The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Just Changing What I Don't Like

Amended (and added to yet again):

TTC, you worked for such a long time.

Trying-to-conceive, it's a long phrase. And breaking it down to a staccato abbreviation made it sound giddy and happy--exactly as I felt when I accompanied my friend to the maternity store the first month TTC and walked out with an extremely cute ensemble that was fashionably outdated by the time I actually got to wear it.

Scratch that. I actually wore it one month when I was so bloated from stims that I didn't fit into normal jeans and I didn't want to wear sweatpants to work. But I'm working hard to forget that memory right now.

I realized when making the abbreviation list and then writing one of the opening chapters for the book that pastel pink and baby blue TTC doesn't really work on the grand scale. All those months where I said I was TTC...well...I was conceiving. I just wasn't holding onto the pregnancy for more than a few days. And I know, I know, you're going to tell me that when we say we're trying-to-conceive, we're just talking about the first step. But it's starting to sound like we're aiming low.

I'd actually like to get past the conception stage.

And this term doesn't take into account a gigantic portion of the community. Those pursing adoption--including those pursing adoption with or without first doing treatments--are trying for the same thing that those TTC (and those who are aiming beyond conception) are trying for--a child. To parent.

Therefore, since I don't like the phrase trying-to-conceive, I have decided to get rid of it. Toss it out. Aim high.

TTP.

Trying-to-parent.

It works for primary and it works for secondary (TTPa for trying-to-parent-again). It works for pregnancy and it works for adoption. It's stating the goal instead of a first step. Because, frankly, the term TTC saddens me like no other abbreviation in the whole IF lexicon when you consider how many of us simply never make it past conception. Every failed IVF cycle makes it to conception*. I'm really concerned with the world beyond. I'm taking back the abbreviation, taking back the phrase.

You with me?

*Amendment because I am such an asshole:

I'd like to blame a lack of food (see Chicklet's blog for my food deprivation woes), but as Gumby pointed out in the comments below, not every failed IVF cycle makes it to conception. Only those where fertilization take place. So lack of fertilization, canceled cycles, all the events my feeble mind failed to take into account, never make it to that first rung. Mea culpa. And apologies to anyone who read that sentence and it was salt on a wound.

More debate and questions:

I love this discussion. Here are some more thoughts--bringing them out of the comments section and into the main post.

I told Nancy this last night; there is a problem with the TTP idea because it's sort of like referring to living as "MTD"--moving towards death. That, of course, will be the end result to all of our lives (not to take us to a morbid place), but it's not the reason we're living. At the same time, the job of parenting is the goal at the end of all of these paths--treatments, trying naturally, adoption. And the point in the description is the goal, not what actually happens. When I was using TTC, I was trying to conceive, even when conception did not take place. And when I'm not actively trying to reach parenthood or I've gone through menopause, I would stop considering myself TTP. I would consider myself--in my current state--parenting. Or parenting after infertility/loss (PAI/L). And once we enter treatments again, I would consider myself TTP for the time period that we are actively trying to reach parenthood again.

The question then (and the answer doesn't mean that everyone needs to use the same terms, but maybe we need to expand the abbreviation list so that people can use whichever terms suit them or feel right, but we can easily understand each other's shorthand) is whether it's better to have a single abbreviation to speak about the active state of trying to reach a goal or many abbreviations that speak about each milestone? Again, this is not an either/or situation. I could use a single term and you could use many terms and we could each understand each other. I'm just curious whether people would be more inclined to speak about each small goal on the way to the end goal or whether it's more succinct and accurate to speak about the common end-goal.

TTP also takes the focus off of pregnancy and babyhood and focuses on the larger picture. It's sort of the difference, in my mind, between saying "I want to get married" or "I want a wedding" and "I want the marriage." The first two phrases look at a single step and the other phrase looks at the end goal.

