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How to become an infertility blogger and use humour to cope with infertility?

Jennifer Palumbo
Infertility Advocate , Wonder Woman Writer

Category:
Emotions and Support

How to become an infertility blogger and use humour to cope with infertility?
From this video you will find out:
  • What is an infertility blog?
  • How to juggle stress, infertility, and humour?
  • What are the benefits of humour in battling infertility?
  • What are the ways to find the funny?
  • What questions should I ask myself before starting my blog?
  • Do I want to use my blog to make money/support others?

 

Humour and infertility? Yes, it's possible!

In this webinar, Jennifer “Jay” Palumbo, Freelance Writer & avid Women’s Health Advocate, is talking about humour and infertility and gives tips on how to become an infertility blogger.

A blog is a type of website that is usually arranged in chronological order from the most recent post at the top of the main page to the older entries towards the bottom. It is also described as a regularly updated website or webpage, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informer or conversational style. A blog can function as a journal, a diary, or a place to post your thoughts in opinions about a particular subject.

Why an infertility blog?

If you’ve been trying to conceive, you’ve been diagnosed with infertility, or are going through fertility treatment, it can provide an outlet, document your journey, share your thoughts, and connect with others. Some other benefits are:

  • Keep friends and family updated, Which can help reduce the stress of having to inform everyone individually.
  • Get helpful feedback, support, or inside from other members of the fertility community who have gone through similar experiences as you.
  • You get to see how others cope. Just like you’re interested in how others deal with infertility. People out there want to hear and learn from your experiences.

Stress and infertility

According to the ASRM, while it is not known whether high levels of stress can prevent pregnancy or affect a woman’s chance of conceiving, reducing stress provides a better quality of life during times of intense personal challenge.

Among several stress-reducing techniques, these are a few to remember:

  • Acupuncture
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Guided imagery
  • Journaling/Blogging
  • Listening to music
  • Massage therapy
  • Meditation
  • Psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Support and educational groups
  • Visualization
  • Walking and hiking
  • Yoga

Stress & humour

It is encouraged to find humour in stressful situations to take the power away from something upsetting. It is described as a coping mechanism to feel better about ourselves. Furthermore, it is known that a sense of humour will help you build a resistance to stress, as well as improve your overall physical and emotional health. Faking a smile and laughing can decrease your stress. The use of humor helps moderate stressful life events and has 2 benefits: It increases people’s social support which helps people feel better in difficult times, and the use of positive forms of humor can help people to think about stressful situations in new ways. Even if you’re someone who finds a lot of humor in everyday life, it doesn’t help you cope with stress unless you also try to actively use humor to deal with that stress.

How humour can help you psychologically?

  • Bond with others
  • Look at things differently
  • Normalize your experience
  • Keep your relationships strong

Ways to find ‘the funny’

Bounce ideas off your funny friends. Also, take an experience and exaggerate it in your mind to the point of ridiculousness (Example: I’ve done 3 IVFs. When you do 4, you get a free box of rubber gloves). Another thing could be watching shows and movies that make you laugh and inspire you. Be aware and know when something isn’t funny. Use your best judgment while being certain areas might be too sensitive.

Questions to ask yourself before starting your blog?

  • How public do you want to be with your journey?
    • You can use a “pen name” or a first name.
    • Certain blogs have “password settings”. Only those you give access to can read your post.
  • Do you feel comfortable with people commenting on your posts?
  • If you are public, how would your partner feel about it?
  • Do you want to boast “in real-time” or delay posts?
  • What style do you want it to be? Funny, clinical, helpful, or simple like a diary?
  • Is there anyone you don’t want to know about or see?
  • Do you think there will be a time when the blog evolves? whether it’s that you are expanding your family, are living child-free, or there simply may be other areas about your life you want to write about.

