The July issue of Self magazine published an article on infertility called “Breaking the Silence on Infertility.” It’s a really good article–probably one of the best ones I’ve read on infertility–and it’s clear that the author took the topic seriously and fact-checked extensively. Often when mainstream publications tackle infertility, the articles are infuriating: rife with errors, upholding stereotypes or glossing over the real issues involved. This article, though not perfect, provides a glimpse into what it feels like to be infertile. So, yeah, I encourage you to read it if you have a few minutes.
I don’t often talk much or blog much about infertility (at least on this blog), and the article calls out the infertile community for that because our silence is hurting the cause. Infertiles hate it when a fellow infertile seems to forget what it’s like to be infertile once success has been achieved. I can understand the forgetting. After all, infertility is all about pain, often both emotional AND physical, and who wants to remember that? After months or years of feeling abnormal due to IF (infertility), it’s great to be able to feel like a normal mommy. You’re in a new club; how you got there isn’t important.
Though I have enjoyed feeling normal and being a mommy and being able to swap tales with other parents, I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to have IF. How could I? After all, our unusual path to parenthood was a little more obvious than most. It was pretty obvious that I wasn’t pregnant. Since I wasn’t carrying our baby, it’s rather clear that there must be something preventing me from doing so (unless I’m just that vain which I doubt anyone would believe since I’m not exactly a size 6 or a model). I don’t have the ability to forget, to put IF in the past.
Whenever I think I might just be able to forget about IF, it comes roaring back. We don’t want Daniel to be an only child. We’d like to have a sibling. But to do so means pursuing the surrogacy path again. That’s fine–we’ll do what we need to do–but it’s like being back where we were a few years ago. Feeling angry and bitter again that we have to go through so much to have a child. Feeling like the path to our family is more like a mountain. Wishing that having a second child were as easy as just deciding to do so when for us it means finding a surrogate, lawyers, contracts, expense, clueless nurses, etc. Knowing that trying to have a second child may not result in one. J and I were talking about this last night. Trying to have a second child will be stressful, but nowhere near as stressful as trying to have Daniel was because we have Daniel now. But while the stress level will be lower, it will still be there.
If asked, I don’t mind talking about our path to parenthood. I don’t shout it from the rooftops, but I’m open. The article made me think, though, that I need to be more open, to advocate. I did donate my leftover meds to my old clinic, but I need to do more. I’ll have to give some serious thought to what I can do. IF changed my life. It changed both me and J. We aren’t the same people we were before our almost 4 year journey to Daniel. I like to think we are better people: stronger, more compassionate, wiser, more determined. But we are also more cynical.
Much to ponder.