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?

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47 comments

  • THAT I DON’T HAVE STRETCH MARKS!!

    (Editor’s note: Lori is supressing the “neener-neener” urge.)

  • way to go reaching across the aisle AND being heard. great job spreading the word.

    I am so looking forward to this panel. I’m still wondering who else will be in the audience. I have no doubts that you know just what to say, as you articulate it so well. you’ve already made so much room just to begin this conversation. so inspiring. you’re like a celebrity now!

  • May

    Pamela, this is wonderful. Hurrah! Go Ambassador Pamela!

    The things I always want to say to Mothers, especially those my own age, are as follows:

    That asking us to admire their babies, hold them, babysit even, is NOT a cure for our wounded hearts but more akin to rubbing our faces in our loss. Seriously, mothers, stop it. It isn’t funny, kind, or cute. It isn’t compassionate. Your beautiful child doesn’t ‘make up’ for our lack of children. If we love you, and love your children, we will forge our own loving, close relationship with them, in our own time. Stop shoving.

    That telling a woman who has lost a baby that ‘it wasn’t meant to be’ is also not compassionate. It’s merely a way of easing your own discomfort by dismissing ours. Ditto not mentioning our losses to us. Grow a spine.

    Please stop assuming that because I have no children I know nothing about parenting. In my case, I have six nieces and nephews, and three very much younger brothers and sisters. I have done nappies, and sleepless nights, and colic, and I know how to soothe a gassy baby, and I know about strollers and swaddling and how to deal with a tantrum. I may not be a soldier in the front line, but dammit, I am a war correspondant – I was there, I saw, I understood. My experience and advice may even HELP you. If you’re going to insist on telling me about your children, how DARE you then dismiss anything I contribute to the discussion because I’m infertile? And yet mothers do this to me ALL THE TIME.

    And when I say I want children, stop telling me I don’t know what I want and that parenting is harder than I ever imagined. A) I know, I saw (see above), and B) doing my masters degrees was hard. Writing my novel is hard. Long-term relationships are hard. All worthwhile things are hard. Would you have told me I don’t have a clue what I’m asking for when I applied to University? More to the point, would you give up your oh-so-hard-to-parent children now? No? Didn’t think so. So what you’re saying really is it’s hard but worth it, and you don’t think I’ll understand the ‘worth it’ part. Even though I’m fighting so hard to have a child.

    (I think I am quite unlucky with the young mothers of my acquaintance. I seem to bring out the worst in them by simply sitting quietly in the room and politely remarking that their baby is beautiful).

  • Rebecca

    That infertility can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, political or religious affiliation, and that it won’t go away by ‘relaxing’.

  • Miss Conception

    I’m not there yet. I’m still in the camp where the support of my fellow infertile vets is very important. I’ve not moved on to a space in which I can feel any kind of comfort from the fertile camp. Although, I suspect that it is my own damn fault for not being open enough.

    What I often see in the Infertile-Turned-Fertile camp is how quickly they forget about what it’s like to be infertile. I shudder at the sometimes insensitive comments that come from the ITF camp and wonder how it is that they can forget the experience so quickly.

  • What May said. I couldn’t have said it any better.

  • Tell them this:

    Please stop telling me everything little thing your child did every 5 seconds. Or I will talk about how I woke up at 3am in the morning to take my dog out for a shit.

  • We very recently have gone through a bridge building process on our website. Loungeplace is a place for WOMEN ~ but of course most of fall into the fertile or infertile camp. Here is a piece of our addressing of the situation:

    From a post entitled: Squashing the “F” Words and Building a Bridge

    The word “Finally” ~ to a woman who has been trying to get Pregnant for many cycles (I won’t qualify this with a number of cycles ~ but you all know what I am saying) it is extremely insulting to see a post titled “After 4 months of trying I FINALLY got my BFP”. So I think we should just do away with the word altogether when talking about BFP’s.

