A Place I Never Thought We’d Be

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Well, knock me over with a feather. We infertiles are turning up on Mother’s Boards, Blogs, Forums.  Well, not us exactly, but discussions about what we face, the challenges of infertility. Quite frankly, it’s a place I never thought we’d be.  That’s because, in my real life experience, it seemed most “fertiles” didn’t seem to spend more than a nanosecond thinking about their infertile sisters and brothers before dismissing us outright.

I don’t know about my fellow infertility bloggers, but it was that lack of consideration that caused me to start my blog on this topic. Not surprisingly, I did so with something of fortress mentality.

Infertiles: my allies.

Fertiles: well not my enemy exactly, but with each negative pregnancy test, I came to view the army of baby-makers with suspicion, and even dread. They fast became alien beings who could conceive sometimes surprising themselves with the power of their own fertility.

(By the way, this might come as something of a newsflash to non-infertiles, but many infertiles tend to view the world through the lens of a fairly strong divide: “fertiles” and “infertiles.”)

My infertility, as a result, blinded me to the fact that not all mothers are alike. [editor’s note: Pamela has come to see that bigotry remains a problem where infertility is concerned and it’s not just limited to fertiles.]

Yes, I was once inclined to believe that we would forever live in separate camps, incapable of ever finding common ground. Too often those fertiles who expended energy thinking about us devolved into talking smack about crazed infertiles and the lengths they go to start their families. Infertiles, meanwhile, railed about the ignorance of fertiles. Sigh. Just not pretty. And who benefits? No one.

Segregation does have some desirability for infertiles — like right after a pee stick reveals a big f^^^ing negative and soon thereafter stumbling across a pregnant woman or a bragging new daddy. Either is akin to a root canal without Novocaine.  (In fact Mel had an interesting post recently on whether infertiles needed the equivalent of their own Gallaudet— a place where they could thrive among their own kind, a safe zone to be themselves without the intrusion of fertiles reminding them they were, well, outside the mainstream.  A few years ago, I would have beat a path to such a place.)

I admit I’ve been in infertility rehab for an extended stay. Ultimately, though, through the efforts of kind-hearted fertiles, I realized that I needed to learn how to cope, to live among fertiles.  I needed to lose my fortress mentality. What to do? Where to start? Well, building a bridge was one way across the divide. A few months ago I contacted the women at BlogHer and asked if they’d consider organizing a panel at their annual confab that would allow Infertility bloggers to talk directly to Mommybloggers, and if they’d have me, I’d be willing to join the session. That’s right, I’m going into the belly of the beast! [editor’s note: Pamela is trying to be a bit playful here. She doesn’t really think all Mommybloggers are “beasts.”]

Until the past few weeks, I was quite nervous about addressing the dominant BlogHer population of Mommybloggers. I was convinced I’d be greeted with hostility and prejudice (yeah, I really did — you know smack talk and all.) Then I started reading the Mother’s Boards and the nicer comments resulting from the NYT piece from mothers who acknowledged that they really had never fully appreciated what it must be like to have pregnancy denied. To know the loss of never feeling a baby kick or planning for a life that resulted from joyfully conceiving with a mate. To contemplate that when they talk about how their son looks just like his daddy (and isn’t that cool?) that it might provoke some sadness or anger to someone who had lived the infertility experience.

Now I do have one little confession to make. I am ready to set aside my prejudice but there’s one class of mothers — I nicknamed them Momzillas™ (yes, and even trademarked it) — that still drive me mad.  Pregnant Momzillas-to-be? Don’t even get me started.

confessional_bigOkay, I’m started. Much as I’d like to not let them bother me, Momizillas still manage to send me into lunar orbit.  It’s because they are the Marie Antoinettes of mothers. They are among those who assume that, of course, anyone can get pregnant if they really wanted to and if they can’t well …”let them eat cake.” My discomfort with this extreme version of Mommies started when I couldn’t conceive and in time elicited almost an allergic reaction. [editor’s note: Pamela recognizes that her aversion to Momzillas is a byproduct of infertility but she’s also learned that quite a few mothers find Momzillas annoying, too.]

Momzillas remind me of the kids that used to torment in the most insidious way other kids. “See, this lollipop?” We’ll it’s MINE and you can’t HAVE it.” [editor’s note: Pamela is not indicating that children are like lollipops. She fully recognizes that parenting is VERY hard work and that comparing a child to candy is not politically correct.]

But I’ve digressed. We have a lot to learn about each other. I will set aside my bias if my fertile counterparts are willing to join me. How about building that bridge? Can we meet each other half way? The dialogue between fertiles and infertiles is on. I look forward to July 19 when Mel, Lori, Monica and I get to have our say.

I’m still in a bit of shock…ME (?) on a Mommyblogger track? So, dear readers, what do you want the Mommybloggers to know?