Silent Sorority

Infertility Survivors Finally Heard

March 10, 2011

Rather than focus on one particular role, let’s focus on the full person

In March 1911 more than one million women and men attended International Women’s Day rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination.

There was some irony in that I was so preoccupied and engaged in my work as a marketing exec managing a variety of high profile projects around Silicon Valley, and devoting my spare time to leading and responding to discussions about getting the upper hand in infertility challenges on the Ladies in Waiting Book Club site that I completely missed the 100th Anniversary of the International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations on March 8.

Among the themes this year was Equal Access to Education, Training and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women. I’ve often said that I’m grateful to have been born in an era and in a place where women not only possessed the right to vote but have access to education and opportunity that allows us to exercise our full potential. How suffocating, intolerable, maddening it would be not to have room to grow.

And yet, in the Ladies in Waiting Book Club discussions there remains, for a subset of women, a pervasive sense of not measuring up — even in the progressive time in which we live. We may not be Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Susan B. Anthony, but there’s work to be done still in giving women a greater sense of purpose and validation in their lives and identities.

As one book club member, Dani, wrote:

Somewhere amidst [infertility] treatments I realized I was being sucked away because I didn’t know who I was without the “mom” title. I felt less of a person. I realized I need to be a full person first and foremost…

The focus on being a full person, regardless of our ability to procreate, is where all women can find common ground.

READ  What's This? Common Ground That Doesn't Involve Motherhood Or Infertility
Different Than I Expected, Tapestry of Voices 13 Replies to “Rather than focus on one particular role, let’s focus on the full person”
Pamela Tsigdinos
Pamela Tsigdinos
Writer, blogger and, oh, yeah, infertility survivor. My memoir, Silent Sorority, tells the whole story. There's a movie in there somewhere. Given the quirkiness needed to relate it all I'm thinking Jennifer Lawrence would be a good fit.


13 thoughts on “Rather than focus on one particular role, let’s focus on the full person

    Author’s gravatar

    wow does Dani’s quote resonate with me (and i’m sure most everyone!) “Moving On” has been such a process and as hard as TTC if not harder….I am loving the new direction and title of the new blog! I am here to help in any way possible–as it is you Pamela I owe as my biggest influence in this journey!

    Author’s gravatar

    Pam — what a great title and direction. Ever since I was a little girl, I was open to the possibility of being a non-parent, witnessing the happy, full lives of my two childless aunts.

    Somehow, the fullness of a possible life without/despite children got co-opted by the fertility industry, who wanted to label everyone without children as “infertile.” I feel like my original intent to celebrate life in full has been hijacked by RESOLVE and the whole IF community, and I look forward to reading and contributing to the new blog, drawing attention to the happiness and accomplishments of women (and men) without children — without getting any discussion of fertility and lack thereof involved. Let’s define ourselves positively, not negatively!

    Author’s gravatar

    Thanks!  I was hoping you’d want to participate, Christina. More to come after I navigate a few big work projects.

    Author’s gravatar

    PS — I love your graphics. I’d love to try to interview some childless celebrities, and get attention from Jezebel, and other influential women’s blogs — take this discussion out of the IF blog world, and bring it main stream.

    Author’s gravatar

    You know, I was just thinking today what a long way women have come in the career world. When I got out of high school, the options for women in the military were limited. Now there are loads of women pilots, and I just read an article about women possibly being allowed to serve on the front lines in combat. I know not all of us dream of being soldiers, but some of us do. I thought, ah, to be 18 again and have all those opportunities! :) Yay us, ladies!

    Author’s gravatar

    I remember the day my doctor told one of the staff in his office who was scheduling me for some tests, that the diagnosis was “infertility”. I knew at my age that after 6 months of ttc that was the “proper” label. But I still felt stunned when I heard it stated out loud. The word itself to me conjures so many images… soil which doesn’t produce, fields without crops, flowers that don’t bloom… YUCK! I love the title, Pam, “Our Lives in FULL”!!!

    Author’s gravatar

    So glad you like it Barbie. I think there’s a lot we can do here!

    Author’s gravatar

    Definitely a great title! And the site looking very smart so far, too.


    Author’s gravatar

    Apologies for not responding to the original call for comments on the new site idea. I am still having trouble picturing the content (I like the CNBC idea but can’t think of what interests we have that women with children and/or childfree women don’t have – but then again, does it need to be exclusive? Anyway, I eagerly await its unveiling so I can understand these things). But in any case, I want to volunteer to help. I’ve got no web design skills and I am still far too loony to contribute written content that anyone would want to read, but if it would help, I could edit. (I don’t know whether anyone actually wants editing, of course.)

    Author’s gravatar

    So true about how we lose ourselves in the motherhood quest. Been there.

    I’m really excited about your new project, Pamela. I love the concept and the beautiful new site. How fun to watching your progression from “Coming to Terms” to “Our Lives in Full.” You are walking proof that there is life after infertility.

    Author’s gravatar

    Love it! I can’t wait!

    Author’s gravatar

    Dear Fresh Start,

    My name is Barbara O’Brien and I am a political blogger. Just had a question about your blog and couldn’t find an email—please get back to me as soon as you can (barbaraobrien(at)


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