How Can We Get Over It When Reminders Last a Lifetime?


memoIt’s been a while since I posted a Memo to the Fertile Community.  I want to choose my topics carefully since I know their patience on this topic is severely limited. They’d just as soon write infertility off as a phase that a handful of “selfish” career-driven people go through, that it’s self-inflicted or assume that a trip to the local adoption agency will instantly produce a child. End of story. The truth is they want to believe that it’s an easily remedified concern. I invite readers to offer their own addendums.


Why on earth do I keep talking about infertility you want to know. It’s been more than a few years since it became clear that nothing short of a miracle was going to help us produce offspring. I should be “over it” by now you grumble. What’s the point, you say when you’re with your fellow fertiles, in people like me dredging up a subject that makes us all squirm.

Well, I’d like to stop thinking, talking and writing about it, truly I would. It’s just that until you’ve demonstrated that you fully appreciate the magnitude of this life-altering condition I’m not going to rest. You see, it’s become a personal quest.  I feel a kinship with every couple who has faced the awful realization that their bodies have betrayed them, that what is so often taken for granted may not, in fact, happen for them.

See also  More Political Correctness? No thanks...

Infertility is not just about the babies, it’s about not being part of the full life cycle.

Let me drive the point home. A piece called Revisiting Infertility – Same Old Prejudices in the Australian newspaper The Age supports my position. It’s written by a woman who 30 years after her infertility diagnosis becomes a grandmother to her stepdaughter’s son. Should be a beautiful story…until you read some of the ugly comments she faced from her fertile friends. Comments like: “Now, what are you going to be called?”You’re not his real
grandma” and “Are you able to do anything with him? It can’t be easy when you haven’t had
your own.”

Slings and arrows like that get launched at Infertiles through a lifetime. Now what was that you were saying about getting over it? It would be a hell of a lot easier if you didn’t always remind us that we are different and if you didn’t imply that we are somehow less capable of relating to children.

P.S. I’d like to thank Rachel who first highlighted this story on her blog.


5 Responses

  1. Carlynn

    May 1, 2007 7:54 am

    Hear, hear. I think fertiles don’t realise how many times an infertile will see something painful and how difficult it is to cope with not having something you wanted so desperately while other people try to comfort you with “Oh, it’s no big deal. There are SO many other things to do with your life.”

    I loved “Infertility is not just about the babies, it’s about not being part of the full life cycle.” That captures it so perfectly.

  2. karenO

    May 1, 2007 8:11 am

    Thanks for your regular comments on my posts Pamela Jeanne, I really do appreciate your feedback! And thanks too for telling us about this article. You’ve highlighted a hope that I secretly hide in my heart.

    The Fertiles never stops talking about their children, the good and the bad about being mothers. Why should we stop talking about how it feels to be infertile? It’s part of their way to cope with the demands on motherhood. We talk about IF to cope with the hand life has dealt us. And it’s time we stop feeling sorry for being mean or nasty when we’re just educating Fertiles on how to be more considerate. You will NOT carry on about how great it is to have eyes in the company of a blind person.

    Great post, thanks again! 🙂

  3. Ellen K.

    May 1, 2007 2:36 pm

    That’s a sad story. I’ve read similar ones in the book “Never to Be a Mother,” and even by adoptive mothers. Some people only see the biological bond as sufficient proof of parenting skills.

  4. Bumble

    May 2, 2007 12:41 am

    Wow, that’s a sad story, it made me cry. What you talk about is something I have to deal with alot too, as all my friends have babies, and whenever I’m asked to look after them or do anything with them, its like I’m being watched extra carefully. And if an accident happens, like the child bumps his head or falls while playing etc. I instantly think they’ll think it was my fault, because, you know, I don’t have kids, and clearly, don’t know what I’m doing.

  5. lady macleod

    May 9, 2007 8:54 pm

    Please keep talking, writing, and informing the world at large. I am ashamed to say this is not a topic that entered my consciousness once my own fear was set to rest. I think you are doing a tremendous service both for like kind and those of us who are ignorant in this area. Thank you.

Comments are closed.