I always had the assumption that I could start a family “after”.
“After” I finish grad school.
“After” we get married.
“After” I get a job.
“After” we have careers.
Well, it’s after. And, um, it ain’t happening.
I lost count of the cycles of active fertility treatment (because anyone dealing with infertility keeps track of time in units of cycles). But enough time had passed that infertility had started consuming our lives and our self-image. Infertility stripped control from our lives because we couldn’t plan a day in advance, let alone a week. After a couple of years of this, I felt like a shell of the person I was before we started trying to conceive. Not being able to do something we are biologically programmed to do felt like the ultimate failure. It was also incredibly isolating and lonely for us. It seemed like everyone around us was super fertile. We weren’t sharing with a lot of people, so it hurt every time someone asked if we wanted kids or reminded us that we should start having kids because, you know, we’re getting old.
As others have eloquently written, people dealing with infertility grieve the family they might not have, but they grieve silently and in a vacuum
But once we started working together on our book, Down the F’n Tubes, we realized that we had found a way to define infertility instead of being defined by infertility. Writing this book helped us process the emotions we were feeling and gave us something to look forward to. It allowed us to vent, to scream “F**K SHAME” as loud as we could.
We chose to tell our story in a way that was raw, personal, and honest to our emotions and experience, but we didn’t want it to get bogged down in medical details and terminology. We wanted something that was relatable to everyone who has struggled with infertility, but also accessible to their friends and family members who have not.
It’s told in a fun, imaginative, rhyming, Dr. Seuss-style (with some profanity sprinkled in). It seems to be connecting with readers (it ranked #1 Best Seller in the Amazon “Short Reads: Humor” category several times since it’s been published), and we’ve received many heartfelt messages from our readers who follow us on Instagram.
The idea of a “Dr. Seuss for adults” book started during our long, early morning drives to and from infertility appointments
We’d talk about my lady bits as though they were characters.
“Ugh, the endometriosis is like a tentacle monster, getting all up in there”.
“ANOTHER cyst? They’re like sea monsters wedging their way into a bathtub.”
Imagining these obstacles as characters made it funny. Bearable.
We started toying with the idea of turning our experiences into an illustrated humor book. We wanted a book that expresses what infertility FEELS like. We also wanted to write a bunch of rhyming sex puns.
The book is meant to validate the raw emotions people feel going through infertility, and to remind them that they are more than their infertility.
Since publishing the book the conversations it has sparked have been incredible!
After we started sharing the book, so many friends and family members began confiding their own infertility struggles to us. Some of these friends have Facebook pages filled with pictures of their children; we had no idea the pain and heartbreak they experienced to have these families. It’s a shame that no one talks about the struggle. It can be so demoralizing when everyone on Facebook has children with seemingly no effort.
Infertility is one of those things in life that just isn’t fair. It sucks.
It’s frustrating. It upends all of our well-laid plans. But it’s not the end. How couples attack infertility is their choice, and all choices should be respected. We want to remind others that infertility does not define you, and it is not your fault. Don’t let it control your life or take away your joy or accomplishments. Be sure you have open, honest conversations with your partner about finances and expectations.
And most importantly, remember that you are not alone
No matter what your Facebook feed tells you, no matter what your mother-in-law tells you, no matter how it feels at 7 am when you’re getting your third ultrasound for the week, always remember that you are not broken, you are not a failure, and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
You can buy the ebook and paperback from Amazon. We’re also working on an audiobook and will announce on social media when it’s ready.
People can follow us on Instagram and Twitter: @downthefntubes and like us on Facebook! Or visit us here