    The word “Fertiles” ~ to a woman who gets/got pregnant easily this word makes them feel as though they are being categorized into a group of ungrateful, or ignorant women. While most of us know “that” person, it still is hurtful and feels like a stereotype.

    I believe most of the time these words are used innocently but we have to remember that when you are reading something instead of hearing it ~ it may come across differently to every person who reads it.

    The bridge can exist and the gap can be narrowed if we are all mindful of ourselves and the people around us.

  • katrin

    I’m sorry, but as an attorney, I’m confused as to how one trademarks a word that is in the common vernacular. Not an IP lawyer, of course. Explain?

    • Pamela Jeanne

      Sure. You can apply for a trademark for commerce purposes through the USTPO: http://tarr.uspto.gov/
      I was at one point toying with whether to apply it to some products for sale through Esty and a colleague recommended that I find out if anyone owned a trademark to it already…

      (words only):
      MOMZILLA

      Standard Character claim:
      Yes

      Current Status: Opposition period
      completed, a Notice of Allowance has been issued.

      The Notice of Allowance Date is: 2007-11-13
      International Class: 009
      Class Status:
      Active
      Downloadable MP3 files, MP3
      recordings, online discussion boards, web casts, pod casts featuring music,
      audio books and news broadcasts

      International Class: 016
      Class Status:
      Active
      series of books, written
      articles, handouts and worksheets in the field of namely fertility, infertility,
      families, conception, parenting; Autograph books; Baby books; Birthday books;
      Blank journal books; Book covers


  • That just because we do not have children (& may never have children) doesn’t mean our lives are without value and meaning and purpose. Our infertility is just one aspect of who we are (although sometimes it may seem like it’s all we eat, sleep & breathe). We are still people with families and friends and jobs and interests, who can talk to you about a gazillion other subjects besides what your kids are doing, if you just take the time to get to know us and to (ahem, thanks Mel) LISTEN.

  • Adelle

    That not everyone gets their “miracle” baby. And suggesting that we will is just demeaning.

    That infertility strikes regardless of age (I’m 23 and my husband is 25) and without mercy.

    That when I confide in you, the BEST thing you can say is, “I’m so sorry, you don’t deserve this”.

    That saying, “you DESERVE to be infertile because you couldn’t handle babysitting my kid” is heartless. My own sister said that, because at 17 I didn’t know how to mix formula for her baby who was left with me for days at a time (I read the instructions and figured it out), and I no longer speak to her because of it.

    That you (as a fertile person) can never make the hurt go away, but you CAN take steps to not rub it in my face.

  • zhl

    In the end, isn’t all just about basic humanity? Showing compassion and consideration? Of course, that’s not always found in a variety of situations. I had a “friend” (she’s no longer one) who complained to me and another person–both of us had lost our mothers within the last month–about how much time it took in her weekend to talk with her mother. Did we really want to hear her complain about that? If you have kids and your friend/neighbor/co-worker doesn’t, then don’t go on and on about your kids. Don’t ask someone if he/she has kids. If s/he does, it will come up. Be human. Be compassionate.

    Good luck.

  • Tell them not to say, “it’ll happen”.

    Also, tell them that if they were blessed to get pg with no difficulty, but they have a best friend who has been trying for 6 years and has dealt with miscarriages, that they should assume we are happy for them, but also having difficulty dealing with the news.

    Oh, and my biggest complaint is when pg friends complain to me about their pregnancies, being sick and stuff. I would give anything to feel that sickness for 9 months in order to have a baby, so don’t complain to me.

  • Diane

    That we schoolteachers do not consider teaching a substitute for parenting, and that our students are not our surrogate children. Blech. I am quite capable of distinguishing between the role of teacher and the role of parent. You’d be surprised at the assumptions…oh, wait, I guess you wouldn’t be! 🙂

  • Well, inspired by Lori’s comment, I DO have stretch marks – you don’t kids to destroy your skin! 😉

    I just would like some empathy and greater appreciation for what fertile HAVE and tend to take for granted.

  • May really hit a lot of points right on! I especially love the comment about “meant to be.”

