[Warning: Angry/sad grief post. If you are an easily offended parent, feel free not to read.]
I’ve seen a few blog posts lately along the lines of “We were infertile too and we kept trying [or tried once…once!!] and now we’re pregnant so, y’know, just keep going and it will happen for you!”…
Public service announcement: For at least one long term infertile (me), it kind of feels like a kick in the face when you’re still in the trenches.
I get that you’ve suffered; I really do. And I even get that you can’t enjoy pregnancy like “normal” (fertile) people do. But please, can we stop with all the fauxspirational stuff about how you now have your baby? I’m happy for you, and I’m glad that it happens for some people, but honestly, “thinking positive” or otherwise is not the cause of my infertility. And it doesn’t help to keep perpetuating the idea that infertile people’s lack of a baby is just because they didn’t try hard enough, didn’t keep going, or didn’t think positively.
Tell you what I did this weekend.
I went to a family christening. It was hugely stressful (though usual caveats about how nice it is to see family); it involved tears (my sister, who had a miscarriage following IVF a few months after I did, and who always gets upset at family things), stress (mainly me, feeling extremely crappy due to the overwhelming sense of disorganisation and generally being expected to wait around all weekend to be summoned to baby worship) and even arguments between me and T (because he’s not horrible but he genuinely doesn’t grasp how crappy a situation it is and how bad timing it is and how I don’t want to go but it’s a social obligation and we’re British, so we couldn’t be rude, could we?).
It’s pretty bloody stressful and upsetting to have to go to a christening and be dictated to on behalf of a tiny being, all the time whilst I should be nine months pregnant. My baby should be here next week. Might even have come early. Instead I have to stand and have endless photos taken holding the baby, and let’s face it, a christening is about a baby… It’s hard to escape the baby. (I’m happy for the baby; I just don’t want to spend my entire weekend with a baby.)
Not to mention the throwaway remarks…
“We only get together at hatchings, matchings and dispatchings [British saying meaning christenings, weddings and funerals]… Who’s it going to be next?”
It was meant to be me, next week, you bloody idiot.
Oh and then, what happens next but we agree to go round to our friends’ house for dinner (after spending the weekend away from home and away from Dog, who is being looked after by friends) and they have a baby.
I am sick of babies. I want my grown up weekend. I don’t want to spend the entire weekend being reminded of loss.
We go round to our friends’ house. They’ve kept the baby up specially. Baby is quite frankly being a brat (due to being kept up late) and of course all women want to spend time doing “fun” baby stuff, don’t they? We had food time (baby smears food all over the place) and bath time (because why wouldn’t you expect to spend time bathing a baby when you’ve been invited round to dinner) and of course this prompts the hilarious questions about whether we’ve been “put off having a baby”.
SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP
So: parents – here’s an idea. If a person doesn’t have a baby, maybe it’s not because they don’t want one. Maybe they really want one. Maybe they lost one! Maybe it’s due next week!
Shut the **** up.
And you “inspirational” pregnant people and parents.
Remember how it felt when you thought you might never have a baby? Can you remember that?
Did it ever help when people told you “Never give up”? Did you ever feel convinced when someone else was pregnant or a parent? Did you think “Gosh darn that person’s situation is exactly like mine so that must mean I just have to do what they did and I’ll get pregnant tomorrow!”
Perhaps just looking at a pregnant person made you realise you were doing it wrong. Perhaps those helpful hints about how you might want to start thinking about kids made you realise something you didn’t know before.
I know I want kids. I’ll settle for the singular. I’ll settle for a baby who doesn’t die. I’ll even settle for injecting myself every day, putting on stupid amounts of weight, feeling like a psycho and putting up with stupid people at work making my life a misery.
But here’s the thing. It turns out some people who’ve been through this “journey” suddenly lose their compassion chip as soon as they become almost-parents. And it turns out some people are still on this journey, and any amount of self-help crap is not going to change the fact that they’re infertile, and there is no guarantee treatment or positive thinking or whatever worked for you will work, so it really doesn’t help pretending that it will.
I’m happy that people can move out of infertility into parenthood. Don’t feel you need to apologise. Be happy; be parents. But don’t presume to tell us unfortunates who are still in the trenches that your experience is the same as ours. You had a bad run. But you’re done with that now… And we are still here.