonderful and beautiful option for some families, adoption isn’t just an easier alternative to IVF and there are a bazillion reasons why it might not be possible. It’s definitely accompanied by a hefty price tag in its own right and international adoptions can be potentially problematic (a western family adopting from a developing nation should consider factors of cultural appropriation and risk of human trafficking.) It might be on their radar, but don’t assume it’s a given.

What Not to Say:

“It’s so expensive! How are you paying for that?”

Actually, come to think of it, this isn’t a terrible question. How are we going to pay for it? *scratches head*

Even with a wee bit of insurance coverage (shockingly, more than the ZERO dollars of coverage provided in Nova Scotia), it’s still going to cost an arm and a leg. What do they want? My first born?

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To BMore in Baltimore

In a couple of months I will be saying that I’ve lived in Baltimore for a whole year. Holy cow. How did that even happen?

How long can you live someplace and still get away with being the new kid on the block?

Even though I’ve been here for a while, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what it’s like to live here and experience the city. In all honesty, I haven’t exactly fallen in love with the place either…yet?

I suppose it doesn’t help that other life circumstances are less than ideal at the moment, but I’m resolving that personal stuff and family stuff that’s beyond my control will not have bearing on my ultimate opinion of the time I spend stateside.

Our goal isn’t to plant roots here or even to stay long term, but I would like to be able to say that I had a great time while we did live here…

The Highlight Reel

I think I’ve had a good taste of the Arts & Culture scene, which — between Artscape, the American Visionary Art Museum, the Walters Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the proximity to Washington (museum Mecca) — is stellar. C’est magnifique.

Speaking of proximity, Baltimore also gets points for decent transit, allowing for inexpensive and accessible day trips. We’ve taken the bus, train, and subways to surrounding areas and it’s very convenient.

Our neighbourhood (and home) don’t qualify for my “highlight reel,” I’m sorry to say. But I will give bonus points to the truly wonderful park that is just a few blocks away.

Gray Skies are Gonna Clear Up

Since spring has finally sprung, the gray skies really are going to clear up (both literally and figuratively, I hope) so I’ve decided to be proactive with a good, old fashioned To Do list to BMORE in BALTIMORE. Really, I just want to make sure I make the most of my time here.

I’ve got a few ideas for the list already, including hitting up THIS incredible book spot (thanks for the idea, Peady!), finding some new great restaurants, gettin’ my learnin’ on, and seeing what else the region has to offer.

Stay tuned as I continue to add to my list of local adventures. If you have any suggestions of places or activities I just CANNOT MISS in Baltimore, hit me up!

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Smart & Sassy Memoirs I Just Couldn’t Put Down

Being a woman is…just…you know? Sometimes? There’s something really wonderful and comforting about reading the words of other women and knowing you have that shared experience. Even if it’s the ONLY experience that we might share, I just love hearing the stories that women tell.

I’m an escapist when it comes to reading and generally default to fiction. In fact, I go through long periods where I refuse to read non-fiction outside of work. (Especially after long days of editing academic writing, I just needed to immerse myself into some YA fiction.) The one constant exception to this role was for comedic memoires. Then that expanded to women’s memoirs.

Funny, poignant, captivating, infuriating, and thought provoking. When a woman has something to say, listen up.

Here’s a list of some of the memoirs that I was just enthralled with – the ones that I devoured. The ones that I just could not put down. They’re not all recent publications, but they are all definitely worth a read.

B3D50C59-7FF0-4DC8-9B14-C9F3EC6F5125How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell

I’m the opposite of a stylish party girl but the need for external approval resonates with me deeply. I found myself captivated by a morbid curiousity about the glamour and chaos of her life. How she built success in between binges and pill popping is infuriating and fascinating. Highly recommend.

“I extracted a pink Addy, put the blessed thing on my tongue like I was taking Communion, and chewed it up like it was baby aspirin.” 

FCAD8922-EB70-41C3-B759-CCD16458F582How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

“I’m 16 I’m 16 I’m 16 and these are my best clothes, and this is my best day”

I don’t think any line in any book has resonated with me more than this. So easily can I put myself back in my 16 year old mind, picking out my “coolest” outfit, waiting to see my crush.

Caitlin Moran is siginificantly cooler than me, but I found words on feminism and womanhood ones that I could hang on to.

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Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is a brilliant mind and I so enjoyed reading about her brand of feminism, as well as her life experiences that shaped who she is.

I relate to her love of Scrabble and adoration of Ina Garten but more importantly, I learned so much by reading from a perspective that culturally, and racially, is so different from my own experience.

“At some point, you have to surrender to the types of privilege you hold.”

450ADC18-423B-43E7-B902-338E34AF765CI Feel Bad About my Neck (And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman) by Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron was an iconic culture maker and I related deeply to her aversion to purses and love of food. She somehow simultaneously speaks for everywoman while still having this unattainable quality charm and grace. More aspirational than instagram, if you ask me.

“your purse is just a big dark hole full of stuff you spend hours fishing around for. A flashlight would help, but if you put one into your purse, you’d never find it.”

583FD45D-C052-4621-A40A-EC8103B5B7EAGirl Walks into a Bar by Rachel Dratch

I was crying laughing at the horse anecdote. Personally, I think the cliché of girls who love horses is lame (horse culture is dumb — cash me outside) and lost it at this recap of a terrible date.

Bonus: If you want a teaser, listen to Rachel tell the horsemeat story on The Moth. It’s a slightly different telling than in the book, but still so funny.

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The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman

Life highlight: Sarah Silverman showed up unannounced to a Christmas Eve show at the Comedy Cellar when I was in NY a few years ago. The best.

I had no idea of her struggles with mental health as an adolescent and learned so much about how her young life shaped her creativity and comedy as an adult.

“Make it a treat.”

Words to live by.

What are you reading these days?

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