Blogging platform options & tips

  • Blogger (A good go-to blog with default themes)
  • Wix (who want a super easy drag-drop option)
  • Weebly
  • Medium (does not require your site. Just want to have a place to write content)
  • WordPress (who want to build a website for long-term use)
  • Ghost (simpler version of WordPress)
  • Tumblr (Short-form text that is heavier on images than writing)
  • Joomla (Personalized domain)
  • Jimdo (User friendly content)

It’s crucial to post regularly, but the content needs to be interesting for your audience. You need to promote your content on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Keep in mind, that posts that have an image will receive more engagement. Use a simple theme, enjoy blogging, and comment on other people’s blogs, as they normally will do the same on your blog.

- Questions and Answers

I live in the UK. Do you think my potential IVF blog would resonate with the US audience as well?

Yes. There’s a couple of bloggers, there’s one in particular that I know is in the UK and people love her blog and even anything vice versa. I had a lot of UK readers read mine and so I absolutely think so. It’s weird to say this but fertility is the same no matter where you are in the world. I mean it sucks. There may be certain references they may not get but I definitely think they would resonate with them, absolutely. I love IVF babble – I know they’re in the UK and I can’t say enough about what they post and they like me as well.

How often did you post on your blog in the beginning?

My goal was to do it once a week and at the time there was so much going on, just a lot of feelings. My commitment was always try to post once a week and if like two weeks went by, it wasn’t the end of the world but I would then be like “alright, I’ve got to write today.” There was another thing like nothing was going on I would be like “alright, how am I feeling today emotionally and what am I worried about” and I would think about what I needed to write about, just to get it out of my head and on the paper and those actually were some of the best posts. There was one where I just posted all of my fears and that got such a response. So it’s not necessarily like I’m doing a transfer or I’ve started hormones or anything like that but committing to doing at least once a week was healthy for me, mentally, it was really nice.

What is, in your opinion, the best social media platform for an IVF “blog”? Instagram, Twitter a real blog, a page?

It’s such a good question. I don’t know if this is helpful or not but because I do write for a lot of other places, I always use Instagram. It’s a growing platform so I just assume they’re going to ask me about Instagram. Big companies like Huffington Post, Business Insider and Forbes all want to know my Twitter followers so or my Twitter following account or something like that. I actually think Twitter would probably be the best one still, even though Instagram has become very popular. Just because you can just immediately post the link there and people could go and look. But I would say Instagram is my second favorite.

What has your experience been with traditional communities? I’m Nigerian living in England. My culture is very conservative and we don’t easily talk about these sorts of things. What are your thoughts? P.S. Thanks for making us seem normal

There was this documentary actually I saw on exactly this and it’s really difficult and it’s not helpful to not talk about it. So I think if you were interested in writing about it, I would definitely do an anonymous one, I would do a pen name and not give yourself away. I’ve heard terrible stories about being judged because you’re having difficulty conceiving. Obviously, my sense is if you’re here you want to connect with others, certainly. Your comment about “thanks for making us seem normal.” Yes, definitely an anonymous blog. So I think you should do it. Initially, my blog was anonymous even the social media handles I used were not my name; it was The Two-week Wait and the blog was a Two-Week Wait. I never said my name, I did my nickname, never said my last name, never said where I worked and I live in New York in the United States so it’s not a real quiet community so the fact that I was able to be anonymous until I was ready to be public says something. I think if you feel that you’re in a place where people aren’t easily talking about these things that’s even more reason to blog. I mentioned earlier about when I needed some medications, I got estrogen patches from Ireland, people from England sent me socks. It is a global universal language – infertility, and I know there are thousands, if not more, people really more than willing to support you. And if you’re in a place where you can’t physically talk to people about it, the blogging world and writing about it and even just maybe dip in your challenge is having an anonymous social media account to connect with others could be so helpful. You feel less alone, you really do.

I’m in Nigeria and the reality is that many people are dealing with infertility here in Nigeria and the IVF clinics are always busy.