    Doctors don’t actually know how to make women pregnant. Infertility treatments only help along that path, which is why sometimes they don’t work and sometimes couples get pregnant unexpectedly. They do not get pregnant unexpectedly because they “stopped trying.” If you are having sex without protection, unless you’ve been told your partner produces no sperm or you are in menopause, there is always some possibility of getting pregnant which has very little to nothing to do with your mental state.

    Adoption is not some panacea for infertility. It is a decision that requires a lot of thought and care, and saying that someone should adopt so they’ll get pregnant is a total slap in the face to any adopted child. I hope more people are getting an understanding of the complexities of adoption with some of the news reports that have been coming out recently. There is not some plethora of chlildren just waiting around to be adopted, and if there were, it would be heartbreaking to think of the all of the families that were broken up.

  • That you should never, never ask a woman when/if she’s going to have kids. If she’s already been trying for a while, it will feel like a knife to the heart. It forces her to either tell you more than she wanted to or to lie. Because if she had wanted to talk about having kids in the first place, she would have.

  • That telling us eating pineapple / raising your hips after sex / any other number of ridiculous remedies that you think worked for you or one of your friends is not helpful. We have likely tried EVERYTHING. These “helpful suggestions” make us feel like you think our IF is our fault. As if we’re not doing everything possible already.

    That telling us that this is “God’s Will” is a crappy thing to say. It’s equivalent to saying that God wanted you to have a baby, but not us – that God doesn’t see us as fit to be mothers.

    That telling us you know what we’re going through because it took you X months to get pg minimizes our feelings. You had a happy ending – we may not. That’s not us being negative – it’s us being realistic.

    That telling us to take your kids for the weekend will “cure us” of wanting children is infuriating. Not only are you rubbing in what we don’t have – you’ve basically just told us that you don’t really want it either.

    That hiding yours or other people’s pregnancies from us is a bad idea. We already feel like social lepers. And it isn’t like we aren’t going to find out eventually. I know it’s difficult to tell an infertile about yet another pregnancy, and believe me – it’s tough for us to hear, but we’d rather know than have it hidden from us.

    I’m still having a tough time with pregnant women. I was just recently wondering out loud when it gets better.

  • Jen

    There is a place I discovered while going through infertile rehab. I recommend everyone go there a few times a year. It is called Las Vegas.

    🙂

  • Ania R

    Way to go Pamela. Your blog has been holding me up for months as I try to somehow put an end to my & my husband’s infertility misery. Thanks for being a voice for those of us struggling with this issue. Last week a co-worker overheard me say that my husband & I would soon be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary. I winced as she publicly said: “Still no babies yet?” I don’t know if she has kids, but I want people to know that

    (1) while it may be ok under some circumstances to inquire if people have children, it is NEVER ok to use qualifiers like “still no” & “yet”!

    Also, (2)I think it’s important for Moms & others to really get that no one “chooses” infertility & that it’s a club no one wants to be part of, unlike the Mommy-club, to which I assume many want to belong. Infertility, as many have said, is not something you wish on your worst enemy.

    (#3)Adoption is a personal choice that can lead to parenthood but it is EXPENSIVE! My husband & I would have started the adoption process a long time ago if it was more affordable. Yes it costs money to have a baby, but not all up front!

    (#4) As women, a common link is often the war we wage with our bodies & body image. Infertility takes this to a whole other level, as I imagine pregnancy & post-pregnancy issues may do for some women. It feels like your body has failed you, but there’s no resolution. It fails you every single month or period. There is always a reminder.

    (#5) It makes me homicidal when people say “Just relax” or “stop trying” or “adopt” followed by “…and you’ll get pregnant”! Women get pregnant during war, rape & many other high-stress circumstances. Getting pregnant after adopting is an urban myth that happens to a fortunate 2 – 5% of women. Besides which, the comment leaves me cringing, implying as it does, that a possible motivation for, or”bennie” of adopting may be that longed for pregnancy?!