And it's true, in creating an active term for this one state, you also need a different active term for the other state which is either not actively trying, living after a loss, or living after leaving treatments/adoption. To which I'd suggest these: LAI/L or PAI/L--living after infertility/loss or parenting after infertility/loss. Your thoughts on that? Can I just reiterate that I love this discussion. I've been thinking about each comment all morning.

47 comments:

Michell said...

Oh yes, totally with you. I like the long term outlook so much better.

Fertilize Me said...

I am with you

JJ said...

Mucho bueno--I am definitely TTP!

sky girl said...

Brilliant!

Beagle said...

I like it!

Gumby said...

Actually, not every failed IVF cycle makes it to conception. I'm living proof of that.

Not to be a downer or anything...

candy said...

i am so there with you. yay optimism!

www.candysland.wordpress.com

nancy said...

when you read "ttc", do you think 'T' - 'T' - 'C' or do you say "trying to conceive" in your head?

didja get that bug yet?

nancy said...

dang, I didn't finish my thought.

TTC vs TTP. Well, I am trying to conceive and then moving to trying to keep the pregnancy and then moving to trying to deliver a child and then trying to parent. Although TTP is the ultimate goal so it is a correct term to use, it feels like, to me, it's skipping what I'm actually trying to accomplish first. Just my gut reaction. (Which, I may add, feels strange to say because I'm disagreeing with you - the infamous Mel. I almost don't want to post this!)

So, for me, I ~am~ TTC with the end goal of TTP said conception. Plus, TTP reminds me of toilet paper. ~wink~

Lori said...

Oh, I am SO on board.

Is there a petition I can sign or something?

MLO said...

This is why I am slowly making those flowcharts. (Very slowly.) It will take till November 2008.

Heather.PNR said...

I like it. As someone who skipped over TTC in favor of adoption (we already knew about our sub-fertility issues), I appreciate the inclusiveness of TTP.

luna said...

definitely with you, I love it. take back that language and reclaim it. TTP is more inclusive (which you are) and more accurate in the long run. you're so smart! ~luna

Trish said...

Yeah. I definitely agree.
Having had 2 miscarriages & currently pregnant but spotting a lot, I'm not currently trying to conceive, but I sure as hell feel like I'm still struggling to parent.

Shelli said...

I love it.

Heidi said...

Thank you! Let's start converting the masses!

loribeth said...

FYI (another acronym for you, lol), where I live, TTC is best known as the Toronto Transit Commission!

Aurelia said...

Why don't you put both down on the list, and then just let people choose what they want to use for self-description?

And then forgive yourself...:)

Hazy said...

I think its a great new acronym - makes total sense.

Samantha said...

I like it in some ways, it's a nice, inclusive acronym. On the other hand, TTP also sounds like laying down discipline, as in, "I can't believe Bobby bit Sally! Well, as you can see, I'm TTP, but not really succeeding."

I also don't equate conception with fertilization. Conception, to me, is the act of becoming pregnant, although that may not be the technical definition. I'm trying to conceive a pregnancy.

But I do agree: TTC is more limited, more focused on short-term goals, more exclusive, rather than bringing in all of the different ways of family building. So I suppose I'm both TTC and TTP, but may be TTP long after I stop TTC. (I'm probably getting too analytical about an acronym!)

Elizabeth said...

I tend to get overly obsessive about particularities sometimes - so like Samantha I have to niggle a tiny bit - to me, trying to parent sounds more like what you do with a recalcitrant toddler. I'd be more likely to say of myself "trying to have children" (TTHC) or "trying to become a parent" (TTBP).

Ms Heathen said...

I like the way TTP also embraces those who are pursuing adoption, but I do share Samantha and Elizabeth's reservations. To me, 'trying to parent' seems like something I might do a long way in the future. There are so many other stages I will have to go through before I get to that point. To reiterate Nancy's point, it does seem that TTP neatly skips over what I am trying to accomplish in the here and now. After having recently been through a cancelled IVF cycle, right now I'm focusing on trying to make it to egg retrieval next time round - but that's probably too many letters to make a snappy acronym!

