Monthly Archives: July 2012

What IF?

By Keiko Zoll (from Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed, April 25, 2010)

I was so inspired by so many of the questions raised in the Phase One of #ProjectIF that I couldn’t pick just one to respond to. I saw this as a collective lamentation laid bare for the world to see. So many of these questions have flittered through and lingered in my brain at one point or another in our journey that I simply had to include them all. My hope is that this video captures the “everydayness” that is coping with infertility. So, here is my response to #Project IF. More about my thoughts on #ProjectIF below the video.

What IF I can’t pick myself back up after each setback?
I have seen the gamut of human experience and emotion this week. I’ve been going for Iron Commenter for ICLW, my first time trying it. I’ve read so much already – for every small victory: Aunt Flo still hasn’t shown up, a successful transfer, social workers secured- there are just as many crushing setbacks: empty yolk sacs, canceled IUIs, no matured blasts, the birthmother backed out. I’ve read and commented on just over half of this month’s participating blogs so far, and the sheer variety and depth of experiences is humbling, overwhelming, and at times, comforting. When you find someone, an otherwise stranger to you, who is going through nearly the same experiences, positive or otherwise, there is instant kinship between you and she, somewhere in the mix of wires and signals and binary code. In this mess of electronic tangles, we find connection.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far in this year of coping, crying, laughing, and learning, it’s that the road through infertility is indeed a bumpy one, and sometimes we diverge so far off course we hardly even recognize where we are anymore or from where we’ve come. All we know is that we are weary from the journey.

My hope in making this video was to answer this question above, to inspire those struggling with any aspect of IF to find the strength to press on, to find peace, to remain inspired and to remind them to be true to themselves.

What IF I got rid of the anonymity and put a real name and a real face to a story of IF?
Like most ventures on the internet, I got scared of putting my real name out there, much less my face. I hid behind my Hebrew name because it was convenient, and I think because in many ways, I was still ashamed, angry, and bitter at my diagnosis. Over this past year, I have grown and learned so much. I wouldn’t say I’ve healed completely, but I’ve let go of a lot of baggage and realized that I can only move forward with my life if I allow myself to do so. I have found and met amazing people on the internet and in real life who understand this struggle. And I realized that legislators don’t care about internet pseudonyms. They care about constituents with names, verifiable addresses, and most of all, votes.

So, allow me to introduce myself, dear readers:

Hi. I’m Keiko Zoll. *waves* Yes, my Hebrew name is Miriam. (I’m still the same old Miriam, but you can call me Keiko. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was half-Japanese.) Yes, I’m 27 years old and yes, I live in Boston, MA. I still love food, travel, camping, scrapbooking, and playing a ridiculous amount of Modern Warfare 2. 

I live and cope with my infertility every single day, but I refuse to let it bring me down.

I’m taking this a step further. As I mentioned in my post about National Infertility Awareness Week, I posed a challenge to folks reading this blog to out themselves out of the IF closet on Facebook, Twitter, their blogs- wherever. Not only am I doing this myself tomorrow via my FB status message, but I’m sharing this video on my Facebook profile and Twitter accounts too.

What IF my video can help erase some of the stigma surrounding infertility, and give a voice to millions who may be otherwise silent?

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Filed under Hannah Wept Sarah Laughed, Infertility, Keiko Zoll

Coming of Age

by Torey Donato
When a young girl menstruates for the first time, much fear and insecurity can go into this experience. Confused about the functions of her body, the first bloodstain can be frightening for the first time. Our culture has made us believe that we must “silence” our menstruation and be shameful. Through menstruation product advertisements, one can see the reoccurring theme that our menstruation cycle is unimportant and a hassle and Mother Nature has placed a “cursed” upon us. Our language changes when we speak about menstruation through words, for example, “my days” or “Aunt Rose.” In “Gender and the Problem of Prehistory,” Ruether suggests that “the only way we can, as human, integrate ourselves into a life-sustaining relationship to nature, is for both of us, males as much as females, to see ourselves as equally rooted in the cycles of life and death, and equally responsible for creating ways of living sustainable together in that relationship (Merchant 36).” While many believe in the significance of the cycle of life and death, many do not value the menstruation cycle. In order to connect with nature, one must not only be “equally rooted in the cycles of life and death,” but also the process of learning the importance of the “cycle of menstruation.” However, there are many groups and communities that celebrate a young girl menstruating for the first time. The Kinaalda celebration performed by the Apache Native American tribe, celebrates these “Coming of Age” ceremonies. The ceremony signifies her transformation from a child into a woman (Kinaalda: A Navajo Rite of Passage). “The ceremony is centered around the Navajo myth of Changing Woman, the first woman on Earth who was able to bear children. The legend of Changing Woman purports that the ceremony gave her the ability to have children. Because of this, all Navajo girls must undergo the ritual so that they will grow into strong women who can also bear children” (Kinaalda: Navajo Rite of Passage). The Kinaalda celebration believes that cycle of menstruation is equally important as the cycle of life and death, and therefore the entire community joins in celebration.
One particular woman, Hemitra Crecraft started “Coming of Age” ceremonies for women and girls in her own community in 1994 and created a website on “How to start your own Coming of Age ceremonies” in your own community  www.womanwisdom.com). She still continues to have these ceremonies today. The women in the community give words of wisdom, dance, enjoy food, and socialize with one another. Their belief is that beginning of one’s menstruating cycle is a time of celebration and importance, unlike societies perception.  These women have made an impact on many girls and mothers, believing “It takes a village to raise a child.”
Work Cited
“Kinaalda: A Navajo Rite of Passage”. Create Space. 7 Dec. 2010.<https://www.createspace.com/293447>.
Merchant, Carolyn. Reinventing Eden: The Fate of Nature in Western Culture. Taylor and Francis Books: New York, 2003. Print.
“Woman Wisdom”. Woman Wisdom. Web. 13 Dec. 2010. <http://www.womanwisdom.com/w_coa_forward.shtml>.

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Filed under coming of age, menstruation