Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Busting an Infertility Myth

Resolve is a great organization aimed at increasing awareness about infertility. In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, they are asking bloggers to bust myths about infertility. Here's mine: that after you become a parent, the hurts of infertility are magically healed.

Parenthood doesn't erase the effects of infertility. It doesn't just make you forget the hardship, the heartache. Infertility isn't forgotten the moment you become a parent. It's everpresent, pervasive, popping up when you least expect it.  It's the guilt that smacks you in the face when you feel frustrated with the baby who is up for the 4th time that night, because, by god, you asked, no begged, for this child.  It's hearing the statement, "oh, now that you've adopted it's just a matter of time before you get pregnant" and the sinking feeling when you smile sheepishly and said, "oh yeah, well, we'll see", knowing it's not going to happen. It's in feeling like you should explain and defend your decision to breastfeed your child, especially since you didn't give birth to him. Or how defeated you feel when you still have to supplement feedings because your body couldn't even do this one thing right (make enough breastmilk to sustain your child). It's the kick in the gut you get when a "friend" tells you that maybe the reason the baby wouldn't respond to efforts to get him to sleep at night is because "you don't know what his mom did while she was pregnant with him, or what kind of effect that has on him now, or will as he gets older". It's the anger and defensiveness that pop up when you're asked where your kids' "real parents" are. It's the sadness and protectiveness you feel when your child asks why no one in his family looks anything like him. It's the disbelief you feel when someone says "oh, you decided to become a parent the easy way. Lucky you". It's there. It's always there.

Today's lesson - while time certainly can take the edge off things, it doesn't necessarily heal all wounds.


Here are a couple of links with some info about Resolve and infertility:
http://www.resolve.org/infertility101
http://www.resolve.org/takecharge

12 comments:

panda said...

Thank you for your writing this blog. It serves as a reminder of the things others sometimes (often) take for granted. I didn't mean to have a baby. I was on birth control when I conceived. I was angry and resentful for a short period. And then I realized there were so many other women who wish they could get pregnant and for whatever reason, could not. I think you're doing a wonderful job, especially with inducing lactation (even if you're not making "enough," you're doing great making as much as you can, and everyone ounce of formula you can replace with real milk makes it worth it). You have a beautiful family, and I really enjoy reading about your experiences with your adorable boys. I don't think you "took an easy way out" by adopting - I think it would be so much more difficult! Keep up the great work, and I look forward to reading more : )

Special K said...

Well said! The "easy way" comment kills me. I'm sorry but there is nothing easy about going through infertility and adoption! By the way I love the pics of your sweet babies in the previous post!

Sarah said...

Great post.

I you are exactly right, you never forget infertility, it just changes. I am people do not understand adoption. That they question his birth parents as his "real" parents makes me so sad in my heart. They they never truly get it.


You are an amazing mom and you do so right by your boys.

SuperMommySometimes said...

A wonderfully open and honest post. Not coming from that "world", it is quite shocking (though unfortunately, it shouldn't be...) to me that people ACTUALLY say those things :( Oh my goodness! I hope that the process of healing the hardship and the heartache continues to flow in a positive way for you and your family.

Jess said...

It never does go away, even when you come to an acceptance that you will never get pregnant, never deliver a baby. You will continue to feel it. I feel it most when I hear that a mother let her boyfriend/husband beat her child to death, or seriously hurt her child. I can't help but think, "That woman can have a baby, but I can't?"

And it is amazing what people think is ok to say.

April said...

Hi! Thanks so much for your sweet post on my blog! I just had to come on over and see yours! What a great post! Easy way? Yikes! NOT at all easy! You have a BEAUTIFUL family! :)

Mona said...

Beautiful post..thank you friend ;) You're an amazing momma and friend!

MrsMroch said...

This is one of the most heartfelt NIAW posts I've read. Thank you for sharing!

Reagan's Mommy said...

Amen! I especially hate the "you are lucky you don't have to be pregnant" type comments. Grrr!

Ludicrous Mama said...

I couldn't make enough milk either. I just stopped nursing at a little before age 3 though. Some milk is better than none, and I made the mistake of nursing to sleep, so she never learned how on her own! I wanted to punch my sister when she suggested that maybe I couldn't get pregnant this time because I'm still nursing. Really? Because, you know. No one EVER gets pregnant while nursing! Especially not years later! And, after all, having a baby automatically puts a surprise baby in your uterus. Yeah. Cuz babies release magic womb/egg-improving and sperm-improving hormones. I'm shocked new parents everywhere aren't popping out babies like PEZ dispensers despite birth control. Yeah.

Tami said...

Thanks for sharing your feelings so honestly. The hurtful things people say are unbelievable. It has been twenty years since I faced those rude comments and I wish I could tell you that the effects of infertility eventually go away. But they don't.

Naturally, after all this time the pain isn't as sharp, but I still react to stupid, insensitive and uninformed comments with anger and disbelief. I am trying to use my experience to help those who are still in the infertility fight. Your honesty and insight will do the same. Bless you!

Becky said...

Ladies, thank you all for your lovely and supportive comments. I had tears in my eyes reading them.