news item: The flip side of infertility

Last weekend an ALI friend texted me a link to an article entitled The flip side of infertility, and when I first clicked on it, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. From the cozy warmth of my bed, I started reading a post that was somehow instigated by a comment from a woman who had requested the author write a column on infertility and its challenges. I’ll let you pop over and read that post now before you read on here, but suffice it to say, I was blown away by how the post morphed into writing that included gems like:

I am fertile. I come from a family of women who are this way. My mother bore 10 children, her mother had six, and I have a sister who began with twins, following quickly with two more in the space of three years. Then there’s me. I have five children in the space of five years and four months. We are expecting our sixth child in about a month.


For me, however, the biggest challenge I have faced is knowing when it is time to be done having children. Being raised in a home that loved and welcomed so many children, as well as a religion that encourages having children and growing families, it is difficult to know when to call it quits.


Being fertile does have its challenges. Struggling with infertility has its challenges … merely being a mother and a woman has its challenges, and not one greater than the other.

It left me speechless (and to be honest, pretty rage-y), as it made it incredibly evident how clueless the general public can be (and usually is) when it comes to infertility. I’m sorry, but your Mom being extremely fertile doesn’t mean squat about what your fertility will be, and saying that deciding when to stop have kids is just as big of a problem as the challenges an infertile faces… um, are you &#%$^ kidding me?!

The basic difference is this: ONE of those “challenges” includes a CHOICE that one can make. The other does not. One guess for whose “problem” is a choice?

I’m not saying that having an unintended pregnancy isn’t a financial strain for many people, but you really cannot compare choosing to have sex and accidentally getting pregnant and being stressed about it to spending your life savings and then some just trying to get/stay pregnant in the first place or to adopt. You just can’t – or at least you shouldn’t.

I respect that this woman started writing and then realized she had no way to empathetically write an article about infertility since “[she] is fertile,” but to swing 180 degrees the other way to use the article to then claim that the challenge of infertility is no greater that being a fertile and having to face the decision of when to stop  having children… GAH.

If you haven’t figured it out, I don’t really have a point to this post, but it truly is the first thing I’ve read in a while that caused me to stop in my tracks by the outright ridiculousness of the statments and assumptions. Boo hoo on the pain olympics and all that, but really? I’m not feeling badly that it’s so hard for you to decide when to call it quits with having children.


Do you think this woman should have written the article at all once she realized she was so far out of her knowledge base?

How do we educate the general population about ALI without sounding “woe is me” and hypercritical?

Do you ever get rage-y about articles you read online? Do you comment to try to educate or stay far, far away?


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Josey is mommy to Stella (born Dec.2011) after a two year TTC journey and a tentative Dx of lean PCOS and anovulation. Blessed to get a BFP with a Clomid + Menopur protocol IUI done at CCRM. Currently naturally pregnant with #2! Loves to travel and speak French, drink beer in the sun with her husband and friends, and enjoy all of the outdoor activities that life in Colorado has to offer.


  1. Whoa. I haven’t had a throat punch moment for a long time but what the actual F??? Oh boo hoo the mini pill didn’t work – news flash if you don’t want to get pregnant don’t rely on the mini pill even a 16 year old knows that. Knowing when to stop is a problem – how can you even start to compare that to not knowing if you will ever START. It makes my blood boil and feel sick with sadness at the same time. The only thing that makes me feel better is knowing that through my honesty and openness with my struggles I am making those immediate fertile women around me more aware and more understanding. As to comparisons fertility is rampant on both sides of my family – you are right it doesn’t mean anything for me.

  2. First of all, this is not news. I cannot believe that this was even published by a news site. Ridiculous.

    I read things like this, and then click away. This is no more than the type of thing you’d see on a blog, and my rule with blogs I don’t like is to click away.

    What makes me irritable is knowing that this has been presented as newsworthy reading. It is not. There are no facts, no history, nothing to “chew on.” It, and the writer, is nothing but a big waste of time.

  3. Well THIS post makes me rage-y. Rage-y in ways I’m having a hard time articulating. Thank you for doing such a great job of pointing out why this makes me so mad, it’s easier to swallow with your enraged commentary. I have to admit, it’s all I can do not to click over there and tell her what’s for in the comment section. I hope someone already has.

  4. mylifeisaboutthejourney says:

    Ummm yeah those two things really have nothing in common! My mom was super fertile and I clearly was not, so that means jack! I think it is easy for someone who hasn’t had any issues to claim that the two “conditions” are alike. She could get her tubes tied if she was that worried about getting pregnant again. Unfortunately they still can’t force an embryo to grow into a healthy baby inside any uterus. Sigh. Thanks for your commentary. Had I seen the article and not read your comments first, I may have punched my computer screen! :o)

  5. Excuse my language here but what the fuckity fuck fuck?!?!?! OK I get that unplanned pregnancies are scary and adjusting to your life with the new addition can be a stressor, but what about all the planning that goes into starting a family and the years of waiting and never knowing if all that planning will lead to the ultimate happy ending. I canNOT believe this was published as news, but even more so the comparison between fertiles and infertiles is RIDICULOUS! Ragey doesn’t even begin to describe my emotions while reading this “news” piece.

    The only redeeming part of this “article” is where the author said this, “As I began collecting information, it didn’t feel right. It wasn’t because it is a bad topic; it was because it didn’t describe me. I am very sympathetic to these families, and cannot even begin to imagine what they go through.” And I think she should have stopped there….

    The point of this post, Josey? We need to make this woman aware of her complete misunderstanding of what it means to be infertile. Show her the FLIP SIDE OF FERTILITY!

    At this point, I could go on forever on this topic ranting, but this news isn’t worth my energy….

  6. Yikes. Infertility is a life crisis. An unplanned pregnancy can also be a life crisis. Luckily, there are things to do to prevent unplanned pregnancies, and (not to sound harsh here) but ways to take care of those unplanned pregnancies that really do send you into crisis mode.

    Sometimes there is not a damn thing to do about being infertile. Or worse, there are ten years’ worth of expensive, invasive, life-consuming things to do that don’t work.

    Wahhh wahhh.

  7. Wouldn’t this be the flipside of fertility rather than infertility? She could have presented her topic without comparing it to infertility…it’s all pretty annoying. Grr.

  8. Hahahaha. That author is an asshat. .

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