Happiness Sold Separately

The book this month for the tour was Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston.  In short, I loved it.  Especially the beginning of the book where the author was describing Elinor’s emotional reaction to dealing with infertility — it was dead-on.  And I did like how the author refused to wrap up all the loose ends in a fairy-tale ending; life isn’t like that, and it felt true.  So on to the questions: 

8. Both Elinor in this book and Amelia in Love and other Impossible Pursuits are uber-sarcastic.  Come to think of it, Peggy Orenstein (Waiting for Daisy) is, too.  Do you think the experience of being infertile makes one sarcastic, or do you think such high levels of sarcasm lower one’s infertility?  Obviously, I say this tongue-in-cheek, for the latter scenario is ridiculous.  But as for the former, do you find yourself more sarcastic as a way of dealing with IF? If so, how does sarcasm help?

I think that sarcasm is an emotional response used to protect yourself from the pain of dealing with IF.  Think about it: how many IF bloggers out there don’t use sarcasm occasionally (at least) to deflect some of the pain they feel on a daily basis?  For me, the sarcasm is self-defense — either I can be snarky, or I can break down in tears.  It’s easier to be a little angry and aggressive than to spend my life crying over the situation.

13. Elinor finally finds out there’s a reason for her pregnancy problems, “a balanced translocation,” and finds “there’s solace in learning that something is tangibly wrong.”  How does (or would) a definitive, action-able diagnosis affect your ability to adjust or come to terms with your infertility? How would it affect your emotional response? Would it provide some closure? Alternatively, if you’re in the unexplained category how does that ambiguity affect your decision-making and desire to keep trying?

I think having a definite, actionable diagnosis would definitely help me.  It provides a bounded set of actions that you can use to achieve a resolution.  It irks me to no end knowing that I “kind of” have PCOS.  I ovulate every month on my own.  All my bloodwork comes back normal.  And yet, I still can’t get pg?  What is up with that?  All that the RE can tell me is that he thinks my egg quality might be compromised by the PCOS, or that Manly’s otherwise normal sperm might have DNA fragmentation from him smoking too much.  There is nothing else that he can ethically test on either of us*.  So we might eventually get pg on our own, or we might not.  IUI or IVF might work, or it might not.  There are just too many variables that are still unaccounted for in my situation to make me feel comfortable with any decsion we make.

14. Elinor participates in a book club meeting following her miscarriage and finds that “no one gets her”…and thinks “why should they? She’s a barren, bitter, self-pitying grouch. She hates this book club. She smiles and loosens the grip on the stem of her wineglass, afraid she might snap it in half.”  Do you find yourself having similar experiences? Would the infertility struggle be easier for you if you felt that people “got you” or not?

I think in some ways my struggle with infertility has been easier than many people’s, simply because I have a group of friends who do “get it”.  Thanks to my dear friend Becky, my SIL understands better how hard it is for me to be around her sometimes.  Another of my friends is having trouble getting pg.  Two others work in the hospital nursery and are surrounded by fertility issues all the time.  A fourth is trying to decide whether they want kids at all.  Every time that I’ve mentioned our issues to someone in my social circle, the response has been positive.  There are always a few “in God’s time” comments, but hey, we live in the Bible belt.  Invariably though, even those comments have been followed up with a “do you know what’s wrong” or “have you seen a doctor yet”.  It’s the validation that I really do have a problem that makes it easier to bear.  If I wanted to talk about it, I could.

Now go see what everyone else thought about Happiness Sold SeparatelyHop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/.  You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

*Dr. Local explained that there are some ways we could test these problems.  Namely, putting my eggs with another man’s sperm, or Manly’s sperm with another woman’s eggs.  But then there’s those pesky little ethical problems, like who end up with the embryos if we tried it and it worked. 

11 thoughts on “Happiness Sold Separately

  1. I know what you mean. It’s sarcasm or depression sometimes. Sarcasm is easier.

    I wonder if the author decided to give Elinor a more definitive problem because it she wanted to make the ending a little easier for her. I completely agree: having a definitive diagnosis is very helpful with the “what if’s” and “should we’s”, although they still abound in droves. I think the diagnosis played a part in Elinor thinking more about adoption at the end of the book. It’s hard enough to stop as it is. It’s harder to stop when no one can tell you why it didn’t work.

    I can understand why you’re not too enthusiastic about Dr. Local’s testing suggestions. Could lead to a few problems…

  2. You are so incredibly lucky to have a group of friends who are supportive of your IF situation. Thanks for answering this question and showing us that — somewhere out there in the world — are non-IFers who truly *get it*.

  3. the sarcasm part made me laugh. It’s kinda like how the fat girl always needs to be funny, you want people laughing with you instead of at you. So if you make jokes or are sarcastic about IF, people won’t be staring at you in pity. ugh.

    That’s for sharing your responses.

  4. “It’s easier to be a little angry and aggressive than to spend my life crying over the situation.”

    I wonder if I also made the offer to others–would you rather have me snarky and bitter or weeping and miserable–which they would choose 🙂

    Great answers.

  5. Thanks for answering the sarcasm question. I think you’re spot on.

    I’m glad you’ve got a good support system of friends.

    Hey, where does one purchase happiness?? Kind of a random question, but I’m almost done with the tour, and I’m still not sure where to go…

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It is great that you have support in your life from people who have been there. I agree with the sacarsm response…

  7. You’re so very lucky to have people in your day-to-day circle of friends who know where you’re coming from. I find that when I have tried to explain to a friend what’s going on, or why I’m upset about a cycle, I get so bogged down trying to catch them up on the IF details that they start glazing over and totally zone out. Not that I blame them for that, but how incredible it would be to be able to talk the stuff out without stopping to explain all the time. If only you didn’t need a degree in this stuff!

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