    Lastly,(#6) Infertility effects men too. Consider them too & on Father’s Day & be sensitive to your “fertility-challenged” female friends every day & on Mother’s Day.

    If you don’t know if someone has infertility issues, err on the side of sensitivity and compassion. Lastly, to the Mommy-bloggers: Love, hold and cherish those little rascals, even when they’re running you ragged. We wish we could. It’s not your fault that we can’t, but you’re going to have to deal with some envy if you want to hang with us. If you’re envious of our “freedom” & “child-free” existence, I can understand that, but really, don’t be: it wasn’t what we wanted. Given the choice, we’d be in your shoes.

    • Ania R-
      Wow your comments brought me into tears as we have also been married for 5 years now and it feels like a slap in the face when people say “Still no baby?” We are at the end of our infertility journey after over 4 years of trying.
      Emotionally I can not handle any more fertility treatments.
      We are in the beginning process of adopting but it can be expensive and overwhelming. We found a non profit agency that was more affordable but of course will be about a two year wait…More waiting…
      I agree with you about the toll it takes on your body image and the monthly reminder. Thank you for posting and know that there is someone who feels your same struggles!

  • That minimizing our pain, be it through offering “solutions” or explanations only serves to make yourself feel better while inflicting further hurt on us. They are free to do that, of course, but they have to understand that we may, as a result, see them as emotionally stunted and extremely self-absorbed twits.

    Yes, it’s hard to contemplate the randomness of the cruel universe where bad things happen to good people, and it may make it easier for them to sleep if they can convince themselves that there is a reason for all of it, and we must’ve deserved it. But they might want to consider how hard it is being the one to whom bad shit happens. And they might want to maybe try not add to the hurt by dismissing it.

  • That it is possible to educate yourself on the topic and be more compassionate and sensitive to those you meet in life who are suffering infertility. And given the statistics, you WILL already know someone who is struggling, whether you’re aware of their infertility or not.

  • Brandygirl

    I had a good giggle on some of the comments.

    You are amazing, Pam! Ok, here’s me – STOP PUTTING PICTURES ON FACEBOOK, ANNOUNCING TO THE WHOLE WORLD THAT YOUR BABY IS 1MTH OLD, 2MTH OLD, 3MTH OLD. When will the announcement stop? Till he/she reaches 21?????? It’s so annoying cuz that’s a constant reminder to me how time flies and yet I am NOT a mother!

  • LindsayLJ

    I owe you so many comments, but a) congrats on the NYT piece – it was so amazing to be able to say – I GOT A HOLIDAY CARD FROM HER!

    Anyhow, I think it is fabulous that you’re reaching across the aisle – and I agree, it isn’t Moms that bother me per se, it’s the momzillas. Excellent term.

  • That some of us start off just like them, thinking infertiles should relax and what’s the big deal.

    That some of us start off thinking this whole infertility thing makes women crazy and we’d never be that way, and then we are that way.

    That this is unlike anything you’ll ever experience. When others have it come so easily and you’re left waiting on that island (as Sharah described) for when your # will be called, if it will ever be called. That’s a horrible feeling.

  • Marie

    There are lots of dos and don’t in conversation. I think fertiles feel like they can’t say anything right – which is pretty much true. So maybe that’s not the point.

    I wish they could have more awareness of the devastating sadness, the crazy grief and crashing of dreams ending. We are in crisis down to our core. We are out of minds. And we have no idea if we will ever feel like ourselves again.

  • Cindy

    Okay, this may sound like a really strange suggestion . . .but encourage mom’s to invite infertiles on playdates as a third wheel of sorts. Let me explain (before I get flamed for it :-). I had the hardest time when all of my friends had young kids and I, of course, didn’t. They would get together and let their kids play together while they talked. I would love to have spent time talking with them, but wasn’t included because I didn’t have kids.

    Then occasionally, when I would go visit on my own, their children would clamor for attention (because there were no other kids around to play with) and we wouldn’t get to talk anyway.

