Alt-IF aims to collect the voices of people who have dealt with or are dealing with infertility, specifically the voices of those also in alternative/non-majority subcultures, or those who feel like outsiders for any number of reasons (being younger than average, being in grad school or college, being tattooed, being nonreligious or non-Christian, being male, etc). Submit your story. Find your people.
THIS TUMBLR PROJECT: Essays from alternative subculture people who are experiencing/have experienced infertility.
WHY: Infertility is a really difficult thing to go through, and although there are plenty of stories out there that are already published, the alternative community (nerds, goths, hipsters, atheists, polyamory peeps, metalheads, etc etc etc etc ETC) seems to not be an easily-findable voice in the online conversation. Sometimes reading a story from someone in your own subculture, even if the story is similar to stories from people outside of it, can be a source of comfort and relatability. Blogs and forums are really fantastically good for the infertility (IF)/assisted reproductive technology (ART) community as a whole, and as an extension of that network, this Tumblr will serve as a place for these voices that may not be the ones thought of as normative in the IF community.
BUT WHY ALT? WHY NOT EVERYBODY?: Of course, there are blogs. There are tons of individual blogs, all easily findable, even. I did find one atheist infertility community, but the last post was from something like 2006, and there were a whole 2 members. There are books (Navigating the Land of IF is very good). However, a lot of the books I come across…aren’t really from people in my young nerdy non-religious sphere. Often books about couples experiencing infertility, based off of the GoodReads searches I’ve done, are funny tales from people who experienced infertility after waiting to have kids due to careers, or at any rate were older and seemingly established (Peggy Orenstein, etc). And I’m not saying I don’t sympathize — infertility sucks, no matter the reason. But I also don’t identify with those stories because I often don’t identify at some core level with the author, beyond the IF theme. It’s nothing personal. I’m not judging those stories as lesser. Far from it. Everybody’s story matters; this is a place for some specific types of those stories, that’s all.
I’m recruiting submissions. Because the thing is, people are out there. It’s just hard to find them all in one place amid the acronyms, the ticker-signatures, the religious-bent forums, and stories that I don’t quite connect with (even though I connect with the frustrating theme itself). I want more stories from people with tattoos, who maybe don’t have a home to take a second mortgage out on for IVF (or who have crippling student loans), graduate students, people who haven’t established careers yet, people who are young (and people who aren’t, but who feel like outsiders — anybody who feels like an outsider), people who have nose rings, people who don’t believe there’s a god or a reason for any of this, people who are self-employed, agnostics, Buddhists, people who know Sindarin, LGBTQ peeps, ravers, DUDES, techies, gamers whose RPG friends don’t get it, people with pink hair, people who “pass”, feminists, the person at goth picnics who you’d never look at and think they’re jealous of that lady with a baby in a sling on the other side of the yard.
To paraphrase The New Colossus: Give me your tattooed, your pierced, your hot-pink hair-dyed masses yearning to breathe free.*
So…sharing this is a great start. And feel free to submit your alternative voice.
*But if you don’t have tattoos or piercings or hot pink hair and you still feel you’re outside the norm in the IF community, you are welcome. Period.