Yep, she went there! And that is one of the reasons why Jenn "Jay" Palumbo from the blog The 2 Week Wait is our October blogger of the month. We are happy to have her on our list of top bloggers because her blog offers an eclectic mix of words like "stabby," RuPaul references, and a genuine passion for infertility advocacy. A consistent theme in her blog is her use of humor. Whether she is talking about a failed treatment or offering her thoughts on cruel Internet trolls, there is going to be something to smirk at. This is what Jay has to say about being an infertility blogger.
FS: What are three words that describe your blog?
JP: Humor, honesty and advocacy.
FS: Why did you start blogging?
JP: I started blogging in 2009 right before we were going to do our first IVF. At the time, I told very few people what was going on with us so I felt like I needed a safe, somewhat private outlet to express my feelings. As a writer, blogging made complete sense. I was able to really be raw, honest and even find the humor through blogging and slowly, over time, I "came out of the closet" and began to let people know who I was making the blog more public. It's because of The 2 Week Wait actually that I made so many of the friends I have now plus it actually opened up career opportunities for me. I owe so much to my blog.
FS: What's the story behind the name?
JP: When I first named it The 2 Week Wait, it was for the obvious reasons of waiting two weeks between ovulation and finding out if you were pregnant, or when I was doing IVF cycles, the two weeks between transfer and your beta test. When I became pregnant after my last IVF, I thought about changing the name but as I debated this, I was still in a series of two week waits - two weeks between appointments, two weeks between genetic testing and the results, two weeks, two weeks, etc. I'm also acutely aware that for many, a two week wait can almost be like a life sentence so all in all, I felt the two week wait and waiting, accurately describes the journey in general.
FS: What topic do you find yourself covering most often and why?
JP: Hmmmm. That's a great question. I think it's being an empowered patient and advocating on your own behalf. I know so much more now than I did when I first started trying to build my family. Some of that knowledge would have helped me and made things easier. Knowing what questions to ask your doctor, what protocols to look into, etc. all can make you feel a bit more control in a situation that for the most part, is out of your hands. I also think removing the shame of it is important because you can't ask your HR department to add fertility benefits if you feel embarrassed that you have infertility. I just want people to know this is a medical issue, they do have different courses of action and the best advocate for them is them.
FS: Who is your target reader?
JP: For the most part, people still in the trenches. That means a lot to me. When I was trying to conceive, the community was there for me. I hope that now, I can return the favor and be there for them.
FS: What's unique about your blog?
JP: I definitely think it's the humor. That's what I've been told more than anything. I have TTC Proverbs, Infertility Greeting Cards, blogs about the time my husband produced a sperm sample in a Starbucks bathroom, etc. It was my way of coping but it seems to have resonated with others.
FS: What was your most popular post ever? Why do you think it was popular with readers?
JP: It's hilarious to me but the most popular one was Bikini Waxing: The IVF Special. I think it was just so damn funny (and true). I always got a major waxing done before any retrievals because when you have guests coming over, you clean up!
FS: What is the best thing about writing about infertility?
JP: It's just so important because, despite all efforts, how much coverage it does get and how many people have it, the overwhelming majority still doesn't understand their own bodies or even know their fertility health. So many still think you can easily have a baby at 50 (thanks to certain celebrities) or that adoption is as easy as snapping your fingers or that people who pursue IVF are selfish. There's still so much education that needs to be done and younger generations, I hope, will be more proactive in knowing about their fertility.
FS: What is the worst thing?
JP: It's such a sensitive topic and there devastating outcomes for too many (miscarriages, stillbirths, etc.) One of the challenges I have, especially in my efforts to add humor, is that everyone copes with infertility issues differently and it's so easy to offend people. Despite being fairly outspoken and sardonic, anyone who knows me would know that I never set out to hurt anyone's feelings. Unfortunately, on occasion I have. So the worst thing to me is desperately trying to walk that line of helping and not hurting people. For the most part, I've done well but there are times when I have unintentionally offended someone and I always hate that.
FS: What's the best tip you have to offer someone struggling with fertility issues?
JP: While I never condone Googling things to death or becoming obsessive, I do think educating yourself, talking to others who have been through it and asking a lot of questions so you truly feel like you can work collaboratively with your doctor on how best to proceed. And then, of course, having a sense of humor to keep yourself sane is key!