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.