    It was so heart breaking to not get to spend time talking with my friend and watch while she had to constantly attend to her children. It was a vivid reminder of my emptiness in that regard.

    I was invited once as a third wheel to a play date and it was wonderful to have that mostly uninterrupted time talking with friends while their children were entertained by each other. That was when I realized, strangely enough, that I would prefer to go out on playdates rather than just go to a friend’s house alone.

    I hope that I explained this well. I know it is a delicate situation and there were times that I definitely didn’t want to be around kids at all. But it sure would have helped with the social leper feeling to be included in situations where my friends would have actually had time for a conversation.

  • Well, now that we have their attention… honestly, I think what I’d really want to say is that y’all need an attitude adjustment. And this is really for the Momzillas out there – and I’m sure they know who they are, even if it’s only at midnight as they’re starting at the ceiling… Giving birth does not make you all that. It’s just something you got to do, that some of us didn’t. And IMPO, women who define themselves by the number of children they’ve given birth to are frankly, boring.

  • Bea

    Great job. Wishing you luck. And the Momzillas – lost cause. Nasty people.

    I would like them to know the value of sitting, listening and sympathising. No judging, no fixing. Not even any understanding, necessarily, because that’s an impossible ask. Just being and hearing.

    Bea

  • I’m proud of you for going right to the heart of it with the mommybloggers! You are standing on the shoulders of all us and I for one appreciate it. I am still (always?) vacillating between segregation and integration and, at this point, it’s the easiest being around IF parents and parents of older children. Recently I’ve been flabbergasted by a new colleague to whom I came out as an infertile since I suspected (correctly!) that she is too. And yet I must say, she’s been one of the most difficult for me to deal with of all the parents at my workplace — constantly complaining about parenting related chores…ughghghghgh.

    I’m not sure what to say but I guess the biggest things would be to ask them to PLEASE not make ASSUMPTIONS about women (and men) who do not have children. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!!! Also, we get that you are proud and excited about your children, but please try to tune in and see if your listener is getting a pained look or if their eyes are glazing over when you talk about your little ones. The best bet is, if you know you’re in the presence of an infertile, let the IF start the conversation about the kids — if we bring it up, feel free to go for it!!

    I really liked this post, by the way — really resonated for me.

    peace
    shlomit

  • It’s really been occurring to me a lot lately how weird it is that despite “how far women have come” these past few decades, momhood is still the ultimate achievement, the ultimate way a woman can be a woman, etc.

    Even among my friends I went to school with, who I swore would have exciting careers and do amazing things with their lives. Now they’re stay at home moms, and like 110% attachment parenting, co-sleeping, breastfeeding until age 50 moms.

    Of course, here I am putting myself through hell to try to become just like them. It just surprises me a lot when I step back and look at this. And all this renewed vigor for Martha Stewart-ness, baking pies and crafting and being a good housewife.

    Where are all the women curing cancer, saving the world, etc, etc? More importantly, when did I lose my interest in trying to become one of these groundbreaking kind of women myself?

  • I agree with many of the things already listed. The key things for me:
    1. Please don’t complain to me about your pregnancy or your sleepless nights, etc. Your reality is your reality, but I’m not the friend who is going to have the greatest compassion for you in these situations just like you’re not the friend who is going to have greatest compassion for me in my infertility situation.
    2. If I’ve had miscarriages, I’ve experienced pregnancy (to a certain point) and I’ve lost real live babies. Please acknowledge that and validate it for me.
    3. Use google. I do. You can too.
    4. Bring me a meal. Maybe I just had a miscarriage, maybe I’m on bed rest after fertility treatments. Maybe I’m sad after another failed cycle. Be my friend and fill a need. (I did a post on this awhile back – http://anonymouseandcheese.wordpress.com/2008/02/29/food-for-thought/).
    5. Don’t try to say the right thing. Say what’s true – “that sucks that you have to go through this”.
    6. Remember me on Mother’s Day and Baby Dedication Day at church. Remember my unfulfilled due dates and anniversaries of losses. A simple email or a note in the mail is more than sufficient.

