Monday, November 26, 2012

what I don't believe about infertility

When you are struggling with infertility, you will come across a gamut of articles and posts and comments all about how people view infertility. Any article written about the advances of IVF or other reproductive procedures brings out the naysayers who all have something negative to say about those who suffer from IF. I have to be honest, I tend to sit and read each and every one of these negative comments. At times they made me cry or hurt my heart, but most of the time they made me so enraged I wanted to reach through the screen and shake the person writing that nonsense. Instead of doing that, I decided to write this post all about what I DON'T believe to be true about infertility.

For starters, I really struggle with the generalization that "everything happens for a reason". I totally disagree with that statement and, unfortunately, it's a favorite among those supporting their friends/family through IF. The statement seems perfectly harmless by itself, but when put in the context of IF, it can be really painful to hear. If everything happens for a reason, then that suggests that even infertility happens for a reason and that stillbirth happens for a reason and miscarriage happens for a reason. I think it's fine if after having gone through one of those circumstances yourself, you have come to that conclusion, but I think it's difficult for that statement to always be true. Every single parent I know who has gone through baby loss or stillbirth has said that they would do just about anything to have the baby back with them... Not a single one has said, "Well, everything happens for a reason." I think that senseless things happen and we won't always know why.

To piggyback on that, I also do NOT believe that infertility happens to those who deserve it. Going back to what I said about the comments on articles discussing IF/IVF/ART, those articles ALWAYS have commenters arguing that infertility is God's way of controlling who carries on the population. Or, if they don't mention God, they say that it's nature's way of controlling the population. Ridiculous. I work as a school counselor, which means that inevitably I get to hear all the dirty secrets that families have and I don't mean that in a good way. The school in which I work has students living with grandparents because mom and dad are too strung out on drugs to take care of them. I meet with elementary aged kids (we're talking 5-7 year olds) who are allowed to stay up until midnight to watch scary movies. I currently have a middle school student who is FAILING every single one of his classes and mom refuses to return a single phone call. MBL and I took Piper to a pumpkin patch back in early October and I stood in horror as I listened to a mom beat the snot out of her 10 year old in the handicapped port-o-potty. The idea that fertility is granted to those who deserve it the most makes my blood BOIL. I have read too many blogs to know that the people who would make the most fantastic parents often have the hardest time reaching that goal and it's NOT because everything happens for a reason.

In light of the above two points, I also must add WHY I don't believe that infertility happens for a reason and what I DO believe. I don't believe that I was given infertility because I deserve it. I also don't believe that everything happens for a reason, even though I sit here with a 16 week, naturally achieved bubs in my belly after what has been one of the hardest years of my life. If I were to believe that everyone is given what they deserve, that means that I would also have to believe that children in orphanages who are mentally and/or physically handicapped and will spend their entire lives chained to beds deserve the life they are given.* Or that children born into poverty and drug abuse who will inevitably be neglected and/or abused deserve it. If I believe that infertility happens to everyone for a reason and that it's God's will for some people to have no children, it means that I also must believe that the child I heard beaten in the bathroom deserved it; that somehow it's okay for her to endure that because it's happening for a reason. I've seen too much hurt to know that bad things happen to amazing people and good things happen to the scum of the earth.

What I DO believe is that we can learn from the hard times. I know that because I did not get pregnant easily that I look at parenting in a totally different light. Even without IF, I would have been a good mom, I would have loved my children and been good to them, but I know I wouldn't look at them with the same wonder as I do now. And there have been other things that have happened in my life that were absolutely terrible and I have learned amazing lessons from them, but I don't believe that those things happened for me to learn a particular lesson, instead I believe that sometimes bad things happen because that's the way things are, but we can certainly learn from them. As cliche as it is, it's the simple fact that although we may not deserve the lemons we get, we can still take them and turn them into something sweet.

I know I've said a lot, but this has really been weighing on me. It's been weighing on me because of the job I have and the people I come into contact with on a daily basis. It's also been weighing on me simply because of the judgment I have felt. I know that we all must reach our own conclusions on why we are struggling with infertility or loss, but I just really felt compelled to share my thoughts on the matter. Please share in the comments your own thoughts/opinions.

*This is a fact and most of these children are in orphanages in Eastern Europe. It absolutely breaks my heart.


  1. Preach it sistah!!!!!!! I am getting soooo sick and tired of "everything happens for a reason" and "when it's meant to happen it will happen" - I think that's the worst one. Ok so I have done everything right in my life, I have a great job, a great husband, a great house so it's not meant for us yet it is for my husband's cousin's 18 year old kid who has NO job, NO future and who knows if the guy she is with is even the father? Really? Sorry - I'm sure you understand how frustrating that is.
    I just don't get it. at all. Sigh...
    But I do agree that we do learn from the tough times. I know that it really will make me just that much more of a great parent. :)

  2. This is so true. I've gotten better about not reading comments on article, but every once in awhile I do. The ignorance is astounding.

    Visiting from ICLW(#7)

  3. Returning your visit.

    I haven't had to fight infertility, but I have heard so many of the things above about my loss and it pisses me off to no end. I'm sorry you've had to hear/read them.

  4. Great post! It is so hard to accept that "everything happens for a reason." I agree with the concept of pretty much everything you stated, with the exception that I have used those statements myself. And I have been struggling with TTC for 13 LONG YEARS! While we may NEVER understand what the reasons are, I am sure that God has a plan. One that I will never understand. Ever. But I do choose to put my faith in him because that is the only way I can remain hopeful. I want to be able to be a happy person, whether we eventually get blessed with a little one or not.

    There are so many times that I have thought how unfair it is for certain people to be blessed with kids, because they definitely don't "deserve" them. I don't think that little kids "deserve" to get cancer, or that God is punishing them.

    I DO believe that God has a plan, but that it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to know or understand what that is. I had a rough lot in life myself, growing up with an alcoholic, pot-head, not in the picture father and a drug addict for a mother. Then have had to battle the infertility road. Even though I am a good person that doesn't drink, do drugs, has a college education, waited to live together till we were married, and have been a volunteer youth softball coach for 20 years.

    I agree with every concept you have stated, I think we just say the same thing in a different way.

    Thank you for your post. I appreciate it because those negative comments that people tend to write really get to me too.

    1. I LOVE what you said. I try not to get too preachy in my posts, but I definitely believe that God has a plan and works things for His good... There's just no way for us to understand how he is doing that.

      I cannot believe all that you have been through. It's impressive that you've maintained a level head after all that and I'm sure your faith played a role in that. And I sure hope that one day you and your husband are blessed with a little one or two!

  5. Thanks for your comment on my blog! I love this post. While I'm sort-of an "everything happens for a reason" kind of person (couldn't have made it through without that belief!), it still made my blood boil when anyone else said it to me. In my opinion, believing it for yourself is totally different than having someone smugly foist that un-wanted opinion on you - and they ALWAYS said it with the undertone of maybe "you're not meant to be a parent." Kudos to you for reading the comments to articles like that - I couldn't stomach it :)

    1. Exactly what you said! I don't have a problem with accepting it yourself, but it's so hard when it's said to you... Especially if you're still grieving a loss (of anything--fertility, miscarriage, stillbirth...).

  6. Stopping by via CLW! Great post.. :)