Infertiles vs the world?

This article by Bibi Lynch entitled “Mothers Stop Moaning” provoked an interesting response both in the comments below and on an internet parenting forum I use.   Stella Duffy’s response on her blog is, in my opinion a good alternative version highlighting some of  the things that Bibi Lynch was trying to say.  The difference in the 2 articles is that horrible thing called time.  In my mind Bibi is in the throws of coming to terms with the reality that she will not have children, Stella is 9 years along on that road and has a little more perspective.

Bibi’s article isn’t pretty and I am sure on reflection she may wish she hadn’t revealed her deepest darkest thoughts.  Jealously is a vicious emotion that makes other people uncomfortable when it’s on display or admitted.  I am sure however that many of us along the way have had similar thoughts.  However I am astounded that the article can be read without leaving the reader with some sympathy for her and the depth of despair she appears to be in at the moment.  Surely as a parent or infertile or somewhere in between you can feel sympathetic to another human being’s pain?

What I found upsetting was the way that people read the article and homed in on various points, on the forum I go on much was made of her dismissal of post natal depression.  I read that sentence as depression is horrible, regardless of the cause, pnd depression is no worse to deal with than no obvious cause depression or infertility caused depression.  I understood her opinion is that having depression caused by having a baby has in some ways got to be at least a cloud with a silver lining because you have a child.  I know from seeing people that have pnd that it doesn’t always feel like that but I can’t help but feel that whilst she has worded it clumsily she is trying to say I too have suffered the pits of depression but as I climb out of the bottom of the pit that I reached I can’t look at my child and think it was worth it.  Now maybe people don’t think like that, and they probably don’t but Bibi seems to think that she would and we have to respect  that.

Others have made much of how she has to take some responsibility for leaving it too late.  It’s easy to say but people are quite dismissive about age related concerns.  I can remember saying after my 1st miscarriage when I was 36, is this likely to be because of my age, and was assured by doctors and friends that 36 wasn’t too late.  Turns out it was because 4 years later we have run out of time.  Do I regret not trying sooner? It’s a difficult one, Villa Boy and I spent more time discussing whether to have children or not than a lot of friends who had children earlier. We wanted to be sure that our child was wanted, that we knew what our expectations of each other were, that we could afford the disruption to our lives not just financially but also emotionally.  So according to a number of internet forum goers this makes us stupid,naive and to blame for our inability to conceive.  Ironically had we tried and failed earlier to get pregnant it may have been tougher as we wouldn’t have been able to afford the ivf treatment we need and can afford.

I know that a lot of comments aren’t aimed at me personally and that people would say “oh I didn’t mean it like that or it doesn’t apply to you” if we were sat in a pub but the sort of comments coming out do nothing to dismiss my deep held belief that people somehow think you are a bit simple if you can’t manage to get yourself pregnant successfully.  There is no doubt to me that people don’t get that there may be no options to get yourself pregnant.  I often hear “I’d try everything”, “you just have to keep going”, what they don’t seem to understand is that sometimes there is nothing more that can be done.  Every avenue has been exhausted.  The look you get is as if you must be wrong there must be more you could do, you obviously just are not trying hard enough or haven’t investigated enough options.

Which brings us nicely onto the “why doesn’t she just adopt brigade”.  Yes there are lots of children that need homes, but not as many as you think and it is the type of children available for adoption that people don’t understand or maybe want to admit.  Quite rightly society has moved on and as such there is no shame in being an unmarried mother, a source in years gone by of babies for adoption.  In most cases social services try hard to keep parents and children together, this means  that it is older children who are mostly available.  What this also means is that these children have lived in not ideal environments and have not had the best start in life, which means that parenting them takes a lot of patience, a lot of skill and a lot of determination.  We as a couple and extended family are not strong enough to take on this particular challenge and route to parenthood. I used to beat myself up about this thinking if we weren’t prepared to do this did we want to be parents enough?  Now I realise it isn’t anything to be ashamed of it’s just not for us.  My admiration for people that can do it is immense but I shouldn’t be ashamed that we can’t.

Who knew that a women’s rant could provoke such responses and upset so may people? As people play grief bingo over what is worse – parenthood or infertility; depression or post natal depression; your body being ruined by child bearing or by it’s inability to bear a child;  being in a bad relationship with children or not being in a relationship and wanting children; surely we all need to just pause and say to our friends, family, colleagues “I’m sorry you’re having a tough time, is there anything I can do to help?”


