In this installment of the Barren But Beautiful series I’d like to address how to respond to the uninformed or those who are so self-absorbed they’ve never give a moment’s thought to what it might mean to have to face infertility. Sometimes a cold shower is just what’s needed to get their attention and cause them to consider that not all people on this planet can reproduce at will.
While we’re reeling from the life-altering diagnosis of infertility and trying salvage our self-esteem and dignity after probing questionnaires and medical exams … while we’re trying to find our equilibrium as we sort through the range of confusing emotions and treatment alternatives we also have to contend with a society that doesn’t care or doesn’t want to know we exist.
It’s just easier for them to assume we’re culpable and to blame us accordingly since conventional wisdom has taught them that the lowest life forms on the planet on up seem to reproduce effortlessly … clearly we don’t know what we’re doing or we’ve brought this on ourselves.
As if contending with faulty biology was not enough on our plate, we have to explain ourselves to those we’d just as soon relocate to another solar system.
This brings me to the next step in the Barren But Beautiful campaign: building your arsenal of retorts. We’re often made to feel ugly or less than. Don’t fall for it. You’ll need a few retorts when you find yourself put in the unenviable position of having to contend with a set of bragging mommies and daddies who don’t notice that you’re not participating in the conversation. The next time someone asks you:
1) Do you have children?
2) Why did you decide not to have children?
3) Did you wait too long to have children?
Or some other variant on the question, you can turn to them, head held high and reply matter of factly: “My husband and I have evolved to perfection. Clearly your family tree needs some work!”
Then you can excuse yourself and move on to another conversation or activity that enhances your sense of worth rather than detracts from it. Next question?
p.s. Note to bragging mommies and daddies: I’m not entirely opposed to bragging…heck I’d probably do it, too, if I had kids, I’m only asking you to consider your audience.