    I’m really excited about this…can’t wait to hear how it goes.

  • LauraP

    I’m a new reader to your blog and an infertile woman, a wife of 17 years, and a mom to 3 gorgeous children. I adopted them after 7-1/2 years of fertility hell. Anyway, I would like you to tell the fertiles that even though I’m a mom, I’m still infertile. I’ve experienced the same loss of those women who chose not to parent. In addition, I’m going to have to deal with all those same losses when my daughter conceives. I’m going to have to deal with the additional loss of 3 children who have lost their birth families, their heritage, their self-identity, their first mother. I’m going to have to deal with racial prejudice again my family.

    I’m not the same mom as you even though my children are in your class. I’m still scarred, hormonal, mourning, and hurt. I’m still an infertile woman and will be for the rest of my life.

    Thanks,
    LauraP
    Central Ohio

  • stepping up

    I just found your great site. I have a question. What comforting (internal) words do you say to yourself when you’re confronted with the outside world and its insensitivity?

    • Pamela Jeanne

      Great question…I’m going to have to pose this one to a larger audience. I’d like get a wider range of answers.

  • Diane

    Stepping Up and Pamela,

    My ttc years are a long way behind me now and I can truly say that insensitive comments bother me much less now than they used to. This may not be the nature of comforting internal words that you and Pamela are looking for, but they work great for me:

    “F&*#ing dumbass.”

  • Wow, Pamela, how exciting. Thank you for taking this head-on.

    When you’ve suffered with infertility and then become a mom through “alternate methods”, somehow you don’t seem to belong in either camp, and it’s difficult.

    I have a son through surrogacy and although I am now a parent, I am still very much an infertile. My friends and family don’t understand why I still struggle with the emotional tole of infertility. They think that because I now have a child, I should just be “over it”. They don’t understand that sometimes one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. They think that because I still mourn my fertility it somehow means I love my son less, which is insane. The infertile crowd who are childless seem to think I no longer belong because I am mom.

    When I tried to explain to a long-time friend (for the gazillionth time) why it had been so difficult for me to celebrate her pregnancies with her and why I’d had to keep my distance emotionally as a way to self-preserve during her pregnancies, she actually said, “Well if I had cancer and was dying, I’d be happy that you were still living.” We’ve since lost touch.

    Oh…this comment is turning into a rant, sorry.

  • Sarah

    Hi, Pamela,

    I commented once before on your site, and love the community you’re providing here. I feel it’s needed, and valuable.

    I would like to set the record straight, though, on 2 things I read in the comments, just for my own peace of mind.

    1)there ARE mind-blowing numbers of waiting children out there, and most of them won’t be adopted.
    Before people get upset, i am NOT implying in any way that infertile people “should” adopt, only that this is a fact. Adoption, although it often can be, is not always pricey; if you go foster-to-adopt through a private agency or adopt through your county in the U.S. there is no fee. Again, I’m not talking about what someone should do, I am merely trying to correct a myth often perpetuated in infertile dialogues. I understand that this is done out of exasperation, and hurt, but it just isn’t true, and the reality of too many children should not be denied, just as the reality of infertility should not be denied or glossed over.

    2)I am a mom through adoption. I had 8 miscarriages and a diagnosis before my beautiful daughter found us, and I personally do not consider myself as “separate” from other mothers as “an infertile.” Or forever different or scarred in any way. I do not feel “better” for feeling this way– everyone has their own experience. I’m just asking that not all mothers who adopted after infertility be considered separate from other moms through biology or as somehow permanently carrying pain. This isn’t to deny loss in adoption, either– only to say that I personally ceased to feel infertile once I became a mom.

  • Linda

    I’m new to your blog and wish I had this when I was in the depths of infertility.
    I never left the infertility bandwagon however resolved my “need” to have children via adoption.

    My oldest is now 16. I still HATE baby showers, LOVE that having a baby hurts so badly and that post baby bodies are not as toned.

