M E M O R A N D U M
To: The ‘Fertile’ Community
From: The Infertility Community
RE: Bridging the Chasm Caused by Infertility
We talk about you, and, I confess, it’s not always in a good way. We spend a fair amount of time in the infertility and childless not by choice communities sharing anecdotes about how our ‘fertile’ friends, family and acquaintances don’t “get us.” You give us lots of good material to work with.
Just a few days ago, The Wall Street Journal (who would have thought?) had a blog post, The Swell Season: Haunted by Reminders of Infertility, that provided examples of the typical casual dismissals and a few downright, huhs? in the comments section:
For instance, someone likened infertility to “an allergy that you ‘should just accept’ and move on from…”
Um, I have allergies and I am infertile. So not even in the same ballpark.
And from a woman who had an easy pregnancy: “why shouldn’t I be able to gloat? I was the happiest pregnant woman out there and only gained 15-18 lbs total.”
Is gloating ever a good thing?
Heads up, gloating girl, here’s the definition: To feel or express great, often malicious, pleasure or self-satisfaction. Now, I hope your son or daughter doesn’t face infertility because I get the feeling you’re not going to handle it very well…
To be fair, there were also some comments surmising that infertility would likely be difficult to experience:
“I think that extended infertility and/or the thought that I would never have kids would be pretty hard to take.”
Compassion and kindness
Further, in this time of brotherly love, I want to highlight and salute those who DO get us — one couple, J&J, in particular shared a level of sensitivity and understanding that truly stands apart. They are the latest recipients of the Coming2Terms Act of Kindness Award. Here’s an excerpt of the email they sent me this week:
“We wanted to send you an email to let you know how profound your book, Silent Sorority, was. Our sister-in-law has been battling infertility for years. It seems like the two of you have almost gone through the exact same experience entirely. She and her husband have ultimately chosen the same path to live life day by day and entirely in the moment. Over the years, it has been really difficult to watch and understand their perspective.
They have been there for us as we started our family and are the most wonderful Aunt and Uncle to our children. In the spirit of this holiday season, and as a gift to them, we are sending Silent Sorority out to 10 of their closest friends and family members. None of us could even fathom going through what they (and you) have gone through and we want to celebrate how far they have come and spread awareness and perspective on infertility.
We have racked our brains to figure out something proactive that we can be doing for them and realized that if we open other people’s eyes and hearts and change people’s views one person at a time we can begin to make this ‘sorority’ a little less silent.Thank you for opening our eyes and changing our perspective.
Not a day goes by that we do not think of the impact this book has had in our lives, and hopefully our sister-in-law and brother see the change in us as well. Your book has been a blessing in all of our lives.”
J&J: You are the sort of ambassadors our society needs more of … so, on behalf of the infertility community, I’d like to express our gratitude. Thank YOU for taking the time to try to understand the infertility experience and for being such warm, understanding people.