**It’s time for another Time Warp Tuesday post!** This is turning out to be one of my new favorite blog memes, especially if you’ve been blogging for more than a couple of years. I love digging through old stuff of mine.

This week’s theme is “Your All-Time Favorite Post.” Since I am in the Queen of Indecision, this has proven a very arduous task. I honestly can’t decide what my favorite post is. I know the ones I’m really proud of, like my 9/11 post this year, but seeing as how I just wrote it, it didn’t feel right to select that for today’s post.

I decided to pick a post that while it’s not necessarily THE all-time favorite post of mine, it’s one that was interesting to reflect upon since I wrote it so long ago: **An Infertility Equation**. I wrote this post only a couple of months after I had just started blogging. It’s a very short post – go read it now and come right back.

I’ll wait, it’s cool 🙂

So if you swung by and read the post, you’ll see that I created a “life equation” that explained how infertility works. The great thing is, I suck so hard at math, I wanted to look at it again, over 2 years later now, to see if my little theorem held true, and what’s changed since then.

Here’s the equation I made to explain infertility:

In math language, that says:

Infertility is equal to Hope times the difference of the quotient of The Way You Thought it Would Be divided by Things Don’t Turn Out As Planned minus Doin’ It the Ol’ Fashioned Way.

Yeah, I’m no good at word problems either.

**Math and makin’ babies: not really my fortés.**

So, has my infertility equation changed in the last two years?

Maybe a smidgen… I think I’m just looking at it through very different eyes now. Everything in the parentheses is all that baggage that you carry with you about your infertility experience. These are all variables you just can’t ignore. I think they truly shape the way in which you perceive your infertility experience.

And Hope as a variable is truly important. You gotta have hope, no matter what.

What’s changed for me is having the realization of just how powerful all that parenthetical baggage can be. I’m no math whiz, but I know that anything multiplied by zero equals zero. If all the stuff in the parentheses ever equals zero, and you multiply it by Hope…

Then you get no hope. **And no hope is no way to go through infertility.**

What I’ve learned, in looking at this equation over two years later now, is that “Doin’ it the old fashioned way” doesn’t have to be preceded by a minus sign. When it comes to family building, it’s not necessarily a negative concept. I wrote this in June 2009, so my diagnosis was still fresh and painful. **Now I realize that family building – no matter how we get there – is a very positive thing indeed.**

Okay, so maybe it’s changed a lot. In reevaluating my totally logical stab at life in the context of math, I’ve adjusted the equation. I think it more accurately reflects the ways I perceive our infertility journey now, as opposed to right after I was diagnosed.

So here’s my new updated life equation for infertility:

You’ll notice a few changes throughout my original equation.

Even just tweaking the wording, from “The way you thought it would be” to “How You Imagined It Would Be” I think more accurately honors the notion that it’s important to recognize a very special dream – how we imagined we’d build our families – is somehow divided in the context of infertility.

Changing “Things don’t turn out as planned” I feel like does a little victim blaming (unintentionally, of course). It assumes that we did something wrong and thus, that’s why our plans fell through. It implies a sense of failure. “A Sudden Change of Plans” better states that infertility is something that happens *to* us – not because of something we’ve done. It reflects how jarring infertility can be to our normal routine.

Now that I’m all hip in the know about the wide spectrum of family building options, “Doin’ it the ol’ fashioned way” doesn’t really accurately reflect that. I mean, adoption is about as ol’ fashioned as you can get – can we say, Moses? And thinking of family building in terms of a plan, brand new plans even, feels much more positive and forward-driven. It gives us a sense of motivated goals.

**What I love about this updated life equation is that it allows for change over time.** If Plan A didn’t work, you can still swap out for Plan B where it says “A Whole Brand New Plan.” Thinking about infertility in these new terms allows for not only change, but growth as well. No matter what the value of your planning variable, by thinking about it positively, it should never equal zero in the parentheses.

And as long as you can avoid that zero there, **you’ll always have hope.**

What do you think?

Does this make sense? Did I get my math right?

**And what are some creative ways (math or otherwise) you’ve conceptualized your infertility journeys?**

This post is part of the Time Warp Tuesday Blog Hop hosted by Kathy at Four of a Kind. Swing by her blog today to see who else is participating and join in the fun for next Tuesday.