I like Elizabeth's suggestions of 'trying to have children', or 'trying to become a parent'.

r_is_moody said...

I like TTP, but for me that is the long distance goal. I am TTC, since conception seems to be my problem. Ok, one of my problems, not so good at holding onto those pregnancies either.

I think TTP embraces the whole process, while TTC is for whats trying to happen right now.

ekunkelmann said...

TTP. Much better. TTC is too damn chirpy. Also, TP makes me think of obsessive toilet paper checks. Very appropriate!

katedaphne said...

The trouble with TTP is that once you do have a child, you will be "trying to parent" for the next 18 years and more. How about TTBHARLB (Trying To Bring Home A Real Live Baby)?

I enjoyed this post, and all the others previous that I have neglected to react visibly to. xo

katie said...

OMG, Thank You!!!! We are pursuing adoption without doing one iota of medical intervention for infertility, and I always felted snubbed. While we have never done a whole lotta work to try to conceive ('cause we both know it will never happen) we have done a lot of work toward adoption before the paper pregnancy even began.

Thanks again!

Julia said...

My first reaction was "nice." But then I started thinking that it seems to discount the experiences of late term loss, stillbirth, and neonatal death. Because it's not like we didn't take some of the steps towards that live baby at home goal line, but we clearly didn't get to do too much parenting. I think there is definitely some parenting involved in-utero-- decisions and plans are made that affect that baby. But that is not the kind of parenting people normally think of, nor the kind I am happy to settle for. So TTP then makes it seem that it's irrelevant that we did have children, because, see, we don't get to parent them much.
But on the other hand, TTBHAC-- trying to bring home a child-- is a little unwieldy, no?

sltbee69 said...

You poor thing - you try so hard to cover all the bases and not forget anybody. I'm sorry your getting negativity about this. Anyway, I take acronyms and make them fit my circumstances. I figure there will never be an acronym to fit one's circumstances 100%. What it means to one person, it means differently to another. KWIM?

Io said...

As someone who is just trying to get to the conception part, I had never thought about this, but wow. What a good point.
Lol - as Katedaphne pointed out though, "trying to parent" sounds like what my mom is doing whenever she calls to nag me.
Hmm. None of the acronyms I am coming up with are any good.

nancy said...

I like Elizabeth's idea of "TTHC". Trying to have children. It emcompasses everything - conception, pregnancy, risk of miscarriage - trying to have children to parent.

I've always like ttc but never thought about it in the way that others look at it. Like those who have recurrent loss. They aren't having issues with ttc - they are having issues with tthc. Another example is the people who are pursuing adoption. They aren't ttc, but they are tthc. I never realized how "TTC" really sets some people aside.

Gumby said...

Hi Mel,
I didn't mean for you to alter your post, but thanks for the consideration. I hope that I am nearly as considerate towards others and their situations (particularly those unfamiliar to me) as you are.

Also, I disagree about the negativity comment. This is simply a discussion - and a good one at that I think. It's very interesting to hear other people's ideas!

I like the TTHC one or similar because, yes, we are ALL trying to have children regardless of the path we are pursuing and our success (or lack thereof) along the way. Also, I feel like the TTC trivializes our experiences as people of the IF community as it's used by the fertiles too. You know, "We were TTC for 6 whole months before we got pregnant!" "Oh my gawd! SIX months?!"

Anyway, good discussion...

kate said...

I, too, have a problem with the TTC abbreviation. I came up with WOMAB for myself (working on making a baby). It works for what I am doing right now. It may not work for other people, but when I feel the need to indicate what it is that I'm doing with the infertility dance, I like what that means to me.

MLO said...

I wrote a response here:

http://www.mloknitting.com/?p=450

Elizabeth said...

I like TTP, but it sounds too far away from where I am right now. Sure, yes, the ultimate goal is TTP, but I'd like simply to be able to TTC and move to the "c" part knowing that being able to TTP is another step. I don't know if that makes any sense. I guess that TTP makes me feel like I'll never succeed while TTC seems more manageable.

hoping4baby said...

