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.