Lori Lavender Luz says

No offense to commenter Hope, but I had a very contentious releationship with Hope during my IF years. I both hated her and needed her. But she always let me down. Every month.

It wasn’t until I took her out of the equation that things worked out.

I’m glad that she’s kinder to you than she was to me. I like the perspective of your revised formula.

Mo says

beautiful Keiko. You never cease to amaze me. 🙂

Gail says

I LOVE this post!! My husband is a physics professor and, when we were still dating (13 years ago), he wrote me a mathematical proof of his love for me. I definitely do NOT think in math language, but I know that is the way his mind works and how he understands things. I might just send him this post!

Kathy says

That’s so sweet Gail! I would love to see the proof that your husband wrote for you! 🙂

Keiko says

Gail, that is AWESOME. Nerd love, for the win 😉

Jjiraffe says

Love the infertility math! What a great analogy and I love how the equation is flexible. I tend to look at infertility so emotionally, so I love that you looked at it from a problem solving, practical point of view.

You just made math awesome! I didn’t think that was possible 😉

Keiko says

Don’t get me wrong. I still hate the math. SO much. But it makes thinking about infertility interesting 😉

Esperanza says

This post is AWESOME! I absolutely adore how you’ve changed around the equation. I love the different wording in the new fraction, which takes away blame while still honoring the dream that has been lost. And adding “a whole brand new plan” is such a positive way to spin it.

I know that infertility is filled with loss and disappointment, but seeing it through a new lens can be so liberating, if we’re ready for it. Thank you for this. I’m going to print it out and put it up somewhere so I can remember that just because I can’t build my family as I’d always imagined it, that this brand new plan can be something positive in and of itself.

You are truly an inspiration Keiko! Truly.

Keiko says

“if we’re ready for it.”So true, Esperanza, so true. Part of this is that no matter what the equation is – if we’re not ready to accept it, then it doesn’t even matter. Part of re-shaping this equation was about forcing me to think in more positive terms about my own infertility journey.

Hope says

I really like the new infertility equation you came up with. It really does reflect a hopeful perspective, even though it leaves room for the hope to ebb and flow. But it is really difficult to take all the complexities of infertility and boil them down into a conceptualization like that one. Still trying to wrap my head around all of this and what it means.

Sorry, I’m afraid I’m not very coherent. But it was a really cool idea!

Keiko says

No worries -your comment totally made sense. Thanks!

Kathy says

You rock Keiko! Your Time Warp post last week brought me to tears and this one had me laughing out loud! You are so fun and quirky (in the best possible way) and I love it!

Do you ever watch The Big Bang Theory on TV?! I can totally imagine this equation factoring in, if any of those characters were to be faced with an infertility diagnosis! 😉

Anyway, I really like how you updated your equation and all the logic you used in doing so. The original version made sense and worked for me, but this version I do like even better!

As for creative ways that I have conceptualized our journey through secondary infertility and loss… That’s a good question. There are so many analogies that work for our experiences trying to build/expand our families. So I have certainly thought about that over the years.

You know, the whole “interviewing for a job that you think you are very qualified for, but you never get hired. Instead you have to watch many of your peers getting the job or similar ones. Not to mention all the people you see getting jobs who don’t seem half as qualified as you are!”

Also when I first started writing online, I named my blog “Three of a kind working on a full house…” So I was all about the card playing analogy there. Then when Molly was born and died I added “…with our Queen of Hearts in Heaven.” After Abby was born, I changed the main title for “Four of a Kind.” I had always hoped and dreamed that someday I would rename my blog “Full House.” But I think it is unlikely we will try and/or be able to have anymore children and my definition of a “Full House,” as it relate to cards, would include five living people in our home. I suppose if we ever got a dog, that could count, but I am content with being “Four of a Kind” right now.

Okay, holy long comment Batman! Thanks again for doing the Time Warp again with us this week! I am glad that you are enjoying this blog hop/writing exercise as much as I am! That makes me very happy! Looking forward to what you come up with for next week! 🙂

Keiko says

Thanks for sharing the back story on the name of your blog. The whole part about the full house – wow. Just wow.

One of the things I’ve definitely learned in this journey is the need to constantly reframe my thinking when it gets tough. Even though I’m not so good with the maths, it’s just another way to think about our whole situation while we wait.