Mel, great discussion starter!! I get the idea of TTP but I agree that TTHC or TTBP encompass all the stages and ways of bringing children into our families. The best thing about this discussion is that it shows just how caring our community is. And as for IVF, I am in 1ww now and I say to some that I am PUPO but I really don't fell that way so much - at first yes but now I am just waiting and I would never say I was preg for 9 days (ET to beta) if it was BFN even though technically DH and I have conceived/fertilized. I really would not say until I know it stuck for some time! If that all makes any sense?!

Monica Fayth said...

Here are my thoughts on the matter. TTP does seem more like something I'd say after I had a baby.

And I know you're looking at having an all-inclusive term for all paths to becoming a parent. But I honestly believe that those who have "given up" on the possibility of having their own children and have gone on to adoption are in a whole other league. I don't really think the struggles that we are going through trying to get pregnant can compare with the struggles someone who has to move beyond that and are looking for more options and trying to adopt (TTA?).

nancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nancy said...

I've been thinking about this more...

TTP. Since I already am a parent, "TTP" sort of makes me feel that my parenting now isn't up to par. Like I'm "trying to parent" still, even though I have kids. I think that's why I don't like it much, it makes me feel that it's a negative connotation to the parenting I'm already doing.

Like let's say I'm a driver. And after driving for years, I am taking a race car driving class. I wouldn't want to call that class "trying to drive" class, since I already can drive.

I dunno - just getting it out of my head. Totally not arguing or anything :)

7:26 PM

In and Out of Luck said...

I like TTP. TTC always has this "too too cute" ring to it which is so at odds with the grief and loneliness of the whole experience.

Barb said...

I like TTP and am very much in THAT mode. It focuses on the fact that I WILL be a parent by some means.

Stephanie said...

I think the TTP is a nice idea, but Samantha and Nancy might be right. It sounds like someone who doesn't know what to do with their unruly children. TFC -Trying For Children has a nicer ring and might be a bit more self explanatory. Great debate!

nancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nancy said...

Trying To Conceive and Trying To carry the pregnancy and trying to make it to childbirth and trying to make it through to labor also trying to adopt or trying to foster, trying to take a baby home no matter what the ride was like.

There.

TTCATTCTPATTMITCATTMITTLATTAOTOFTTTABHNMWTRWK

Super catchy, you think?? ~wink~

Bea said...

Ooh, gosh. I was going to go with "TTP" at first, but apparently that's a can of worms!

I agree with what everyone's said. Especially Nancy at the end - hers is definitely the catchiest.

The fact is, you're not going to get everyone under one umbrella. TTC vs TTP involves a state of mind as much as a path to follow. I think it's great to have new ways of describing yourself, though.

Bea

Jess said...

I like "TTP" or "TTPa" because it does look at the goal, not the journey.

And it's not the same as "MTD" = living because death isn't the GOAL of life (so to speak, though it's certainly arguable that to die is to gain if you're a religious person) while parenthood IS the goal of ttc.

I like the inclusiveness. And don't necessarily agree that it sounds like trying to parent as in "trying but not working" parenting.

I think it just makes the goal the focus, is all, and includes everyone. After all, I wanted the pregnancy, sure, but what I really wanted was the child and to be a parent.

Maybe TTbP? Trying to become a Parent? Is that better, or no?

Complicated.

Julia said...

The more I read these, the more I get sad. TTHC. Well, I had a son, but he died. TTBP. Well, I am a parent to my son, no? So I am going to either go step by step, because really, this is how I roll these days anyway, or I am sticking with TTBHAC-- trying to bring home a child. A lofty goal.

Oh, and Monica. Really, parents who had their children through adoption are parenting their own children. Really-really.

Pamela Jeanne said...

It seems to me that it's a continuum. We are all at different points along the way. I'm now LAI/L: Living After Infertility/Loss.

I'm less hung up on what we acronym us use and more interested in the inclusive empathy that we all crave no matter where we are on the infertility continuum...