You may be the one who brings it out of the shadows and makes it more public. I mean I think anyone can do that. I don’t want you to risk safety or I don’t want you to be judged but if you know this then maybe there are resources you can start. I started an infertility brunch with other bloggers and once a month we would meet. Maybe you could even break new ground with a blog or just being more open with your story. It could be an opportunity to highlight an issue that everyone everywhere is dealing with but you have to do it in a way that you feel comfortable. That’s a shame, it’s terrible because obviously there are many people in Nigeria right now that could use support but everyone’s too scared to say something. So I really hope you blog. You have to blog. I’m going to find you. I’ll read it. You have to do it.

I set up pseudo-Facebook account to join fertility groups. What are your thoughts?

Yeah, I used to do that back in the day. I think even if you eventually become public, I totally get starting out private. My mother-in-law knows everything now but I didn’t want her to know at the time so she was the main person I didn’t want to see my blog.

I’m under the impression that there are so many Instagram IVF blogs. Will I be able to find my own Instagram space and followers?

I think that’s such a great question and one of the things that I always tried to do when I work with anybody or even when I’m going to do something is what makes me different, how am I different and there’s got to be something that you know about you. Maybe you know this quote by Dolly Parton “Find out who you are and then do it on purpose.” Everyone has something that makes them them. I think once you find out what your blog will be or what angle you’re taking or what seems you want to highlight, organically, if you market that and, basically, say this is me and this is who I am, you will stand out. In a simple way, Instagram one-on-one is you follow other bloggers, they follow you. You can even highlight other bloggers on your Instagram account. You can reach out and encourage them to reach out to you and share your blogs and all of that. I just think there are a lot of Instagram infertility blogs, there are a lot of Twitter blogs but the reality is sometimes once they become pregnant or once they stop trying to conceive, they stop blogging. So there’s always a need for new blogs to tell a current story.

I do TTC (trying to conceive) meet-up and we had that before COVID-19. I also recently started a podcast.

It’s great. You should promote it in the comments. I’m sure people would love to listen. I mean I just think anything you do to create outreach to give yourself support is a good thing.

You’re so real. Hugs to you! Loving this session so much! Thank you.

I appreciate that. I really do because I think being authentic, especially when talking about this, is so important because we really no matter where you are or what your story is, I think we all know what all this is like and so I relate.

I’m wondering what if after a few failed attempts I quit trying? I’ve seen a few childfree/childlessness blogs – this could be an alternative. Thinking about this gives me some kind of hope for the future…a purpose.

I think that’s why sometimes if you find other things about yourself to talk about it can be really helpful which I know it sounds like “duh” but what I’m saying is like I’ve always been a writer so I wonder sometimes if I should have made my blog something else? Trying to conceive diaries? I don’t even know if that would be any better but I think if you enjoy writing if you name your blog appropriately and you maybe write about other areas of your life like painting, reading fiction or you’re passionate about Jane Austen or something like that if you infuse that in your blog as well, so no matter what happens with your journey, you’ll always have something to write about and somewhere to go.
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Authors
Jennifer Palumbo

Jennifer Palumbo

Jennifer "Jay" Palumbo is the Chief Executive Officer at Wonder Woman Writer, LLC, Freelance Writer & avid Women's Health Advocate. Her blog, “The 2 Week Wait” was awarded the Hope Award for Best Blog from Resolve: The National Infertility Association and was also named the “Best IVF Blog” by Egg Donation Friends. Her articles have been included in Time magazine, Parents Magazine, Huffington Post, and ScaryMommy and she has been featured as an influencer in Medium and Welum magazine. As an infertility subject matter expert, she has been interviewed on news outlets such as CNN, NPR, FOX, NBC, and BBC America, and was featured in the documentary, “Vegas Baby”.
Event Moderator
Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka is managing MyIVFAnswers.com and has been hosting IVFWEBINARS dedicated to patients struggling with infertility since 2020. She's highly motivated and believes that educating patients so that they can make informed decisions is essential in their IVF journey. In the past, she has been working as an International Patient Coordinator, where she was helping and directing patients on their right path. She also worked in the tourism industry, and dealt with international customers on a daily basis, including working abroad. In her free time, you’ll find her travelling, biking, learning new things, or spending time outdoors.