About thebarrenyears

I'm a 30 something girl trying and failing to get pregnant.
This entry was posted in About me, Infertile Madness and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Infertiles vs the world?

  1. Jeanette says:

    I am not terribly sensitive about other women’s children. I am not upset of offended by pregnancy announcements in whatever method they come. Yes it smarts and I have pangs of jealousy, but then I smile and be happy for them anyway. It doesn’t rule me. I dont begrudge them a happiness I want for myself. I’ve had all of the things outlined in the article said to me by various people on many occasions. I chalk it up to ignorance shrug it off and try to forget about it. I dont want to spend my time being wounded by other peoples ignorance.

    The one thing that ever really hurt me was recently, I was with a younger friend, who casually stated “God I hate those 22 year old women who have babies and then cant &^%$#@! pay for diapers. Plan your life better!” It was said with so much vitriol, and it stung. At first I wasn’t sure why. Because I wasn’t one of those women.

    Then I realized what hurt about her statement was the implication that if someone gets pregnant by accident and decides to give birth even though they may not be ready financially, or emotionally, that they are less of a person. Again I wasn’t one of those women, so why did I take it personally?

    Because I did plan my life, I went to college, worked on my career, spent half my adult life trying not to get pregnant, became successful, got married, bought a really beautiful home, raised someone else’s child, have a savings, a college fund and 401k. But those things didn’t happen a long the prescribed timeline. I didn’t get married until I was older. So here I am at 43, after years of TTC naturally, going through IVF. Should I have planned my life better? I got married at 38, went off birth control immediately.. should I have planned my life better? What I wanted to say was “The Cinderella Story doesn’t happen for everyone sweet pea.” But there is no way to say that without sounding like a bitter old harridan. She will learn it in her own time, in her own way.

    When I asked her this question, she was rattled and quickly said “It doesn’t apply in your case.” But its still there, like a wedge between us. Am I angry at her? No. Will I spend time with her again? Probably not.

    As a stepparent, I have been excluded from the “Cult of Mommy-hood” I have been looked down on, been refused entry to the club, and been diminished by my peers because, I “am just a stepparent”

    The thing that strikes me about this article and the responses on both sides is the complete and utter lack of compassion for the other persons point of view. So I agree with you. Where is the understanding and acknowledgement? Why is grief a competitive sport with women? I am sorry for the long winded comment. Thank you for your post, its definitely thought provoking.

    • Jeanette I think that’s the bit that has really made me go wow the complete lack of understanding by both sides. Women can be so hard on each other.
      Nice to hear your story btw x

  2. Jeanette says:

    Thank you. I enjoy reading yours as well. You are a very talented writer.

    I almost emailed you asking not to post this as I didn’t want to be adversarial in peoples safe haven but maybe its my age, or something else, I guess I just see the big picture a little differently. I dont judge anyone’s feelings. They have every right to them and where ever they are is where they should be. I’m not trying to say I’m handling anything better because god knows I’m not. I’ve been crushed, disappointed, betrayed by my body, and am facing some truly ugly hurdles in my own efforts to get and stay pregnant. Ive had a lot of dark days.

    When my peers have said “You’ve never truly been a parent” It really really hurts. But I know, in the deepest part of my heart that Ive been in my stepdaughters life since she was 4. I explained to her why her grandfather was dying. I taught her how to share, and how to ride a bike. I taught her how to use chopsticks. I explained to her how babies were made. I fought with her principal when she was bullied as a freshman. I was there when she got her first period, and bought her her first bras. I am just a stepparent, but she knows I have never lied to her, and never competed with her mom. I will lose, every single time. I will never be acknowledged at mothers day and I will never be that child’s mother so I choose not to compete. It doesn’t keep me from loving her, wanting the best for her, or parenting her in the limited way I am allowed to. Please read my blog if you really want to know me. Its all in there. Thank you again and I am sorry for the long rambling comment. The material is just very thought provoking.

  3. I have been trying to nearly a year. Recently my sister-in-law gave birth to her second child. Of course I was happy for her, I had a new niece. But, as I held this little baby in my arms – the day after I got my period, before I even got comfortable on the chair she asks “so, you are not pregnant yet then?” I do not know how I stopped the tears from falling. I personally would never ask someone that question, particularly when I know they have been trying for a long time. I agree with thebarrenyears, how can a woman be so thoughtless? The best help and support I have been given is when my sister just sits with me and doesn’t even say anything at all. Because sometimes there really is nothing to say at all.

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