RESOLVE posted this article on their Facebook page. As I read Grief and Growing: Creative Outlets to Grieving During Infertility, I was struck by how much the article applied to me. Written by Beth Jaeger-Skigen, a licensed clinical social worker, the article first addresses the inevitable grief that comes with the infertility journey. I was not surprised to realize that I have already gone back and forth through the stages of grief many times.
However, what I didn’t realize is that the stages of grief are not linear. You can reach the stage of acceptance many times, and yet you can always find yourself at a different stage at any given time. I suppose only taking Psychology 110 and 120 did not let me in on that secret.
Knowing this, I feel better about my little lapses during my It Will Happen Experiment. There will be days that I feel utterly content with my path and how long my process is taking. And the next day, I might feel so down that I don’t know how I’ll ever feel human again. Instead of beating myself up for my negative thinking, I find knowing that the grieving process is not linear makes it easier for me to forgive myself.
The second half of the article is about finding creative ways to deal with grief. I know that I have struggled to find ways of dealing with cycle day one bleeding and knowing that my last cycle failed. All the hope and heartache is hard to contain. That is part of why I started this blog. To express my feelings on the subject. To find a group of people who were going through the same thing. I thought it would be healthier than binge eating chocolate and downing copious amounts of red wine at the beginning of every cycle.
Wouldn’t you know that journaling is the first creative activity listed in the article?
Other helpful suggestions include:
Writing letters to your baby (did it.)
Creating an altar (yup!)
Creating a ritual or healing circle (you betcha.)
Plant a garden (well I used to do this but I’ve just been lazy.)
Jaeger-Skigen’s last suggestion is to try assessing your own creative outlets. For me I think this would mean belly dance. I’m certainly not a knitter, painter, sculptor or a jewelry maker. The debate is out on the chef thing. But I like to dance.
And I think I’ve evidenced here that I like to write. A lot.
Which is why I’m so pleased to announce that my partners and I are launching an infertility journal specifically to help other folks on the same path find a creative outlet to deal with this process.
Prose Over Pain Infertility Journal (or POP Infertility Journal) will feature prose, painting, poetry, photography and any other type of writing or media that the creator uses to deal with his or her struggle. The only requirement is that writing and artwork must somehow speak to the infertility experience. This may mean a creative expression of pain, hope, peace, anger, frustration – whatever it is in this experience that speaks to us at our unique place and time in the process.
In our experience, my partners and I, have never found a journal or magazine with a focus on infertility that also allows creative expression. As writers, we three are quite used to using this format to express ourselves. As three women who have all been affected by infertility one way or another, we yearned for an oasis of understanding that wasn’t focused on the medical interventions, alternative therapies or was heavily philosophical in its content. All we wanted was a place to express our own frustrations through artistic means that harbored no judgement and wasn’t about trying to “fix” the problem.
If any of this sounds like something you’ve been looking for, we are ready to accept your creative, artistic submission for publication later this year! Click here for more information.
More posts are in the works to introduce POP Infertility to the world. But for now I’d like to do the hasty introductions that you do at holiday parties when you’re trying to get another glass of champagne before the party runs out. Or is that just me?
The brainchild and driving force behind the POP Infertility Journal is Donna Hanson Mortensen. Donna’s a writer as well, with a book she’s in the trenches editing at the moment. A huge proponent of the Oxford comma, Donna has dedicated probably the most time to the POP project. She has her own connections to infertility, but that is not my story to tell. Check back for a post from Donna in the coming weeks.
Maryfrances G. Botkin is (surprise!) also a writer. She blogs regularly at I Just Look Short with witty insight into the life of being a writer, artist, talented bead enthusiast, wife and mother. And, she just published her very first book, The Emerald Path. Available for Amazon Kindle or in paperback, it’s worth your time to read this adventure into the world of the fae. Maryfrances will have her own post on this blog to further explore her relationship to the POP Project.