    Bitter that I couldn’t have my own, yes! In love with my two children, “more than you can know”. I’m living with post-infertility trauma with depression, anger, and physical pain.

    My heart aches for all of you that are feeling monthly losses. I wish I could take your pain when someone says “just relax”.

    I don’t think I’ve actually answered Pamela’s questions to her post, but had to respond with my internal issues.

    Infertility is life altering and will never completely resolve for any of us emotionally.

    • Pamela Jeanne

      Thanks so much for your comment. Your voice is a very important one. I appreciate your honesty and agree with you that there is nothing easy about resolving the emotions…

  • nishkanu

    First, I have many good friends in the ‘fertile’ camp and they have been wonderful, supportive friends throughout our 4-year-and-counting ordeal.

    Nevertheless, there are two things that I would like the Mommybloggers to know.

    1) *Acknowledge it is painful for us.* This is not limited to infertility, but any situation where someone is facing a major loss or challenge. Comments I have gotten like “you can just adopt”, “your (early) miscarriage is not losing a baby, just a couple of cells”, “you don’t know how much work it is to have a child”, or “maybe it wasn’t meant to be” may all be true but they also carry the tone of “the pain you are feeling is not valid, if you look at it from my perspective this is no big deal.” Of course your friends want to comfort you and ease your pain, and I know these comments came from that place, but it is much more helpful for me to hear things like “god, this sucks”, “I am so sorry you have to go through this”, or “life can sure be unfair.” Comments like “I know you will be a parent one day” are great if they come alongside “… but it sure sucks that you have to go through so much before it happens.”

    2) Maybe this is just me, but if you know that I have recently been through a cycle *do not ask me if the cycle worked / if I am pregnant.* If things are good, I will tell you as soon as I feel ready, which may take a while because I may want to be more sure before I really believe it. If things are bad, I may not be in a state where I can talk about it without breaking down. Let me choose when I feel ready to tell you.

    Thank you!

  • amy

    I never thought I would be blogging about infertility. I never thought I would be considering the options I’ve been forced to consider. I never thought I would think of leaving my husband so he could be a father with someone else. I never thought I would know what an FSH level is and realize it meant I may never be a MOM. I never thought I would love a cat so much and introduce her as my daughter. She really is more beautiful than many babies. 🙂

  • Ann Marie

    I’d like fertile people to understand that the disappointment they may have felt if they ttc for several months before having success is NOT the same as the devastation of being diagnosed as IF, going through multiple failed treatment cycles, having repeat pg losses, having to come to terms with the possibility of never being a parent or being physically unable to have another child.

    IF is the loss of children you want. For fertile parents: Imagine you are separated indefinitely from your children. You have no control over when you see them, and you may never be reunited with them. Would you want someone saying to you what you are saying to IF people? What sort of help would you need? What would increase your pain and what would alleviate it? There is common ground here. Imagine it.

  • star

    I am a step-mother, and I’d like those birth mothers to know that YES I STILL MOTHER CHILDREN even those I didn’t give birth to them! People constantly talk to my husband about “his” kids and totally ignore me in conversations. I often feel like a third wheel in the household. And don’t get me started on how their birth mother goes out of her way to call them “MY boys”; she taught them no life skills and I am the one who has been correcting HER mistakes! They were in the early teens when I got them, so I had a lot of work to do. And still do although the oldest is 20. (I’m the one who explains how to get credit to him and how to get a job, for example.)

    We were contemplating adopting a child, and I realized that it still wouldn’t matter–people would still look at me and say I had no “real” children. (Not that having society accept me is a good reason to adopt. I’m just saying.)While my husband understands why this situation infuriates me, he can’t really fully appreciate why it saddens and angers me. I accepted his children when I accepted his offer of marriage, thinking I could love them as my own. And I can and do. No one else seems to see that though. In a lot of ways, it makes our marriage all that more challenging.

  • Handles

    We have to be ready to these happenings