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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Barren Advice

The Ethicist meets Carolyn Hax and has a love-child via IVF

I have loved writing One Smart Mama (when I pull my shit together and write One Smart Mama) but the time has come to slim it down and bring it over here for a little Tuesday Tea. The reason for my slowness is not actually coming up with the advice--oh, yes, I have tons of assvice and information and analogies in my back pocket--it is the damn Microsoft Paint cartoon and the Jane Austen quotes. Therefore, the new version of this advice column will debut next Tuesday and run every week and be henceforth known as Barren Advice. My cycles may be off, but my thoughts are spot-on.

Why should you take advice from me? Well, you're not actually just taking it from me... I mean, this is a blog and there is a comment section, and unlike advice columns in newspapers where the main answer is the end answer, on my blog, the answer is the starting point and the comment section is a place for others to chime in with their thoughts. So it's one question and sometimes 20 answers. The only other reason why you should take advice from me is if you think I've proven myself sane and intelligent from One Smart Mama or advice I've offered in the past on my blog or in your comment section. Plus, I have always wanted to be an advice columnist and you have been already making that dream come true through One Smart Mama. And moving the column over here (and dropping the cartoon and quotes) will speed things along since I tend to (cough) sit with One Smart Mama questions (cough) in my inbox for a week at a time.

You should not take advice from me if you are looking for the worst story on the Internet--I don't have it and I haven't experienced even half of the endless facets of infertility--though I've probably read more books, spoken to more people, and listened to more stories than I can begin to list and that's where I draw from to write all of the sections of the book that I haven't experienced (yet) and that's where I'll draw from to answer your questions. You should not take advice from me if you think I'm a doctor because I'm not (it seemed pertinent to say something along those lines as a disclaimer).

So here are the fine details:
  • Like the Roundup on Fridays, I will post Barren Advice on Tuesdays.
  • Ask me any questions related to infertility, adoption, donor gametes, living child-free after IF, parenting after IF, pregnancy after IF. General issues: relationships, etiquette, wedding, friendships. I do not wear lipstick and my shoes rarely match what I'm wearing so I'm not the best person for fashion tips. So, it doesn't have to be IF related (someone on One Smart Mama once asked about seeing an ex-boyfriend, for instance), though you know that I'm good for a "getting out of a baby shower" excuse. When a question involves pregnancy or babies, I will place "children mentioned" somewhere before that question so you can skip it if you need to because this is still an IF blog--but it's an IF blog where pregnancy and parenting questions may also come into play because the whole community is welcome here.
  • Send questions to and put "Barren Advice" in the subject line.
  • Make sure you indicate in your email whether you want the question submitted anonymously or linked to your blog. Reasons for keeping anonymous are probably obvious. Reasons for having it linked--if I have to shorten your question or the situation requires people to read a bit of background, you can send me a permalink to a post on your blog that I can add in order to save space in the question asking on my blog.
  • I will post between 1--4 questions and answers per week. I doubt I'll get more than that anyway, but if I do, I'll either do a supplemental post or hold it over until the next week. If something is very time sensitive, please indicate that in the note too.
  • If I can't answer your question on my own, I will consult with someone who can help me. If I have to consult and you've asked me to keep it anonymous, I will not give out any identifying information to the person I'm consulting. I'll just say, "I have this friend..."
If you hate the advice I end up giving you at some point, I apologize in advance. Really, I try my best to sit with things for a long time before I answer. And I often practice by handing out random assvice to everyone so like a good gymnast, I am always in training and keeping myself limber just in case I'm called up to the Olympics at a moments notice.

And start sending questions... right... wait... riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight... now! So I can have more than one for this upcoming first column.

Oh, and do you like the graphic--get it? Barren Advice. Bare Advice. Bare. Frank. No frills. Barren. Nothing seems to stick in my womb. Stark. I thought I was being clever. No? Yes? No?...


luna said...

love the idea. excellent use of your vast array of knowledge and stories. can't wait to read the first installment. ~luna

shinejil said...

Yippee! Can't wait to read along.

TeamWinks said...

This can get quite interesting I'm sure!

Io said...

Clever, definitely clever :)

Jen said...

I am quite looking forward to this. And, I did get it. :)

Anonymous said...

WOW! What can't you do???
very much looking forward to learning lots.

Thinking up questions now...

Dianne/Flutter said... amaze me. I mean that sincerely - like how do find the time? Can't wait to read. :)

andrea_jennine said...

I like the graphic, and duly noted its cleverness before I even got to your last paragraph!

**susy** said...

Totally got it ;) and I can't wait... on a day I post to vent abt my having to STFU when giving my own "barren advice" you come up w/ giving it to the masses and as a community. Love it!

Fertilized said...

Oh this is exciting- I can't wait to read/submit for help. Great idea, as always

sara said...

Hey I think this is a great idea! I can't wait to see what people have to ask, I'm sure we will all benefit. You do such a great job. Thanks for all of your hard work!

JuliaS said...

Do we get to call you Dr. Mel now and are you gonna be brutally and wonderfully blunt like some of the other "dr's" out there giving advice?? :0)

Antigone said...

So what *do* we call you? Dear ???