“to mom or not to mom” day 4 – the invisibleness of infertility: to pass or not to pass?

It’s Day 4 of the “To Mom or Not to Mom” Open Salon hosted by Keiko of The Infertility Voice and Pamela of Silent Sorority.

Today’s topic: The Invisibleness of Infertility: To Pass or Not to Pass?

Please be sure to read Keiko’s post and Pamela’s post for different takes on the subject and join the discussion on their blogs.

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So, I’m a pastor’s wife.  When my DH got his first assignment to a church we had been married 4 months.  The instant we moved to this new church I felt like it was ‘Womb Watch ’08.’  Because that’s what you do as a pastor’s wife, you get knocked up, you sing in the choir, and your volunteer in the nursery or Sunday school classes.  Well, I’m tone-deaf, and while I love other kids, I don’t love new strange kids every week who want their Mom and are pissed that they’ve been left in the nursery.  And I curse too much to teach Sunday School.  So I was pretty much behind the ‘eight ball’ upon arrival at this new church.  And then we got the IF diagnosis.  Strike 3, I was out, ‘project pastor’s wife’ resulted in one big failure after another.

But then I had the BRILLIANT idea to start telling people that we were struggling.  And at first, that seemed like the biggest mistake EVER.  Because you get “those comments.”  You know them all by heart, say them with me now:

“You just need to relax”

“It’ll happen in God’s time”

“I had a friend who was infertile and then she adopted and got pregnant”  (Ok seriously where are all these women I’ve heard about who adopt and then get pregnant?  I’ve yet to meet one.)

But then, I got mad.  And I started speaking up for myself.  Not rudely, but I respectfully started educating people about infertility.  And then I started blogging about it.  And THE RESPONSE.  People came out of the woodwork identifying themselves as fellow IFers.  And the more I talked about it and wrote about it, the more people responded.  Older ladies in my church who had gone through infertility in a time when there were not treatment options and whose eyes still shown with the pain of that struggle, or who would tell me how they still felt the loss of their miscarriage or still birth.

And those connections, they made up for all the insensitive comments I got.  Because each connection, each shared story, was like another link in a chain, showing me I wasn’t alone, and offering me the strength of our common struggles.

So for myself, I have chosen not to “pass.”  And for most of you reading this, you too have chosen to share, even if it is anonymously. You have chosen to share your vulnerabilities, and in doing so have offered me, and countless others, strength and support.  But for those of you possibly reading this who are not “out” who have chosen to “pass” on sharing your infertility story, I get it.  I really get it. I get the shame society assigns to us, especially if there are issues of MFI, because you know damn well once you say “MFI” society jumps to that conclusion.  I get the overwhelming sense of worry and loss you feel from suffering countless failed IUIs/IVFs/miscarriages, and that sometimes that loss rises up so much it feels like it is choking you. And the thought of expressing that grief, opening those flood gates, letting it out and not knowing if you’ll be able to stop, is just unbearable.

I’ll end with one point that Keiko and Pamela made quite well.  There should be absolutely NO shame surrounding issues of infertility.  It is a disease recognized by the World Health Organization and should be accorded no more shame than having diabetes or allergies, which is to say, none.  “To pass or not to pass,” either way my hope is that any person going through the ALI journey feels supported in their choice.  Because IF, it’s hard enough.

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Did you choose to “not pass?”  What factors helped you make that decision?

If you blog anonymously, why? And what factors would need to be in place for you to not be anonymous?  (Or would you always feel the need to be anonymous?) 

How do you feel about “Infertility amnesia?”

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If you have posted about this topic before, or if you are inspired to talk about it now, please provide the URL of your post  in the comments below, or simply post a comment and share your thoughts with us.

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october 2012 – obsessed with babies

Here are the posts for our October 2012 topic “Obsessed with Babies.”  Thanks for all your submissions, you all wrote so openly and eloquently.  In a week, this post will move to the drop-down menu in the pink toolbar, so you can check there to come back and see what you missed or re-read a particularly moving post.

Suggested Prompts:

  • Since traveling the ALI journey have you found yourself “obsessing” over all things babies?
  • Do you find yourself researching all things child-related, from toys, to food choices, to child-raising methodologies?
  • What choices have you made, or not made, as a result of your ALI journey?
  • Do you obsess over your child’s health, development, socialization, etc?
  • Do you obsess over adding to your family?

Contributing Bloggers

  1. Claudine of This Beautiful Life says “My obsession started with getting pregnant…” in “Obsessed with Babies.”
  2. Gemini Momma of Three Geminis and a Sagittarius tells us her goal as “One incurable Project Maker’s quest to NOT make a project out of her children,” in “Obsession, not by Calvin Klein.”
  3. Sarah of Mommyhood After Fertility Frustration takes us on “A random look at how my daughter has changed the focus of my obsession…” in “You Crazy, Baby.”
  4. Traathy of Happily Ever After discusses the “The journey baby crazy took us in our lives,” in, “My Public Speaking Debut.”
  5. Josey of My Cheap Version of Therapy writes “I’ve been on a sliding scale of obsession for the past 3 1/2 years, but thanks to you, I now spend more time with my baby and less time obsessing. You think I’m joking?” in “Obsessed with Babies.”
  6. Courtney of All The Sun For You says “I’m now a total 180 from the “baby crazy” lady I once was,” in “Baby Crazy.”
  7. No Baby Ruth writes how “I’m guilty of obsessing about nothing, focusing on everything,” in “Cure for an obsession: get another one.”
  8. Ms. Furture PharmD of Mom PharmD shares with us “Some thoughts on the depths (well, from the depths) of obsession with babies,” in “Baby Obsession.”
  9. April of R. Sativus shares “My daughter’s baby obsession and my journey from baby-crazy to just-plain-crazy to crazy happy,” in “Obsessed with Babies.”
  10. Coco of “Fruit Snacks and Freezer Jam” tells us that when “OCD meets IF; it isn’t pretty,” in her post “Obsession.”
  11. Heather of “Survive and Thrive”  gives us a list of how “I’m obsessed by all things baby from stocking up on books and magazines, to spending all my days with a baby,” in “Obsessed by All Things Baby.”
  12. Jules of “Two Pink Tulips” shares with us her journey of “Examining my need to fixate on baby-making and baby-raising and how difficult it is to tease out infertility & obsession from my parenting,” in “Obsessed with Obsession.”
  13. Mandski of “Full Bed” says “I write about being “obsessed” with thinking about balancing motherhood with the other parts of me that I struggle to honor and how this makes me part of the “cult of mommyhood,” in “Obsessed with Motherhood.”
  14. Chon of “Life Begins” tells us “I combined my monthly theme post with the open salon question. I am not as obsessed as I thought unless flat heads and hips count!” in “To mum or not to mum.”

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